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Honest business: 1, international crime syndicate: 0. Eric Blumberg owns Rent-In-Style, an L.A. based high end rental car company, which offers clients an opportunity to take out premium luxury and performance vehicles for a couple hours or even a week.
With China seen by many as the future in terms of greatest sales potential when it comes to consumer goods, many organizations are looking to establish a stronger presence in the region.
Infiniti recently announced that it is putting plans in place to relocate it’s global headquarters from Yokohama in Japan, to Hong Kong, which is currently a special autonomous region of China.
The move comes as Infiniti makes plans to increase global sales to some 500,000 units annually, with the greatest gains likely in China and other South East asian markets.
Andy Palmer, executive vice president at Nissan Motor Co Ltd, stated in reference to the move that “as Infiniti grows its presence in the global luxury markets of North America, Europe, China and South East Asia, we selected Hong Kong as the optimum location for our new global Infiniti headquarters. We see an opportunity to reinforce Asian hospitality within the Infiniti brand, distinct from both Nissan and our facing luxury competitors.” He also added that Infiniti is ” proud to be the only automaker that will call Hong Kong home.
Alongside the new Infinti HQ, Nissan will also set up a new corporate office in the same location, with a target of both facilities becoming operational in April 2012. For more information, click below:
China has become Ferrari’s second largest global market, a not-so-surprising development in light of the global economic realities. The Italian automaker enjoyed strong growth in the first half of 2011, with global sales up 12 percent to a record 3,577 units between January and June. The company also saw sales revenue climb nearly 20 percent up to $1.5 billion.
Ferrari sales have vastly improved in markets like the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong, totaling 378 units in the first six months, up 116 percent from the same period last year. Ferrari is excited about its success and will enter 25 auto shows in China this year, more than double from last year. China still trails the U.S, where 939 units were sold in 2010. Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo said the sales momentum would extend into the second half as the company recently began deliveries of its four-seater, four-wheel drive sports car, the Ferrari FF.
[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]
Think the $41,400 sticker price for a BMW 335i is bad? Be glad you don’t live in Singapore where the same model will run you $260,000, about what an Italian exotic would retail for in the United States.
Singapore residents who want a private vehicle must pay for a special permit that allows them to keep the car for a decade – the permit alone costs $55,000 USD, as much as a Porsche Boxster would in America. In 2008, the permit cost about $2,000. On top of that, buyers must pay a 150% duty on the vehicle upon importation. Not surprisingly, car ownership rates in Singapore sit at around 15%, compared to 82% in the United States.
Singapore is ruled by an authoritarian regime (famous for outlawing chewing gum in the name of etiquette and cleanliness), and is strongly pushing for residents to adopt mass transit as a practical solution to reduce congestion, and cut down pollution. While Singapore boasts outstanding air quality, it fears that it could become similar neighboring islands like Hong Kong, which has fewer restrictions on vehicle ownership but is riddled with heavily polluted air.
The structures in place leave car ownership as a privilege for the wealthy, and car dealers are now looking to peddle premium brands to the wealthy, since they are largely unaffected by an increase in ownership costs. “The extra $20,000 to S$30,000 on the [new vehicle permit] is nothing when the total car price is $300,000 or more,” one dealer told Bloomberg. No wonder that companies like Lamborghini do well in the tiny Asian country, with a special preview for their upcoming LP-7004 Aventador being held exclusively for that market.
Nissan has just leaked photos of the new 2011 Quest minivan via Twitter, and its a radical departure from the previous generations derivative minivan styling.
Based on the Asian market Elgrand luxury minivan, the new Quest is expected to be powered by the VQ37VHR, and widened by 5 inches for better visual symmetry. The version sold in Japan and Hong Kong needs a narrower track to negotiate the ultra-tight streets and parking spots present in those small nations. Inside, the interior looks luxurious and almost Infiniti-like, hopefully a carryover from the premium-positioned Elgrands, which retail for over $60,000 in Hong Kong.
The quest is expected to be in dealerships in early 2011 after its debut at the LA Auto Show in November.
GALLERY: 2011 Nissan Quest
For those of you with an American Express Centurion Card (popularly known as a Black Card), this Porsche will make the perfect purchase to help you maintain the rumored $250,000 minimum balance needed to stay in good standing with the Centurion Card program.
The Porsche 911 Carrera S Centurion Edition is only available in Hong Kong, and only 3 will be made at a cost of $256,000. Aside from unique interior badging and a black paint scheme, there’s really nothing distinctive about this car versus a standard 911 Carrera S. But with such limited volume, it doesn’t really matter.
[Source: GT Spirit]
How do you solve a problem like driving on the opposite side on the road? You just flip it over – and that’s exactly what Dutch architectural firm NL Architects wants to do with part of a road connection between Hong Kong and mainland China.
Here’s the problem – in Hong Kong, people drive on the left hand side of the road (it was a former British colony). However, in China, they drive on the right hand side of the road. You can see the problem with trying to merge the two.
But NL Architects believes they have a solution – they’ve proposed a “Flipper” bridge concept. And it really is quite cool to look at – the halves of the roadway split and cross over and under each other. This would allow traffic to blend seamlessly into the correct flow during the border crossing. Says the firm about their design: “The Flipper is a device that is designed to ‘celebrate’ the traffic switch. Can we turn the moment of swapping into an unforgettable spectacle?”
The design was submitted to the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities International Design Ideas Competition and is called the Pearl River Necklace. This contest was held to come up with an inspiring design for a transportation hub planned for construction on an artificial island. The NL Architects’ entry did not place in the contest, but the innovative twisty bridge idea caught the attention of fans worldwide.
Kamiel Klaasse of NL Architects said that firm’s traffic flipper idea was “speculative,” but that “it was important to us to show that road design could be interesting and maybe even fun.”
The two German luxury carmakers have a history of one-upmanship with regards to advertising, and we’re not surprised given the highly competitive, put-LEDs-on-everything segment.
We wonder how Audi will respond…may we suggest hiring the stunt driving team from Ronin and jumping an S8 over the BMW dealership? If you don’t know what we’re on about, check out the video after the jump…