Roger Schreffler


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

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.
Southeast Asian Automakers Report Mixed 2013 Results 
Sales reached record levels in Indonesia and Malaysia and the Philippines but fell 7% in Thailand, the region’s biggest market.
Toyota Strengthens Grip on Japan EV, Hybrid Market
Toyota delivered 1,280,235 electric and hybrid-electric vehicles last year, up 5% from 2012 and good for an 83% share of the domestic market.
Retooled Lineup Key to Mitsubishi Business Plan
The New Stage 2016 plan sets ambitious earnings, sales and production goals for fiscal 2016. They include record earnings of ¥135 billion on sales of ¥2.6 trillion, both up more than 40% from fiscal 2012, and more than 1.4 million builds.
Exports to U.S. Drive Japanese Auto Industry Growth 
Japanese exports to Europe were down 10%, while shipments to the U.S. and Asia were relatively flat.
Transmission Maker Aisin AI Shifts Into High Gear 
In addition to Toyota, Subaru and Lexus, Aisin AI supplies Mazda and Mitsubishi in Japan and PSA Peugeot Citroen, General Motors and Lotus overseas. The supplier is developing a new 6-speed transmission for the Porsche 911 sports coupe.
Import Sales Rise in Japan in 2013 
American auto makers sold 13,037 units, with Jeep and Ford again the brand leaders accounting for two out of three of the U.S. imports sold.
JATCO Developing Low-Cost Automatic Transmission 
At the Tokyo auto show in November, JATCO unveiled what could be the base model for the new gearbox. An executive declines to say if the transmission will have three or four forward speeds.
Fuel Cells, Plug-in Hybrids Fueled Buzz at Tokyo Show 
Honda hopes to reduce the price of its next-generation FCEV’s price to ¥4 million, a goal dating back to 2005, but the target date has been pushed back from 2020 to 2025.
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