In U.S. First, Mitsubishi and Nissan Team on EV, Pickup, Plug-In Hybrid

First Up 04/01/24

In U.S. First, Mitsubishi and Nissan Team on EV, Pickup, Plug-In Hybrid

It took a while, but Nissan and Mitsubishi are finally teaming on U.S. products. Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida broke the news this week, outlining the first major cross-company vehicle collaboration between the Japanese companies aimed at the U.S. market. Nissan will launch its first North America plug-in hybrid, based on a system engineered by Mitsubishi. And Mitsubishi will launch a local product using Nissan's electric vehicle technology, reports Automotive News. Meanwhile, Nissan and Mitsubishi will jointly develop a next-generation pickup to be produced in Mexico. Full-electric and plug-in hybrid versions of that truck are under consideration. The 1-ton pickup would likely land as a successor to the Nissan Frontier. That vehicle could also expand Mitsubishi's local lineup with the midsize pickup that U.S. dealers have clamored for. Mitsubishi's Triton pickup is sold overseas, but the carmaker is stymied in bringing it stateside because the Triton faces a stiff 25 percent tariff on imported light trucks. Building such a pickup in Mexico would allow shipment to the U.S. and Latin America. Click here for the full story.

Auto Industry Expects Minimal Disruption from Port Shutdown

Concerns about the impact of the Baltimore bridge collapse on auto imports and exports are beginning to ease as car companies turn to other ports along the East Coast. According to The New York Times, Cox Automotive, a market researcher, said it expected the situation in Baltimore to have no material effect on vehicle sales in the United States. “While Baltimore is the top port for auto shipments, this is not likely to cause or create a sudden new problem in vehicle supply that will materially impact the market,” Jonathan Smoke, Cox’s chief economist, said in a conference call. “The port is heavy for exports and imports, but there are alternatives.” Mercedes-Benz said it had already found other ways of handling the vehicles it usually imports from Germany through Baltimore. “Together with our transport partners, we reviewed and successfully adapted our supply routes,” the company said in a statement. “We are confident that our cars can be distributed on time for customers in the U.S. in April.” Most vehicles sold in the United States are assembled in North America. Even for European automakers that have relied on the Port of Baltimore. Click here for the full story.

Honda Dominates KBB’s 2024 Consumer Choice Awards Amid Post-Pandemic Market Shifts

The car-buying market has struggled for several years due to pandemic-related production issues. However, manufacturers are expected to balance the supply and increase the availability of incentives for consumers who are looking to purchase new cars in 2024. This will create a favorable situation for car buyers. However, selecting a new car remains a significant decision heavily influenced by consumer perceptions and extensive research into brands and models. To help buyers make an informed decision, Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive subsidiary, has announced the 2024 Consumer Choice Awards winners. Previously known as the Brand Image Awards, these awards recognize automakers’ success in establishing brand attributes that captivate and excite new-car buyers, reports CBT News. The awards are based on an annual study of consumers’ perceptions, focusing on luxury and non-luxury segments, including trucks and electric/hybrid vehicles.  Vanessa Ton, senior research, and market intelligence manager at Cox Automotive, stated, “Honda won most of the non-luxury categories and received more wins than any other automaker for 2024 in this year’s Consumer Choice Awards.” Click here for the full story.

Why This Toyota Executive Has Zero Interest in Selling Cars on Amazon

Toyota won't be following Hyundai onto Amazon's shopping platform anytime soon. Hyundai began selling vehicles on Amazon in the U.S. in January as part of a pilot partnership, but Toyota prefers its SmartPath digital retailing tool and its Monogram counterpart at Lexus, according to Jack Hollis, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America. "It's a completely divergent approach," Hollis said during a Q & A at the Automotive Forum New York on March 26. Jason Stein, a managing director at The Presidio Group and moderator, asked Hollis if Toyota would start selling its cars on Amazon's platform. He answered with an emphatic "no." The crowd applauded, and Hollis explained why: It is dangerous, he said, to go outside the dealership system, reports Automotive News. Instead, Toyota is devoted to nurturing its SmartPath and Monogram tools, both of which debuted in 2019 and have been updated regularly. "Through our SmartPath investment and Monogram at Lexus, we have worked with our dealer body to actually ask them to help create the system they want to use," Hollis said. Click here for the full story.

Subaru’s ‘Fast Follower’ Strategy Right for EV Times

Jeff Walters took over as president and chief operating officer of Subaru of America in April 2023. And largely keeping with Subaru’s culture of promoting longstanding managers from within, he hit the C-suite of the automaker’s Camden, N.J., headquarters in his 31st year at the company. Reporting to Tomomi Nakamura, who succeeded Tom Doll, who had been CEO for five years and COO for nine years as part of a 40-year stint with the automaker, Walters is running Subaru at a time when sales are strong, the brand seems healthy and the strategy to get to electrification of its showroom is pretty well set, reports Wards. ” We have a culture second to none. I give a lot of credit to Tom Doll for setting up the company for success and how we want to do business and go to market,” says Walters. Subaru’s strategy to electrify its models calls for investing nearly $10.5 billion by 2030, including $1.7 billion announced before Walters took over. Between now and 2028, Subaru will roll out battery-electrics and hybrids jointly developed with Toyota. It will produce BEVs alongside gasoline-powered cars at its Gunma plant in Japan starting in 2025. Click here for the full story.


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