Posts Tagged ‘bmw’

BMW Z8 At Auction in Japan

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, February 4th, 2016

This is a very rare car, most widely known for its starring role in the Bond movie The World Is Not Enough, where it met an unfortunate end when it was sawn in two.

Not so this grade 4.5 BMW Z8 that was auctioned in Japan today. This is a pristine car that is surely going to appreciate in value even more in the future. Check out the video below and learn more.

Here are the auction photos and the inspector’s report so you can get a closer look.

BMW Z8 Front

BMW Z8 interior

BMW Z8 rear

BMW Z8 auction sheet


Japanese Car Auction Find – 2010 BMW X6

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Last week we learned that the Honda Crosstour will be officially dropped from the Honda lineup. Meanwhile, the BMW X6 – a very similar car by all rights – continues to sell very well. In fact, the second-generation 2015 BMW X6 received an 8/10 rating by US News just earlier this week. As a 2010 model year, today’s Japanese car auction find falls inside the car’s first generation of production, but it still has all the same features that make today’s model such a hot seller.

2010 BMW X6

Looking at the auction sheet, you can see that this is a standard BMW X6 xDrive35i. That means that this wagon-sedan-crossover fusion is powered by a 3.0L twin-turbocharged inline-six petrol engine. Power output is 302 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, so it actually offers a very engaging and responsive driving experience. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that even the most scrutinizing critics rated the BMW X6 as having the best performance in its class. US News actually said that, “even base trims of the X6 provided a superb drive.

The X6’s responsiveness is maximized by BMW’s Dynamic Performance Control system. The X6 is the first car to use BMW’s DPC system, which basically uses an active differential to distribute different levels of torque to the wheels depending on driving conditions. Unlike most active yaw control systems, though, BMW’s DPC corrects over- and understeer both front to back and side to side.

2010 BMW X6 rear

While you’d have a hard time narrowing the BMW X6 into a specific segment, what really separates it from the Honda Crosstour is that it does have a distinct and appealing design. Of course, this is no surprise from BMW, but we really do adore the X6’s aesthetic. It has an almost coupe-like profile with a rounded rear end and a heavy front clip, along with a relatively low ride and a stunning BMW-style mesh grille. As you can see in the images and on the auction sheet below, this particular Japanese car auction find is in pretty good shape for its age, with only a few minor dings and scratches.

2010 BMW X6 interior

Surprisingly, the interior of the 2010 BMW X6 is one of the only areas to draw criticism. The cabin is well-equipped and comfortable, but some drivers bemoan the fact that the car only has four seats… Not exactly what you’d expect from a vehicle that’s commonly described as an SUV. However, the truth is that the X6 offers a lot more interior space and cargo capacity than just about any sedan on the market, and rivals that of many small crossovers. So, it really just depends what you’re comparing it to.

Either way, it’s easy to see why the BMW X6 continues to thrive in BMWs lineup. It stacks up well to the competition, it looks great, and the performance is even better. For more information, get a full translation of the auction sheet below:

2010 BMW X6 auction sheet

“Interior B, first registered March 2010, ABA emissions code, XDrive 35i, AT, AC, power steering, power windows, leather, original TV, airbag, official dealer RHD import, model year unknown, seats and steering wheel worn, rust underneath, scratches and dents, marks as per map”


Toyota & BMW to Partner on Two-Seat Hybrid Sports Car

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Toyota FT-1 Concept

All the way back at the end of 2011, Toyota and BMW announced a partnership that would help both brands further their fuel-cell, hybrid and lightweight technologies. Then, in 2012 the agreement was elaborated to include a new joint venture sports car. Finally, near the end of 2013 the two brands hinted that the venture would eventually yield a Z4 replacement for BMW and a Supra successor for Toyota.

Now, we’d originally expected to see the fruit of that agreement at the 2014 Detroit Motor Show, but Toyota gave us the FT-1 Concept instead. However, we now know that the FT-1 Concept may have struck closer to the Toyota-BMW agreement than we’d first thought… This is because AutoCar has just confirmed that the FT-1 bears striking similarities to the car the two brands eventually intend to produce.

First, though, let’s go back and look at which aspects of the future twin cars each brand intends to handle. Toyota plans to use their experience with the LMP1 sports car and the TS030 Le Mans prototype to develop a plug-in hybrid powertrain. BMW will reportedly be responsible for designing the chassis and body, and actually manufacturing the mechanics Toyota develops (engine, electric motors, etc.).

2014 BMW Z4

As you continue reading, though, do keep in mind that these are all still rumors at this point. Nonetheless, here’s everything else we know about the potential Z4/Supra successor:

Most of what we know revolves around the powertrain, since over the past six months Toyota has showcased some incredible new technologies in that department. Most notably, the new BMW-Toyota supercar is rumored to feature a front-engine, all-wheel drive configuration with a high-power hybrid system. In fact, it appears the car will feature technology very similar to what we saw in the Toyota Yaris Hybrid R last year in Frankfurt – a high-output, low-displacement direct-injection engine (the Yaris Hybrid R had 300hp with 1.6L) paired with three electric motors and supercapacitors instead of the typical lith-ion batteries.

In addition to the engine and motor configuration, the car is expected to utilize a sequential manual gearbox instead of a CVT, and lightweight technology as seen in BMW’s i3 and i8 sports cars. It will also use some of Toyota’s carbon fiber manufacturing technology that they perfected through the Lexus LFA supercar to simultaneously lighten and stiffen the car. Finally, driving mechanics will be perfected through Toyota’s torque vectoring control units.

Even though both hybrid supercars will feature the same underpinnings, it’s expected that Toyota and BMW will differentiate the specific exterior design. Personally, we hope that Toyota sticks pretty close to the FT-1 Concept, as that car looked spectacular.

Obviously, there’s a lot that we still don’t know about the potential BMW-Toyota supercar. We don’t know how much it will cost (although rumors put it in the six-figure range), what the exact powertrain numbers will be, or anything about its green technology. And we certainly don’t know when or where the car will make its debut. Having said that, we hope to get more concrete answers – if not a full preview – by the end of 2014.


Japan Car Auction Finds: BMW Alpina B6 2.8

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Mercedes is to AMG what BMW is to … Alpina. Well, almost. AMG has now been very much subsumed into Mercedes, while Alpina still has a strong sense of independence, often producing models that compete directly with BMWs own sporty M brand.

This is a B6 based on a 1993 3 series coming up at auction in Japan:

Alpina B6 front

Alpina B6 interior

Alpina B6 rear

Alpina B6 auction sheet

Japan may be a RHD country, but there are lots of LHD cars available like this one as well. And the car auctions are the best place to find them.


The New Toyota-BMW Codeveloped Supra Edges Ever Closer

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, June 15th, 2013

For at least the past three years, we’ve heard rumors that Toyota will bring back the Supra sports car with the help of BMW. Finally, in January of this year we got official word that Toyota and BMW signed a contractual partnership in order to, among other things, develop a new midsize sports car. This mysterious sports car, of course, sounds eerily similar to the Supra of old.

Toyota Supra concept

BMW & Toyota: A 4-Point Agreement

Before we go into recent news regarding the Toyota Supra, let’s take a moment to rehash the basics of the Toyota-BMW agreement. The alliance aims at accomplishing four specific goals:

1. Make progress towards a viable hydrogen fuel-cell car
2. Develop a shared platform for a new midsize sports car, very similar to the Supra
3. Research denser lithium-ion battery solutions
4. Integrate new light-weight materials into their vehicles

In effect, this agreement gives you a basic rundown of both BMW’s and Toyota’s intentions for the future. This is especially relevant for Toyota who has repeatedly stated they don’t believe all-electric vehicles are where the market’s going. It appears that light-weight materials, fuel-cells and improved batteries are where Toyota wants to go instead.

The Toyota Supra Comeback (Probably)

With the partnership between Toyota and BMW clearly defined, let’s talk a bit about this “midsize sports car” they keep talking about. Obviously, it’s a pretty vague reference. So, how do we know that they’re looking at a Supra revival and not a brand new vehicle?

Well, the short answer is we don’t. Or rather, we didn’t until earlier this week when Bloomberg let us in on the intentions of a certain Takeshi Uchiyamada – incoming chairman for Toyota and head of negotiations with BMW.

According to Uchiyamada, the Supra is the perfect car for allied development. “[The Supra is] what I want but it’s not me who makes the decision. It’s futile if we make something similar to the ’86.” In other words, because Toyota already has a successful sports car, the Supra becomes all that much more favorable since it wouldn’t overlap at all with who the GT-86 is trying to target.

We don’t know much else about the upcoming Toyota Supra, but we do know when we’ll learn more. Rumor has it that Toyota will have a Supra concept – or whatever midsize sports car they end up developing – prepared by the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show.


Toyota Officially the Most Valuable Automotive Brand in 2013

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

After fighting back and forth with BMW for the past 3 years, Toyota has reclaimed its official spot at the top of the automotive food chain. Released this week, the 2013 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands placed Toyota as the most valuable automotive marquee in the world.

Toyota vs. BMW

Toyota beats BMW in BrandZ 2013

As many of our readers undoubtedly know, 2012 was a very good year for the automotive industry, particularly in the United States and China. This is one of the reasons that there was so much hubbub about this year’s Auto Shanghai, which took place last month.

In this wonderful year of recovery for the automotive industry, Millward Brown’s annual BrandZ report showed that Toyota flourished with a very significant 12% increase in value over last year. For anyone thinking that 12% growth sounds rather average when the industry as a whole grew 13%, consider that this equates to roughly $3 billion in extra revenue. Toyota’s value this year was estimated at $24.5 billion.

Toyota was one of four brands in the BrandZ Top 10 Cars that experienced double-digit growth, with Audi experiencing the most at 18%. Honda and BMW were the only two brands in the Top 10 to lose value, both losing 2% over last year.

How Did Toyota Rise to the Top for 2013?

The folks over at AutoNews were fortunate enough to get an interview with Peter Walshe, global brand director of Millward Brown, who conducts the yearly study. He had several things to say about Toyota’s success.

According to Walshe, “Toyota is carving out a very big position in hybrids across its range, which is tapping into the consumer need for value by saving fuel cost.” The survey showed that brands paying attention to the hybrid market did well last year, so it’s no surprise that Toyota benefited from this trend. The fact that Toyota is able to offer both very economical and more typically priced hybrids positioned them well for last year’s buyer.

In addition, Millward Brown found that brands with a very distinct identity generally benefited from the economic recovery. Again, Walshe reiterates that, “[Toyota’s] hybrids are reinforcing the experience of the brand, and in so doing, Toyota continues to magnify what is special and different about it.”

For our more globally interested readers, Walshe concluded that BMW’s lack of growth was due to an absence of new products. This means that a more productive year may allow them to usurp Toyota this year, continuing the rivalry. Although, Toyota also has more cars coming soon… more on that later this week.

If any brand wants to succeed in 2013 and beyond, the pathway is simple. Successful brands will be the ones that learn to offer luxury features at an affordable price. Walshe believes that, “brands must continue to meet the expectations they raised in 2012 for improved quality and luxury features at all price points, helping them to attract younger customers and cultivate future clientele.”

Fortunately, this is something that Toyota has already proven it’s adept at. We’ll see if the rest of the industry can keep up. If you’d like to see more of Millward Brown’s study, I highly recommend you check it out here.

Sources: Auto News, Car Scoops


Jay Leno Gets Behind the 2014 Lexus IS Prototype

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Over the weekend 20-year veteran of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno, posted a very interesting video on his automotive YouTube channel, JayLenosGarage. The video was a review of the new 2014 Lexus IS prototype, and was filmed on Japan’s Fuji Motor Speedway with Lexus’ Chief Engineer, Junichi Furuyama.

In the video, which you can find at the bottom of this page, we get to see Leno grill a stone-faced Furuyama for confirmation of the new Lexus’ specifications. Of course, in typical Japanese-style Furuyama is completely unfazed by Leno’s persistent questions. In fact, throughout the video the prototype is tightly camouflaged to keep its re-designed exterior from catching even one ray of sunshine. The only part of the car that we get to see clearly is the interior while Jay is pushing the sports car to its limits on the racetrack.

Jay Leno’s video may have been uploaded to his YouTube channel last Friday, but the video was actually filmed late September when he test drove the Lexus LFA Spyder at the same Fuji Motor Speedway. This is probably why Furuyama was so tight-lipped about the Lexus IS’s specifications. Just last week he was much more expressive when the folks over at Autoblog were test driving the same vehicle.

I’d like to draw your attention to one specific section of the video during Jay Leno’s test drive as it really is a good insight: He says, “I kind of see why they call this their BMW fighter, because when I was getting interested in cars Germany was always the standard, and everybody tried to beat or match it. This feels extremely German in its handling; an extremely powerful engine, eight speed transmission, and it handles very nice.”

After the test drive by the folks over at Autoblog, we know without a doubt that Lexus wants the IS to be its contender for the BMW 3-Series. Furuyama specifically said to Autoblog that he wanted the Lexus IS to be “the most fun to drive in the segment”. Since the BMW 3-Series is so popular because of its responsive performance, it makes sense that this is Lexus’ chief goal.

To make the Lexus IS a legitimate competitor to the BMW 3-Series, Furuyama says they focused on three core areas of improvement, “body and suspension, driver environment and powertrain”. From what we can tell, the chassis in particular has seen vast improvements with significantly more rigidity. Apparently the car feels very sturdy when taking tight curves, like it was carefully tuned to withstand high performance; Leno says, “it doesn’t lean, it doesn’t roll, nothing flexes.”

It’s hard to tell whether or not the Lexus IS will be able to take a bite out of the endless accolades surrounding the BMW 3-Series, but Lexus is definitely trying and the IS will definitely be the car to do it. Either way, after seeing the Lexus IS prototype fly around the Fuji Motor Speedway I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t itching to get behind the wheel myself. This is definitely a Japanese car to keep your eyes open for in 2013.


Registrations Of Used Foreign Cars in Japan Drop Again

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Bad news if you are one of a growing group of people buying new cars from non-Japanese manufacturers in Japan, but good news if you are looking to get a good deal on one of these cars in Japan’s car auctions: The number of registrations of used non-Japanese cars in Japan has dropped again during the first half of 2011 by 1.7% compared with the previous year. This negative trend has now been continuing for 5 years, and is despite the growing popularity of non-Japanese cars among new car buyers. BMW was the only brand to buck the trend, with an increase in registrations of 3% over the same period last year.

As to the cause of this drop, it is not easy to come up with particular reasons. Of course, the used car market in Japan in general was down again in June for all types of car to make it the worst June since records began in 1978. But the interesting issue with these “foreign” cars is the disparity between their popularity new, and their continued slide as used vehicles.

I am only speculating, but I suspect that the reason may well be that these non-Japanese cars are more expensive to maintain in Japan. Their exclusivity may be an attraction when new, but as they get older and have more and more mileage on the clock, it becomes increasingly difficult for potential owners to justify the higher upkeep. This is undoubtedly accelerated when these cars start to have to take the Shaken roadworthiness test every two years from 3 years after purchase.

So, increased sales of new foreign cars and decreased registrations of these same foreign cars as used vehicles requires that these cars go somewhere – overseas. If you are interested in buying non-Japanese cars like these, including LHD cars from Japan, please contact us for more information.

Sources: Response, Chunichi Shinbun


Foreign Brands Take Lexus Market Share in Japan

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Foreign brands such as BMW and Audi have been responsible for the recent significant drop in Lexus market share. While Lexus new car sales dropped 45% in April, BMW experienced growth of 56% during the same period.

While Lexus has been struggling to return production levels to normal, customers have been shopping around other premium brands such as BMW and Audi. In one BMW showroom, the number of new visitors has increased by 30% recently, often sporting Lexus-branded bags picked up at the nearby Lexus dealership. These new visitors often have considered buying a non-Japanese car, but the lack of availability of Lexus models due to production difficulties are what have caused them to pursue this interest further, with about half of these actually resulting in sales for BMW.

As Mr Kubota, BMW Japan’s top salesman, says: “In some ways it may be considered wrong somehow, but on the other hand it is a chance for us to increase market share.”

Beyond the immediate benefit of these individual sales, the longer-term effect is that aversion to non-Japanese brands is being broken down more quickly among the Japanese buying public, which will no doubt translate into increased market share in the future as these new customers become repeat customers over the years.

Source: Bloomberg (Japanese-language)


Japan’s Love Affair With German Imports Continues

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Does anyone out there remember the trade negotiations every year between Japan and the US in the 80s and early 90s? It usually seemed to revolve around Japan opening its doors more to US car imports.

Well, here we are decades later, and looking at the sales of import cars in April 2011, no progress has been made: Ford is the highest-placed US maker, who sold a  massive …. wait for it … 186 cars in April. Not just 186 of one model – 186 Fords total.

On the other hand, the top of the import charts is absolutely dominated by German (and honorary German – Mini brands. VW leads the pack, with 2,970 cars sold, well ahead of BMW (2,260) and Mercedes (1,755). BMW’s Mini brand rounds out the top 4 with sales of 1,181 cars. That’s 8,166 new vehicle sales between these top 4 brands, which accounts then for 66% of the import car market.

Now that is what I call market dominance.

Despite the crash in Japan’s domestic makers’ new car sales in April, sales of import cars have risen 21.6% over the previous year. But before you get too excited about Japan’ auto market finally opening up to foreign cars, let’s put this in perspective: Even with sales down 43.7% in April, Japan’s car makers still far outsold their foreign rivals at home. The whole import car sales total for April is more than swallowed up by the April sales of Honda’s Fit and Toyota’s Prius – respectively the number 1 and number 2 best-selling cars in Japan during April.

Source: JAIA (Japanese-language)