Toyota overtakes GM in first quater sales

Toyota has taken the first-quarter global automotive sales lead, from General Motors, selling 2.41 million vehicles, to GM’s 2.25 million, over the first three months of the year.

GM said on Wednesday that, its first-quarter sales dropped across the globe, by less than 1%, but Toyota said, its sales increased by 2.7%, during the January-March period.

GM barely won the global sales race, with Japan-based Toyota last year. Toyota overtook General Motors as the world’s top automaker, in global vehicle production, last year. A record 64% of GM’s sales came from outside the United States.

Strong demand in Europe supported Toyota’s world-wide sales. GM posted record sales, in three of its four regions, but a 10% drop in North America pulled down the overall numbers. Sales increased by 8% outside of North America, the Detroit automaker said.

While the challenges of the US economy, continue to put pressure on the automotive industry there, we saw nearly 20% growth in the Latin America, Africa and Middle East, and 6% growth in the Asia Pacific region, GM vice-president of global sales John Middlebrook said, in a statement.

Toyota said that, output of popular, fuel-efficient small cars, such as the Corolla model, grew strongly in China, while production of pickup trucks rose steadily in Thailand, during the quarter.

Some analysts say its only a matter of time, before Toyota, which built its business in the decades, after World War II by imitating American automakers, overtakes GM in terms of annual global sales, as well as production.
In the Japanese fiscal year, through March 2008, Toyota’s global output rose 6.4% from a year earlier, to 9.66 million vehicles.


Your trusted motor guru responds to your queries…

A regular reader from Kandy
Q : Can you please explain the pros and cons of replacing a petrol vehicle with a diesel vehicle?
A :
First of all, I have to say that, this is not an act, that I can recommend and fully agree. I presume that, conversion of a petrol vehicle, to liquid gas and replacing of petrol engines, with diesel engines are direct results, of high cost of petrol. If you are replacing, along with the engine, mainly suspensions and shock absorbers should also be replaced, as the manufacturer, has designed the vehicle, for a petrol engine. But this not something, I can recommend.

A regular reader from Pepiliyana
Q : My vehicle is a Peugeot 307. As a habit,I fasten the seat belts, whenever I am driving. But the light in the dash board that indicates, whether you have ‘fastened’ or not ‘fastened’ the seat belts blinks, even when I have fastened the seat belts. Can you please figure out the fault?
A :
Yes. It is fault in the seat belt circuit. You can take the vehicle to a qualified electrician, and you may be able to get it fixed. If it is beyond repair, you can go to the local agents of your vehicle brand, and get them replaced.

A regular reader from Ratmalana
Q : I have 64-xxxx Toyota Corolla and the mileage is over 200, 000 kms. Whenever I start the vehicle in the morning, a knocking sound comes up. What is the fault? Please explain.
A :
Assuming your vehicle model is CE 110, possibly the sound may be coming from the vacuum pump, on the rocker corner top. There is no need to replace the vacuum pump. You can go to any qualified mechanic, and get the pump repaired.

A regular reader from Kiribathgoda
Q : Some say that, when you are inflating the tyres, the rear wheels should be inflated more than the front wheel. What is the validity of this statement?
: It is a myth. All the wheels should be inflated, with equal pressure. The prescribed pressure for the tyres by the manufacturer, is mentioned in a plate, riveted to the front door pillar of any vehicle.

A regular reader from Dehiwela
Q : My vehicle is a Toyota CR 47. I recently got it serviced and now the power shutters are not working. When I contacted the service station, they said that, while being serviced, water must have gone insider the door, and it will be alright once the water gets evaporated. But still the shutters are not working. Can you explain why?
A :
Get the power shutter switches and motor contacts attended to, by a qualified electrician. Cleaning the sensors will make the shutters work again, and you might not have to replace anything.

A regular reader from Kaduwela
Q : My vehicle is experiencing difficulties in gear shifting. My vehicle is a Nissan FB 14, petrol. I recently changed ATF, but the fault is still there. Should I get the gear box replaced?
A :
The engine type of your vehicle is GA 15DE and its an EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) engine. Go to your mechanic and get both the injector and the throttle body cleaned. After that, a proper engine tune up and an adjustment in the kick down cable should fix your problem, and there is no need to replace the gear box.

A regular reader from Gampaha
Q : My vehicle is diesel Mitsubishi Galant, manufactured in 2000 and the mileage is above 150, 000 kms. Whenever I start the car in the morning, excessive white smoke comes up, from the silencer. What could be the fault?
A :
A suspected oil burn, but need more information to accurately detect the problem.

A regular reader from Moratuwa
Q : I have heard many saying that, dripping of water out of the silencer, is a positive sign of the fine condition of the engine. Is it true?
A :
There are so many misconceptions among Sri Lankans, about motor vehicle related matters. It is very unfortunate to mention that, most of these misconceptions are provided by mechanics, who have little knowledge on the subject, but boasts about themselves as motor-pundits. Let me give you a scientific explanation to your problem. Both petrol and diesel have hydro carbon elements in them, and water is created as a by product when they are subjected to combustion. The water created becomes condensed in the silencer and, it is this water, that drips out the silencer. Therefore, now you can see that, dripping water out of a silencer and the condition of an engine of a vehicle, do not have a rational co-relation.


Bugatti launches Veyron in China

At a media conference on press day, at the Beijing Motor Show Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen, President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., officially declared, Bugatti’s entry into the Chinese market. “We are delighted to be here“, said Dr. Paefgen. It is a historic moment for the legendary Bugatti brand. It is the first time that, Bugatti presents a car in mainland China.“

The Bugatti Veyron will be one of the highlights, of the Beijing Motor Show. Bugatti’s has selected Bentley China, a subsidary of the Dah Chong Hong Holdings Ltd., as its General Distributor in mainland China. The DCH Group takes up Bugatti’s sales and service responsibilities, in Beijing, Shangai and Shenzhen.


BMW opens its first showroom in Kolkata

BMW India has opened its first showroom in Kolkata following increasing demand for its cars and has announced plans to launch a dealership providing sales, service, spares and systems to its clients. The 4,300 sq ft showroom was inaugurated Wednesday.
“Initially we will display five Beemer models here. Plans are to make the entire Beemer series - 3, 5, 6, 7, X and M - available to the city soon.”

“The attraction of the showroom is the new M3 coupe model that was launched in January. Now Kolkata residents can get the car for Rs.7,420,000 from this showroom,” BMW India president Peter Kronschnabi told reporters.

“The market demand for BMW is increasing every year in India. Last year 1,387 cars were sold and this year the sales figure is expected to round up to 2,000. We expect this showroom to sell around 100 cars a year,” he said.

“Once this first Kolkata showroom starts rolling, we will think about launching our 4S dealership (sales, service, spares and systems under one roof) here,” Kronschnabi added.
BMW India began its operations in the country in 2006.


US antitrust clearance for Jaguar, Land Rover

US antitrust authorities have cleared India’s Tata Motors Ltd’s purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co.
Antitrust authorities completed their review of the $2.3 billion deal, without taking any action to block it, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said, in a notice, issued on Wednesday.

In March, Tata announced that, it would buy Jaguar and Land Rover, giving the Indian automaker, a line-up of products, ranging from the world’s cheapest car, to some of the most expensive.


Maserati’s GranTurismo at Beijing Auto Show

Maserati presented the GranTurismo S, for the first time in Asia, at the Beijing Auto Show, after its world premiere, at the Geneva Motor Show. The car features a 440 HP V8 4.7 engine, with a maximum torque of 490 Nm at 4,750 rpm, electro-actuated gearbox with fast MC Shift, Transaxle layout and brakes made with dual-cast technology. The GranTurismo S has an acceleration from 0 to 100 Km/h, at 4.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 295 Km/h, the highest ever reached by a production Maserati.