Roger Schreffler


Roger keeps tabs on the Japanese auto industry, specializing in coverage of manufacturing and advanced technology.

Japanese Automakers Predict Fiscal-2016 Sales Off 8%
The industry group’s sales report links the projected sales decline in part to Mitsubishi’s mileage-cheating scandal which surfaced in April and led to the automaker suspending production of 0.66L minicars for itself and Nissan.
Toyota’s Powertrain Strategy Extending Beyond Hybrids
To date, the Japanese automaker, the world’s leader in gas-electric hybrids, has introduced three new engines with forced induction – two gasoline and one diesel – on 11 Toyota and Lexus cars.
Makers of High-End Autos Hungry for Carbon Fiber
Toray Industries, which has been supplying carbon fiber to the auto industry for nearly 20 years, anticipates demand for the material will double or even triple to between 10,000 and 15,000 metric tons by 2020, up from 5,000 t at present.
Japanese Suppliers’ Outlook Dims
Since January, the Japanese currency rose nearly 20% against the U.S. dollar, cutting into profit margins on exports to North America, still one of the largest markets for cars built in Japan.
Fuel-Cell Vehicles Don’t Add Up, Analyst Says 13
The cost of the technology, the energy required to produce the fuel and the resulting well-to-wheel emissions make FCVs less than green, concludes a Hong Kong-based investment firm.
Southeast Asian First-Half 2016 Sales Show 2% Uptick
The market held steady despite the effects of an economic slowdown in Indonesia linked to a contraction of the Chinese economy along with lingering effects of political instability in Thailand.
Global Hybrid Sales Alive and Well, Toyota Says
Driving Toyota’s growth was the overseas market, which rose 26% on the strength of new entries including the RAV4 Hybrid in North America and Europe and the Levin and Corolla hybrids in China.
Japanese Import Sales Show 6-Month Uptick of 1.8%
Japan Automobile Importers Assn. Chairman Peter Kronschnabi predicts the market will follow the 145,501 foreign-brand cars sold in first-half 2016 and will reach 300,000 units for the full calendar year, up 5% over 2015.
Japanese Automakers Continue to Raise Stake in Europe
The nation’s automakers produced 1.4 million vehicles at 10 European assembly plants in 2015. They also imported a record number of cars and trucks.
Anatomy of Restructuring: Did Nissan Pick a Winner in Mitsubishi?
Mitsubishi’s history is riddled with global-expansion and product missteps. But the automaker finally may be positioned to succeed – with its new partner’s help.
Japanese Brands Dominate Southeast Asia Markets
The Fourin research company reports Japanese brands, led by Toyota, accounted for 84% of vehicle sales in the region during the year, a total of 2.6 million units.
Mitsubishi CEO Sees Upside in Mileage-Fixing Scandal
In his first interview since Mitsubishi’s April 20 disclosure of mileage fixing, CEO Osamu Masuko says finding out the automaker falsified fuel-economy figures “left me speechless.”
Nissan Makes Move on Mitsubishi Amid Mileage Debacle
Besides Nissan’s taking of the 34% equity stake in Mitsubishi, the alliance agreement calls for one-third of the partnership’s directors to come from Nissan, and for Nissan to nominate Mitsubishi’s next chairman.
Mitsubishi Passes U.S. Muster in Fuel-Economy Flap
Under fire in Japan for overstating fuel-economy claims, the automaker reports an internal audit of ’13 through ’17 model-year vehicles sold in the U.S. confirms previously submitted data to the Environmental Protection Agency was accurate.
Automakers, Suppliers See ICE Alternatives Surging
Samsung estimates global hybrid sales will grow to 3.5 million units in 2020, up from 1.6 million, while EV demand will quadruple from 300,000 units to 1.2 million.


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