Toyota Annual Profit Rises 3% on Cost Cuts, Lower Incentives

First Up 05/08/19

Toyota Annual Profit Rises 3% on Cost Cuts, Lower Incentives
Toyota Motor Corp.’s operating profit edged ahead 2.8 percent in the latest fiscal year on rising sales, tighter cost control, and lower incentives in the crucial U.S. market. Operating profit increased to 2.40 trillion yen ($21.66 billion) in the carmaker’s fiscal full year ended March 31, Toyota said on Wednesday. According to Automotive News, net income, by contrast, declined 25 percent to 1.88 trillion yen ($16.96 billion). Results were driven lower by special losses on equity securities that compared against robust results the year before that were artificially inflated by a windfall U.S. income tax gain. Global retail sales advanced 1.6 percent to 10.6 million vehicles in the full fiscal year, including results from its Daihatsu small-car subsidiary and truck-making affiliate Hino. Worldwide wholesale volume inched ahead 0.1 percent to 8.98 million vehicles. Read more here. 

Honda to Reduce Model Trim Lines, Streamline Output
Honda Motor Co. will slash the number of model variations available in North America and other regions and overhaul its production base in a new push to improve efficiency as growing investments in next-generation technologies pressures the company’s bottom line, reports Automotive News. In outlining the overhaul Wednesday, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the company will also introduce a new vehicle platform next year and introduce its two-motor hybrid system across the entire vehicle lineup. Honda, which reported a 13 percent decline in fiscal full-year operating profit on Wednesday, will cut the number of model variations offered on global nameplates such as the Civic small car, the Accord sedan, the Fit compact, and CR-V crossovers, to one-third their current number by 2025, Hachigo said. Regional nameplates will also be consolidated to streamline product development and production. Honda does not intend to reduce the number of nameplates, just the number of trim options, he said. Hachigo cited variations in control panel layouts and color combinations as one target. Read more here. 

BMW's Auto Business Posts Loss Following Antitrust Charge
BMW AG said its core automotive business swung to a quarterly loss on a €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion) charge against potential fines from a European antitrust probe and on rising developmental costs for electric and self-driving vehicles. The German luxury-car maker revealed the charge in April, after the European Commission said a preliminary investigation had determined that BMW and rivals Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG had colluded to prevent competition in emissions technology, reports The Wall Street Journal. The auto makers have denied the finding, and BMW on Tuesday reiterated it would contest the commission’s judgment. Disclosing the impact on earnings in an interim report, the Munich-based company said its automotive division, which accounts for the bulk of its business, had a first-quarter loss before interest and taxes of €310 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of €1.9 billion. Read more here. 

Ferrari Pushes Through Auto Challenges with Profit Beat
Ferrari NV served up more proof the Italian supercar maker can push through headwinds that have beset much of the auto industry, delivering a rise in first-quarter profit that beat the highest estimate. According to Bloomberg, on Tuesday, it delivered a 14 percent jump in adjusted earnings earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Growth in deliveries from the entry-level Portofino model helped to offset the end of the sales of the $2.1 million LaFerrari Aperta. The shares rose the most in three months. “Ferrari’s first quarter results confirm it’s sailing far away from current auto industry trends,” IG Markets Ltd. analyst Vincenzo Longo said. Ferrari “is reaffirming itself once again as luxury brand with a clear value added.” While Ferrari reported a jump in profits and steep rise in shipments, other carmakers have struggled with slowing economic growth and record spending on electric-vehicle technology. Read more here.

FCA Lures Nissan Executive Christian Meunier to Lead Jeep Brand
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has tapped a Nissan executive to lead the Jeep brand around the world, reports the Detroit Free Press. The addition of Christian Meunier, who had most recently been chairman and global president for Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti, solidifies the leadership of FCA's strongest brand at a crucial time for the automaker as it seeks to expand Jeep's reach. FCA CEO Mike Manley touted Meunier's experience in Tuesday's announcement. "I am delighted to add Christian to the leadership team we're building to drive FCA forward,” Manley said in a news release. “He brings additional world class strength and experience to an already-proven bench, and I look forward to the continuation of the Jeep brand's growth under his stewardship." Meunier, whose new title is global president of the Jeep Brand, will sit on the company's Group Executive Council, a key decision-making body. The position had effectively been held by Manley before the announcement. Tim Kuniskis heads the brand in North America as well as Alfa Romeo globally. Read more here. 

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