Asia autos correspondent, Tokyo
Chang-Ran's Feed
Mar 2, 2012

After Civic bruising, Honda fights for its soul

TOKYO/DETROIT, March 2 (Reuters) – The future of Honda
Motor Co may rest with a pair of contrarian Japanese
car engineers working from a drab Tokyo suburb with a hotline to
the boardroom. Their mission: just say no.

Honda’s creative directors Toshinobu Minami and Yoshinori
Asahi are out to kill any mediocre car designs rumbling down the
pipeline. In short, they have been told to stop anything like
the 2012 Civic, a cheapened redesign that prompted critics,
consumers and rivals to wonder how Honda had so badly lost its
way.

Feb 16, 2012

Japan car makers lash out at Tepco over rate hikes

TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Japan’s auto industry on
Thursday attacked Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) for
its plan to hike corporate electricity rates from April, saying
the utility should cut its own costs first before passing the
pain onto customers.

The struggling operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear
plant decided last month to raise electricity prices for
businesses by an average 17 percent, citing a higher import bill
as it shifts to fossil fuel-fired power generation amid public
concerns over the safety of nuclear power.

Feb 8, 2012

Nissan Q3 up on brisk sales, keeps forecasts

YOKOHAMA, Japan, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co
pushed up quarterly operating profit by 3.6 percent as
record car sales last year boosted its market share in every
major region, and it kept its full-year forecast unchanged at
the highest level among Japan’s top automakers.

Despite launching few new models, Nissan increased its
global auto sales by 14 percent last year to 4.67 million
vehicles, and CEO Carlos Ghosn, who also heads partner Renault
SA, aims to achieve the scale he says top automakers
need to invest in future technologies.

Feb 7, 2012

Toyota raises annual profit forecast, eyes recovery

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research) raised its full-year profit forecast by more than a third as it cuts costs, trims spending and expects Japanese government schemes to boost sales, though the guidance was still some way below analysts’ expectations.

Japan’s No.1 automaker now expects operating profit – earnings from its core operations – for the year to end-March of 270 billion yen, a drop of 42 percent from last year, and lagging a consensus forecast of 331 billion yen from 23 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Feb 7, 2012

Toyota Q3 jumps, sees “tough race” in North America

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly operating profit and raised its annual forecast on cost cuts and Japanese government subsidies, though this is still some way below analysts’ expectations.

Widespread floods in Thailand late last year battered Toyota just as it was recovering from production lost to the earthquake in Japan in March. The floods cost Toyota 240,000 vehicles in lost output worldwide, dragging 2011 global sales down by 6 percent and allowing General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG to overtake it in global vehicle sales.

Feb 7, 2012

Toyota Q3 jumps, raises FY outlook on cost cuts, incentives

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly operating profit, shrugging off a firm yen and the damaging impact of flooding in Thailand, and raised its annual forecast, helped by cost cuts and Japanese government subsidies.

Widespread floods in Thailand late last year battered Toyota just as it was recovering from production lost to the earthquake in Japan in March. The floods cost Toyota 240,000 vehicles in lost output worldwide, dragging 2011 global sales down by 6 percent and allowing General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG to overtake it in global vehicle sales.

Feb 6, 2012

Toyota Q3 seen weaker but investors look for guidance upgrade

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s top carmaker, Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), is expected to report weaker quarterly earnings on Tuesday, hurt by a stronger yen and recent floods in auto-making hub Thailand, but investors will be hoping for an upgrade to its full-year profit guidance.

Thailand’s deadly floods last fall came just as Toyota was ramping up production to recover from losses caused at home by Japan’s earthquake in March 2011. Disruption from the floods cost Toyota 260,000 vehicles of lost output worldwide last year.

Feb 1, 2012

Maruti reports first monthly sales rise since May 2011

TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) – Japanese car sales turned sharply higher in January, buoyed by the government’s efforts to help its struggling auto industry, while sales in South Korea shrank on a slowing economy and a lull during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Japanese automakers are set to get a much-needed boost this year from Tokyo’s extension beyond the March deadline of tax incentives to buy fuel-efficient cars and new subsidies that took effect on December 20 to scrap older vehicles.

Feb 1, 2012

Japan car sales jump on tax breaks; Korea tumbles

TOKYO/SEOUL, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Japanese car sales
turned sharply higher in January, buoyed by the government’s
efforts to help its struggling auto industry, while sales in
South Korea shrank on a slowing economy and a lull during the
Lunar New Year holiday.

Japanese automakers are set to get a much-needed boost this
year from Tokyo’s extension beyond the March deadline of tax
incentives to buy fuel-efficient cars and new subsidies that
took effect on Dec. 20 to scrap older vehicles.

Jan 31, 2012

Honda slashes annual profit outlook on disasters, yen

TOKYO (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co (7267.T: Quote, Profile, Research) forecast a worse-than-expected 65 percent drop in profit for the year to March after natural disasters in Japan and Thailand hammered it harder than its rivals while the strong yen delivered an added blow.

Japan’s No.3 automaker was the slowest to recover from supply chain disruptions after the earthquake and tsunami in March, while it was alone in having a car factory inundated by historic floods in Thailand, Southeast Asia’s export hub.

    • About Chang-Ran

      "I have been covering the Japanese auto industry since 2002, broadening coverage to the Asian region in 2003."
      Joined Reuters:
      2000
      Languages:
      English, Japanese, Spanish
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