Welcome to The Drift where Jalopnik East rounds up the highlights from all around the Pacific Rim. In today’s headlines, Nissan releases an ad which seems to promote illegal driving in a national park, South Korea’s tax law may allow abuse of corporate car registration, and China’s answer to Uber raised tons of cash.
Representatives of the Tottori Prefectural government are demanding an explanation for Nissan’s new X-Trail Hybrid advertisement, which they claim promotes the idea of off-roading in National Parks, according to the Asahi Shinbun newspaper in Japan. In a segment called “Hell’s Bunker” which follows aerial video of the Tottori area, the X-Trail Hybrid appears to be romping over sand dunes with tank like wheel modifications. While the actual location of the sand dunes is in Ibaraki prefecture, there are rather famous sand dunes in Tottori which are within a national park. Car travel over these sand dunes is strictly prohibited by law.
The report says that Nissan defended itself by saying it purchased stock footage of various locations in Japan and wasn’t aware that there would be an implied connection between the two parts of the segment. It has since added a warning at the bottom of the commercial, but Tottori representatives say it isn’t enough to counter the mental association presented.
A civic group is calling for reform of the corporate car ownership law, because they claim that too many people are abusing the system to purchase luxury cars, reports the Korea Times. The report says that the civic group, the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) wants revisions made to current tax law because corporate car owners have limitless tax benefits. Korean law currently allows a corporate owner to deduct as business expenses not only the vehicle itself but all associated costs, and the vehicle purchase itself can be deducted each year for five years. There are no limits on purchase price, size, or type of vehicle. The CCEJ says there is no system in place to hold business owners accountable for how they use their vehicles outside of work purposes.
Currently, there is no method to verification when people use their corporate cars for non-business uses. This loophole in the tax system is hurting the fairness of tax duty.
The Korea Times found that corporate cars comprised 43 percent of all vehicle purchases in Korea, and that all five Rolls-Royce Phantoms and 28 Ghosts were registered to businesses, as were the six Bently Mulsannes sold last year.
China’s two taxi apps, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache have merged to form Didi Kuaidi and raised a record $2 billion to take on Uber, according to a report from Tech In Asia. The money comes from several different investment and equity groups which includes Alibaba. Prior to the merger the two apps claimed being responsible for three million taxi rides and three million private vehicle rides per day all across China, but that the company has an ambitious plan to serve 30 million passengers and 10 million drivers each day.
Seems like ride apps are here to stay, and more competition in the market seems like a good thing worldwide, but will competition lead to better customer service, better drivers, and safer rides?
Images via AP and Nissan/YouTube, modifications by Kat Callahan/Jalopnik.
H/T to Yuni Kitadai.
Jalopnik East is your daily dose of the latest automotive news out of Asia, covering domestic developments and car culture in Japan, Korea, China, Southeast Asia, and beyond. Just because you can’t drive it, doesn’t mean we can’t share it with you. You can usually catch us every day between 5am and 7am ET.