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Toyota Shares Downgraded

Problems mount with global recall, China cutback.

by on Oct.11, 2012

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda -- shown here at the launch of the Lexus GS.

Toyota Motor Co.’s comeback appears to have hit a couple of serious potholes with trouble in China and a huge and potentially expensive new recall.

In response to the new challenges, Standard & Poors has lowered its opinion of Toyota’s American Depository Shares to “Hold” from “Buy.”  Those shares are used to permit the Japanese automotive giant to trade in the U.S., as well as Japan.

“Although we have not yet quantified the financial impact, we lower our opinion to reflect headline risk we see from increased headwinds in certain parts of its operations,” Efraim Levy, S&P’s senior equity analyst, said in a note to investors.

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Toyota had been on a roll for most of 2011, the maker’s outpacing the recovery of the overall U.S. market and posting a 41.5% jump just last month. President Akio Toyoda accompanied strong earnings news released in August by forecasting Toyota with sold nearly 10 million vehicles worldwide this fiscal year, handily out-performing the previous 9.36 million record set in 2007.


Unsafe At Any Cost?

Ralph Nader questions Toyota’s R&D claims.

by on Oct.18, 2010

The young Ralph Nader testifying before Congress a half-century ago. He is now weighing in on R&D spending claims by Toyota.

The man who helped launched the auto safety movement by challenging General Motors is now taking on the company that has taken over as the world’s largest automaker.

Ralph Nader is challenging Toyota to explain claims it is spending $1 million an hour on R&D, a figure it is using in an ad campaign aimed at overcoming concerns about a year-long safety scandal.  By Nader’s calculations that works out to a whopping $8.7 billion annually.

The ad campaign, which was first launched in June, appears to link that spending specifically to the problems facing Toyota, proclaiming, “At Toyota, we care about your safety. That’s why we’re investing one million dollars every hour to improve our technology and your safety.”

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“That is an astonishing amount, compared to your industry peers, to be spent on safety R&D,” Nader says, in a letter sent to Jim Lentz, head of Toyota’s U.S. sales subsidiary.