The team in charge of Kia's Australian division is asking the company's top brass for a rugged, body-on-frame SUV with Toyota Land Cruiser-like off-road capacity. The model could arrive quickly if it's approved for production. "We need probably one or two bigger [SUVs], to be quite honest. That would help us dramatically," affirmed Damien Meredith, the chief operating officer of Kia Australia, in an interview with Motoring. He added there's room above the Sorento for a new SUV, and he requested a sturdy model capable of towing and going off-road. In the United States, Kia's biggest SUV — and the largest car it has ever put its name on — is the well-received Telluride (pictured) released in 2019. It's not as tough as the body-on-frame model Meredith has in mind, and it's not sold in Australia because it's currently only available with left-hand drive. Kia would need to create a new model to challenge the Land Cruiser Prado (which is smaller than the standard model, and sold as the Lexus GX in the United States) and the Ranger-based Ford Everest in Australia, but it might not have to start from scratch. In 2019, Meredith confirmed Kia and sister company Hyundai are jointly developing a body-on-frame pickup aimed at Toyota's Tacoma-sized Hilux and the Ford Ranger, Australia's best- and second-best-selling vehicles in 2019. Kia could follow the path blazed by its rivals and turn its upcoming medium-sized truck into a family-friendly SUV. This strategy would give its Australian division the Land Cruiser-punching model it's asking for, while allowing it to leverage the benefits of economies of scale by sharing parts across several model lines. Kia stressed the SUV on Meredith's wish list hasn't been approved for production yet, so it's far too early to tell whether it will be available in the United States. Offering it outside of Australia is a must, though. Toyota sold 18,335 units of the Land Cruiser Prado on the Australian market in 2019; even if Kia tops it with 20,000 sales, that's not nearly enough volume to justify developing a new car, even one built on an existing platform. We'll have a better idea of what the future holds for Kia's global SUV range when the aforementioned trucks make their debut. Both are expected on sale by 2021, so they're around the corner, and neither has been confirmed for the American market yet; Hyundai's version is unrelated to the Santa Cruz also under development.
A number of countries are working to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Here in Tokyo, a government-chartered plane carrying about 200 Japanese nationals has landed at Haneda Airport.
Health ministry officials say passengers are receiving medical exams on board.
SALT LAKE CITY — Greg Miller's Land Cruiser Heritage Museum in Salt Lake City is one of the most fascinating and comprehensive collections of vintage cars we've ever visited. Of the dozens of off-roaders on display, the most significant one is arguably a humble, unrestored 1958 FJ25 that stands out as the very first Land Cruiser sold in America. Toyota created its American division on October 31, 1957, and turned a Rambler dealership in Hollywood into its headquarters. Sales began the following year. John Rose, the owner of Rose Toyota, placed the first Land Cruiser order as quickly as he could, and delivered it at its American port of entry because his store wasn't built yet. The museum's records indicate the FJ25's original owner (so the first Land Cruiser customer in America) was a school teacher in Long Beach, California, though the person's name either isn't known, or is being kept private. The Land Cruiser wasn't the smash hit Toyota hoped for. Challenging the Jeep CJ-5 on its home turf was easier said than done, and the first FJ25 sold here was also the only example that found a home in 1958. The company sold a mere 288 vehicles in America that year, including the Land Cruiser and 287 units of a sedan named Toyopet Crown. America's first FJ didn't bask under the Pacific sun for very long. In the early 1960s, it changed hands and moved to Arrowhead in the mountains surrounding Los Angeles, where a woman named Mrs. Trembly used it as a snow plow. Its snow-clearing days ended when Mrs. Trembly died in 1967. James Ultl inherited it, and later sold it to TLC 4x4 in Chatsworth, California. Miller purchased it in 2013 and donated it to the museum. The Land Cruiser is tough, but the odds of the first example sold in America surviving decades of use were spectacularly low. Owners had a tendency to drive FJs into the ground by using them as snow plows (like Mrs. Trembly did), tractors, tow trucks, or a variety of other purposes deemed too merciless for regular cars. Example number one (which, fittingly, is nicknamed One) wears many battle scars, but it has fared relatively well, all things considered. The Land Cruiser Heritage Museum values original, unrestored models, and many of the trucks in its collection are in this condition, so don't expect to see One wearing shiny paint and new upholstery anytime soon.
Sources say the lawmaker at the center of a bribery scandal over integrated resort projects introduced a tourism company to the land ministry section in charge of airfields.
Lower House member Tsukasa Akimoto was state minister at the Cabinet Office in charge of integrated resort businesses, which include casinos.
Japan's land ministry says Typhoon Hagibis caused 66 levees to break on 47 rivers around the country and it's focused on flood recovery efforts.
Land Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said: "The ministry is working around the clock on recovery efforts. Building temporary dikes and dealing with flooding is the urgent first step to help people affected by the storm."
Japanese weather officials say Typhoon Faxai is expected to make landfall in the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo, or Shizuoka Prefecture by Monday noon.
It was over waters 130 kilometers south of Hachijo Island in the Izu Islands at noon on Sunday. It is moving northwest at a speed of 30 kilometers per hour.