Toyota Sees Plug-In Hybrids Catching On Faster Than Conventional Hybrids

First Up 02/15/17

February 15, 2017 

Retailers Take Aim at Border Adjustment Tax Proposal 
The CEOs of 7 major retailers are headed to Washington to take on a proposed border tax. But it's not the tax on Mexican imports championed by President Donald Trump that has them worried. They’re lobbying against the plan unveiled last year by Congressional Republicans for a broad "border adjustment tax" that could increase the tax bite on any company that imports goods, including international nameplate automakers and their dealers. According to CNN Money, a border adjustment tax is not actually a tax or a tariff. It would be a fundamental change to the tax accounting treatment on imports and exports. In a tax system with border adjustment, companies would no longer be able to deduct the cost of their imported goods, which would raise the taxable income of any business purchasing imports. AIADA is opposed to the border adjustment tax proposal and is planning a fly-in for dealers to visit Capitol Hill and voice their concerns. Register here for the event. For more on the retailers who are on Capitol Hill this week in opposition to the border adjustment tax, click here.

Toyota Sees Plug-In Hybrids Catching On Faster Than Conventional Hybrids 
Automotive News reports that Toyota Motor Corp.'s chairman, who led the development of the Toyota Prius, expects the latest plug-in hybrid vehicles will catch on with consumers far more rapidly than the original Prius did. Known as the "father of the Prius" for his role in popularizing the world's best-selling hybrid car, Takeshi Uchiyamada said he expected to sell 1 million plug-in hybrids in less than 10 years, the time it took for sales of its conventional hybrid vehicles to hit that mark. "Environmental awareness has become a bigger issue today than it was 20 years ago, and demand for environmentally conscious products has increased," Uchiyamada told reporters at an event to launch the latest plug-in version of the Prius in Japan. While the technology for plug-ins has developed rapidly, lowering costs, Uchiyamada said he had "no idea" exactly when plug-in sales would hit the 1 million mark. For more of Toyota’s view on the future of hybrids, click here.

Carmakers: Don't Overregulate Self-Driving Car Testing 
Automakers pushed members of Congress on Tuesday to give them space to develop self-driving cars as lawmakers consider federal regulations for the emerging technology. According to The Detroit News, Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute, said his company is pursuing two paths to autonomy: The first, called Guardian, is a crash-avoidance system that operates in the background and takes over in cases of danger. The second, called Chauffeur, is fully autonomous. Pratt said policymakers must keep in mind that testing is a necessary means to an end. Several lawmakers on the panel Tuesday touted the potential of self-driving to reduce crashes. “In 2015, there were over 35,000 lives tragically lost on our nation’s highways,” said Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), who is chairman of the subcommittee. “Based on early estimates, traffic fatalities in 2016 are even going to be higher. Unfortunately, we also know that human error accounts for over 90 percent of all the traffic accidents.” For more on yesterday’s hearing on autonomous vehicle technology, click here.

President Trump Hails New Bridge to Canada, Trade Ties
As he met for the first time with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Donald Trump said Monday he is looking at no more than “tweaking” rules regarding trade with Canada, compared to what is under consideration in the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship, reports The Detroit Free Press. “It’s a much less severe situation than what’s happening on the southern border,” Trump said when asked what plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement could mean for Canada. “Our relationship with Canada is outstanding, and we’re going to work to make it even better.” That could be good news for automakers and suppliers who see goods pour back and forth across the Canadian border. A border tax — which would require a rewriting of or a withdrawal from NAFTA — could impact their bottom line. Trudeau, who opened his remarks by noting that the U.S. and Canada have some $2 billion worth in trade between them every day, acknowledged that any move to rewrite NAFTA “is a real concern to Canadians,” given the jobs affected. For more on the future of the U.S. and Canada’s trade relationship, click here.

U.S. Court Gives Initial Approval to Volkswagen Vehicle Emissions Settlement 
Volkswagen AG won a U.S. court’s initial blessing Tuesday for a roughly $1.2 billion settlement reached with drivers of larger diesel-powered vehicles affected by the auto maker’s diesel-emissions scandal. According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal, which applies to around 77,000 diesel vehicles with 3-liter engines, is one of the last unresolved pieces left in the U.S. court case brought over the diesel crisis. Volkswagen continues to face private litigation and government probes abroad related to the revelation that 11 million cars world-wide were equipped with software that allows the diesel vehicles to dupe emissions tests. U.S. regulators first disclosed the misconduct in September 2015. The 3-liter deal offers a mix of buybacks for some models and the prospect of an emissions modification for others. If a modification doesn’t win regulator approval, Volkswagen must buy back the rest of the vehicles, which could increase its price tag from $1.2 billion to as much as $4 billion. For the latest on VW’s U.S. emissions settlement, click here.

Driver Distractions: Are They Worth Dying For? 
Join AIADA and its Affinity Partner, Federated Insurance, on Tuesday, February 21, with online sessions held at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST, for an online webinar focusing on the dangers distracted driving pose to dealerships and their employees. Learn more about the distracted driving epidemic, its potential impact on dealerships, and what dealers and their employees can do to prevent the problem in this webinar titled, "Driver Distractions – Are They Worth Dying For?"

To register for the 10:00 a.m. EST session, click here.


To register for the 4:00 p.m. EST session, click here.

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