Roger Schreffler


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

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.
Primearth, AESC Power Players in EV, PHEV Production
Although their product portfolios do not include mobile-phone, computing and general power-grid applications, the battery manufacturers are giants in the auto industry thanks to their connections to Toyota and Nissan.
Malaysia, Philippines,Vietnam Top SE Asia Markets 
Despite last year’s record production and sales, the Malaysian Automotive Assn. predicts a 2.5% decline in sales in 2016, reflecting the country’s current sluggish economy, triggered by a fall in crude-oil prices and the weakening ringgit.
Acura, Infiniti Not Conceding North America to Lexus
“No question about it, Lexus has been successful,” industry analyst Chris Richter says. “They’re competing head-to-head with the stars of the industry. On the other hand, this success hasn’t extended in the same way to other major markets.”
Mazda Diesel Moving in Japan, Export Markets 2
There’s still no indication Mazda will follow through on original plans to sell its Skyactiv diesel in North America, but an executive says the automaker remains committed to the engine.
Hitachi Sets Sights on Automated Parking 
The system, a joint project with Clarion, is scheduled for market introduction in 2018, the company says.
Lexus Planning to Sell 6,600 LC Coupes Annually, Conquest Other Makes
Unveiled in its production sheet metal at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in January, the Lexus LC 500 “will be a pretty spectacular car for the money,” a Lexus executive says.
Japanese Automakers Set New Production Mark in 2015 
Overseas output is up sharply from 2007, when Japan still accounted for nearly half of the vehicles produced. Last year, it was responsible for only about a third.

Jan 18, 2018

2018 Wards 10 Best Engines Editorial Roundtable Part 2

WardsAuto editors discuss some of the 22 nominees that did not make the cut in this year's Wards 10 Best Engines competition....More


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