Photo from the staff blog of the official MiEV Showroom website
The global car industry is in big trouble and big changes are happening fast. Do listen to Yuuki Sakurai, chief executive of Tokyo-based Fukoku Capital Management Inc., a fund that oversees about $10 billion in Tokyo: He thinks car makers Suzuki and Mitsubishi should cut their losses and "withdraw from the U.S.," reports Bloomberg:
"It's time for them to decide whether they pay a high price to continue business there or stop the bleeding."
It gets better: Yasuaki Iwamoto, an auto analyst at Okasan Securities Co. in Tokyo, is even more outspoken: "It makes more sense for Suzuki to put its limited resources into small cars," said Iwamoto. "Forget about America." It is unclear how any of this affects you if you were hoping to buy the i-MiEV electric car any time soon, and both Suzuki and Mitsubishi claim to have what it takes to continue. Below, we offer some green advice:Focus on smaller, more efficient cars:
First, why are the experts on stocks and bonds and mutual funds not happy about these two companies? Well, frankly, their performance in the United States has been terrible. Suzuki sold 84,865 vehicles in the U.S. last year, a 17 percent drop. Mitsubishi sold 97,257 vehicles, down 25 percent, according to Bloomberg. The trend is that consumers are rapidly turning away from SUVs and large cars with poor mileage. Suzuki betted on 6 cylinder models for North America, and needs to rethink its strategy. Do introduce the Suzuki Swift Sport, a small car that even Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame, gave four stars.
Focus on car sharing:
In Japan, Suzuki has introduced several models for car sharing. Do use this experience to find solutions that works in North America as well. Japan for Sustainability approves:
The car-sharing system allows people to rent cars only when they are needed, and the car owner can therefore save costs. The system also contributes to alleviating the shortage of parking spaces in urban areas and mitigates traffic jams. The Swift car-sharing model adapts the car-sharing system operated by ORIX Auto Co., the biggest car rental company in Japan, which allows companies to set up car-sharing systems.
Focus on hybrids:
After some 20 years on U.S. soil, Suzuki and Mitsubishi are not exactly known for their stellar performance, compared to Toyota and Honda (or Hyundai and Kia, that also are among the best cars when it comes to mileage). The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the best candidate, and Michael Graham Richard has written extensively about it here on Treehugger, noting that Mitsubishi is increasing production of the i-MiEV ahead of its launch.
Focus on hybrid bus technology:
Better yet, focus on hybrid bus technology, as they are doing here in Japan at the Haneda Airport, and with the new Global Hybrid Center at Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) in Kawasaki, according to Benzinsider.com:
Mitsubishi Fuso has been developing hybrid vehicles for over 10 years and today offers fuel efficient, low emissions products like the Canter Eco Hybrid light-duty truck and the Aero Star Eco Hybrid bus for the Japan market. The company has also developed the Canter Eco-D, a concept hybrid light-duty dump truck.
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp
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