BLOG: Hans Greimel

In Daihatsu deal, Toyota zigs while Detroit zags

Posted 11:14 am U.S. ET, Feb. 1
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Toyota President Akio Toyoda said he would build Daihatsu into a truly global brand. (Reuters)
TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. is zigging while Detroit zags on a key question: How important are small cars and emerging markets to determining future winners and losers? Toyota last week doubled down on its bet on Japanese minicar maker Daihatsu, agreeing to buy the remaining 48.8 percent of the company it doesn’t already own. President Akio Toyoda said he would bui ...
     Continue reading "In Daihatsu deal, Toyota zigs while Detroit zags" » Feb 1, 2016 11:14 am U.S. ET
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Suzuki shares surge on report of talks with Toyota

Posted 12:55 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 27
TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor Corp. shares surged on the Tokyo Stock Exchange today amid speculation the minicar specialist is seeking a new alliance partner after its acrimonious breakup with Volkswagen AG. The new consort is the German automaker’s top global rival, Toyota Motor Corp., according to a report in Japan’s Nihon Keizai newspaper. Toyota and Suzuki are exp ...
     Continue reading "Suzuki shares surge on report of talks with Toyota" » Jan 27, 2016 12:55 pm U.S. ET
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Eight things to know about the new Hyundai Ioniq hybrid

Posted 1:02 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 22
SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. is pitching its new Ioniq hybrid vehicle as the anti-hybrid hybrid: a green car with gusto and good looks. And the compact hatchback delivered on that promise during a test drive this week on the northern outskirts of Seoul. On largely deserted roads just outside the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone dividing South Korea from its communist n ...
     Continue reading "Eight things to know about the new Hyundai Ioniq hybrid" » Jan 22, 2016 1:02 pm U.S. ET
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Toyota delivers on promise of meaner, greener Prius

Posted 3:00 am U.S. ET, Nov. 18
GOTEMBA, Japan -- The minute you grab the wheel of the fourth-generation Toyota Prius hybrid, you feel the difference. The steering is heavy, precise, deliberate -- not light, loose and dead like the steering in the outgoing version. And the positive contrasts multiply after you slide the joystick to drive and silently peel off for a ride. From the planted driver’ ...
     Continue reading "Toyota delivers on promise of meaner, greener Prius" » Nov 18, 2015 3:00 am U.S. ET
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Lower turnout, more excitement at Tokyo auto show

Posted 6:59 am U.S. ET, Nov. 11
TOKYO -- The Tokyo auto show finished this week short of the attendance set by the last confab in 2013 but scored big buzz with a barrage of concepts and autonomous-driving discourse. This year’s show, the 44th holding of the biennial event, drew 812,500 people, down from 902,800 visitors in 2013, said the organizer, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association sa ...
     Continue reading "Lower turnout, more excitement at Tokyo auto show" » Nov 11, 2015 6:59 am U.S. ET
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How Akio Toyoda got sold on self-driving cars

Posted 6:47 am U.S. ET, Nov. 9
TOKYO -- Akio Toyoda, an amateur race-car driver and big-time car buff, used to say until recently that he wouldn’t be a true believer in autonomous vehicles until a self-driving car could beat him in a race around Germany’s famed Nurburgring circuit. It’s a track the Toyota Motor Corp. CEO has run many times, including behind the wheel of a Lexus LFA du ...
     Continue reading "How Akio Toyoda got sold on self-driving cars" » Nov 9, 2015 6:47 am U.S. ET
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Lexus plans global debut of new concept in Tokyo

Posted 12:30 am U.S. ET, Oct. 9
TOKYO -- Lexus is promising a new concept car at this month’s Tokyo Motor Show but is holding back details until the unveiling. The vehicle may preview a luxury hydrogen fuel cell car. The powertrain choice would tap a push by parent company Toyota Motor Corp. to expand the use of fuel cells. Indeed, the Toyota brand is unveiling a fuel cell concept car, the FCV P ...
     Continue reading "Lexus plans global debut of new concept in Tokyo" » Oct 9, 2015 12:30 am U.S. ET
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Why TPP gives Japanese automakers an edge

Posted 7:42 am U.S. ET, Oct. 7
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
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Suzuki gets last laugh, and vindication, on failed VW partnership

Posted 6:58 am U.S. ET, Sept. 25
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
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Is more dynamic Prius design worth the wait?

Posted 10:34 am U.S. ET, Sept. 11
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
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Nissan plays yo-yo purchasing amid yen’s wild ride

Posted 10:25 am U.S. ET, Sept. 8
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
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Japanese automakers fear new outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in China

Posted 7:51 am U.S. ET, May 25
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
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Who's using whom in the Mazda-Toyota Mexican marriage?

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, April 21
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
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Shanghai show cleans up its act

Posted 6:36 am U.S. ET, April 20
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
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Mazda gets artsy in Milan

Posted 7:38 am U.S. ET, April 14
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
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Meet South Korea's newest automaker

Posted 11:10 am U.S. ET, April 3
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
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BYD heralds its vehicle sales in Japan

Posted 1:04 pm U.S. ET, March 4
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
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Could Toyota Mirai's hot demand and 2-year backlog undermine its success?

Posted 6:57 am U.S. ET, March 2
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
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Toyota, Mazda bet against each other in quest for 94 mpg

Posted 4:54 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 26
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
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Japan Toyota dealer hits 2 million milestone

Posted 9:28 am U.S. ET, Feb. 20
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
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Japan automakers cut forecasts but enjoy slumping yen.

Posted 6:47 am U.S. ET, Feb. 12
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? ...
     Continue reading "Japan automakers cut forecasts but enjoy slumping yen." » Feb 12, 2015 6:47 am U.S. ET
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Acura exec drops the chalupa, runs for the border

Posted 8:00 am U.S. ET, Jan. 19
TOKYO -- Acura boss Mike Accavitti let a case of the Mexican munchies get the better of him when he conceded Taco Bell was a source of marketing inspiration for his luxury auto marque. Speaking during a retail marketing panel at the Automotive News World Congress last week, the Bruce Willis doppelganger was asked where he looked to brainstorm new ideas on selling cars. O ...
     Continue reading "Acura exec drops the chalupa, runs for the border" » Jan 19, 2015 8:00 am U.S. ET
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