Affiliates Hyundai and Kia “perform extremely well in almost every market,” says Dave Sargent, J.D. Power vice president-global automotive operations. “They lead in the U.S. and are close to the top in China. Beyond that, there is a great deal of parity between the U.S. domestics, the Europeans and the Japanese.”
Electrified-vehicle sales of all types grew 21% from 235,604 units in 2015 to 303,506 units last year. Plug-in hybrid sales rose 17% to 112,999 units, while sales of battery-electric cars rose 3% to 90,795.
Toyota fielded the top-selling hybrids in 2016, led by the Prius with 356,560 units, followed by the Prius C and its Japanese derivative, the Aqua (194,390); RAV4 hybrid (98,780); Auris (93,983); and Yaris (87,223).
“We see a stepwise advance into autonomous cars, fleet cars, city cars, “'robo-taxis” and the like,” says Peter Gutzmer, Schaeffler’s chief technology officer. “Why? These vehicles can afford the additional cost.”
Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko tells WardsAuto areas of potential collaboration include Nissan taking advantage of Mitsubishi’s Southeast Asian production base and Mitsubishi adopting Nissan’s development of autonomous-driving technologies.
The industry group’s sales report links the projected sales decline in part to Mitsubishi’s mileage-cheating scandal which surfaced in April and led to the automaker suspending production of 0.66L minicars for itself and Nissan.
Toray Industries, which has been supplying carbon fiber to the auto industry for nearly 20 years, anticipates demand for the material will double or even triple to between 10,000 and 15,000 metric tons by 2020, up from 5,000 t at present.