Toyota in Growth Mode Defies Slowdown in Global Vehicle Demand

First Up 02/06/20

Beltway Talk Podcast: January Auto Sales Review with Cox's Charlie Chesbrough

Cox Automotive’s Charlie Chesbrough joins AIADA’s Beltway Talk podcast for his monthly round up of auto industry sales figures. In this episode, find out why more and more manufacturers are moving to a quarterly reporting pattern, why Toyota should be feeling good, and more. Click here to listen and subscribe. 

Toyota in Growth Mode Defies Slowdown in Global Vehicle Demand

Toyota Motor Corp. isn’t letting a global slowdown get in the way of its plans to grow, reporting a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday and raising its full-year forecast, reports Bloomberg. Even as a production shutdown in China, the world’s largest car market, has cast a pall over global automakers already struggling to cope with a downshift in demand and rising costs on next-generation technology, Toyota is betting it can sell more cars. “The global market in 2020 will be probably lower than what was the market in 2019, but you saw our forecast in terms of sales volume for 2020 and we plan to sell more cars than in 2019 -- even if the market is declining,” Didier Leroy, a Toyota executive vice president, said at a press conference in Tokyo. Toyota is targeting operating profit of 2.5 trillion yen ($22.7 billion) for the full fiscal year through March, up from a previous projection for 2.4 trillion yen and broadly in line with analysts’ expectations. Read more here. 

Group 1 Profits Rise on Strong Used Service and F&I Results

Even as its core new-vehicle markets softened, Group 1 Automotive Inc. boosted profits in the fourth quarter on strength in used vehicles, service, and finance and insurance, reports Automotive News. Fourth-quarter revenue for the Houston-based dealership group climbed 7 percent to an all-time record of $3.11 billion. Net income jumped 57 percent to $48.1 million. When adjusted for one-time items, Group 1's profits increased 29 percent to $56.3 million. The one-time items — primarily related to non-cash impairments of certain intangible assets, Group 1 said — totaled $8.2 million after taxes in the fourth quarter of 2019 and $13.1 million after taxes the prior year's quarter. For the full year, Group 1's revenue advanced 3.8 percent to a record $12.04 billion. Net income rose 10 percent to $174 million. Full-year adjusted profits were up 13 percent to $203.6 million. Read more here.

Tesla Temporarily Closes China Stores Amid Coronavirus Fears

Tesla has temporarily closed its stores in mainland China as of Sunday, Feb. 2, according to an online post from a company sales employee on that date. Automotive News reports that the move comes as more than half of China has shut down in an effort to limit the spread of a new coronavirus that has killed more than 500 people in the country. The electric automaker’s China communications office did not respond to a CNBC request for comment during business hours on Thursday Beijing time. According to a CNBC translation of the original Chinese text, the Tesla employee wrote in a post on messaging and social media app WeChat that: “From today on, Tesla stores are all closed throughout China. But I will answer questions online, around the clock. Online orders are still welcome. We suggest all of you stay home, and take good care of your health.” Read more here.  

U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows for First Time in Six Years

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in 2019 for the first time in six years as disputes with China and other countries reduced the U.S.’s exports and imports while reshaping relationships with economic partners, reports The Wall Street Journal. Exports declined last year for the first time since 2016, dropping 0.1%, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. But imports fell more sharply, decreasing 0.4%. That combination shrank the overall trade deficit 1.7%, to $616.8 billion. Meantime, China lost its rank as the top U.S. trade partner, falling to third place behind Mexico and Canada. And the U.S.’s total trade in goods rose faster with Vietnam than with any of its largest trading partners, while trade with China fell most rapidly. The shifting trade picture dinged the U.S. economy but didn’t take a big toll. The economy grew 2.3% last year, down from 2.9% in 2018 but in line with the average pace that has marked the expansion that began in mid-2009. Read more here.

February Webinar: Tax Reform Reversal or Status Quo?

Join AutoTalk for an early February program on Tuesday, February 11th at 2:00 p.m. ET and listen in as experts from Moss Adams help you navigate planning for the uncertainty and how to maximize today's tax environment.

They will also discuss:

  • Areas That Are Highly Susceptible to Reversal in a New Administration

  • How Can I Hedge Against Future Changes?

  • What Steps Can I Take Now To Ensure I Am Maximizing The Current Tax Environment?

To register, click here.

Around the Web

Hyundai Teases All-New i20 Hatch Ahead of Geneva Debut [Autoblog

Toyota Shows Off Its Magnificent Seven Near the Magnificent Mile [The Detroit Bureau]

Lexus Prepares to Introduce Level 2 Autonomy [Automotive News Europe]

Volkswagen is Carmaker Most Exposed to Virus Impact, S&P Says [The Detroit News