Categories: Markets and Management

Toyota makes deals and drive the market up. Don't expect it to last

Posted by: David Welch on March 24

If mid-month sales numbers from Edmunds.com are any indicator, the car market may be finally picking up. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based consumer research site says that through Mar. 18...

Contrasting fortunes for Toyota, Hyundai across the Sea of Japan

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 30

Last month, I blogged about Toyota opening for business in Korea. A little over a month later, for all Toyota's woes elsewhere, sales are going well. In October, Toyota beat...

Resilient Honda triples earnings forecast

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 27

There are more signs that Japanese automakers are getting to grips with the recession. Honda, which has weathered the storm far better than rivals, today posted better-than-expected interim earnings result...

Toyota takes on Hyundai—in Korea

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 20

Whichever way you look at it, Hyundai Motor is a supremely powerful operator in its home market. In Korea, Hyundai controlled 51% of the market between January and September and...

Will hybrids and a weaker yen propel Toyota back into profit?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on August 19

According to a report in today’s Yomiuri newspaper, Toyota plans to raise its annual production forecast. The Yomiuri reckons the Japanese automaker will now make 6.67 million vehicles this...

Is Subaru Recession Proof?

Posted by: David Kiley on August 05

We all know by now that the federal Cash for Clunkers program, along with the usual mid-summer discounting, helped to boost July sales. But one company’s sales results really...

Is the worst over for Japan's automakers?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on July 30

There is no denying Japan's automakers took some extreme measures at the start of the year. As sales slumped around the world, nothing was safe from cost cutting. Mitsubishi Motors...

Toyota's New Management Lineup Takes Shape

Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 10

With the start of Akio Toyoda's presidency a little over two months away, Toyota today announced its new management lineup. It includes the return of Yoshimi Inaba, who is expected...

Amid the gloom, Honda at least stays profitable

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 30

Today was another grim day in Tokyo as the Japanese government revealed some horrific economic numbers. In December, industrial production dropped 9.6%, the biggest fall ever. The same month, unemployment...

At Ford, A Daughter Also Rises

Posted by: David Kiley on January 28

At Ford, a daughter also rises. Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday that Elena Ford is assuming a new post as director of global marketing, sales and service. In the newly...

It's Official—Toyota Scion to Become New Chief

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 20

After weeks of rumors, Toyota today confirmed that Akio Toyoda, a member of the company's founding family, is to become its next president. The change, to be rubber stamped after...

Toyota scion Akio Toyoda reportedly lined up to replace CEO Watanabe

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 22

Could this week get any worse for Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe? Yesterday, Watanabe took the unusual step of announcing a huge profits revision at a year-end press conference which is...

Will Toyota now make a full year loss?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 18

The awful news in autos is unrelenting. There's an article in today's Nikkei newspaper which raises the possibility that Toyota could makes it first ever operating loss (although Toyota once...

As Toyota delays new Prius plant, will exec bonuses be next next to go?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 15

As expected, Toyota is delaying the opening of a new Prius plant in Mississippi, highlighting that even gas sippers aren't immune to collapsing auto sales. The plant, near Tupelo, was...

After bailout fails, Japan's auto stocks tank

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 12

Predictably, news of the failure of the Detroit bailout plan sent Japanese auto stocks crashing in Friday trading. After the Senate rejected the $14 billion loan plan late Thursday, Toyota...

At 78, Osamu Suzuki to become Suzuki Motor president once again

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 10

Eight years after stepping down as Suzuki Motor's president, Osamu Suzuki is to return to the top job at the Japanese automaker. Later today, the company is expected to announce...

As Ford Reduces Stake, Mazda Appoints New CEO, Replaces U.S. Execs

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 18

Here's an update on the speculation surrounding Ford and Mazda. Mazda held a press conference this evening in Hiroshima, which confirmed that Ford will sell a 20% stake in the...

Ford's Mazda Share Sale Imminent?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 18

Another day, another stock sale? Reports in in Tokyo say Ford is about to confirm that it will reduce its stake in Mazda from 33.4% to 13.4%. Rumors of the...

GM To Sell The Rest of its Suzuki Stake

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 17

Recent talk surrounding carmakers selling stakes in Japan has revolved around rumors that Ford may cash in part of its stake in Mazda. Today, though, Suzuki revealed that it is...

Will Japan's carmakers catch bailout fever?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 06

Yet more grim earnings news in Japan today. Toyota, the last of Japan's automakers to post its half-year results, has slashed its operating profit outlook by over 70% to $6.1...

Toyota iQ: a recession proof car?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 16

Tough times these might be but Toyota wasted no expense on the launch of its new "micro-premium" car, the iQ in Chiba, outside Tokyo, on Wednesday. Including Toyota employees,...

Toyota's stock slumps but investment continues

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 08

In a shocking day for Japanese stocks--the benchmark Nikkei index had its third worst session in history, falling 9.4%--Toyota's recent stock slump accelerated. By the close of trading at 3pm,...

Record year for Japan's auto exports

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 03

In this week's BusinessWeek, I've written an article looking at the contrast between slumping auto sales in Japan and increasing investment in new plants by local car makers. The investment...

New Porsche U.S. CEO Must Hit the Ground Running

Posted by: Jim Henry on May 28

Detlev von Platen, the new president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America Inc., has his work cut out for him, after 10 years in the friendly confines of Porsche...

Is the U.S. Toyota's new export hub?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 20

After years of building U.S. factories to build Toyotas for American customers, reports in Japan today say the giant automaker will soon export vehicles from the U.S. to the Middle...

Fewer cars on Japan's roads

Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 16

Given that Japan's car market has been shrinking for years, reaching a 25-year low in 2007 million, execs at Japan's car makers must be reasonably pleased that sales in 2008...

As the yen surges, is Toyota right to play down expectations?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on March 21

Toyota didn't get where it is today by over-promising and under-delivering. Yet according to Toyota executive vice president Tokuichi Uranishi yesterday, the automaker may struggle to reach its annual sales...

Audi: Pedal to the Metal

Posted by: Jim Henry on March 03

It will be interesting to see how close Audi of America comes to its stunningly ambitious goal of becoming the biggest-selling luxury brand in the United States, by 2015. Ralph...

The importance of Asia for Japan's automakers

Posted by: Ian Rowley on February 25

Can Japan's automakers withstand a slowdown or worse in the U.S. Japan and Western Europe? You bet they can. Hot on the heels of healthy quarterly results for the three...

Aston Owners Thinking Bigger

Posted by: David Kiley on February 05

DUBAI (Reuters) - Aston Martin could co-operate with Daimler AG's Mercedes on ventures ranging from engines to new models, the British luxury carmaker's majority shareholder, Kuwait's Investment Dar, said...

Suzuki to make Splash in India but no sign of a cheap car

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 12

Last week, I wrote a quick piece after Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki raised doubts over plans by both Tata and Carlos Ghosn's Nissan-Renault alliance to make a $3,000 car for...

More on Hummer in Japan

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 12

A bit more on GM's plans for right-hand drive Hummers in Tokyo. I read David Welch's post below with interest (and a degree of bafflement) so I figured I'd check...

Toyota set to top 50% market share in Japan

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 01

It's been a long time coming but auto sales in Japan have, at least temporarily, stopped falling. Auto sales, excluding mini vehicles, rose 2% to 269,221 in October, the first...

Toyota's earnings to surge yet again

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 22

Toyota's ascent to becoming the world's biggest automaker isn't a forgone conclusion, but don’t expect the company’s execs to be sweating. Sure, the latest data, released yesterday, show that GM...

Mazda gives Ford a hand

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 03

Ford's 21% sales decline in September understandably grabbed headlines yesterday, yet Mazda, one-third owned by the struggling U.S. automaker, is thriving. In September, its North American sales, at 25,908, the...

Toyota pumps up the volume

Posted by: Ian Rowley on August 31

When a Japanese company schedules a press conference for late on a Friday afternoon it's usually a sign of bad news of some kind. Trust Toyota to be different. Indeed,...

A Buy Rating on General Motors That Has Nothing To Do With New Products

Posted by: David Kiley on July 05

Robert Barry of Goldman Sachs has a "buy' rating on General Motors even after the big automaker posted a huge 26% decline in sales for June. He also notes that...

Toyota execs cash in

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 12

Unsurprisingly, Toyota execs are benefiting from Toyota's growth surge. According to an article in the Nihon Keizai, a Japanese newspaper, late on last week, Toyota's top 32 execs rose 40%...

Ford's Germanic appeal

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on May 10

What! A survey of 24,000 Europeans named Ford as the most trusted auto brand in the Old World. The poll was done by Readers Digest and flagged James Bell...

Will Toyota's profit growth really slow to a near standstill?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 09

Toyota delivered another set of bumper results today in Tokyo, comfortably beating targets set in February. The figures are startling. Sales for the year ended March (Toyota's financial year) rose...

One bidder left for Chrysler?

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on May 07

Ever since Chrysler has been on the block, my sources have cautioned that the company is not worth a penny if the buyer takes over Chrysler's sizeable health and pension...

Management moves at Toyota

Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 11

Reports in yesterday's Nihon Keizai, Japan's biggest business daily, reckoned that Toyota may give North American chief Jim Press on the board. The move, if it happens, will make Press,...

Dear Dieter (Zetsche)....

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on April 06

You spoke about integrity as a top priority during DaimlerChrysler's annual shareholder meeting on Apr. 4. So I couldn't help wondering what you would have thought about the scene in...

The Countdown at DaimlerChrysler

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on April 02

It's now only 36 hours until DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche faces several thousand shareholders in Berlin, eager to hear him say that Daimler is selling Chrysler. The details can...

Japan: No end to the auto sales gloom

Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 02

Japanese auto makers are doing just fine almost everywhere but back home sales keep on slumping. According to figures released today, registered car sales in March slumped 12.6% to 487,738...

Toyota rewards Japanese workers

Posted by: Ian Rowley on March 15

Much is made of how Toyota benefits from its non-union employees in the United States, but it's a bit different back home. In Japan, Toyota Motor Workers' Union has 58,000...

Bernhard helps Cerberus kick Chryslers' Tires

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on March 14

For the private equity kingpins eager to figure out whether a risky bet on Chyrsler could pay big dividends, what better than to have a former Chrysler top executive as...

Some Interesting Soundbites From Toyota Plant Press Conference

Posted by: David Kiley on February 28

Toyota yesterday announced it is building a new plant in Mississippi. During the webcast of the press event, a few quotes jumped out at me. Senator Trent Lott (Rep) was...

Chrysler's latest suitor

Posted by: David Welch on February 26

The latest rumor coming out of Europe is that Canadian parts supplier Magna International has an interest in buying Chrysler. Maybe they really want it. Maybe they’re just snooping...

Could Private Equity Groups Snare DaimlerChrysler?

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on February 23

While everyone is pondering who will buy Chrysler, some of the biggest players in the private equity industry are also running the numbers on a mega-bid for DaimlerChrysler. At least...

GM Buying Chrysler? It's Tough To See How That Deal Works.

Posted by: David Kiley on February 16

Rumors are flying today that General Motors is in talks to acquire the Chrysler Group. Already my head hurts trying to figure out how the numbers would shake out in...

Monthly Production Numbers Show The Extent To Which Chrysler Had Been Overbuilding

Posted by: David Kiley on February 08

Last month, Chrysler built 4,314 Chrysler 300 sedans, down from 13, 666 in January of 2006. It built 5,437 Dodge Chargers last month, down from almost 9,100 a year ago....

Mitsubishi back in the black

Posted by: Ian Rowley on February 07

It's a bit early to be popping champagne corks, but Mitsubishi Motors is on course for its first annual profit since 2003. On Feb. 6, Mitsubishi posted profits of $35...

Fiat Burning Rubber

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on January 25

If Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne keeps hitting his targets, the Italian automaker is likely to go down in automotive history as the industry's most dramatic turnaround. On Jan. 25...

Toyota's Watanabe will talk to Ford

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 16

Reports that Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Toyota chairman Fujio Cho met in late December led to a raft of headlines over a possible Toyota-Ford tie-up. However, after both sides...

A Year To Forget For Japan's Car Dealers

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 08

While much of the chatter at the Detroit auto show is about Toyota's imminent overtaking of GM as the world's largest automaker, the Japanese domestic carmarket ended the 2006 with...

December Incentive Spending Down

Posted by: Matthew Vella on January 03

Edmunds just released its estimates for December ‘06 incentive spending in the U.S. It’s an interesting batch of results that touches on some of the industry’s biggest issues over the...

Chrysler CEO on Chery Deal

Posted by: Matthew Vella on January 02

Chrysler's corporate blog, TheFireHouse (registration required) just posted (about 15 mins ago) an interesting "interview" between the blog's "editor" and Chrysler Group President and CEO Tom LaSorda. The topic? The...

Toyota edges closer

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 17

On Friday Toyota will announce production plans for 2007 and give a firm indication that it will likely pass GM as the world's number one automaker. If reports in the...

BMW Still No. 1

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on December 14

Tallying the scores through the end of November, it looks like BMW will defend its title as the world's No. 1 premium automaker against Mercedes for another year running. For...

Betting on Bernhard's Next Move

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on December 05

The endgame is near. Volkswagen's board meets Dec. 6 and will approve a series of top management appointments in the wake of CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder's departure Dec. 31. Will Bernhard...

Why VW's Berhnard Didn't Resign

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on November 20

So what happened? Turnaround ace Wolfgang Bernhard hasn't resigned at Volkswagen. His departure was widely expected last week in the wake of CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder's ouster and the appointment of...

Ghosn is still shopping in the U.S.

Posted by: David Welch on November 16

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn made an appearance in Detroit for the first time since General Motors Corp. gave him what must have been a stinging rejection of a plan...

Porsche Tightens Grip on VW's Wheel

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on November 15

Since the surprise resignation of Volkswagen CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder Nov. 7, Supervisory Board Chairman Ferdinand Piech has tightened his control over VW almost daily. Porsche, which is controlled by Piech...

Can Europeans Out-maneuver Toyota?

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on November 10

European auto managers have set the bar high. Every one of them has vowed to match Toyota's manufacturing excellence. And the chorus is growing louder and more urgent every day....

Renault, Nissan and Mahindra to invest big in India?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 09

Nissan-Renault chief Carlos Ghosn might have failed to nail an alliance with GM, but he looks like having more luck in India. According to reports, later today in Paris, Ghosn...

Ghosn scores a few points

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 26

As expected, Nissan's financials for the quarter ending Sept 30, announced today in Tokyo, weren't great. Operating profits were down 4.9% for the quarter and sales slipped 0.9%. But the...

Where was Dr. Z?

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on October 25

When things go badly wrong at an automaker, the CEO needs to be especially visible and accountable. So when Chrysler posted a $1.5 billion third-quarter loss Oct. 25, the absence...

Volkswagen's hot news: A 33-hour workweek

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on October 06

Volkswagen is like a state unto itself, where the laws of economics don't apply. In Volkswagen land, otherwise known as Wolfsburg, Germany, a new labor agreement signed Oct. 6 by...

No Ghosn for GM

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on October 04

The hottest auto story of summer sputtered out today, as GM and Renault-Nissan reportedly agreed to walk away from a global alliance. The no-go body language was already clear on...

Toyota's grand plans

Posted by: Ian Rowley on September 20

Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe today showed once again that the Japanese auto giant has no intention to take it easy on struggling rivals. Speaking in Tokyo, Watanabe outlined plans to...

Panke: Under-Rated as Auto Industry Leader

Posted by: David Kiley on July 21

When the top auto industry talents are rattled off for a new job as in "Who Could Fix GM?" or "Who Could Fix Ford?," the same three names inevitably...

Panke Exits at the Top

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on July 21

There's a saying among insiders at BMW: "We prefer to leave the party before its over." No kidding. BMW Chief Executive Helmut Panke will depart on Sept. 1 as he...

A Little Vindication For My "Wild Ass" Speculation.

Posted by: David Kiley on July 11

Last May, I took note of an interview Nissan-Renault CEO carlos Ghosn did with Forbes in which he mentioned a desire to link with a third global partner, and this...

Possible Nissan-GM tie-up receives lukewarm response in Tokyo

Posted by: Ian Rowley on July 03

Reports over the weekend that Nissan and Renault may add GM to their alliance have been greeted cautiously in Japan. While Nissan's stock price traded marginally higher on the news...

Fixing Mercedes

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on June 28

DaimlerChrysler boss Dieter Zetsche has set the bar high for Mercedes. He aims to match the quality of Toyota's upmarket Lexus brand in the annual JD Power Initial Quality Study...

More talent splits Chrysler

Posted by: David Welch on June 13

Want another sign that Chrysler’s turnaround is on shaky ground? The company is losing marketing and sales execs as fast as President Bush loses cabinet members. The latest exec...

Can Ghosn See Ford In His Future?

Posted by: David Kiley on May 24

The profile of Carlos Ghosn in the May 22 issue of Forbes had an interesting tidbit. [No, I don't mind plugging the competition, especially when it's a good piece of...

GM's gas price jitters

Posted by: David Welch on May 24

It looks like high fuel prices are making the marketing heads at General Motors a little nervous these days. The company won’t have gas-sipping hybrid-electric drive under the hood...

Betting on Fiat's future

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on May 22

The jury is still out on Fiat's turnaround after its close brush with financial meltdown in 2003. But the evidence is growing daily that the Italian automaker is back on...

Wither VW's Crown Prince Wolfgang Bernhard

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on May 04

After yesterday's shareholder meeting, my bet is that Volkswagen brand chief Wolfgang Bernhard won't stick it out at VW. His radical drive to restructure the ailing automaker has just run...

Fixing GM is an Escalade-sized job

Posted by: David Welch on April 21

First, the good news about General Motors. Though the company did lose more than $500 million in the first quarter, its losses are half what they were a year...

Smart move tough on Mitsubishi

Posted by: Ian Rowley on March 28

DaimlerChrysler's decision to shake-up its Smart mini-car unit looks like creating another headache for execs at struggling Mitsubishi Motor. As predicted by Gail Edmondson (below), DaimlerChrysler announced its intention to...

Zetsche Bets on Smart

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on March 20

DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche has decided not to sell its money-losing mini-car unit Smart -- at least not yet, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reported today, citing sources close to...

At Chrysler, top brass take the hit

Posted by: David Welch on March 15

Is Chrysler taking a cue from its old CFO? On March 15, Chrysler Group said the company would cut salaried-employee and retiree health care benefits, with top execs taking...

So long Jed. Nissan will miss ya.

Posted by: David Welch on March 08

Whenever top execs take a retirement, it always raises eyebrows. Did he really retire? Was he forced out? Did he just say, enough already? Make no mistake about Jed Connelly,...

Can VW's Pischetsrieder Survive the Florentine Putsch?

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on March 02

Anyone who bet the power struggle at Volkswagen was over in January when cantankerous Supervisory Board Chairman Ferdinand Piech agreed to relinquish his post in 2007, just lost the wager....

Bill Ford....Executive of the Year?

Posted by: David Kiley on February 14

So this came into my e-mail box: The 2006 Automotive Industry Executive of the Year award will be presented to William Clay Ford, Jr., chairman of the board and...

DaimlerChrysler Comes Clean (Finally)

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on February 01

It was a small move that spoke volumes. On Jan. 31 DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche announced he will reverse the company's long-standing tradition of keeping executive pay secret. Going...

Volkswagen's Malibu Gambit

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on January 18

How many Volkswagen employees does it take to realize Americans prefer cars with cupholders and big trunks? Apparently 23 fulltime engineering, marketing, design and sales experts living together in a...

Fiat revs up after GM divorce

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on January 13

After five years of heavy losses topping $14 billion, Italian automaker Fiat may finally be nearing a turnaround. That would be the ultimate irony after last year's divorce with General...

What price success for Japan's automakers?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 13

It had to happen sooner or later, but Japan's automakers are facing the prospect of wage hikes at home. This week the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers' Unions said it...

How High Will VW's Share Price Fly?

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on January 10

Volkswagen's shares enjoyed a turbo-charged ride in 2005, sprinting 34% thanks to market confidence that restructuring would accelerate under VW's talented new brand chief Wolfgang Bernhard. Then in October, Porsche...

Japan's shrinking auto market

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 06

Japan’s automakers might be ramping up sales and market share in the U.S. quicker than you can say Prius Hybrid, but things aren't quite so rosy back home. Despite...

About

Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Our man in Detroit David Welch, brings keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!