H/t reader kevin a:
“This is an Amazing engine.”
Toyota is hot on hydrogen fuel cells for its next-generation cars, but it’s not going cold on internal combustion just yet.
The company’s R&D division has developed a Free Piston Engine Linear Generator that can convert gasoline and other fuels into electricity more efficiently than existing systems.
It’s a technology that could lead to lighter, more efficient, better-packaged powertrains for plug-in hybrid cars. Continue reading »
The little machine is four inches tall and costs £300
Toyota has created a tiny robot baby that it hopes can make lonely people more happy.
The company’s Kirobo Mini is meant to help provide a companion. It looks like a baby – and could even serve that purpose for people in Japan, where it will be sold and where falling birth rates mean there are fewer and fewer children.
The little robot is four inches tall, speaks like a baby and will cost £300 when it goes on sale. It is a small version of the original Kirobo robot – which had a lot more capabilities and was sent into space in 2013.
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Audi, BMW and VW ranked in the bottom 10 of a study into engine reliability
– German cars ‘among worst for engine failures’ (Auto Express, Jan 18, 2013):
German-made cars are not as reliable as many believe, according to new research. Warranty Direct has studied its claims data to compile a list of the manufacturers with the most reliable engines – and Audi, BMW and Volkswagen all finished in the bottom 10 out of a total 36 makers.
In fact, the only firm whose cars had a worse engine failure rate than Audi was MG Rover. MINI wasn’t much better, finishing third from bottom, while its parent company BMW came seventh from bottom. And, despite its reputation for rock-solid reliability, Volkswagen came ninth from bottom.
– Japanese Businesses Shuttering Chinese Facilities As Mainland Anger Spreads (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2012):
When you have central planners printing inverse-wealth (because money printing dilution by definition means less wealth for everyone), who needs that cornerstone of old school economics: trade. Certainly not Japan (which has been diluting its futures to prosperity for the past 30 years and somehow failing each and every time) and China, both of which are now starting to feel the consequences of the collapse in political relations as a result of the senseless spat of the Senkaku Islands (recorded in its full visual glory here). As the NYT reports, “major Japanese companies closed factories in China and urged expatriate workers to stay indoors Monday, after angry protests flared over a territorial dispute, which threatened to hurt trade ties between the two biggest Asian economies.” What does the idiotic escalation in unprovoked Japanese tensions over a rock in the East China Sea (note: not West Japan Sea) for the bottom line of Japan? In a word: Lots.
“Increasing tensions further Monday, the Chinese state media warned Japan that it could suffer another “lost decade” if trade ties soured. China and Japan generated two-way trade worth $345 billion last year, and China is the biggest single trading partner of Japan. Protests broke out across dozens of Chinese cities over the weekend, some violent, in response to the Japanese government’s decision last week to buy some of the disputed islands from a private Japanese owner.”
To summarize: in the past week alone, Japan has already suffered about $7 billion in lost benefit from trade as the trade relations between the two countries have frozen. But at least Japan’s nationalistic pride is content: after all it managed to put up its flag on some completely meaningless island in the middle of nowhere, containing zero natural resources. Luckily for everyone, the central planners who are now in charge of everything, have a much better grasp on things.
More from the NYT:
The protests focused mainly on Japanese diplomatic missions but also struck shops, restaurants and car dealerships in at least five cities. Toyota and Honda reported that arson attacks had badly damaged their stores in Qingdao.
Japan will ‘crash’:
Thirteen high-end sports car owners – and one driver of a Toyota Prius – were probably close to tears last night after a £2.5million motorway pile-up.
Toyota’s U.S. manufacturing arm is preparing for a possible shutdown because of parts shortages from Japan, a Toyota spokesman said. Word has gone out to all 13 of Toyota’s factories in the United States, Canada and Mexico. This does not mean that the plants will stop working, Toyota spokesman Mike Goss said, but that they should be ready in case the need arises.
“We expect some kind of interruptions,” he said.
While Toyota’s car factories in Japan have stopped working since the March 11 earthquake in Japan, the automaker was able to resume production of some auto parts on March 17.
Toyota employs 25,000 manufacturing and R&D workers in North America.
Japan’s big three carmakers today reported a dramatic fall in production as the auto industry counts the cost of plummeting global demand.
Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, said global production dropped 39.1% in January from a year earlier to 487,984 vehicles. Honda reported a fall of 33.5% worldwide to 226,551 vehicles and Nissan 54% to 145,286.
The global economic crisis has ravaged demand in major markets, forcing Japan’s carmakers to slash production and lay off thousands of workers.
Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) — Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, will slash domestic production 54 percent in the current quarter as demand plunges in the U.S. and Japan.
Its electronic gadgetry is gathering dust on the shelves of high street stores, nobody is buying new fridges and the mountain of unsold plasma televisions is growing by the day.
However, in desperation, Panasonic has hit on the perfect counter-attack against the consumer slump: it has ordered every member of staff to go out and buy £1,000 of Panasonic products.
Large swathes of corporate Japan are expected to follow suit, either by directly commanding or indirectly “pressuring” employees to divert part of their salaries towards the goods that their employers produce.
Toyota has already tacitly applauded a “voluntary” scheme in which 2,200 of its top brass decided to buy new Toyota cars, and the president of Fujitsu recently e-mailed 100,000 staff and gently pointed out how nice it would be if “employee ownership rates” of Fujitsu PCs and mobile phones were a little higher.
The 10,000 Japanese staff affected by Panasonic’s unorthodox strategy do not have long to consider their purchases.
Management insists that staff buy their Panasonic goods – whether they need them or not – by the end of July.
Continue reading »
Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) — Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker, will freeze wages and offer voluntary redundancy to plant workers in North America for the first time as the company widens output cuts to adjust for slumping demand.
The company will cut pay for factory executives and eliminate bonuses for all salaried employees, Toyota said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. The Toyota City, Japan-based carmaker is making further cuts in its assembly schedule for April, and creating a “job-sharing” program to reduce work hours at some plants, spokesman Mike Goss said.
Since passing General Motors Corp. in global sales last year, Toyota has forecast its first operating loss in 71 years as the global recession cripples demand for its Camry sedans and Tundra pickups. Toyota posted a 32 percent U.S. sales drop in January and has already announced plans to reduce output at its plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The automaker cuts production to meet falling global demand, trying to save jobs.
TOYOTA CITY, Japan (CNN) — On what was to be a historic day halting all of Toyota’s Japanese assembly lines, the automaker announced late Thursday that it kept one line running.
The late news sent copy editors and reporters to their laptops erasing headlines like “historic shutdown,” but it did little to quell the pain for the tens of the thousands of workers idled across Japan as nearly every Toyota line stopped producing autos and auto-related equipment.
Nowhere was the silence more deafening than in Toyota City, home and birthplace to Toyota Motor Corp.. Factories were shuttered and workers idled in an attempt to bring production in line with falling global demand.
The day was particularly ominous for assembly line worker Takayuki Yoshikawa, who has already been told he’s out of a job and back home in May. Yoshikawa lives in a Toyota-owned dormitory.
“I don’t know what to do,” said Yoshikawa. “I could go back to my hometown, but there are no jobs there, either.”
Toyota, now the world’s largest automaker, plans 10 more days like this, spread out over the next two months. Toyota’s incoming president, Akio Toyoda, called the current economy “unprecedented, the likes of which haven’t been seen in 100 years.”
– Jim Rogers: ‘UK has nothing to sell’ (Financial Times):
“The City of London is finished, the financial centre of the world is moving east.”
– The Obama Stimulus Plan Won’t Work (Lew Rockwell)
– SERIOUSLY ALARMED (Telegraph):
(Even Mr. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is now alarmed!)
– King paves way to start Bank print presses (Times Online)
– Sterling hits 23-year low against dollar (Financial Times)
– Geithner pledges ‘dramatic’ action (Financial Times)
– Portugal says S&P downgrade due to global crisis (Reuters)
– Singapore Economy May Post Biggest Decline on Record (Bloomberg)
– Emerging markets face $180 bn investment decline (Business Standard)
– BHP Billiton to cut 6000 jobs and close mine (Times Online)
– Eaton to Cut 5200 Jobs in a 2nd Wave of Reductions (Bloomberg)
– Record redundancies push unemployment to 1.92 million (Times Online)
– Ex-Scots bankers could face Holyrood inquiry (Times Online)
– Ireland’s Banks Sink With Decline of ‘Celtic Tiger’ (Bloomberg)
– Patrick Rocca, ‘poster boy’ of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger, kills himself (Times Online)
– Bankers accused in crisis could face trials in US (Guardian)
– Hedge Fund Run by Ex-Car Salesman Is Scam, SEC Says (Bloomberg)
– Federal Home Loan Banks may have to borrow from US (Los Angeles Times)
– Merrill Clients Pulled $10 Billion in Fourth Quarter (Bloomberg)
– Toyota Tops GM in Global Car Sales in 2008 (Washington Post)
– Citigroup Makes Stock Incentive Awards to Executives (Bloomberg)
Tags: Bank of England, Banking, Barack Obama, Citigroup, Economy, Ecuador, General Motors, GM, Ireland, Japan, Jim Rogers, Merrill Lynch, Obama administration, Politics, Portugal, Recession, Singapore, Timothy Geithner, Toyota, U.K., U.S.
“We don’t know how much further the global economy will slide,” Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe told reporters in Tokyo yesterday. “Car demand is falling from leading countries to emerging markets.”
Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — Toyota Motor Corp., Japan’s largest automaker, will suspend some domestic production for 11 days in February and March, as the global recession saps car demand.
Output at 12 domestic factories will be halted, company spokesman Hideaki Homma said today by phone, confirming an earlier NHK television report. The cut may reduce Toyota’s production by about 200,000 units, according to Koji Endo, an analyst at Credit Suisse Securities (Japan) Ltd.
Toyota, which expects its first operating loss in 71 years, is cutting production, as its sales last month plunged 37 percent in the U.S. and 18 percent in Japan. The company last month cut its sales forecast by 8.5 percent to 7.54 million vehicles for the year ending March 31.
“The company has no other choice but to widen production cuts, should sales keep falling further,” said Endo, who has an “underperform” rating on the stock. “Toyota needs to reduce inventory.”
Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp.’s U.S. sales plunged to a 49-year low in 2008, dragged down by a 31 percent slide in December as demand was ravaged by the recession and concern that the biggest domestic automaker might collapse.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. deliveries plummeted 37 percent last month, while Honda Motor Co. slipped 35 percent, Ford Motor Co. fell 32 percent and Nissan Motor Co. was down 31 percent, pointing toward the industry’s worst annual volume since 1992. Chrysler LLC dived 53 percent.
– Auto sales plunge again in December (CNN)
– Bleak US sales in December cap a grim year for automaker (IHT)
– US Auto Sales Plunge Whopping 36 Percent in Dec. (AP)
The federal rescue of GM and Chrysler couldn’t overcome buyer pessimism and tight credit in the world’s biggest auto market. Ford’s 2008 U.S. sales sagged to a 47-year low, while GM’s total of 2.95 million light vehicles was the least since 1959, according to trade publication Automotive News.
“It’s one of the worst years ever, and this year will be worse,” said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst at consulting firm AutoPacific Inc. in Southfield, Michigan. “It’s not a gas problem. It’s not a credit problem. It’s a consumer confidence problem, and it’s worldwide.”
GM and Chrysler received commitments last month for as much as $17.4 billion in U.S. loans, saying they would have run short of operating cash by this month.
GM’s results last month beat the average estimate of a 41 percent drop among six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Tempering the decline was a 43 percent surge in deliveries of the Chevrolet Malibu sedan. Sales of GM’s Saab brand, which the Detroit-based automaker says it may sell, fell 57 percent.
U.S. Market Share
Thanks to bigger declines throughout 2008, the U.S. automakers will likely mark the first calendar year where their combined market share was less than 50 percent, based on results through November, when they held 47 percent.
The drop in full-year U.S. sales for Toyota and Honda were the first for the Japanese automakers since 1995 and 1993, respectively.
Toyota failed to get a boost from no-interest loans offered on most of its models since Oct. 2. Sales of its Prius hybrid, the best-selling gasoline-electric car in the U.S., declined 45 percent. The Tundra full-size pickup dropped 52 percent, while Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand finished the month down 32 percent.
Industrywide U.S. sales extended a streak of declines of at least 25 percent dating to September. Vehicle sales for the year likely will total slightly more than 13 million, based on estimates from a Bloomberg News survey of 22 analysts and economists.
While that annual total would be the lowest in 16 years, it doesn’t reflect the steepening slide in U.S. auto demand.
Last month’s seasonally adjusted annual sales rate probably was 10 million, a 39 percent decline, based on the Bloomberg survey. The November rate was 10.2 million, and annual sales for all of 2007 were 16.1 million.
“We are at the bottom now,” said Tom Libby, an automotive analyst at consumer-research firm J.D. Power & Associates in Troy, Michigan. “People have just stopped buying and I don’t blame them. When you have such a decline in savings and net worth, it just doesn’t surprise me sales have fallen so much.”
Sales of Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Smart minicar fell 24 percent in December. Volkswagen AG was down 14 percent, while its Audi unit was off 9.3 percent. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s sales of BMW- and Mini-brand autos fell 36 percent.
U.S. jobless rolls reached a 26-year high in the week ended Dec. 20, signaling a worsening labor market as the economy heads into the second year of a recession. That weakness adds to the strain on automakers after record fuel prices in 2008’s first half damped demand for full-size pickups and sport-utility vehicles.
President-elect Barack Obama has made an economic stimulus package his top priority, and he told reporters today in Washington that the nation faces an “extraordinary challenge” in reviving growth.
“The sooner stimulus efforts find their way to where they’ll do the most good — into the hands of consumers — the sooner we’ll see a turnaround in confidence levels and a return of buyers to the marketplace,” Jim Lentz, president of Toyota’s U.S. sales unit, said in a statement today.
December’s plunge may have been eased by the resumption of low-cost financing from GM last week, auto-research firm Edmunds.com said, citing a surge in vehicle inquiries on its site and dealer surveys.
Ford’s U.S. sales were “strong” in the last two weeks of December, Executive Vice President Mark Fields told reporters today in Dearborn, Michigan, where the automaker is based. Ford discounted its remaining F-150 pickups from the 2008 model year after a redesigned version debuted in October.
GM, Chrysler Rescue
Consumer concern that Detroit-based GM and Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler would fail to get government aid and be forced into bankruptcy may have contributed to December’s slump, Patrick Archambault, a Goldman, Sachs & Co. analyst based in New York, said in a Dec. 28 research note.
President George W. Bush announced Dec. 19 that GM and Chrysler would get the emergency loans in exchange for restructuring their businesses. GM had said it might run out of operating funds by the end of 2008, while Chrysler had said it might fall short by the middle of this month.
GM had resisted demands by some U.S. lawmakers that it file for bankruptcy instead of pursuing federal loans, saying buyers wouldn’t trust a car company under court protection.
To contact the reporters on this story: Mike Ramsey in Southfield, Michigan, at email@example.com; Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: January 5, 2009 15:22 EST
By Mike Ramsey and Alan Ohnsman
Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) — Japan’s industrial production fell the most in at least five years in November after exports dropped by a record.
Factory output tumbled 8.1 percent from October, when it dropped 3.1 percent, the Trade Ministry said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 6.8 percent decline.
Plunging demand for cars and electronics is prompting companies to pare output, jobs and investment. Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s three largest carmakers, cut global production in November and chipmaker Renesas Technology Corp. yesterday said it would eliminate all of its 1,000 temporary workers.
“The recession is showing signs of growing longer and more severe,” said Tetsufumi Yamakawa, chief Japan economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in London. “Production is showing stronger signs of a correction in conjunction with a slump in demand in Japan and abroad.”
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s production of cars, trucks and buses marked its steepest drop in at least four decades in November, an industry group said Thursday, as the fallout from the U.S. slowdown crimped auto demand.
Vehicle production in Japan, home to Toyota Motor Corp. and other major automakers, plunged 20.4 percent in November compared to the same month a year ago to 854,171 vehicles, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said.
That marked the second straight month of on-year declines and the percentage slide was the biggest since the group began compiling such data in 1967, it said.
|The trade body warns that car production will have to be cut|
The downturn in the German car market is “at a pace and magnitude that has never happened before”, the country’s main auto trade body has warned.
As a result, the German Association of the Automotive Industry said new car sales in 2009 are expected to be the worst since reunification in 1990.
It added that Volkswagen, Daimler and Porsche will all have to cut output, which will “impact” on workers.
Last week Porsche delayed its takeover of Volkswagen, blaming falling sales.
Porsche said there were signs of a “serious slump” in global demand.
Volkswagen itself has warned that the current sales environment is “difficult”, while Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, said the situation is “very challenging indeed”.
German car sales are expected to slip to 2.9 million next year, down from the expected 3.1 million for 2008, says the trade body.
Car sales are also lower across Europe, with Italy’s Fiat warning that its 2009 profits could fall by 65%.
Toyota Motor, the world’s biggest automaker and a towering icon of Japanese industrial power, has been stripped of its AAA credit rating under the darkening global economic storm.
The downgrade, said analysts at Fitch Ratings, effectively passes sentence on the entire worldwide auto industry, showing that the business of building cars can no longer produce a single player with the sort of cast-iron corporate resilience of Exxon Mobil or Johnson & Johnson.
“This crisis is demonstrating that the auto industry cannot support a triple-A rating,” said Frederic Gits, a Tokyo-based credit analyst at Fitch Ratings, which issued the downgrade earlier today and declared the auto-industry’s problems “substantial and fundamental”.
Fitch Ratings’ downgrade of Toyota’s unsecured debt to AA deals a stunning blow to Japanese corporate pride, but reflects “severe” turmoil across world car markets and the company’s own spectacular profits warning earlier this month.
To demonstrate the extent of the problem, brokers in Tokyo have recently started circulating aerial photographs of a military airfield in Oxfordshire that has become a colossal warehouse for thousands of unsold cars.
Workers assemble engines of Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus LS600 hybrid sedan on the production line at its Tahara plant in Tahara, central Japan, on June 28, 2007. Photographer: Kimimasa Mayama/Bloomberg News
Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) — Toyota Motor Corp., Japan’s biggest carmaker, will cut its domestic temporary workforce by 50 percent as vehicle demand slumps globally.
Toyota will cut the number of temporary workers to 3,000 from 6,000 by the end of March, spokesman Paul Nolasco said today in a phone interview.
The automaker follows Mazda Motor Corp. and Isuzu Motors Ltd., which yesterday said they would slash a combined 2,700 temporary jobs in Japan in response to slowing sales. Earlier this month, Toyota forecast a 68 percent drop in full-year net income, the biggest decline in at least 18 years, as a global recession cripples auto demand.
Such is the severity of the downturn in the global car industry that US manufacturers are now pushing for their own state bailout.
Why stop at the banks? Now governments around the world are pouring taxpayer money in to bail out loss-making financial institutions, it is getting harder to argue against subsidies, loans, guarantees and other forms of government assistance for other industries, too – particularly since the economic pain is now being felt far from Wall Street.
Which is why Rick Wagoner, chief executive of General Motors, the largest US carmaker, packed his suitcase for Washington and headed to the capital again this week. He is leading a lobbying push aimed at tapping taxpayers and staving off the bankruptcy of the loss-making company. GM’s coffers are being depleted at a rate of $1bn a month, and will run dry by the end of next summer. Little wonder its shares have touched levels not seen since it emerged from the Great Depression.
GM – owner of the Vauxhall brand and Chevrolet, amongst others – is in the throes of merger talks with its smaller rival Chrysler, which is also haemorrhaging cash. The hope is a merger will save money, allowing them to close more factories and cut more jobs. The trouble is, things are so desperate they don’t have the cash to write the redundancy cheques. They are asking for up to $10bn in low-cost loans to tide them over.
So here we are, on the brink of Bail-out II: Detroit.
Signs of slowdown spiral around the world
Pessimism about the global economy deepened yesterday as fresh evidence of a worldwide slowdown showed up in feeble corporate profit reports from Asia, sinking commodities prices, and a scramble by emerging economies to prop up their sagging currencies and avert credit defaults.
The signs of trouble popped up around the globe. Japanese giants Sony and Toyota, as well as South Korea’s Samsung, the world’s largest maker of memory chips, flat-screen televisions and liquid crystal displays, posted weakened profits and sales outlooks. Toyota’s quarterly sales fell for the first time in seven years. Britain reported its first economic contraction since 1992.
Gloom about economic growth translated to low expectations for oil consumption. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries yesterday announced a cut of 1.5 million barrels a day in output – a move that still failed to arrest the slide in crude prices. Meanwhile, copper prices fell to a three-year low.
Investors around the world fled stocks and rushed to the relative safety of the U.S. dollar by pouring money into 30-year Treasury bonds, a refuge in times of uncertainty. That drove down the value of foreign currencies, from the ruble to the rupee and the zloty to the peso, forcing central banks to spend billions of dollars to prevent even further deterioration. The turmoil in currency markets threatened to reorder trade relations and complicate recovery efforts.
A JobCentre office
The true scale of the jobs disaster facing Britain is revealed today as experts issue dire warnings that up to half a million workers will lose their jobs over the next two years, as companies cut costs and scale back investment plans to survive the economic downturn.
Official figures are widely expected to reveal this week that the number of people out of work and claiming benefits increased for a seventh successive month in August.
Finance companies based in London’s Square Mile have already laid off thousands of workers since the US mortgage crisis unleashed chaos in the world’s markets last summer; and the 5,000 UK-based staff at crisis-hit investment bank Lehman Brothers are awaiting news this weekend about how many of them will be made redundant.
Tags: Bank of England, British Airways, Citigroup, Credit Crisis, Credit Crunch, Economy, Ford, General Motors, Government, HSBC, Lehman Brothers, Meltdown, Merrill Lynch, Mortgage crisis, Mortgages, Politics, Toyota, U.K., Unemployment