If Nissan could be friends with every buyer, it wouldn’t hesitate to take up the opportunity. At the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show and then again at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Japanese automaker decided to endear itself to prospective buyers by showing off the Friend-ME Concept, a slick and high-tech hatchback mainly aimed at youngins.
The Friend-ME was designed for young Chinese — soon to become the world’s largest consumer segment — but we think Europeans will also find it interesting. Its bold styling is characterized by a low and wide stance, short front and rear overhangs, a ‘V-motion’ shaped grille, thin and light floating roof, prominent fenders, unique boomerang-shaped front and rear lights, and a Neon Grey exterior colour.
Its “private-yet-connected” interior, which seats four, allows all occupants to share the same information — speed, navigation, fuel remaining, etc. — as the driver, doing so via a unique center console that spans the length of the cabin and screens that are visible from each seat. Anyone that finds cool content can transfer it from his/her mobile to the on-board screens so that all others can see it.
Based on an existing sedan architecture, the Friend-ME requires minimum unique components. It is powered by a Nissan’s Pure-Drive hybrid powertrain.
China’s Geely Buys 10-Percent Stake In Mercedes Parent Daimler
Chinese automaker Geely has acquired a 10 percent stake in Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, becoming it largest single shareholder.
Geely has owned Volvo Car since 2010 and has a controlling stake in Lotus; the investment of around $9 billion further expands its interest in European automakers.
Daimler expressed optimism about the acquisition in an interview with , with spokesman Joerg Howe stating:
“[Geely chairman] Li Shufu is a Chinese entrepreneur Daimler knows well and regards highly in terms of his competency and focus on future developments. Daimler already has a strong footing in China. We have a very strong partner with our existing cooperation with BAIC Motor.”
They two companies have yet to announce any collaborative projects or intellectual property sharing, but the investment could provide Geely with more opportunities to expand its global reach in an automotive industry that’s moving towards electrification and autonomous vehicles.
Move Aside U.S., China is Now Cadillac’s Largest Market
Well, that was quick… Just days after we reported that China will eventually overtake the United States as Cadillac’s largest market, the middle kingdom now accounts for the most Cadillac sales.
Cadillac’s sales fell 4.1 percent to 10,298 units in the U.S. during the month, while its sales jumped an almost unbelievable 116 percent to 18,011 units in China.
Granted we’re only going by January’s results, 2017 will most certainly be the year China overtakes the U.S. given the brand’s sales momentum in the world’s largest market.
Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen stated:
“Cadillac begins 2017 with a continuation of the robust global growth of 2016, a year in which we sold more products worldwide than any point in the past three decades. We are growing the business significantly and attracting a youthful and affluent demographic, elevating the aspirational character of the brand. This is particularly the case in China, where our growth is explosive and sustained.”
The U.S. ended 2016 with a comfortable lead over China in terms of Cadillac sales, accounting for 170,006 deliveries compared to China’s 116,406 units. Expect a flip-flop in 2017.
Do you find it strange that a “communist” country is now the largest single market for an iconic car brand that was once the very embodiment of capitalist ideals? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
China Fines GM for “Monopolistic” Pricing
General Motors has found itself on the wrong side of the Chinese government, having been found guilty of “monopolistic” pricing.
According to , the government accused the American automaker and its partner SAIC Motor Corp Ltd. of setting minimum pricing on vehicles sold under the Cadillac, Chevrolet and Buick badges and slapped the joint venture with a fine of 201 million yuan (approximately $29 million).
The company said in an emailed statement:
“GM fully respects local laws and regulations wherever we operate. We will provide full support to our joint venture in China to ensure that all responsive and appropriate actions are taken with respect to this matter.”
It has been speculated that Chinese government officials fined GM in retaliation to President-Elect Donald Trump selecting a trade adviser with a long history of speaking out against America’s dealings with China.
Sources who spoke with Reuters claim the investigation was underway long before the U.S. elections. However, we find it a bit suspicious that it took until now for the government to penalize such blatant market manipulation.