Asia autos correspondent, Tokyo
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May 9, 2012

Toyota to treble profit this year, trim costs

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) expects to treble its operating profit this year to more than $12.5 billion, its highest since the global financial crisis, as Japan’s top automaker recovers lost ground in markets from the United States to China.

Operating profit jumped more than five-fold in January-March to $3 billion, with all production centers back up and running after last year’s earthquake, tsunami and Thai floods disrupted supply chains and cost Toyota around 400,000 cars in lost output – roughly 9 weeks’ worth of U.S. sales.

May 8, 2012

As sales accelerate, Toyota goes to war on waste

TOKYO, May 9 (Reuters) – For three years, Akio Toyoda has
had to steer Toyota Motor Corp through one crisis after
another, from a damaging safety recall that took up to 10
million cars off the road to last year’s devastating earthquake
and tsunami.

Now, the 56-year-old grandson of the automaker’s founder is
ready to go on the offensive.

May 8, 2012

Fuji Heavy revises sales target as China plan hits snag

TOKYO, May 8 (Reuters) – Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd
said it no longer expects to start building cars in China as
part of a five-year growth plan that runs until March 2016, and
lowered its global sales target for the final year by 50,000
vehicles.

The maker of Subaru cars had mapped out the plan in July
last year, aiming to boost global sales by 40 percent to 900,000
vehicles by March 2016, driven in large part by a tripling in
Chinese sales.

Apr 26, 2012

Honda sees bumper year as it leaves disasters behind

TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co is set
to end a five-quarter drop in operating profits and forecast a
triple-digit surge in annual earnings after a 2011 hammered by
the yen’s record strength, natural disasters and a crisis of
reputation in its key U.S. market.

On top of being the last Japanese car maker to get its
supply chain in order after a massive earthquake and tsunami in
March last year, Honda was alone in having one of its factories
inundated by Thailand’s floods in October, only resuming work
there late last month.

Apr 24, 2012

Nissan cruises in China as Japan rivals play catch-up

BEIJING, April 24 (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co is
proving that being late to the party in China doesn’t have to be
a handicap, and is poised to widen its lead among Japanese
automakers in the world’s biggest car market with speedy and
aggressive expansion plans.

Despite being among the last global automakers to enter the
Chinese market, Nissan outsold Toyota Motor Corp to
become the top Japanese light-vehicle brand there last year for
the first time, according to research firm LMC Automotive.

Apr 23, 2012

Honda gets back in game in China with new product, R&D push

BEIJING, April 23 (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co on
Monday unveiled two concept cars developed for China and
announced plans to build two new plants there to assemble cars
and engines, in an attempt to catch up with its rivals in
product offerings in the world’s largest car market.

Honda unveiled the Concept C and Concept S, developed for
the Chinese market, that will be the base for two new models to
be produced and sold next year with partner Dongfeng Motor Group
. The Concept S people mover was developed with China
as its main target market, but with a view to selling it
globally, Honda said.

Apr 20, 2012

Nissan to make premium Infiniti cars in China from 2014

TOKYO, April 20 (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co Ltd
said on Friday that it will start building vehicles under its
premium Infiniti brand in China from 2014 as Japan’s No.2
automaker aims to challenge the dominance of German rivals in
the world’s largest car market.

The move to produce Infiniti models in China, where tariffs
of 25 percent put imported vehicles at a disadvantage, should
put Nissan on a better footing to compete with market leaders
Audi AG, Mercedes Benz maker Daimler AG and
BMW AG all produce locally.

Apr 20, 2012

Maruti revenue seen rising first time in three quarters

TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) – Japanese automakers are expected to show a big improvement in quarterly profits as they ramp up production held down last year by disasters at home and in Thailand, setting the stage for a convincing recovery in the year ahead.

South Korean rivals Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp, are also expected to post solid earnings for the January-to-March quarter, defying concerns about competition from resurgent Japanese automakers thanks to better-than-anticipated sales overseas.

Apr 20, 2012

Japan, Korea carmakers poised for big profit growth

TOKYO/SEOUL, April 20 (Reuters) – Japanese automakers are
expected to show a big improvement in quarterly profits as they
ramp up production held down last year by disasters at home and
in Thailand, setting the stage for a convincing recovery in the
year ahead.

South Korean rivals Hyundai Motor Co and Kia
Motors Corp, are also expected to post solid
earnings for the January-to-March quarter, defying concerns
about competition from resurgent Japanese automakers thanks to
better-than-anticipated sales overseas.

Apr 9, 2012

Toyota aims to spice up cars with new development methods

TOYOTA CITY, Japan, April 9 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp
unveiled on Monday a new framework for vehicle
development aimed at making its cars more appealing, while
cutting costs by at least 30 percent through the use of more
shared parts.

Since taking the helm three years ago, Chief Executive Akio
Toyoda has sought to steer Toyota’s focus back to making better
products, blaming unchecked sales growth in the run-up to the
financial crisis for its penchant for building popular but
unexciting cars.

    • About Chang-Ran

      "I have been covering the Japanese auto industry since 2002, broadening coverage to the Asian region in 2003."
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