Honda, Nissan See Brighter Days Ahead

First Up 11/14/22

Honda, Nissan See Brighter Days Ahead

Two big Japanese carmakers are sounding upbeat as they raise full-year earnings forecasts, citing progress in sorting out the semiconductor shortage and improved profitability. Honda Motor Co. says the worst of the microchip crisis is over, while Nissan Motor Co. says a rush of new product has underpinned a healthier model mix and lower incentives. Both companies delivered their assessments last week while announcing fiscal second-quarter earnings. Citing a brisk tail wind from favorable foreign exchange rates, the companies also lifted profit outlooks for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, as revenue surges. Automotive News reports Honda, Japan's No. 2 automaker behind Toyota Motor Corp., said it had cleared the worst of the global semiconductor crunch, though it warned of lingering pain, with a short supply of some chips denting production of hot sellers such as the Civic compact car and CR-V crossover. "The worst of the period is over," CFO Kohei Takeuchi said of the microchip crisis. "But there are still shortages of specific applications." Click here for the full story.

Lexus Dealer Uses Japanese Art of ‘Omotenashi' to Surprise, Delight Service Customers

Jewelers have spent decades convincing consumers that little things mean a lot, but a Lexus dealership in suburban Boston has found that the adage applies to more than fancy baubles. Automotive News reports Lexus of Watertown has been delivering surprise, custom-built boxes full of branded tchotchkes from its parts inventory to some wholesale parts and service customers and discovered that the resulting goodwill from the gesture leaves a lasting impression on the recipients. "Customers have a choice" of where they buy their parts and get their vehicles serviced, said Patrick Blake, fixed operations director at Lexus of Watertown. "When they come here and do business, it means they thought of us, so this is a way we can let them know that we're thinking of them as well." Lexus of Watertown has been in its current location since 2001 and sells an average of about 125 new and 155 used vehicles per month. Blake said the dealership's 35 service bays process an average of about 2,300 customer-pay repair orders per month. The idea for the boxes came from a challenge by Lexus for its dealerships to explore the Japanese custom of omotenashi. Click here for the full story.

Toyota to Unveil New Prius as Hybrids Lose Luster to Battery EVs

Toyota Motor Corp. is about to take the wraps off a revamped Prius, the latest iteration of a car that normalized the idea of owning an environmentally conscious vehicle more than two decades ago. Leonardo de Caprio drove one. Owning a Prius was cool, even a status symbol, and the less-frequent and cheaper trips that owners made to the gas pump were revelatory. Over the years, hybrid drivetrains found their way into other Toyota products. Other carmakers rolled out the technology, making it a routine aspect of driving for millions. Even though the gas-sipping hatchback — with its combined combustion engine, electric motor and battery powertrain — paved the way for Teslas and other fully electric vehicles, it’s the less-hip option these days. Prius sales have tapered off during the past few years. After peaking in 2010, when more than 500,000 units were sold worldwide, there’s been a gradual slide, reports Bloomberg. Customers bought just short of 86,000 Priuses last year. Other Toyota hybrids, such as the RAV4, do more volume. But consider this: Toyota has sold 4.75 million Priuses to date. Click here for the full story.

EV Startups Posting Big Losses During Third Quarter

The investor community is abuzz about Rivian’s announcement of a Q3 net loss of $1.88 per share or $1.72 billion against revenue of $536 million for the third quarter of 2022. The company also announced that it expects a total adjusted loss of $5.4 billion for the full year. The company fell short of analyst estimates that expected a loss of $561 million but exceed expectations an expected adjusted EPS loss of $1.86 per share, coming in at $1.57 per share. The Detroit Bureau reports Rivian’s story is reflected by other nascent EV makers across the industry. Lucid’s most recent earnings, reported Sept. 30, revealed a loss of $670.2 million, or 40 cents per share. Nikola lost 28 cents per share and Fisker lost 49 cents per share. Lordstown Motors reported losses of $154.4 million or 73 cents per share. Canoo Inc. reported losses of $164.4 million or 68 cents per share at the end of June. Faraday Future won’t release its earnings until Nov. 15, but analysts expect a loss of 37 cents per share on $10 million in earnings. The story is repeated overseas, with Chinese EV maker Nio reporting a loss of $571.2 million. Click here for the full story.

Navigating Battery-Electric Vehicles' Unique Demands

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates about 46,000 public electric-vehicle charging stations are scattered across the country today. This number is anticipated to grow exponentially in the coming years with the recent authorization of more than $1.5 billion in federal funds dedicated to building out a national charge network. We are today, however, at the nascent stages of EV commercialization and infrastructure deployments. Wards reports, the current U.S. EV charging network is rife with geographic gaps, an assortment of plug types and charging speeds, and little interoperability. Due to the natural concern drivers face with EV range anxiety, and compounded by today’s limited charging station infrastructure, long detours are not an option for drivers. Therefore, from the daily, local commute to long-distance trips, EVs rely on the vehicle’s embedded navigation system, routing calculations and the integration of vehicle systems and mapping technology. As EV adoption increases, so will the understanding of the factors that impact how far you can travel on one charge. The range and performance of each battery varies by OEM and model, while numerous external circumstances impact an EV’s range, including elevation, slope, grade and even the outside temperature. Click here for the full story.


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