Nis­san Leaf named World Car of the Year

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

WO R L D’S FIRST The Nis­san Leaf, the world’s first affordable, high vol­ume elec­tric car has been named 2011 World Car of the Year, edg­ing out the BMW 5-Se­ries and Audi A8 for top spot. The an­nounce­ment was made last week at the New York In­ter­na­tional Auto Show. This award to the five-door, five-seater hatch­back that has a range of up to 160km be­tween charges is the lat­est in a string of ac­co­lades. At present the Leaf is sold only in Ja­pan, US and a few Euro­pean mar­kets and will go on gen­eral global re­lease next year. Ear­lier the Nis­san Leaf was ad­judged the Euro­pean Car of the Year, and drew strong crit­i­cism from some quar­ters as it is seen very much as a small niche model with­out gen­eral ap­peal and rel­e­vance. .

Toy­ota pro­duc­tion on hold

JA­PAN AF­TER­MATH Toy­ota Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion, hit hard by last month’s earth­quake and tsunami in Ja­pan that af­fected many of its com­po­nent sup­pli­ers and some of its own fac­to­ries, has now ad­mit­ted it could be at least six months be­fore pro­duc­tion lev­els re­turn to nor­mal. This an­nounce­ment by the world’s largest ve­hi­cle pro­ducer was the first pub­lic fore­cast to show how long it many take other Ja­panese car mak­ers to re­cover. Its pro­duc­tion in the US is run­ning at only 30% of pre-quake lev­els and it is ex­pected it will be forced to cut out­put in China to a sim­i­lar level.

GM re­turn­ing to top spot

SALES Strong sales by Gen­eral Mo­tors in China and other global mar­kets could see it re­turn to the po­si­tion of the world’s largest ve­hi­cle maker by the end of 2011, over­tak­ing Toy­ota, which went to the top of the pile in 2008. Toy­ota has been hit es­pe­cially hard by the ef­fects of the earth­quake and tsunami in Ja­pan last month and on­go­ing dam­age to its brand im­age as hun­dreds of thou­sands of ve­hi­cles are re­called by deal­ers for qual­ity re­lated is­sues. At the end of 2010. Gen­eral Mo­tors was less than 30 000 units be­hind Toy­ota with sales of 8 390 000 to Toy­ota’s 8 410 000.

Isuzu talks to VW deal mak­ers

DEALS Ja­panese com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer Isuzu has de­nied that it is con­sid­er­ing an equity tie-up with Volk­swa­gen in the light of cur­rent talks be­tween the two com­pa­nies with re­gard to a truck en­gine sup­ply deal.

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