Asia autos correspondent, Tokyo
Chang-Ran's Feed
Feb 23, 2015

Honda CEO Ito to step down, replaced by low-profile engineer

TOKYO (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co (7267.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Takanobu Ito will step down in late June after six years in the top post and be succeeded by Managing Officer Takahiro Hachigo, a low-profile engineer with global experience, the company said in a surprise announcement on Monday.

Japan’s No.3 automaker has hit a rough patch over the past year with quality problems that have led to multiple recalls of its popular Fit hybrid subcompact, which Ito conceded earlier this month could have been caused at least in part by an aggressive sales target.

Feb 16, 2015

Asian supply lines hit by U.S. West Coast ports dispute

SAN FRANCISCO/TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – A labor dispute at
ports on the U.S. West Coast is disrupting supply chains across
the Pacific, forcing some Asian exporters to resort to costly
air freight and pushing up shipping rates as more freighters are
caught up in long lines to dock.

With ports near gridlock and cargo delays being felt
throughout the U.S. commercial supply chain, U.S. Labor
Secretary Tom Perez plans to travel to San Francisco on Tuesday
to help broker an agreement on a new contract between
dockworkers and the group representing shippers and terminal

Feb 9, 2015

Nissan lifts profit guidance on forex windfalls, cost cuts

YOKOHAMA, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co lifted
its annual earnings forecast on Monday, expecting its highest
operating profit in seven years due to favourable currency
movement and further cost cuts.

Japan’s No. 2 carmaker by sales also lowered its global
sales forecast by 150,000 vehicles to 5.3 million, expecting
weaker sales particularly in China and Russia due to
weaker-than-expected overall demand in those markets.

Feb 6, 2015

Japan automakers hit production snags as U.S. port dispute drags on

TOKYO, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Japanese automakers are being
forced to ship some car parts to U.S. plants by expensive air
cargo and tweak production processes as a protracted labour
dispute at U.S. West Coast ports shows no signs of letting up.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd’s Subaru, the
fastest-growing brand in the United States, said this week that
it now had to shoulder an extra 7 billion yen ($60 million) in
costs a month due to air freight, which has seen prices go up
with the extra demand.

Feb 5, 2015

Takata adds nearly $30 mln to special loss to cover air bag recalls, cuts outlook

TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp
booked nearly $30 million in extra charges for vehicle
recalls to replace potentially deadly air bag inflators, as well
as other costs, tipping it toward a bigger annual loss than
previously forecast.

Embroiled in a long-running global recall crisis, Takata on
Thursday reported a nine-month net loss of 32.5 billion yen
($277 million). It now expects its full-year net loss to be 31
billion yen, wider than the 25 billion yen it previously
forecast and broadly in line with analysts’ estimates.

Feb 4, 2015

Japan’s Mazda braked by rouble, Subaru maker roars ahead on weaker yen

TOKYO, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Japan’s Mazda Motor Corp
said the rouble’s plunge bit into European revenue and kept
annual profit targets unchanged, while Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd
, home of the Subaru, raised forecasts on brisk U.S.
auto sales and a weaker yen.

Both of the second-tier automakers benefit from a weaker
Japanese currency because they export most of the vehicles they
produce at home. But Mazda said the yen’s weakness against the
dollar was outweighed by a worse-than-expected impact from the
Russian currency’s collapse, cutting its third-quarter earnings.

Feb 4, 2015

Toyota lifts profit outlook as weak yen offsets Japan slump

TOKYO, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp lifted
its operating profit guidance on Wednesday in a widely expected
move, as a weaker yen increases the value of sales overseas and
makes up for slumping demand at home.

The yen’s decline has been a boon for Toyota, which exports
roughly half of its vehicles produced in Japan. Cost-cutting
undertaken when the yen hovered at record highs in recent years
has also helped the automaker’s bottom line.

Jan 30, 2015

Honda cuts profit target as Takata air bag recalls bite

TOKYO, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Japan’s Honda Motor Co
sliced 6.5 percent off its core annual profit forecast as it set
aside hundreds of millions of dollars in extra cash to cover an
extended car recall to replace potentially faulty air bags made
by Takata Corp.

Reporting its third-quarter earnings fell by nearly a
quarter as it soaked up recall costs, Japan’s third-largest
automaker said it now expects an operating profit of 720 billion
yen ($6.1 billion) for the year to March 31.

Jan 29, 2015

Honda recalls to squeeze profit, cloud guidance as cheap fuel poses new threat

TOKYO, Jan 30 (Reuters) – As Japan’s Honda Motor Co
pays hundreds of millions of dollars to replace potentially
deadly air bags, hitting earnings, a new headache lies around
the bend – cheaper U.S. petrol could lure buyers away from its
fuel-efficient cars.

The country’s third-largest automaker reports income for the
October-December quarter later on Friday that analysts see
falling 17 percent from a year earlier, squeezed by the cost of
voluntary recalls involving air bag inflators made by top
supplier Takata Corp. The hit may be enough to trigger
a full-year profit warning.

Jan 21, 2015

Toyota, in unusual move, flags sales fall in 2015

TOKYO, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp took
the unusual step of projecting a drop in annual vehicle sales on
Wednesday in a move that could see Volkswagen steal
the industry crown this year as demand slumps in Japan,
Indonesia and other key markets.

The forecast underscores Chief Executive Akio Toyoda’s
resolve to steer the company through measured, profitable growth
rather than chase volumes after getting burned by a capacity
glut in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

    • About Chang-Ran

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