Dec. 31, 2013, 2:52 PM
- IHS Automotive is out with a forecast on self-driving cars which could prove to be provocative.
- The research firm thinks by the year 2035 close to 9% of all cars sold will be able to function without a human driver. The estimate is more aggressive than most covering the nascent technology.
- The anticipated benefits of autonomous cars include fewer accidents, less traffic congestion, and an easier way for the industry to keep emission pollution under control. Detractors say insurance liability and software concerns will plague growth rates
- What to watch: The engineers at Google X may have something to say about the direction of the self-driving car initiative. The company's purchase of Boston Dynamics, the advent of Google glasses, and the spins the company's early prototype has taken around Silicon Valley all point to more than a passing interest by the tech giant.
- Related stocks: GM, F, TM, FIATY, HMC, NSANY, TSLA, VLKAY, DDAIF, HYMLF, BAMXY, PEUGF, RNSDF, FUJHY.
Dec. 31, 2013, 8:10 AM
- A spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry keeps a hard line on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying Chinese leaders will not engage in dialogue with the leader and that he will not be welcome in the country anytime soon.
- The defiant tone from Beijing isn't any help to Japanese automakers (NSANY, TM, HMC, MZDAY, SZKMY, FUJHY) as they hope to avert the type of backlash by consumers against their brands which was seen last year.
- The danger to the group is real, according to China Car Times. "Animosity towards Japanese products has been lurking at the surface of the Chinese consumer market for some time, and usually boils over when political issues reach the headlines."
Dec. 30, 2013, 7:02 AM| Comment!
Dec. 29, 2013, 4:13 AM
- Japanese carmakers will reportedly increase production at the start of next year in order to meet what they expect will be higher demand ahead of a rise in sales tax in April.
- Toyota (TM) will boost output by 10%, while Honda (HMC), Mitsubishi (MMTOF) and Suzuki (SZKMY) will add extra days of production.
- Other Japanese auto stocks: NSANY, MZDAY, FUJHY
Dec. 27, 2013, 1:50 PM
- Toyota (TM +0.1%) will recall more than 400K vehicles in Saudia Arabia due to worries about the unintended acceleration of vehicles.
- The automaker says it will install brake override systems in affected vehicles similar to the measure it was forced to adopt in the U.S. Government officials in Saudia Arabia pushed the issue.
- The recall covers seven model years ranging from 2005 to 2011.
Dec. 27, 2013, 8:02 AM| 1 Comment
Dec. 26, 2013, 4:20 PM
- Despite some recent concerns on the U.S. automobile industry - including high inventory at General Motors (GM) and pricing pressures at Ford (F) - the industry is in the best shape that it's been in years, say some analysts.
- On demand: The average age of vehicles in the U.S. has never been higher at 11.3 years. Some pent-up demand from the fall when government shutdown worries stalled sales is also still being unleashed.
- On profits: Though a high level of promotional activity in December helped to juice sales figures at the expense of profits, some underlying positive trends remain in place. The increased use of domestic production in supply chains and the early success of 2014 models at premium pricing bodes well for bottom lines in the sector.
- On leased cars: Analysts think the lease cycle sets up well for the industry in 2014.Toyota (TM) has aggressive leasing plans in place.
- On gas mileage: Consumers will be tempted to trade into new vehicles with vastly improved gas mileage ratings. Honda (HMC) tops the list while Ford's betting truck owners will go for a lighter F-150 in the future. In the luxury segment, Tesla (TSLA) and Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) want to carve out more EV market share by reeling in middle-class buyers trading up while cutting down on gas costs.
- On brand reputation: Automakers such as Subaru (FUJHY) and Chrysler (FIATY) have seen consumer sentiment scores turn around as new models impress.
Dec. 26, 2013, 12:46 PM
- Toyota (TM +2.6%) continues to refine its portfolio in North America as it looks to shed under-performing models.
- The automaker will cease production on the FJ Cruiser in 2014, while the Venza midsize CUV or Yaris could be the next to go, predicts Wards Auto.
- The electric RAV4 could be safe the short-term despite low sales as Toyota has made a sizable investment in EV technology through a partnership with Tesla.
Dec. 26, 2013, 8:13 AM
- IHS Automotive forecasts light-vehicle sales in North America will top 16M in 2014.
- Though the sales prediction from the research firm looks strong, the outlook on pricing in the auto industry could be even more important.
- IHS thinks manufacturers will take their foot off the promotional pedal as sales gains become more closely associated with a strengthening U.S. economy - instead of incentives and deals.
- The level of promotional activity in the industry has been a growing concern, highlighted recently by a frank assessment from Ford execs,
- Related stocks: F, GM, HMC, TM, VLKAY, NSANY, FIATY.
Dec. 26, 2013, 5:15 AM
- Car makers in Japan are preparing for a backlash in China after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a pilgrimage to a shrine for his country's war-dead on Mao Zedong’s birthday.
- Abe's visit to the memorial, which, among others, honors war criminals from World War II - when Japan invaded China - drew a sharp rebuke from the latter and comes amid rising tensions over sovereignty of islands in the East China Sea. A flare-up in that dispute last year led to a sharp fall in sales of Japanese cars in the Middle Kingdom.
- Rivals such as Volkswagen (VLKAF) and GM (GM) could benefit from any drop in sales of Japanese vehicles, with the German company set to regain its crown as the largest foreign carmaker in China. VW and GM have sold over 3M cars each in the country.
- Japanese car makers: TM, HMC, NSANY, MZDAY, SZKMY.
Dec. 21, 2013, 11:26 AM
- German automaker Daimler (DDAIF) says it has hedged itself against a drop in the share price of Tesla Motors (TSLA) after watching its 4.3% stake in the EV juggernaut have an adventuresome year.
- Currently, Tesla provides electric motors and batteries for Mercedes-Benz EVs. Execs with Daimler signaled further cooperation between the two companies in their remarks.
- What to watch: Sales for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class electric vehicle are forecast to be relatively light in the U.S. It's Tesla's development deal with Toyota (TM) that provides the most revenue upside.
Dec. 20, 2013, 6:55 AM
- Toyota (TM) thinks it can stoke up more profits in Europe next year as its hybrids become more popular throughout the region.
- Currently, the automaker only ranks 10th in car sales in Europe, but gained 0.9 percentage points of market share in November on solid growth.
- Toyota's plants in France, the U.K., and Turkey are running at full capacity in expectation of a pickup in demand.
Dec. 19, 2013, 3:24 PM
- The Ford (F -2.4%) hangover is building today as shares continue to fail to find traction following the automaker's blunt assessment of its North American business.
- General Motors (GM -2.4%), Toyota (TM -1.9%), Honda (HMC -1.6%), and Nissan (NSANY) are all lower on the day as investors conclude Ford's reality check could be contagious.
- The issue isnt' that demand for 2014 doesn't look strong (forecasts), but centers on worries that the pricing environment and capacity ramp up could seriously crimp profits.
- Morgan Stanley on the auto predicament: "The market is clearly moving from a 'need to replace' to a 'can’t afford to pass up a great deal' consumer mindset."
Dec. 19, 2013, 2:51 PM
- Forecasts for 2014 automobile sales in the U.S. are starting to pour in as the industry looks to top what was a very good year in 2013 and see the first +16M unit selling year since 2007.
- Kelley Blue Book thinks the industry can improve sales by 4.3% to 16.3M units next year.
- Edmunds is already in the books with an outlook for 16.4M vehicles on its view the lease return cycle sets up well for the industry.
- A tad more conservative is IHS Automotive with its projection for sales of 16.03M units.
- What to watch: Automakers tapped to see strong gains include Subaru (FUJHY), Ford (F), Chrysler (FIATY), and Hyundai (HYMLF) - while Toyota (TM), Volkswagen (VLKAY) and Honda (HMC) hope to reverse this year's drop in market share.
Dec. 18, 2013, 10:46 AM
- Ford's (F -7.2%) business update could prompt a rotation of investor funds out of the blue oval to General Motors (GM -3.4%), advises Buckingham Research.
- Despite the automaker's many improvements amid a booming U.S. auto sector, it's clear analysts got ahead of themselves with their rosy projections on Ford and will now have to reset.
- There's nothing official from Detroit, but the chatter flowing out of the Ford event is that CEO Mulally will stay on.
- Sector watch: Though GM is down on the day, Japanese automaker are holding up just fine: Toyota (TM) +1.0%, Honda (HMC) +2.6%, and Nissan (NSANY) +2.6% in OTC trading.
Dec. 18, 2013, 7:29 AM
- Toyota (TM) will return to Super Bowl advertising with a new 60-second spot on the 2014 Highlander.
- The new model is an important component of Toyota's strategy next year in the U.S. with the redesign expected to make it more competitive against the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot.
- Previous: Toyota expects average selling price on Highlander to rise 13%.
TM vs. ETF Alternatives
Toyota Motor Corp designs, manufactures and sells sedans, minivans, compact cars, sport-utility vehicles, trucks and related parts and accessories. The Company also provides financing, vehicle and equipment leasing & certain other financial services.
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