Strong Yen Makes Toyota Rethink Production in Japan

In a press conference by Toyota Motor Corp.’s president Akio Toyoda today, Toyoda announced that the strength of the Japanese yen may cause Toyota to shift production of compact cars to other countries. Toyota is not the first Japanese car company to come out against the yen. Nissan has also pleaded to the government to weaken the yen, or they would pull out of domestic production as well.

The yen has been incredibly strong against the U.S. dollar as of late, causing profit margins to erode for many of the domestic Japanese automotive manufacturers. Coupled with lagging demand in the U.S., and supply chain disruptions due to the earthquake, Japanese brands have had a difficult set of circumstances as they struggle for sales in a tough year.

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Toyota FT86 Leaked

Normally, scans from an automaker’s internal parts catalog would not make headline news; unless they showed a hotly anticipated new car that is. Scans from Modellista, a Toyota parts magazine, seem to show the brand new Toyota FT-86. Like those of bigfoot, these grainy images show hope that the car is out there, and will not be bloated up and dumbed down for production. Toyota has not commented on the leak, but the production version of this car should be seen at the Tokyo International Auto Show next month.

Source: FT86club

  

Toyota Bigs Give More Authority to U.S. Executives

This comes a bit late but better late than never!

From AutoGuide.com:

Toyota is taking product development authority away from Japanese bosses and putting it in the hands of North American executives as part of a larger change aimed at fixing quality control issues that hurt the automaker’s reputation last year.

Until now, vehicles produced and designed and developed in North America had to be approved by chief engineers in Japan. Vehicles unique to the North American market such as the Venza, Sienna, Avalon, Tacoma and Tundra will no longer require painstaking and frustrating sign-offs from Japan at each step of the development processes.

“We are going to implement the process from design to preparation for production to development, cost planning, and identifying and selecting suppliers,” said Inaba, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. “All these processes are going to be 100 percent done here, without going back to Japan for approval.”

The changes come too late to affect the development of the redesigned 2012 Toyota Camry due this fall, however upcoming models based in North America, such as the next Tundra pickup, will see the result of the new structure.

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Toyota production will be back up sooner than originally planned!

From the Detroit Free Press:

Toyota will begin cranking up its North American factories faster than expected, returning to 70% of normal production in June as it rebounds from parts shortages caused by the earthquake in Japan.

The company cut production to about 30% of normal in May by idling factories for several days or reducing their hours. It warned dealers to expect shortages of some models well into the summer.

But Toyota said Wednesday that the parts situation is improving as supply companies take measures to counter the effects of the quake.

A March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged auto parts plants in northeastern Japan, causing shortages that have affected nearly all automakers but have hit Toyota and Honda especially hard.

Toyota said in a statement that it would evaluate production for each model every month, and it may not return to fully normal production until late this year.

Next month, though, Toyota will move to 100% production of eight models in North America. They include the Avalon large car, Camry midsize car, Corolla compact, Highlander SUV, Matrix small car, Sequoia large SUV, Sienna minivan and Venza crossover vehicle, Toyota said in a statement.

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Disaster in Japan

The disaster in Japan will have an impact on the auto industry with many producers suspending production over the weekend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people in Japan and hope that those who can be rescued are located and treated. The auto industry is a global business and we all share a common interest so let’s take a moment to remember our friends who may have been affected and wish them the best!

From AutoNews.com:

TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Subaru suspended production at plants in Japan today and were assessing damage after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast, triggering a tsunami and shaking buildings as far away as Tokyo.

The shutdown could affect exports to the United States of such cars as the Toyota Yaris sedan, Scion XB and Scion XD, as well as the Honda Fit subcompact, Accord sedan and CR-V crossover. The temblor also affected production of the Acura and Infiniti lineups.

Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, said it evacuated workers from several factories in the quake zone. Toyota has two parts plants in northern Japan and two affiliates, Kanto Auto Works Ltd. and Central Motors Co., that assemble small cars in the region.

The status of those plants was being evaluated, Toyota spokesman Dion Corbett said. “We are still trying to get information from them,” he said.

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