January 11, 2012

Toyota Aims to Export More from U.S. than Any of Detroit 3
Toyota Motor Corp. wants its U.S. factories to export more vehicles outside of the NAFTA zone than any of its Detroit competitors, a top executive said this week. "We are looking for bigger export opportunities," said Yoshimi Inaba, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and Toyota Motor North America. "It is in our interest to export, to help the U.S. economy and to help better utilize our capacity and also take advantage of today's yen." According to Automotive News, the strength of the yen has prompted Japanese automakers to shift more production overseas to protect profits. Toyota, which produces more vehicles in Japan than any other automaker, has been especially vulnerable to the high yen. The weak dollar also makes it more attractive for automakers to profitably build and ship light vehicles from the United States. Toyota recently began exporting U.S.-built Camrys to South Korea, and it is also investigating the Russian market for U.S. exports, Inaba said. Currently, Toyota exports the Tundra and Tacoma pickups, as well as the Camry, Sienna, Sequoia, Venza, and Avalon. For more on Toyota’s plans to increase U.S. vehicle exports, click here.

American Auto Market Preferred for Profit as Sales in China Slow
Three years after sales tumbled to the lowest in more than a quarter-century, Bloomberg reports that the U.S. auto market may be emerging as the safest bet for predictable and profitable growth as China, India, and Brazil slow. “The U.S. is now the high-growth market in the world as much as India or China,” said Xavier Mosquet, senior partner for Boston Consulting Group. “The worst thing five years ago was to be a U.S. automaker or supplier. Now it’s the best thing to be.” U.S. car and light truck sales probably rose at a faster pace than China’s vehicle sales last year for the first time since at least 1998, fueled by a recovery in consumer confidence. That’s a reversal from 2009, when plunging sales helped push GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy along with dozens of their suppliers. Now the U.S. is growing while sales are moderating in Brazil, India, and China and will probably drop in debt-stricken Europe, Mosquet said in an interview. “The growth for the U.S. will be solid next year,” said Henner Lehne, the Frankfurt-based director of global light- vehicle forecasting at IHS Automotive, a researcher included in the survey whose 2012 estimate matches the average. For more on how the U.S. market is expected to stack up against other auto markets, click here.

Japan Hopes to Bounce Back with Fuel-Efficient Models
According to The Detroit News, Japan's automakers are hoping to rebound from a disastrous 2011 and regain lost market share after rolling out a variety of new cars in Detroit this week. Toyota Motor Corp., pressing its advantage in gas-electric vehicle technology, on Tuesday unveiled a hybrid city car, the Prius c, and displayed two plug-ins: a Prius going on sale in the spring and a sleek, NS4 concept. Honda Motor Co. showed a concept Accord coupe fitted with engines from a new, more fuel-efficient series. Click here for a picture. Its Acura division debuted three models Monday, including an RDX crossover. Nissan premiered a concept model of its Pathfinder SUV on Tuesday. This year, although Honda is still feeling the effects of massive floods in Thailand, the automaker expects to increase U.S. sales to close to 1.4 million cars and trucks – more than 100,000 vehicles over levels originally targeted for 2011. Toyota is rolling out 19 new and refreshed vehicles to regain its footing in the U.S. Toyota expects to increase U.S. sales this year to 1.9 million vehicles, gaining about 1 point of market share, said Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA. Read coverage of how Japanese automakers are rebounding in the U.S. market here.

Go to the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, and a Car Show Breaks Out
This week’s press preview for the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is going on at the same time as the Detroit auto show. According to Forbes, underlining the electronic trade show’s importance, automotive big shots found the time to be there anyway. Besides an array of new high-tech features, the Consumer Electronics Show has its own lineup of cars on display. Granted, some of them are also appearing more or less simultaneously in Detroit. Displays at the CES are expected to include two electric vehicles from Kia, the Kia Ray and the Kia Naimo concept car; and a new sports car from Subaru, the BRZ. Click here to check out a gallery of some of the other cars on display at the CES. Automotive applications are nothing new at CES. The Consumer Electronics Show has long had a whole hall dedicated to the latest electronic gadgets for your car, and this year is no exception. Besides several automakers themselves, there are big displays from auto suppliers like Garmin, which produces factory-installed navigation and “infotainment” systems, as well as its portable electronic devices aimed at consumers. Read more about this year’s CES, going on this week, here.

Audi Launches Fan Contest, Allroad Set to Return to U.S. Market This Year
To learn more about their fan base and ramp up excitement for the Audi Allroad’s return to the U.S. this year, Audi is asking enthusiasts to share an image and brief story of themselves with their Audi Allroad. According to Auto Remarketing, by entering the contest dubbed “Memorable Mile”, participants will have a chance at winning one of 10 open spots for a VIP trip to Deer Valley during the USSA Freestyle International World Cup in Park City, Utah, to test drive the all-new Allroad. How can Allroad owners enter the contest? Those interested can share their story and images via any of Audi's social media channels, including Twitter, Google+, Flickr, or Instagram, officials noted. The Allroad will make its return to the U.S. market this year for the first time since 2005. “The Audi Allroad returns with iconic design and functionality blended with segment-leading technology,” officials noted. The new features include 211 horsepower with 258 pounds-foot of torque that the company contends makes it faster and more fuel efficient than its predecessor. Furthermore, the new Allroad also features a longer wheelbase for ride comfort and more headroom for front passengers. Read more on the new Audi Allroad here.

AIADA’s 42nd Annual Meeting and Luncheon is Around the Corner. Register TODAY!
Time is running out to join AIADA, fellow dealers, and industry leaders at our 42nd Annual Meeting and Luncheon on February 6 in Las Vegas. Together, we’ll consider the Legacy of Leadership that is inspiring the international dealer community and what it means for the future of our industry. This year's meeting will include keynote remarks from Mark Templin, Group Vice President and General Manager at Lexus. “Lexus has proven itself a leader in the U.S. auto market, and Mark Templin has played a central role in making it one of today’s most popular luxury brands,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “His remarks will provide invaluable perspective for dealers considering how our industry can continue to lead in the U.S.” Read more about Templin and AIADA’s 42nd Annual Meeting and Luncheon here. In addition to Templin’s remarks, the event will include the presentation of the David F. Mungenast Lifetime Achievement Award and the passing of AIADA’s chairman’s gavel from the current chairman, Jim Smail of Pennsylvania to Chairman-Elect Ray Mungenast of Missouri. Don’t miss your chance; register today by clicking here or call 1-800-GO-AIADA.

Around the Web 
Top 25 Desktop Wallpapers from the 2012 Detroit Auto Show [Autoblog]
9 Ways to Maintain Vehicle Value [MSN Autos]
Automakers Shedding CD Players [MSNBC]
VW Shows Off Electric Beetle Concept [DriveOn]

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