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Volkswagen took a 20-percent stake in Suzuki a year ago, and virtually nothing has come from the alliance since then. The two companies blame cultural differences, but Suzuki hasn’t exactly been open to Volkswagen as they like.
The two company’s goals are different: VW wants to make a dent in the Asian small-car market, while Suzuki wants to tap into VW’s expertise in diesel, hybrid, and electric cars. But like a mismatched couple in a sitcom, Suzuki is demanding more from VW than they’re willing to offer, especially to a company with whom they only hold a minority stake in.
“We are still in a period where we have to establish trust,” said VW CEO Martin Winterkorn. “We here in the western world are sometimes more decisive, [and] the Japanese culture of achieving consensus is difficult.”
“They can’t seriously expect that we give away all our treasures to a partner that we only minority-own,” said another VW executive who chose to remain nameless. Suzuki hasn’t remained transparent enough to VW, he went on to say, and wants more technology from VW’s end.
VW executives are still keen on working with Suzuki, who may have all but disappeared in America but are still selling strongly in the rest of the world. As long as things don’t go hilariously wrong like, say, DaimlerChrysler—given VW’s penchant for snapping up brands like a kid popping M&Ms.
[Source: Motor Trend]
The importance of the Chinese market for car companies is growing at an astounding rate. Hoping to capitalize on this growth, Honda has launched a new sub-compact car at the 2010 China International Automobile Exhibition.
The new model is called the S1 and is launched under the Chinese market only brand of Li Nian, a brand formed by the alliance of Guangzhou Automobile Group and Honda Corporation. Think of Li Nian as the opposite of Acura, cars under this brand are targeted towards younger, first-time buyers.
Details are scarce on the S1, but it appears to be riding on the Honda City platform, and likely uses 1.3-liter and 1.5-liter petrol engines from Asian market Honda products.
Li Nian says the S1 is aimed towards younger buyers and, “adopts a powerful, energetic and outstanding design form.” Yes indeed, we’ll take your word for it.
No plans to bring this model to the North American market. Thank you Honda.