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Toyota Reportedly Planning Radical, 3-Seat Sports Car

Concept said to be on tap for Tokyo Motor Show.

by on May.27, 2015

Toyota has been studying a number of extreme options, including the i-Road commuter car.

Ever since he came onboard as the top executive at a company long known for its sturdy and reliable – but plain vanilla – products, Akio Toyoda has been pressing his team to pump some “passion” into its line-up.

Toyota has offered some hints of what’s in store with concepts like the exotic FT-1, as well as more stylish production models such as the Lexus RC coupe. But now, it seems, the Japanese giant is ready to take things to the next level.

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A variety of sources have indicated that Toyota will roll out a new sports car concept at the Tokyo Motor Show next October. But this isn’t just a new version of the Lexus RC – or even a production version of the FT-1. The open-wheeler apparently will have room for three and use a high-performance hybrid drivetrain.


Sales Down But Earnings Up for Toyota

Japanese giant benefits from cost-cutting, weak yen.

by on Nov.06, 2013

Toyota is counting on the new Corolla to help it boost earnings in the months ahead.

Toyota Motor Co.’s quarterly earnings soared by 70% despite slightly softer sales, reflecting the Japanese giant’s cost-cutting efforts as well as the impact of the weak yen.

Toyota increased its earnings forecast for the full fiscal year after posting a $438.4 billion yen, or $4.4 billion, profit for the July – September period, up from 257.9 billion yen a year ago. The world’s largest automaker now expects to generate a 1.67 trillion yen profit for the fiscal year that ends on March 31, 2014.

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“In addition to the impact of the weaker yen, operating income increased due to our efforts with our suppliers and distributors for profit improvement through cost reduction and marketing activities, such as enhancement of the model mix.,” said Nobuyori Kodaira, Toyota’s executive vice president, in a statement.


Father of Toyota Production System, Eiji Toyoda, Dead at 100

Took Japanese maker from regional player to global giant.

by on Sep.18, 2013

Former Toyota Pres. Eiji Toyoda shakes hands with GM Chairman Roger Smith, left, as they give the go to a new joint venture that marked Toyota's first manufacturing operation in the U.S.

Though long retired, Eiji Toyoda continued to have an influence on Japan’s biggest automaker right up to his death at 100.

Indeed, it was during his time leading Toyota Motor Co. that the automaker transformed itself from an ambitious, Japanese wannabe into a true, global force that would eventually overcome powerful competitors like General Motors to become the world’s largest automotive manufacturer.

While running the company founded by his cousin – originally as a loom maker – Eiji Toyoda helped create the “Toyota Way,” a hyper-efficient manufacturing system that many of those competitors today have copied in a bid to catch up to the Japanese giant.

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“We mourn the loss of automotive pioneer Eiji Toyoda, whose contributions and leadership helped make Toyota what it is today,” said the automaker in a notice on its media site.

Toyoda’s death came five days after he marked his 100th birthday. He was being treated at the Toyota Memorial Hospital, in Toyota City, a medical facility originally founded in 1938 to treat company workers.


Toyota Earnings Nearly Double

Strong sales surge also put it #2 spot in U.S. market.

by on Aug.02, 2013

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, shown here during the launch of the Lexus GS, wants more "passion" in the maker's products.

It’s been a great week for Toyota Motor Co. A day after revealing a strong sales surge that positioned it – at least briefly – as the number two maker in the U.S. market, the Japanese giant announced that earnings for the April – June quarter nearly doubled year-over-year.

The 93% increase reflects a variety of factors, including the impact of the weakening yen, and came despite continued challenges in China, the world’s largest automotive market. The strong performance during the first quarter of Toyota’s fiscal year led the automaker to up its forecast for the months ahead. But Toyota officials did sound at least a small note of caution.

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Toyota beat estimates for both its first-quarter profit and sales, based on a consensus gathered by FactSet. April – June earnings came in at 562.1 billion yen, or $5.6 billion. Revenues were up 13.7%, meanwhile, to 6.25 trillion yen.

That encouraged the maker to boost its full-year earnings forecast to 1.48 trillion yen, which would be a 54% year-over-year gain. And Toyota now expects to reach an all-time industry record for production, at 10.1 million. It expects sales to be a slightly more modest 9.96 million, a target it had announced previously.


Is Toyota Facing Financial Trouble?

Japanese giant receives unexpected warning.

by on May.31, 2013

Toyota boss Akio Toyoda with the Lexus ES.

There was a time when Toyota was said to have “more money than God by one of its key competitors. And its latest earning report was unquestionably impressive. Nonetheless, the Japanese giant has received an unexpected warning that could signal financial troubles ahead.

Though Moody’s has given Toyota’s latest bond offering a strong “Aa3 rating,” it also has issued a negative outlook for the future that reflects potentially broader problems with the Japanese economy.

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“While disruptions caused by several natural disasters contributed to (a) period of underperformance, the company’s financial results have also suffered from product quality issues, market share erosion, and cost pressures exacerbated by volatile market conditions,” the ratings agency explains. “Because it is more reliant than its peers on units and components exported from Japan, Toyota’s earnings have significantly weakened because of the fluctuation in the currency market since the financial crisis of 2008-09.”


Toyota Reports Big Profits

Weak yen, cost cutting and strong sales boost results.

by on May.08, 2013

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the company still has work to do in spite of big profits last quarter.

The weakening of the Japanese yen gave Toyota’s quarterly profit a boost as it prepares for a new product offensive in key markets in China, Europe and North America.

Toyota profits more than doubled to 313.9 billion yen or $3.2 billion as cost cuts and better sales made an impact while the declining value of the yen gave fresh impetus to the company’s turnaround.

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“Toyota has recovered much of the market share lost due to the recalls and natural disaster,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.


Toyota Still Tops – But Sales Gap Narrowing

GM comes in a close second for Q1, VW close behind.

by on Apr.24, 2013

Akio Toyoda with the new Lexus ES.

Toyota maintained its title as world’s best-selling automaker for the first quarter of 2013 – though the gap began to close as the Japanese maker struggled to regain its momentum in the critical Chinese market.

The industry giant — which regained its sales crown last year after a disastrous loss of production in 2011 due to Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami — reports selling 2.43 million vehicles between January and March. But that was a 2.2% decline.  General Motors maintained its second-place position at 2.36 million vehicles, but closed much of the gap with a 3.6% increase.

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Volkswagen, which finished 2012 in third-place, maintained that podium position for the first quarter after a 5.1% increasing in global demand brought its sales to 2.27 million. VW officials have openly set a goal of becoming the world’s number one maker before the end of this decade.


Adding Major New Lexus Model a Key Reason Older ES Sedan Coming to US

Toyota luxury marque trying to re-think what future luxury buyers will want.

by on Apr.19, 2013

Mark Templin, Jim Lentz and Akio Toyoda at the Friday news conference in New York.

Lopsided exchange rates and potential natural disasters are two reasons why Toyota officials said they plan to shift production of the Lexus ES from Japan to the U.S. during a news conference in New York earlier today – but has learned of yet another reason. The Kyushu plant currently producing the Lexus sedan will need to make room for an all-new model the luxury maker is getting ready to bring to market.

While Jim Lentz, Toyota’s top North American executive declined to identify that new model, sources indicate it is likely to be a compact crossover filling a niche below the current RX line. Lentz did say Lexus expects it could yield more than the 50,000 units of annual demand the ES currently generates.

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He also hinted, that this new model and other possibly offerings Lexus is looking at are part of the brand’s push to shift focus from the Baby Boomers who currently dominate its customer ranks to the next generation of luxury buyers. “We’re always looking at the luxury business which will change over time,” explained Lentz during a one-on-one conversation with  “The consumption of luxury and what it means to Boomers may be very different for Gen-Y.  We need to prepare ourselves for what younger luxury buyers will want.”


Toyota Investing $500 Mil to Build Lexus ES in US

Lexus ES to move to Georgetown plant by 2015.

by on Apr.19, 2013

Coming at you. Toyota will be building the newly updated Lexus ES at its Georgetown, Kentucky plant.

Toyota Motor Co. is expected to announce Friday plans to invest more than $500 million in its Georgetown, Kentucky plant to move production of one of its Lexus luxury vehicles to the U.S. for the first time.

The world’s largest automaker already produces more than half of the vehicles it sells in the U.S. at various North American assembly plants. But it has, until now, limited production of its Lexus line almost exclusively to Japanese factories.  Though the RX crossover is now produced in Canada, the Lexus ES will become the first luxury model – and the 11th Toyota vehicle assembled in the U.S.

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Toyota is the last of the Japanese “Big Three” to move at least some luxury car production to the States. But like rivals Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., it has been hollowing out production in the home Japanese market due to concerns about exchange rates – as well as potential production issues underscored by the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami that all but shut down the maker’s operations for much of the following nine months.


Management Shake-Up at Toyota Increases Role of U.S. Execs

Lentz running North American ops; former GM exec Hogan joins Toyota board.

by on Mar.06, 2013

From sales to manufacturing, Toyota's Jim Lentz will now run all operations in the Americas.

In an unexpected announcement, Toyota has announced a major shake-up in its global management structure that will significantly increase the role of the North American market – and senior U.S. executives, in particular.

The realignment positions Jim Lentz, who has been the top American executive at the giant Japanese maker, as its number one boss for all of North America. Meanwhile, the current U.S. head of the Lexus luxury brand will now become managing officer for Lexus International. And Mark Hogan, a former General Motors senior executive, will become the first American ever on the 76-year-old Toyota Motor Co.’s board of directors.

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“These changes will help us to achieve sustainable growth and realize our global vision by giving more responsibility to each region, including our North and South American operations, so that they may develop and deliver even better products and offer the best service to our customers,” declared Akio Toyoda, TMC’s global chief executive and grandson of the maker’s founder.