Roger Schreffler


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

Japanese Automakers’ 2014 Production Best on Record 
The major automakers’ shares of overseas production ranged from 21.7% by Fuji (Subaru) to 80.5% by Nissan.
Asian Auto Sales Growth Expected to Top Global Rate 
Research firm Fourin predicts Asian sales, excluding China and Japan, will grow 4.2% in 2015, while global vehicle demand is seen rising 3.8%.
Tire Demand on Decline in Japan 
JATMA projects a 5.0% drop in OE passenger-tire sales to 35.6 million units, along with 2.0% and 4.0% reductions in light- and heavy-duty OE truck tire demand.
Weak Yen Fuels Strong Year for Japanese Automakers
Domestic sales fell after the national consumption tax was increased April 1, but the decline was offset by brisk demand in North America and the effects of the weaker yen against the dollar, among other pluses.
Toyota Back on Track Toward Record Profits, But Still Work to Do, Analysts Say
After a post-recession earnings plunge, Toyota was able to lower its break-even point markedly, and it reorganized in ways meant to bolster the competitiveness of its products and improve overall quality.
Japanese Government, Industry on Joint Safety Crusade 
World Health Organization statistics show Japan reported 5.2 traffic deaths per 100,000 people in 2010. ITS Japan Chairman and Toyota technical advisor Hiroyuki Watanabe hopes to reduce that to below 2.6 by 2018.
Toyota Remains Unchallenged Global Hybrid Leader
Toyota sold 665,740 hybrids in the year’s first six months, 4.1% ahead of last year's record pace. Honda followed with global sales of 158,696 units, a 105.8% spike, while Hyundai jumped 33% to 27,118.
Korea Output, Domestic Sales Up in First-Half 2014 
Hyundai’s domestic market share through June was 49.0%, followed by Kia, 30.9%; GM Korea, 10.2%; Renault Samsung, 5.2%; and Ssangyong, 4.7%.
Japanese Automakers Boost Exports From Europe 
More than two-thirds of all Japanese-brand models sold in Europe now are produced there, an industry group says. Imports from Japan fell to 371,576 units in 2013, down 8.2% from 401,870 compared with prior-year.
Indonesia Sets SE Asia Sales Pace as Thailand Reels 
Indonesian vehicle sales through June rose to a record 641,511 units, up 6.2% from the first six months of 2013, with the industry calling for full-year deliveries of 1.25 million. In Thailand, first-half 2014 sales plunged 40.5% compared with year-ago.
JAMA Report Details Japan Auto Industry by the Numbers 
The organization says Japanese auto makers now operate 178 vehicle plants outside their home market, up from 168 in fiscal 2012. Included are 101 in Asia, 24 in North America and 18 in Europe.
More Magnesium in Japanese Auto-Parts Makers’ Mix 
A Japan Magnesium Assn. official predicts demand will grow 3% to 4% over the next five years thanks to a new alloy mix incorporating calcium, making it possible to die-cast magnesium components on the same line as aluminum parts.
Forecast Sees Toyota Profits Up 31% on Record Sales 
Goldman Sachs also predicts global light-vehicle sales will grow 3.4% annually over the next six years to 104 million units in fiscal 2020, up from 82.4 million in 2013 and a projected 85.1 million in fiscal 2014.
Japanese Parts Manufacturers Display Latest Wares 
Jatco is producing about 1,500 units of the second transmission in its CVT8 Hybrid series monthly, but plans to raise output to 4,500 units per month by 2016, with its Aguascalientes, Mexico-based subsidiary accounting for almost all of the growth.
Many, Not All, Major Japanese Suppliers Expect Continued Growth in Fiscal 2014 
Those projecting gains include Bridgestone, Hitachi Automotive Systems and NSK, while Denso and Aisin Seiki are among parts makers with more pessimistic outlooks.
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