Roger Schreffler

Roger
Schreffler
Correspondent,
WardsAuto

Roger keeps tabs on the Japanese auto industry, specializing in coverage of manufacturing and advanced technology.

Articles
Forklift Fuel-Cell Maker Eyeing Auto Industry 
Plug Power, despite being several years behind France’s Symbio and Germany’s StreetScooter in entering the auto market, has a longer history in fuel-cell technology. It claims a more than 90% share of the global market for fuel-cell-powered forklifts.
Supplier Valeo All-In on 48V Technology 
By adopting 48V technology, Valeo claims a 20% reduction in powertrain costs for two models it exhibited at the Paris auto show compared to higher-voltage systems.
EV Market Having Growing Pains, Expert Says 
Industry analyst Asad Farid notes most forecasters predict battery costs will fall as production scales increase, but he believes that reduction will be offset by higher material prices.
Report Underscores U.S. Beef Over European Imports 
In the 2018-2019 edition of ACEA’s “The Automobile Industry Pocket Guide,” the association reports the U.S. was the major export destination for EU-built cars in 2017 by a 5-to-1 margin compared with U.S. exports to Europe.
First-Half 2018 Hybrid, EV Sales Rise Globally 
Wards Intelligence projects global production of all-electric vehicles will grow to 1.35 million units in 2018, while hybrids, both standard and plug-in types combined, will reach 3.25 million, respectively up 42% and 18% year-on-year.
Automakers Lose in Full-Blown Trade War, Expert Says 
A Center for Automotive Research analyst says tariffs could cost FCA and General Motors up to $1.5 billion for each of two Mexican-built pickup trucks.
Japanese Import Sales Robust in First-Half 2018 
The Japan Automobile Importers Assn. attributes the first-half growth mainly to imports of Japanese cars and trucks from plants they operate in Asia including Toyota’s Hilux and Town Ace trucks from Thailand and Indonesia.
Toyota Stepping Up Production of Fuel-Cell Hardware 
Toyota plans to make 3,000 Mirais in both 2018 and 2019, up from 2,000 last year, and plans to raise FCV production and sales to 30,000 units in 2020, although it does not say whether all will be Mirais.
Aisin Develops Hybrid Drive for Automatic Gearboxes
The second-largest member of the Toyota supplier group has designed a 1-motor hybrid system to fit where the torque converter sits in the transmission assembly. The unit initially will be adopted in front-wheel-drive cars with 8-speed automatics.
Toyota: Solid-State Batteries Likely to Arrive in 2030 
“We believe that our biggest weapon for meeting fuel-efficiency and CO2 regulations, not just in Europe but globally, will continue to be (standard) hybrids,” Shinzuo Abe, Toyota’s powertrain general manager, tells WardsAuto.
EVs Easing Into Toyota’s Mostly-Hybrid Portfolio 
Toyota has mapped out an electrification plan that is not overly dependent on subsidies or creative accounting. By focusing on hybrids – gasoline cars that run in part on battery power – the automaker is sticking to a formula that has generated profits for more than a decade.
Hybrids Dominate, But Japan Makes Room for EVs
Whether the current 27,000-plus quick and standard chargers meet current needs is hard to say since Japan – led by Toyota – has put its focus on hybrids and had only 104,420 all-electric cars in operation at the end of last year.
Mirai Reflects Toyota’s Faith in Fuel-Cell Future 
Toyota plans to match last year’s output of 3,000 units this year and again in 2019. But its FCV program targets no fewer than 30,000 sales – including 12,000 in Japan – early in the next decade, including Mirais and anything else that might be in the pipeline.
Hybrid Sales Set Record in 2017 As EVs Gain Ground 
Hybrid sales, when factoring out Toyota, are less than 3% in all major markets except Japan.
Nissan Helps Clear Mitsubishi’s Road to Recovery
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn made it a condition that Osamu Masuko remain Mitsubishi CEO to manage the crisis and next stage of restructuring – and protect Nissan’s ¥237 billion investment for which it would acquire a 34% equity stake.
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