Sales of all new motor vehicles in Japan were down 10.8 percent in June, continuing a down trend after the Japanese government discontinued subsidies on eco-friendly cars in September last year. Sales of minivehicles, and especially sales of imported cars softened the blow. (Read More…)
Last week, I had a few very interesting discussions with a few very famous people, and I should not keep them to myself. The discussions were about one of my pet peeves, the supposedly closed Japanese car market, and the allegedly manipulated Japanese currency. Some very knowledgeable people I talked to were convinced it’s true. Other very knowledgeable folks said it’s utter baloney. In a rare display of balanced reporting, I will bring you both. And as they say, we purport, you decide.
“Nissan Motor Co.’s take-no-prisoners approach to gaining U.S. market share has the auto industry worried that a price war is brewing that will erode the profit progress made since the recession ravaged auto sales.”
According to the Detroit paper, Nissan’s recent price reductions are
“the first sign of a Japanese automaker taking advantage of the weakening yen that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed down to improve Japan’s economy. That currency’s 15 percent swoon versus the dollar since Oct. 31 gives Japanese automakers an extra $1,500 per car they can use to cut prices or offer additional features while keeping prices even.”
It’s only a sign if you are both blind and fact-resistant.
Toyota’s main corporate website in Japan has been hacked. According to a Toyota spokesman in Tokyo, Toyota’s main corporate website at www.toyota.co.jp was penetrated by unknown attackers. Data on the site was changed, the hack then led users to a fraudulent website, where they may have caught malware. According to a Toyota statement, the malware should be detected by modern malware checkers. (Read More…)
Everybody was betting big on electric cars in China. Everybody thought China will be the world’s biggest market for EVs. It was a bluff. At the Shanghai Auto Show in April, the smart money suddenly was on hybrids. Insiders expect that the Chinese government will extend bigger subsidies to buyers of hybrid cars, after the big electric car revolution in China turned out to be a bust. This is good for Japanese carmakers – for some at least. (Read More…)
AutomakerS around the world seem to have colluded to turn 2015 into the Hydrogen year. Yesterday in Nagoya (a trip into which TTAC invested 21,160 yen, and the price of a bento box, no freebie jaunts in Japan) , Toyota’s NA CEO Jim Lentz confirmed that the Hydrogen Year is still on the calendar.
For better or for worse, it looks like the endless rants of bloggers about beige appliances are having their effects. Toyota is getting in touch with its emotional self, and that self-discovery starts in America, ground zero of the beige kvetching. (Read More…)
Unperturbed by propaganda that the Japanese import market is closed, and that setting up new cars dealerships in Japan is just about impossible, a myth propagated by an unholy UAW/D3 alliance to detract from the tariff and regulatory walls protecting the American market, Tesla opened its second Japanese showroom in Osaka. (Read More…)
Nissan and Mitsubishi today presented their jointly developed, but separately badged and marketed kei car to an amazingly large contingent of the Japanese press. TTAC readers are quite familiar with the car(s). They have watched the Nissan DAYZ and its Mitsubishi siblings, the eK Wagon and eK Custom on its first day of production at Mitsubishi’s plant in Mizushima, near Hiroshima, more than two weeks ago. Today, the car arrived in Tokyo.
May sales were down in Japan, and this time around, small kei cars could not bail out their bigger brethren. Imports into the allegedly closed market Japan on the other hand are zooming, despite the weaker yen that makes imports more expensive. (Read More…)
Renault chief Carlos Ghosn is reaching out, forging foreign alliances with a heavy emphasis on emerging markets. “Faced with the slump in the European markets,” writes the French Figaro, Renault is “edging closer to Mitsubishi.” Nothing is official, and if you ask on the record, you get firm denials, such as the “this is not true,” told to Reuters by a Mitsubishi Motors spokesman. Behind the scenes, there are traces of heavy petting. Let’s look into them. (Read More…)
Today’s Nikkei [sub] puts forth an interesting thought: Dependence on big pick-ups distracts the Detroit 3 on a global basis. Now, tiny kei cars could do the same to the Japanese. Writes the Nikkei:
“Part of the reason the Big Three U.S. automakers lost their international dominance is because they lagged foreign carmakers in implementing global strategies by clinging to large pickup trucks, which only do well in the U.S.” (Read More…)
Toyota announced today what it calls the “Big Data Traffic Information Service,” a giant mashup of data harvested from currently 3.3 million of telematics users in Japan, and 700,000 Toyota customers equipped with a Digital Communication Module (DCM), a gizmo that constantly monitors and transmits vehicle data. Combined with other telematics data, the harvest powers navigation and information services. Unlike other systems, Toyota’s on-line platform can also be used by local governments and businesses. (Read More…)
The fact that GM creates 6,000 jobs in China and will invest $11 billion in China until 2016 (and $16 billion in America) gets all the headlines. What falls under the table is the fact that someone else invests $76 billion each year straight into more than a million Americans. It’s the Japanese auto industry. (Read More…)