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TOKYO -- Compared with the disgruntled murmuring from Detroit, the reaction of Japanese automakers to this week’s historic Pacific Rim trade pact was one of elation.
And rightly so. At least from their point of view.
The deal gives Japan’s automakers almost unfettered access to 11 other countries. It also sets a relatively low bar for localized parts content. ... Continue reading "Why TPP gives Japanese automakers an edge" » Oct 7, 2015 7:42 am U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor Corp. executives can’t help but feel some sense of vindication at the unraveling of former partner Volkswagen over its diesel dupe.
After all, it was VW’s backbiting over diesel engines that helped torpedo their ill-fated tie-up that was officially unwound this month after four years of bitter arbitration.
VW incensed Suzuki when it accu ... Continue reading "Suzuki gets last laugh, and vindication, on failed VW partnership" » Sep 25, 2015 6:58 am U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. has finally pulled the wraps off its fourth-generation Prius hybrid, after pushing back the launch sixth months to tweak its styling, among other things.
Are the car’s more dynamic looks worth the wait?
Remember, at a key milestone meeting in 2013, Mitsuhisa Kato, Toyota’s executive vice president for r&d, said the proposed des ... Continue reading "Is more dynamic Prius design worth the wait?" » Sep 11, 2015 10:34 am U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- Riding the yen’s ups and downs can be as much a matter of timing as it is planning. Nissan is working both angles.
For years, as the Japanese yen climbed higher against foreign currencies, the nation’s carmakers scrambled to buy more parts overseas where their currency had better purchasing power.
But now that the yen has done an about-face and is we ... Continue reading "Nissan plays yo-yo purchasing amid yen’s wild ride" » Sep 8, 2015 10:25 am U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- Three years ago this September, Japanese automakers learned a nasty lesson about the power of history and nationalism in China.
Their sales in the world’s No. 1 market plunged amid a violent public backlash against Japanese cars following a territorial row between Tokyo and Beijing. Their market share has yet to recover.
Unfortunately for the Japanese auto ... Continue reading "Japanese automakers fear new outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in China" » May 25, 2015 7:51 am U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- From the beginning, Mazda Motor Corp.’s deal to build a small car for Toyota Motor Corp. at Mazda’s new plant in Mexico was a marriage of convenience. But the debut this month of the vehicle, the Scion iA sedan, raises the question of which company is getting the better bargain.
Mazda is loaning a rival one of its biggest brand assets: its distinct Ko ... Continue reading "Who's using whom in the Mazda-Toyota Mexican marriage?" » Apr 21, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET Permalink
SHANGHAI -- Automakers in China have once again proved where there’s a will, there’s a way.
And this time, they found a way around a much-ballyhooed ban of floor models at this year’s Shanghai auto show. The new code had been foisted upon exhibitors by organizers looking to clean up an image largely associated with plunging necklines, see-through blouses ... Continue reading "Shanghai show cleans up its act" » Apr 20, 2015 6:36 am U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- Is Ikuo “Speedy” Maeda, the black-clad lead stylist at Mazda Motor Corp., making good on his ambition to launch a designer goods line tied to the Japanese carmaker?
Just months after he floated the dream, his studio debuted a futuristic bicycle and avant garde sofa at an art exhibit in Milan, Italy, today. The “Mazda-designed artworks” are ... Continue reading "Mazda gets artsy in Milan" » Apr 14, 2015 7:38 am U.S. ET Permalink
SEOUL -- Cony Motor Co. doesn’t have a factory or a single customer. Its vehicles aren’t even street-legal yet.
But South Korea’s youngest would-be automaker -- at less than a year old -- just splurged on a front-and-center stand at the country’s premier auto show, right next to Bentley no less.
The audacious startup hopes its prime and pricey pos ... Continue reading "Meet South Korea's newest automaker" » Apr 3, 2015 11:10 am U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- Can the Chinese succeed where the Koreans and Americans largely have failed: penetrating Japan’s auto market?
BYD Co., the Chinese electric vehicle maker partly owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., says it has become the first Chinese automaker to sell vehicles in Japan.
BYD ballyhooed the transaction as a breakthrough for China’s ... Continue reading "BYD heralds its vehicle sales in Japan" » Mar 4, 2015 1:04 pm U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- Would you buy a car if you had to wait two years for delivery? That’s what Toyota Motor Corp. is asking its customers to do with its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
It appears the futuristic car is a victim of its own success.
The car has been on sale in Japan only since Dec. 15. But orders are already pushing 2,000 units, an executive involved with the ... Continue reading "Could Toyota Mirai's hot demand and 2-year backlog undermine its success?" » Mar 2, 2015 6:57 am U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- Japan’s largest auto manufacturer and one of its smallest are betting against each other on divergent paths to the same goal -- an incredible fuel economy rate pushing 94 mpg.
Toyota Motor Corp., not only Japan’s, but the world’s No. 1 maker, will be turning to its tried-and-true hybrid technology.
Mazda Motor Corp., long constrained by a shoes ... Continue reading "Toyota, Mazda bet against each other in quest for 94 mpg" » Feb 26, 2015 4:54 pm U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- It took more than half a century, but one of Japan’s biggest Toyota dealers just passed a major milestone.
Nagoya Toyopet Corp. sold its 2 millionth new Toyota vehicle on Feb. 16, making it the first independent retailer from Japan’s top manufacturer to reach that rarified stratosphere.
The company, run by CEO Kazuo Oguri, started selling Toyotas bac ... Continue reading "Japan Toyota dealer hits 2 million milestone" » Feb 20, 2015 9:28 am U.S. ET Permalink
TOKYO -- Japan’s earnings season wrapped up this week on what would have been a sour note in any other auto market.
Bracing for lower sales at home and in emerging markets, five of Japan’s top six carmakers cut their sales forecasts for the current fiscal year. Only Toyota kept its outlook unchanged.
Yet, Japan’s automakers largely laughed it off. Why? ...