Toyota Preps $398M Texas Investment for Truck Upgrades

First Up 07/12/19

Toyota Preps $398M Texas Investment for Truck Upgrades
Toyota Motor Corp. is laying the groundwork to invest nearly $400 million into its pickup plant near San Antonio, Texas, to boost efficiencies in the production of its midsize Tacoma and full-size Tundra as part of an ongoing shift in its truck strategy. According to Automotive News, Bexar County commissioners approved a request from the Japanese automaker for a 10-year, 80 percent tax abatement for the proposed investment in the 16-year-old Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas body-on-frame plant on Tuesday. The San Antonio Express-News first reported the abatement request. No final decision on the investment has been made by Toyota Motor North America, said Luisa Casso, a spokeswoman for the plant. A final decision is expected in late July or early August. No additional jobs at the plant are anticipated, but the investment would boost the plant's capabilities through the installation of additional robotics and other technologies, she said. Read more here. 

German Trade Minister Places 50-50 Odds on Resolving Auto Tariffs
German Economic Minister Peter Altmaier said Thursday there were even odds that the U.S. and the European Union could reach a deal that would avoid the Trump administration imposing tariffs on autos and auto parts imports. President Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose tariffs if a broader trade deal is not reached, but talks between both sides have been stalled for months, reports The Washington Examiner. "I think we have a 50-50 chance. We will be able to avoid punitive tariffs if we can find reasonable, viable solutions that are in the interest of both sides," Altmaier said following a meeting in Washington with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Read more here. 

Prepare for Sticker Shock if You Haven't Shopped for a New Car Lately
With the average age of new-car trade-ins — excluding leased autos — at just over six years, a shopper whose last purchase was in 2013 could suffer some sticker shock, reports CNBC. Last month, buyers paid an average of $36,902 for a new car, according to Edmunds, an auto-research firm and online buying guide. That’s $5,468 more than the average price of $31,434 in June 2013. And while trade-ins and down payments can reduce how much you need to borrow for the purchase, the current average amount financed, $32,824, is $5,884 higher than the average of $26,940 six years ago — an increase of about 21.8%, compared with 17% growth in the average price. A combination of higher prices, lower values on some trade-ins, and rolled-over loan balances contribute to consumers taking on more debt to purchase a new car, said Matt Jones, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds. Read more here.  

Daimler Issues Another Profit Warning as Legal Woes, Recalls Hit
Daimler AG cut its earnings outlook for the second time in a month, as the legal fallout from the continuing diesel-emissions scandal continues to hamper the luxury auto firm, reports The Wall Street Journal. The Mercedes-Benz maker on Friday blamed the warning on higher-than-expected costs related to an extended recall of rupture-prone Takata air bags and ongoing proceedings related to its diesel vehicles. It also said a product review would hurt earnings of its vans business. Those issues, with a combined impact of €3.1 billion ($3.5 billion), weighed heavily on second-quarter earnings. The Stuttgart-based company said quarterly earnings before interest and taxes swung to a loss of €1.6 billion, compared with a €2.6 billion profit a year ago. Daimler said the higher expenses and provisions, together with lower-than-expected growth in auto markets, would also hit full-year figures. It now expects group EBIT for the full year to be “significantly below” that of last year, which came in at €11.1 billion. Read more here. 

Ford and VW Formally Unveil "Collaboration" on Autonomous and Electrified Vehicles
Ford and VW today formally unveiled an expanded “collaboration” they hope will position them as leaders in autonomous and electric vehicle development, even while helping slash the massive expenses required to bring those technologies to market. According to The Detroit Bureau, the announcement comes barely six months after the two industry giants formed a joint venture focused on the development of commercial vehicles, the first pf which is expected to bring its first products to “select global markets starting in 2023.” Together, Ford and VW hope to leverage the economies of scale that can come from their combined global production of around 18 million vehicles annually. As part of the new deal, VW will give Ford access to the modular MEB “architecture” it has developed, and which will be used for the majority of its upcoming BEVs, including the VW ID3 and an all-electric remake of its classic Microbus called the ID Buzz. Read more here. 

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