Tag Archive | "Toyota"

Toyota, Honda Have Best Supplier Relations in U.S.


For the fifth straight year, Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Honda Motor Co (7267.T) topped a study of automakers with U.S. plants in supplier relations, helping them get the best parts at the lowest cost, reported Reuters.

Toyota was the tops in supplier relations, followed closely by Honda. Ford Motor Co (F.N) was a distant third, followed by Nissan Motor Co (7201.T). General Motors Co (GM.N) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) were tied for last place.

Those six are the largest automakers in the U.S. auto sales market and have the largest U.S. auto industry production footprints.

Lagging relations with suppliers means less profit, said the study’s author, John Henke, president of Planning Perspectives and a marketing professor at Oakland University near Detroit.

Toyota and Honda improved their scores by an average of 8.7 percent over the year, the study showed.

If the other four had improved their relations by as much they collectively would have added $2 billion in 2014 operating profit, Henke said.

GM would have earned another $750 million last year had its supplier relations improved 8.7 percent, the study found.

Suppliers have become more discerning about which companies they serve, said Henke, who has produced a study of relations of automakers and their Tier 1 suppliers for 15 years. A supplier will show its best new technology to the automaker that treats them best, he said.

Gone are the days when parts suppliers would build plants in order to take as much automaker business as they could get.

Suppliers “are not willing to put in the infrastructure to support all the business they could possibly get today because they don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” said Henke.

The 2008-2009 recession “spooked” suppliers away from investing for work that has not been contracted yet, and the best of them became highly efficient, Henke said.

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Toyota, Mazda in Talks on Expanding Partnership


Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp are in talks to expand their technology partnership to fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs), sources said on Saturday, as global automakers face rising costs to comply with stricter emission regulations, reported Reuters.

The two Japanese automakers already have a technology and production tie-up, and Toyota was now considering providing fuel-cell and plug-in-hybrid technology to Mazda, said the two sources, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Mazda, in return, was considering offering its partner fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engine technology under its proprietary SkyActiv series, the sources said.

Mazda has been trying to develop FCVs on its own, but it has decided to team up with Toyota, which produces the Mirai, the world’s only mass-market fuel-cell car, the sources said.

Toyota has said hydrogen FCVs offer the most promising zero-emission alternative to conventional cars since they have a similar driving range and refueling time.

Toyota has already decided to share some of its patents concerning fuel cell technology for free, hoping this will speed up the development of the infrastructure.

The Nikkei business daily reported the two companies intended to reach an agreement on the partnership soon.

Toyota and Mazda officials said nothing has been decided.

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Toyota Flags Third Year of Record Profit on Strong U.S. Sales, Cost Cuts


Toyota Motor Corp said it will crank net profit up to a third straight record this year as cost cuts and rising U.S. sales offset weaker business elsewhere, building on bumper earnings last year powered largely by foreign-exchange gains, reported Reuters.

Reporting net income jumped 50 percent in the quarter ended March, the world’s top-selling automaker said on Friday it expects net profit to rise 3.5 percent to 2.25 trillion yen ($18.75 billion) in the year that began in April.

The forecast assumes the dollar will be worth 115 yen on average this year. That’s conservative compared with 120 yen currently, implying Toyota’s net profit for the year may yet come closer to the 2.44 trillion yen average estimate of 27 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

For the past few years, President Akio Toyoda has called an “intentional pause” for the company founded by his grandfather. The strategy seeks to ensure sales growth stays at a sustainable pace, free of the overcapacity and quality problems that plagued the company in previous years.

“I think we are at a stage where we can move on to putting into practice what we have been preparing during the intentional pause,” Toyoda said at a news conference in the capital.

Toyota is looking to overhaul the way it designs and manufactures cars under a new initiative called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which aims to slash development and production costs and allocate part of the savings to making its cars more appealing. Advanced safety devices would be among features it plans to add to cars.

The first car developed under TNGA specifications – widely expected to be the next-generation model of the Prius sedan – is due for launch later this year. The first full-scale “simple and slim” TNGA factory will be built in Mexico in 2019.

The forecast for earnings growth this year came as Toyota projected overall vehicle sales will drop 0.8 percent to 8.90 million. But it expects lucrative sales in North America to grow 4.2 percent to 2.83 million, cushioning the blow of weaker sales in Asia, as well as Russia and the Middle East, which have been hit by falling oil prices.

Toyota expects operating profit to edge up 1.8 percent this year to 2.80 trillion yen, giving an operating margin of 10.2 percent – among the highest in the industry.

It expects cost cuts to contribute 265 billion yen, while currency losses will knock off 45 billion yen as a weaker Brazilian real and Russian rouble offset windfalls from a stronger dollar, which boosts the value of U.S.-based earnings when converted back into yen.

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Honda Hires U.S. Engineering Firm Exponent to Probe Takata Air Bags


Honda Motor Co has hired Exponent, a U.S.-based engineering consulting company enlisted by Toyota Motor Corp during its recall crisis in 2010, to investigate the cause of ruptures in some air bags made by Takata Corp, reported Reuters.

The hiring of Exponent was first reported by Japan’s Jiji News on Monday and confirmed by a Honda spokesman in Tokyo.

A consortium of 10 automakers led by Toyota Motor Corp and which includes Honda has separately commissioned engineering firm Orbital ATK to conduct independent testing of Takata’s air bag inflators, which can rupture with too much force, shooting metal shards into vehicles. Six deaths have been linked to the problem so far, all on Honda cars.

About 25 million vehicles with Takata air bags have been recalled worldwide since 2008.

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New Study Casts Doubt on Latest CFPB Allegations against Automaker Finance Arms


WASHINGTON – A new study by the research firm Charles River Associates (CRA) casts doubts on recent allegations made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) against Toyota Motor Credit Corp. and American Honda Finance Corp. concerning disparate impact in the pricing of auto loans, reported the NADA.

Among the CRA study’s key findings was that, when measuring whether such unintentional discrimination has occurred, the CFPB overestimates the number of minority consumers by as much as 41 percent and the pricing differences between minority and non-minority consumers by as much as 87 percent.

CRA noted that several factors (which appear to be completely ignored by the CFPB) further account for pricing differences which are completely unrelated to a consumer’s background.

CRA also noted that while the CFPB’s own study into its testing methodology reveals a significant overestimation of minority populations, the CFPB still does not explain whether or how it corrects for this flaw. Such failings can produce significant distortions and inaccuracies in the CFPB testing results, and should be fully explained by the CFPB before it relies upon them to support an allegation of discrimination.

The study examined the accuracy and reliability of the method used by the CFPB to test for unintentional disparate impact discrimination in an auto lender’s portfolio. After examining 8.2 million auto finance contracts, CRA concluded in its comprehensive report that the CFPB’s testing method is “subject to significant bias and estimation error.”

The CRA study was commissioned by the American Financial Services Association and released on November 19. The allegations made against the automakers’ captive finance companies were publically disclosed on November 25 and December 2, respectively.

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U.S. Authorities Accuse Toyota Arm of Discriminatory Loan Pricing


Toyota Motor Credit Corp, the lending arm of Toyota Motors Corp, could face an enforcement action from U.S. authorities over its pricing of auto loans through dealerships and could be forced to reimburse borrowers or pay a fine, the company said late Friday, reported Reuters.

On Nov. 25, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sent a letter to Toyota Motor Credit, saying that its auto lending practices “resulted in discriminatory pricing of loans to certain borrowers in contravention of applicable laws,” the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Unless Toyota Motor Credit agrees to a resolution with the agencies voluntarily, which would include “monetary relief” in addition to changes to its loan pricing policies, the Justice Department and the CFPB were prepared to bring an enforcement action, the filing said.

Toyota Motor Credit added it would work with the agencies to reach a resolution.

A spokesman for the CFPB declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In December 2013, Ally Financial Inc (ALLY.N) was forced to pay $98 million to resolve similar discriminatory loan pricing charges from the Justice Department and the CFPB.

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