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Roger Schreffler


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

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.
Japan’s Imported-Car Sales Hit 20-Year High in 2017 
Contributing to the results were increased sales of cars with next-generation powertrains including plug-in hybrids, all-electrics and clean diesels. Also aiding growth was the introduction of safety features such as adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.
Battery Supplier CATL Riding Crest of EV Wave
CATL is the No.2 maker of electric-vehicle batteries, with business for now limited to China, but is on the short list to be the main EV battery supplier to European OEMs including Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and PSA Group.
Toyota’s Interiors Affiliate Plots Profit Course 2
Although its fiscal-2017 operating margin will fall to 4.7% from the prior year’s 5.3%, the supplier in its midterm business plan looks to achieve a sustainable profit of more than 5% and a 10% return on equity from fiscal 2020 onwards.
JATCO Chief Discusses Shifting Transmission Industry
“We have a big plant in Mexico which accounts for 30% of our global production. Therefore, if any major changes were to occur with NAFTA, it would have a big impact on our operation. I tend to be optimistic, at least neutral,” Teruaki Nakatsuka says.
Groundbreaking Prius Hybrid Evolves Over 20 Years
Since the Prius hybrid’s launch, Toyota has sold 4.3 million units. Honda, ranked second, has sold 2 million hybrids. The rest of the industry combined has delivered an estimated 2 million.
General Motors’ Michigan Plant Model of Flexibility
Two line workers attach the battery or gas tank – depending on model, Bolt or Sonic – comes to their zone, with 10 fasteners. Further down the line, another two workers attach the driveline, this time with 12 fasteners, engaging in virtually the same process whether it’s a Sonic or a Bolt.
Japan’s Hybrid-Vehicle Makers Headed for Record Year
In 2016, Toyota sold 1.4 million hybrids globally. It is on track to sell 1.5 million units this year while all Japanese OEMs, mostly Toyota and Honda, are primed to reach 1.8 million, up from 1.6 million.
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