Posts Tagged ‘gm’

Toyota Takes the Sales Crown Again

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Tokyo-based Toyota Motor Corp. has held on to the global sales crown for the last three years as the world’s top-selling automaker. As you well know, Toyota is the owner of three distinct and popular car brands: Scion on the lower end, Toyota in the mid range, and Lexis as their luxury vehicle line.

That’s not to say that Scion is a cheap auto brand. Scion was created initially so Toyota could appeal to a younger audience. At the time, the average age demographic for people who purchased brand-new Toyota vehicles was 44 and rising. Toyota created Scion to lower that number and appeal to a new generation.
Let’s not forget that Toyota makes the Toyota Camry and the Prius Hybrid – one of the top selling vehicle models in the world thanks to its sleek design, excellent gasoline economy and luxurious feel.

Toyota does not expect the auto industry to grow or shrink in the world’s largest markets – namely, the United States and Japan. Emerging markets – such as Thailand and Indonesia – have sustained steady growth in the last three years. However, even they are expected to plateau in 2016.

Almost Overtaken by Volkswagen AG

In the first half of 2015, Volkswagen sales exceeded that of Toyota. However, an emissions scandal was revealed within Volkswagen. Brand-new Volkswagen vehicles were found with software installed that cheats emissions tests. As a result, Volkswagen sales plateaued off, leaving Toyota with the sales crown.

VW are quite likely to be reeling from the diesel emissions cheating scandal for quite some time, not only experiencing lost sales due to flagging consumer confidence in their brands, but also as the result of potentially enormous financial penalties. On the other hand, Toyota will be secretly pleased that they have stuck to their hybrid solution as the world turns from diesel to hybrid, and ultimately, pure electric cars. All of which would seem to almost guarantee Toyota the 2016 crown as well — even though that race hasn’t even started yet!

10.23 Million Vehicles in 2014

Toyota has sold an impressive 10 million+ vehicles per year since before 2014. In 2014, they sold 10.23 million vehicles. This year, Toyota has sold 10.098 million cars and the auto giant expects to sell 10.114 million vehicles in 2016. These numbers have more than a handful of auto manufacturers squirming in their seats.

Toyota Surpassed Everybody – Including Detroit-based GM

For over 70 years straight, the world’s top-selling auto manufacturer was General Motors in Detroit. If you recall, Toyota had a rocky start in the 1980s. However, in 2008, Toyota stole the global sales crown from under GM’s feet and had been the world’s top-selling auto manufacturer since – except in 2011. In 2011, General Motors took that honor.

Honda and Toyota Getting More Aggressive With Hydrogen Fuel Cell Future

Posted by Stephen On Friday, July 5th, 2013

Hydrogen fuel cell cars have had a surprisingly controversial history. Ultimately, it comes down to a weird pseudo-rivalry between HFCs and EVs…

On the one hand, you have brands like Toyota who’ve been very aggressive from the start that H2 cars are the future of the automotive industry. They’ll cite the built-in advantages that come with hydrogen, such as gasoline-like range, more power, and a more convenient refueling time, in addition to zero-emissions and infinite renewability.

Honda hydrogen car

However, on the other hand you have brands like Tesla, who’s CEO swears that hydrogen technology is a dead-end, and that EVs will dominate the near future of the automotive world because of cheaper development costs and current technology.

Now, regular readers will know that we’ve talked quite a bit about the Nissan Leaf, as well as a couple other Japanese all-electric cars over the past few months. So, today we thought it’d be a good idea to check-in on the other side of the argument and identify where our favorite Japanese brands stand in their progress towards HFC viability. More specifically, we’re going to discuss two recent developments from Toyota and Honda.

Honda & GM’s Definitive Master Agreement

On Tuesday of this week, it was officially announced that Honda and GM would be partnering up with a brand-new “definitive master agreement to co-develop next-generation fuel-cell systems and hydrogen storage technologies.”

Quite a mouth-full. To give you a basic rundown of the press release, both GM and Honda recognize that to some degree, the skeptics are right. Hydrogen technology IS expensive, and development WILL take longer simply because of the complex nature of a viable H2 solution. So, the two powerhouse automakers are partnering up to share expertise, leverage economies of scale, and eventually utilize common manufacturing strategies.

Specifically, this master alliance aims to accelerate the development of a widespread refueling system, which stands as one of the biggest hurdles to the widespread use of hydrogen. One of the key ways they’ll do this is through improved hydrogen storage, which currently inhibits the acquisition of commercial hydrogen. Both automakers desire to implement these new technologies by 2020.

But, as promising as this new alliance sounds, there’s one Japanese brand that’s getting even more aggressive, and it’s doing so all by itself.

Toyota Bringing 2015 Lexus FCV-R to 2013 Tokyo Motor Show

Last week, Bloomberg filled us in on a few juicy details regarding Toyota’s promised 2015 hydrogen car. Since we haven’t heard very much about it up to this point, we’re pretty excited to delve a little deeper into Toyota’s plans.

So, here’s what we now know:

* Toyota’s first HFC vehicle will be a Lexus sedan
* It will cost between $50,000 and $100,000
* It will offer a range of 300 miles
* We will definitely see a concept at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show
* We might see a production model in 2014, labeled as a 2015MY

As you can see, the future is getting closer. These next five years seem like they’ll be make-or-break time for hydrogen advocates everywhere, as commercial production becomes more and more viable. 2020 will mark roughly 25 years of dedicated HFC development, depending on which brand you’re looking at, and if the cars aren’t getting competitive by then, chances are the technology really is a dead-end.

As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear your own thoughts, comments and opinions below.

Sources: Autoblog Green, Bloomberg, Carscoops, Autoblog Green

Japanese Car Makers Honda and Toyota Leading The Pack In Sales Gains Once Again

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Good news out of Detroit today: with top market research sites and forecasting the new-vehicles sales report for September 2012 (which is coming out today), it looks like September was a banner month for top Japanese-made cars. While the overall numbers are right around 1.1 million cars and light trucks (up 11% from September 2011), the Toyota Motor Corporation and Honda Motor Company are expected to be making up most of the huge gains.

Toyota in particular saw a very sharp spike in sales as the forecasts are showing a 33% increase in September sales. Honda isn’t too far behind in the gains department with marketing forecasters showing a 27% rise in sales for the month of September.

Japan’s Numbers Higher Than Detroit Automakers

This is welcome news for the Japanese automakers who were reeling from the earthquake in March of 2011 that put a halt to productions. Even after the manufacturing plants got up and running again, the disruptions that occurred still hurt sales.

But even with that explanation as to why last year’s numbers were so low, taking a look at some of the automakers out of Detroit shows that it’s not just the earthquake that shook up last year’s sales of Japanese cars; American-made cars are just not selling as well as Japanese-made autos. is predicting the Ford Motor Company to report a 1.3% rise and General Motors to report a 2.5% jump. Doing slightly better than their competition, the Chrysler Group LLC are predicted to report an 8% increase. That’s a substantial lead that the Japanese automakers have in gains, one that can’t be explained by the earthquake, but instead explained by the overall trend of how consumers are looking at Japanese-made cars.

Japan Setting Bar High For Auto Sales

The tough auto market is still recovering from the auto crash of 2008 and 2009 but numbers like this are good news for pretty much everyone. But one thing is for sure: it is Japanese-made autos which are showing the most sales meaning that consumer confidence is at an all-time high. Exactly how high will be known later today when the actual report comes out.

Still, if the Paris Auto Show has shown us anything, it’s that the Japanese auto makers are ready to make a run for the title with their new lines of automobiles. Marketing innovative design and eco-friendly choices, Japan’s automakers just might be setting the new standard in monthly sales from here on. Toyota’s brash new Camry sedan design and Honda’s classy new Civic compact are making ripples across fans of the best-selling car models. And with Lexus’s new fuel economy luxury line and the redesigned Honda Accord hitting the markets, it looks like Japan is setting the bar pretty high once again…this time no one else may be able to reach it.

GM Japan Adds Chevrolet Captiva To Line Up From July

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

General Motors Japan announced May 30th that it will be putting the Chevrolet Captiva on sale in Japan from July 30th. This will be the first new model that GM has launched in Japan since it received US government aid in June 2009. The Captiva pricing will be 3.54 million Yen.

Apparently GM Japan believes that there is a degree of demand for premium medium-sized vehicles in Japan, which it is hoping to tap into with this model. Frankly, as with Ford’s decision to launch the Explorer as its new attack on the Japanese market, GM’s decision to spearhead its assault with a US SUV is rather strange to say the least.

Chevrolet Captiva on sale in Japan from July 2011

As we have already seen on this blog, when it comes to import cars, the Japanese just love German style, so I can only assume that the decision to focus on Chevy, rather than GM’s German brand Opel is a political one, rather than one based on actual market preferences. That GM would choose to launch an SUV seems to confirm this.

On the other hand, since GM’s Japan range is currently in the 4 million Yen plus bracket, there is some sense to introducing something more affordable. The fact that the Captiva is built in South Korea also means that shipping costs and times can also be reduced considerably.

The Captiva is powered by a 2.4 liter engine and is a 7-seater with three rows of seats. It was launched in Korea and Europe in March. GM currently accounts for about 1% of the imported car market in Japan, but it is planning to expand this further with the launch of the 2 liter Aveo this Fall, another model that is manufactured in South Korea.

Source: MSN (Japanese-launguage)

Parts Shortages Ripple Around the World

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

This is an interesting graphic from the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun nicely summarizing the way parts shortages and production halts caused by the earthquake in Japan are having knock-on effects around the world. As you can see from my translation below, these shortages are not just hitting the Japanese car makers. I guess this just emphasizes the fragility of a globalized economic system, in the same way that the interconnectedness of financial institution magnified the effects and rapidity of the economic crash of 2008.

Parts shortages around the world caused by the earthquake in Japan - Yomiuri Shinbun

  • United Kingdom – Sony Ericsson are reporting that there is a risk that electronic components for mobile phones could be in short supply.
  • Finland – Cell phone makers Nokia are also reporting risks of electronic component shortages.
  • Korea – Renault and Samsung are bot reducing production levels due to concerns about parts shortages.
  • United States – Ford has suspended sales of black and red vehicles due to a shortage of paint.
  • United States – General Motors has suspended some truck production due to parts shortages.
  • United States – Honda and Mazda are revising sales plans for models that are exported to the US from Japan.
  • China – Production facilities belonging to the Japanese car makers in China have concerns about parts deliveries from April onwards.
  • France – Peugeot Citreon Group report effects on their diesel engine production.
  • Germany / Spain – Opel has temporarily stopped production at factories in Spain.

Actually, our business buying cars from the Japanese auto auctions and exporting them around the world has not experienced many issues resulting from the earthquake and its aftermath. First of all, we are based in Osaka, which is a long way from the areas directly hit by the disaster and we are shipping out of Osaka and Nagoya.

There have been a few smaller auctions that have been canceled, and some larger ones rescheduled, but overall the range and numbers of vehicles available in the car auctions has not really been affected. We have continued to buy from customers around the world.

As for shipping, the ports were all shut for one day due to tsunami warnings for the entire coastline of Japan. However, after that they all reopened and no shipments for our customers have experienced any delays at all.

The only other concern of come customers has been the radiation issue, but as I explained elsewhere there isn’t really any risk for a number of reasons. I encourage you to read the detailed explanation I wrote if you have any questions about that.

US New Car Sales Grow by 17%

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

I thought this story about US vehicle sales was an interesting counter-point to the post I wrote yesterday about new car sales in Japan. Whereas new vehicle sales have dropped off by 21.5% in Japan in January 2011, the same statistic for the US is the reverse – an increase of 17% over the same period in 2010.

The rise in US sales is being pushed particularly by the increase in small truck sales. Interestingly, the new passenger car sales in Japan have dropped by 23%, but the sales of kei cars (“light” city cars) has only dropped by 7%. This shows how different niches within different markets are responding in different ways.

Although Toyota, Honda and other Japanese manufacturers are lagging behind GM, who has lead this growth, they posted healthy year-on-year growth of 17% and 15% respectively. This should certainly help offset the extreme market contraction they are seeing at home.

(Sources: FT – English language / Reuters – Japanese language)