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Posts Tagged ‘japan car production’

Ghosn Predicts “Milestone Year” for Nissan Leaf

Nissan/Renault chief also sees strong U.S. recovery but more troubles for Europe.

by on Mar.28, 2013

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn at the 2013 NY Auto Show.

Put on the defensive by the slow ramp-up of the maker’s battery cars, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn put on a confident face during an appearance at the New York Auto Show and promised this will be a “milestone year” for the Leaf electric vehicle.

With the maker’s second battery-car plant now operating in Smyrna, Tennessee, the executive said inventory is up and demand rapidly growing.

Ghosn, meanwhile, offered a mixed assessment of the global automotive market, pronouncing a bright outlook for the U.S. but more troubles ahead for Europe. He also offered a cautiously upbeat outlook for China.

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“This is going to be a milestone year for Leaf,” Ghosn said, maintaining the positive outlook that has positioned him as the most upbeat of the industry’s top executives when it comes to the prospects for vehicle electrification.  He continues to forecast that up to 10% of the vehicles sold by decade’s end will use some sort of battery power.


Toyota Will Export U.S. Camry to Korea

Maker continues hollowing out Japanese production base.

by on Dec.05, 2011

Toyota will begin exporting the American-made Camry to South Korea.

Toyota will begin shipping the Camry sedan from its Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant to South Korea – part of its continuing effort to offset a painful shift in exchange rates making it increasingly difficult to export from Japan.

The maker also will be shipping minivans from the U.S. to Korea.  The significant increase in shipping costs will be more than offset by more favorable exchange rates, however.  The yen has risen in value by nearly a third over the past year and is now trading in the range of 75 to the dollar.

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The decision to move both Camry and Sienna production from Japan to the U.S. underscores the continued hollowing out of the Japanese automotive production base – despite promises by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda to maintain manufacturing operations in the home market.  But manufacturers like Toyota and Honda have been forced to respond to not only the rising yen but also the risk of natural disasters that can devastate the island nation – like the earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11 bringing Japanese automotive production to a halt.


Toyota May Be Mired in a Long-Term Slump

Despite product blitz maker faces slow recovery, warns analyst.

by on Oct.10, 2011

The launch of the new 2012 Camry will be critical for Toyota to reverse its current slump.

The next few months will be critical for Toyota.  The maker has finally gotten its global production network up to speed after a slowdown caused by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami. And with the launch of the new 2012 Camry, Toyota is setting in motion a major product blitz that will bring close to a dozen significant vehicles to market over the next year.

But that may not be enough to pull the maker out of the doldrums, warns a key industry analyst, who believes it could take years for the troubled maker to climb back after a series of problems that began with a series of embarrassing recalls in late 2010.

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“This could take several years, or at least one product cycle, to implement,” cautioned Peter Nesvold, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. in a presentation to investors.”

There’s little doubt Toyota has some series challenges ahead of it.  The maker recalled more than 10 million vehicles last year alone.  And while the majority were connected to concerns about so-called unintended acceleration, the maker also faced problems ranging from steering to braking and excess corrosion that could cause pieces of its minivans to fall off while driving.


Honda to Cut Japan Exports in Half

Strong yen, potential disasters lead Japanese makers to shift more production abroad.

by on Oct.06, 2011

Honda expects to shift all but a small amount of production out of Japan over the next decade.

Honda will halve, perhaps cut by two-thirds the number of vehicles it exports out of Japan over the next decade, according to the maker’s CEO.

The move follows reports that Toyota, the industry giant, will shift production of more of its Camry models to the United States.  Other Japanese makers are reported to be considering production shifts out of their home market, as well.

Toyota Chief Executive Takanobu Ito told the Asahi newspaper that the decision was made in responsive to the fast rising yen, which recently hit a record level against the dollar.  But industry analysts say that Japanese leaders have also been exploring their production options in the wake of the devastating March earthquake and tsunami that sharply curbed automotive production for the following six months.

Like its rivals, Honda has steadily expanded its production base in North America, Europe and other parts of the world and is putting a premium on building its base now in China and other emerging markets.  Of its total global output of 3.57 million vehicles during the last fiscal year, only 910,000 – about 34% — were produced in Japan.

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But Ito said that could drop to as little as 10 to 20% in 10 years.  And even maintaining that level will require the maker to shift the production base in Japan to focus on the minicar segment – those with engines under 660 ccs.  Because of rising fuel prices and tax incentives, that market niche is one of the few bright spots in the long-stagnant Japanese automotive market.


Japanese Production Bouncing Back – But Automakers, Suppliers Ready to Abandon Quake-Prone Nation

“Frantic” efforts and “war rooms” helping suppliers get back to business.

by on May.12, 2011

The March 11 quake -- and the strong yen -- could lead Toyota and others to increasingly shift more of their production out of Japan.

It won’t be a good year for Japanese automakers large or small.  The disaster that shook the island nation two months ago all but shut the industry down for a month and makers will be operating at a fraction of normal levels for some time due to shortages of parts ranging from plastic panels to microchips.

But a massive, behind-the-scenes effort could end the crisis a bit sooner than expected – though it leaves many observers wondering just how much Japan’s home auto industry will be hollowed out in the process.

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Even as manufacturing slowly creeps back to normal, industry officials are warning that they may shift more of their operations – both automotive assembly and parts production – out of quake-prone Japan.

“How much longer should we insist on producing in Japan?” asked Chief Financial Officer Satoshi Ozawa, as the maker announced a 77% plunge in its profits on Wednesday.


Would You Wait for a Japanese Car?

Toyota, other makers could be hurt if production delays lead to product shortages.

by on Mar.16, 2011

Honda buyers are among the most likely to wait out a product shortage, says CNW research.

How much do you really want that new sedan?  Would you sit tight for that sports car?  Will you wait several months for that big SUV?

Japan’s continuing crisis has already resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of new cars, trucks and crossovers, whether damaged by Friday’s massive earthquake, the subsequent tsunami, or simply through lost production, most Japanese automakers unsure when they’ll be able to get their assembly operations back up-and-running.

Even in the U.S., the natural disaster’s effects are being felt, Subaru halting production at its Indiana plant, while Toyota cuts all overtime.  And, now, even some Detroit makers could feel the pinch if shortages of Japanese-made parts begin to develop. (Find out more…Click Here.)

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“The impact of this has yet to unfold,” Mark Reuss, president of General Motors’ North American operations cautioned today, stressing that the quake’s impact on the Japanese supplier network could be “bigger than anyone knows today.”

One test will come if consumers begin to experience product shortages at the dealer level.  American buyers have traditionally preferred to buy whatever they can find on a dealer lot, rather than placing a custom order that might take weeks, even months, to come through.

So, will buyers who can’t find what they want go somewhere else?