Roger Schreffler


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

Suzuki, Daihatsu Take Center Stage at Tokyo Show
Suzuki's biggest star will be the 4-wheel-drive Crosshiker. Powered by a 1.3L gasoline engine, the car weighs just 1,780 lbs.
Automakers Turn Toward ITS to Improve Safety in Crowded World 
A consensus is building that intelligent-transportation systems hold the key to dealing with rising infrastructure costs and traffic congestion, while cutting global traffic fatalities from the current 1.2 million people annually.
Safety Features Rolling Out on Japanese Models, Including Minis 
Even midrange Toyota models such as the Corolla, Camry and RAV4 now feature rearview cameras and auto-leveling headlamps. Toyota estimates that failure to recognize potential danger causes 70% of accidents.
Honda Plays Small Ball at Tokyo Show
Although a concept, the S660 could be launched as soon as next year if it gets the green light for production.
JPMorgan: Japan’s Auto Makers Headed for Record Sales, Earnings 
Reports by JPMorgan Securities Japan detail the industry’s reversal of fortune since the dark days following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and subsequent start of the global recession in fall 2008.
Auto Industry Leading Market for Japanese Robotics
Fueling growth this year is new capacity coming on stream in Mexico where Nissan, Mazda and Honda all will open auto plants over the next six months.
Spartanburg Plant Anchors BMW’s Growing Range of CUVs
A $900 million expansion, raising cumulative investment at the facility to nearly $6 billion, will boost capacity once again to 350,000 units in 2015. And with it will be the addition of the new X4 reportedly due out in early 2014.
Asia to Drive Growth in Oil Demand Through 2035, Analyst Says
Rising worldwide vehicle ownership, forecast to grow to 1.9 billion units, will continue to heighten competition for energy resources, the IEEJ says.
Japan’s Vehicle Safety-Systems Installation Continues to Climb 
JAMA’s 2013 edition of “The Motor Industry of Japan” reports ABS was available on all standard cars sold with 1.0L or larger engines in 2011, the most recent year for which the association reports safety-system installations.
Analysts Downsize Global PHEV, EV Sales Forecasts
Consultancy Fourin expects Japan to remain the world's largest market for hybrid vehicles over the next 10 years, with sales growing to 1.6 million units from 965,000 in 2013. Close behind will be the U.S. at slightly under 1.6 million, up from 465,000 this year.
Imports Into Japan Keep Growing in First-Half 2013
Volkswagen was the best-selling foreign brand, followed by Mercedes and BMW. The top U.S. brands were Jeep and Ford, ranked 13th and 14th overall.
Japanese Auto Makers Rule Global Hybrid, EV Markets
Toyota has been cool toward EV technology, believing fuel-cell vehicles offer a better long-term solution to global warming. But the No.1 hybrid maker nevertheless launched all-electric versions of the Scion iQ and RAV4 in 2012.
Hybrid Technology Headlines Japan SAE Conference 
Transmission giant JATCO is expanding production capacity by building a second plant in Mexico, while rival Aisin plans to open two new facilities in China by the end of 2014.
Infiniti Launches Q50 Output, Begins Global Expansion Drive
Growth is expected to come in part from an expanding product portfolio that will include a new compact model in 2015 and a car above the top-of-the-line Q70.
Japanese Auto Makers Charge Ahead With New Battery Technologies
Following Toyota’s strategy of bringing technical improvements to market as soon as they are ready, Nissan cut 175 lbs. from the first-generation Leaf by redesigning the electric powertrain and modifying the battery’s structure.
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