Roger Schreffler


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

Japan Import Sales Backslide 1.0% in First-Half 2015 
Mercedes-Benz was the best-selling import brand with sales of 32,680 units, up 19.1% from first-half 2014. Volkswagen was next with 29,666, down 16.5%, followed by BMW at 22,674, up 0.9%.
Powertrain Tech Dominated This Year’s JSAE
New engines from Toyota and Honda, transmissions from Aisin and hybrid systems from several suppliers were among the highlights from the Japan exhibition.
Jatco Grows Global Presence as CVT Standard Bearer
Jatco and rival Aisin AW both look to grow their customer bases, Jatco will concentrate its major facilities investments in China and the U.S. over the next five years.
Automakers, Suppliers Show Off Powertrain Prowess
Toyota’s 1.2L 4-cyl. mill, the second in the automaker’s new downsized engine lineup, was introduced in Japan as an option for the Aurus in April and is being launched this month on an unspecified model in Europe.
Jatco Geared to Meet Growing Global CVT Demand 
Management claims to be on track to reach its ¥1 trillion ($8.4 billion) sales target by fiscal 2018 and become the world’s top producer of automatic transmissions by 2020.
Study Shows Japan’s Automakers Rule Asian Markets 
Fourin reports Japanese automakers claimed a 54% share of Asian markets excluding China and Japan, followed by Korean, European and U.S. nameplates at 20%, 6.5% and 5.5%, respectively.
Mazda, Mitsubishi, Honda See Fiscal-2015 Sales Rise 
Honda showed mixed results in fiscal 2014, with earnings tumbling 13.1% even though sales grew 6.8% to a new high.
Analyst Scorecard Shows Japanese Automakers Humming Along
Favorable exchange rates, growing new-vehicle demand worldwide and some astute management moves play a role in the positive near-term outlook. Weaknesses? There are some, says CLSA’s Chris Richter.
Hyundai Looking for 50% Sales Boost From New Tucson
Hyundai executive Mike O’Brien predicts the new-generation Tucson CUV will help the automaker raise its overall share of the U.S. market to 5% this year, up from 4.4% in 2014.
Yen Falls But Japanese Automakers’ Profits Rise
Years of deep cost-cutting, consolidating platforms, expanding production outside Japan and sharp focus on product planning have lifted the companies out of the depths of the recession triggered in 2008, industry analyst Chris Richter says.
Global Hybrid Leader Toyota’s 2014 Sales Slip 1.0% 
Honda, Mitsubishi, Subaru were among the automakers reporting improved hybrid sales in 2014.
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.

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