Roger Schreffler


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

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.
Japanese Automakers Expect Gains to Continue in Fiscal 2014 
Lesser players Suzuki and Subaru manufacturer Fuji Heavy Industries posted both record earnings and sales in fiscal 2013.
Japanese Truck Makers Focus on Cutting Emissions 
Isuzu is cool toward hybrids, noting Jana’s leading truck maker is putting less emphasis on diesel-electric technology than its two main Japanese rivals, Hino and Mitsubishi Fuso.
Growth in Natural Gas-Powered Vehicles Bypasses Japan 
Prospects for NGVs in Japan are poor because of domestic automakers’ strength in hybrid and electric vehicles, coupled with government incentives for buying EVs, PHEVs and clean diesels.
Battery Experts Seek Lower Costs, Better Technology
Research analyst Cosmin Laslau notes EV maker Tesla delivered 4,900 Model S sedans and Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones worldwide in first-quarter 2013. But in terms of Li-ion battery capacity, the Model S consumed 50% more than the iPhone.

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