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Toyota Earnings Slip; Company Cuts Forecast

Strong yen, production problems, sliding margins take a toll.

by on Aug.04, 2016

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda faces pressure to cut costs even as the maker invests in new products.

Snagged by a strong yen, tepid sales and supplier problems, Toyota Motor Corp. delivered a weak profit for the latest quarter, the Japanese giant also warning that the current fiscal year could be its weakest in nearly half a decade.

Toyota, whose global sales slipped behind rival Volkswagen AG for the first half of this year, said it earned $5.1 billion for the April-June quarter, the first in its new fiscal year. That was a decline of 14.5%. Operating earnings, meanwhile, were off 15%, to $5.9 billion.

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By the Numbers!

Net revenues also declined 5.7%, to $60.9 billion, despite a modest 1% increase in global vehicle sales. The maker sold 2.53 million cars, trucks and crossovers for the quarter, but that number was short of expectations due to a series of natural and man-made disasters that impacted production in Toyota’s home market plants.

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Hyundai Aiming for #2 in Green Vehicle Market

Korean maker and partner Kia will launch 26 “eco” models by 2020.

by on May.25, 2016

The Hyundai Ioniq will be offered with hybrid, plug-in and EV versions.

Hyundai has big plans for the “eco” market, with the maker planning to introduce 26 new hybrid, plug-in, battery-electric and fuel-cell  vehicles between now and 2020, a blitz that begins with this year’s launch of the new Ioniq model.

The challenge, said the head of the Korean carmaker’s green car program, will be winning over motorists who’ve so far shown a reluctance to buy battery and hydrogen cars in large numbers. But, facing increasingly stringent emissions and mileage mandates, Hyundai – and its rivals – have no choice but to bring cleaner, more energy-efficient products to market, said executive Byung Ki Ahn.

Plug In!

“We’re making a serious effort to be the number two producer of EVs and fuel-cell vehicles,” said Ahn, the director of the Eco-Vehicle Performance Development Group for Hyundai and partner Kia. “I don’t think we can beat Toyota right away.”

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Carmakers Beating Fuel Economy Mandates, Study Finds

Some models nearly meet goals set for 2025.

by on Apr.25, 2016

The new Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid already meets the fuel economy target for 2021.

Low fuel prices have been driving a surge in demand for big pickups and SUVs. That’s a seeming recipe for poor fuel economy, but a new report reveals that the auto industry is not only managing to meet federal fuel economy standards but, in many cases, handily exceeding the current mandate.

A total of 56% of the newest models in dealer showrooms match or exceed today’s federal target, according to the survey by the Consumer Federation of America. And a number of vehicles already come close to meeting the tough, 54.5 mile-per-gallon target that’s not supposed to take effect until 2025.

Step on the Gas!

“Fuel efficiency increasingly comes standard with new cars, trucks, and SUVs” said Jack Gillis, Director of Public Affairs for the CFA and author of The Car Book. “Even if you’re in the market for a large pickup or SUV, you’d have to go out of your way to find a true gas guzzler.”

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Hyundai Blitzing Market with 26 Green Machines

Korean maker aims to rival Toyota in alternative powertrain technology.

by on Apr.05, 2016

The Hyundai Ioniq makes its debut at the NY Auto Show. Hybrid, plug-in and EV versions will be offered.

When Hyundai pulled the wraps off its new Ioniq model last month, it offered three different alternative flavors: a conventional hybrid, a plug-in and a pure battery-electric version. But that’s just the beginning of the Korean carmaker’s green car push.

Within the next four years, Hyundai Motor Group – including both the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands – intends to flood the market with 26 green machines, including both battery and hydrogen-powered models.

Power Up!

The move is a risky one, especially in light of current, low gas prices that could stay depressed for several more years. But if Hyundai can pull it off, only Toyota would offer more models using alternative powertrain technology.

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Ford Set to Double Mexican Production

New plant could handle planned “Prius-fighter.”

by on Feb.08, 2016

Ford CEO Mark Fields is trying to find ways to reduce production costs of small cars and upcoming battery-electric models.

Ford Motor Co. will more than double production in Mexico, according to several reports, by both adding a new plant and increasing production in the Latin American nation.

The maker reportedly expects to put the focus on hybrids and smaller cars that are hard to economically justify building in the U.S. market. That includes the Ford Focus and C-Max models currently being produced at a suburban Detroit plant. But could also include a planned “Prius-fighter” meant to take on the popular Toyota hybrid.

Insider News!

Ford had earlier indicated plans to shift production of the Focus and C-Max but declined to comment on the latest reports about Mexico.

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Steel Shortage Shutters Toyota’s Japanese Plants

One week closure to have major production impact.

by on Feb.01, 2016

The new 2016 Toyota Prius is one of the models to be hurt by the steel shortage.

Toyota will halt production at its Japanese auto assembly plants for a week due to a shortage of steel.

The week-long closure, which begins on February eighth, comes in the wake of an explosion at a steel plant operated by one of its key suppliers, Aichi Steel Corp. early last month. That has left Toyota struggling for the steel it needs for a variety of its operations, including powertrain and chassis components.

Global Insider!

“Operations are scheduled to recommence on February 15,” Toyota said in a statement, “and vehicle production on lines outside Japan will not be suspended.”

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2016 Chevrolet Volt Named Green Car of the Year

Second win for Chevy Plug-in Hybrid.

by on Nov.19, 2015

Green Car Publisher Ron Cogan, Chevy Marketing Director Steve Mojoras and the 2016 Volt.

The completely redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been named Green Car of the Year, repeating a victory it claimed when the original plug-in hybrid debuted a half-decade ago.

The Volt knocked down an impressive list of competitors that included the new, fourth-generation 2016 Toyota Prius, the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle.

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A Winner!

“This is certainly something special,” proclaimed Steve Mojoras, Chevy’s marketing manager, after accepting the crystal trophy at the L.A. Auto Show event. “This is a hard market to crack. This is the Super Bowl of green car awards, so it adds instant validation.”

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Weak Yen Equals Strong Earnings for Toyota

But Japanese giant cuts global sales outlook.

by on Nov.05, 2015

The 2016 Toyota Prius will be the first model to use the Toyota New Generation Architecture.

The world’s largest automaker delivered the industry’s biggest profit for the July to September quarter, earnings for Toyota Motor Corp. rising 13.5% to 611.7 billion yen, or $5.0 billion, despite decreased sales and increased spending.

Toyota saw global sales slip by 42,000 vehicles, to 2.48 million, during the second quarter of its fiscal year, the decline coming in Europe, Japan and other parts of Asia. Even so, it generated 7.1 trillion yen, or $58.5 billion, an 8% increase in revenues.

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TMC Managing Officer Tetsuya Otake credited, “progress in cost reduction and other profit improvement activities, in addition to favorable foreign exchange rates.” The cheap yen added about 160 billion yen, or $1.3 bilion, to Toyota’s bottom line for the quarter.

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Toyota Regains Lead as World’s Largest Automaker

Slips ahead of VW again in 3rd quarter.

by on Oct.26, 2015

Toyota took back the crown though global sales slipped by 1.5% during the first 9 months of 2015.

After sliding into second place during the first half of 2015, Toyota regained its lead as the world’s best-selling automaker in the third quarter of the year, outpacing both Volkswagen AG and General Motors.

And, in light of VW’s ongoing diesel emissions crisis, few expect to see it pose a credible threat to Toyota’s dominance again, at least not anytime soon. GM seems unlikely to pose a strong challenge either, analysts said, especially in light of weakening sales in China.

A Global Perspective!

Toyota reported sales Monday of 7.498 million vehicles for the first nine months of 2015. That was down about 1.5%, reflecting challenges in a number of markets. Nonetheless, it was enough to help the Japanese giant nudge past VW which reported sales of 7.43 million for the period.

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Mirror, Mirror: Who’s the Greenest of Them All?

Five finalists for Green Car of the Year revealed.

by on Oct.19, 2015

One of the five finalists: the 2016 Toyota Prius.

Sales of high-mileage and low emissions vehicles, especially battery-based models, have tumbled in recent months, along with fuel prices. But facing tough new mileage mandates in the U.S., and stiffened emissions rules in Europe and other parts of the world, automakers have been rushing to market with an assortment of new, green models.

But which is the most environmentally friendly? Five finalists for Green Car of the Year have been announced, ahead of the awards ceremony set to mark the opening of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

A Global Perspective!

“This is the strongest field of finalists we’ve seen in our annual Green Car of the Year® program,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com.

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