Toyota Quarterly Profit Increases 14% on Higher Sales, Cost Cuts

First Up 11/07/19

Toyota Quarterly Profit Increases 14% on Higher Sales, Cost Cuts
Toyota Motor Corp.’s operating profit grew 14 percent in the latest quarter as rising sales and tighter cost controls offset a big hit from unfavorable foreign exchange rates, reports Automotive News. Operating profit increased to 662.3 billion yen ($6.14 billion) in the automaker’s fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30, Toyota said in its earnings report on Thursday. Net income edged ahead 1.2 percent to 592.0 billion yen ($5.49 billion). Revenue grew 4.5 percent to 7.64 trillion yen ($70.8 billion). Global retail sales advanced 2.5 percent to 2.75 million vehicles in the July-September period, including results from its Daihatsu small-car subsidiary and truck-making affiliate Hino. Worldwide wholesale volume increased 7.0 percent to 2.34 million vehicles. In announcing the earnings results, Operating Officer Ken Kon said cost control and better sales efforts delivered underlining improvements across the board. Read more here.

U.S. Collected a Record $7 Billion in Tariffs in September
The U.S. collected a record $7 billion in import tariffs in September, fresh figures show, as new duties kicked in on apparel, tools, electronics and other consumer goods from China, reports The Wall Street Journal. Tariff revenue jumped 9% from August and was up more than 59% from a year earlier. The revenue is a bounty for the U.S. Treasury, but is an increasing burden on the American businesses that import Chinese products—and their customers. The new figures are based on an analysis of official Commerce Department data compiled by Trade Partnership, an economic consulting firm. The data was released by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a coalition of business and agricultural groups who oppose the tariffs. The sharp rise was driven by a new 15% levy on consumer goods that went into effect Sept. 1. Imports of these items were valued at $111 billion last year, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. Read more here (subscription required). 

U.S. Fraud Prosecutors Demand Ford Focus, Fiesta Documents
U.S. Department of Justice criminal fraud investigators have demanded documents related to the transmission used in about 2 million Ford Fiesta and Focus vehicles sold throughout this decade, the Detroit Free Press has learned. The Free Press obtained a subpoena issued in April in Case No. 126 before a District of Columbia grand jury requesting “all documents, communications and electronically stored information” relating to the company’s actions involving the DPS6 PowerShift transmission dating back to 2010. It asked for material that might show whether the company knew the transmissions were defective and couldn't be fixed or that it lied to federal safety regulators. Ford spokesman Said Deep declined to say whether the company had received a subpoena. Read more here. 

VW Considers Sharing Autonomous Car Tech to Defray Development Costs
Volkswagen AG is open to sharing future autonomous-vehicle systems with other manufacturers as it races to catch up with the likes of Waymo LLC in cost-intensive technologies that could transform the way people and goods move, according to an executive at the automaker. Bloomberg reports that joint projects beyond a deal with Ford Motor Co. signed in July – that includes a $2.6 billion investment in its U.S. peer’s affiliate Argo AI LLC – could help spread out costs more widely, said Alexander Hitzinger, VW’s senior vice president for autonomous driving. “We do have to catch up in some fields but we’re not massively far behind here, and as VW group we can really generate very large economies of scale,” Hitzinger told Bloomberg on the sidelines of a press briefing in Hamburg. “And this will be a scale game,” he said. Read more here. 

Americans Now Buying More EVs Than Cars with Manual Transmissions
For those who like to row their own, there’s some good news. The Porsche 911 Carrera will get an optional manual gearbox for the 2020 model-year. But for members of the Save-the-Manual club that development is offset by a variety of recent setbacks, reports The Detroit Bureau. The number of products that offer manual transmissions is, on the whole, continuing to decline. That’s one reason why sales are plummeting – so much so that a new report by J.D. Power and Associates reveals that battery-electric vehicles actually outsold products equipped with a stick during the most recent quarter of this year, and the trend is only likely to continue. For the third quarter of 2019, only 1.1% of the vehicles sold in the U.S. were equipped with manual transmissions, down from 1.6% a year prior. By comparison, battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, generated 1.9% of U.S. new vehicle sales during the third quarter of this year, up from 1.6% between July-September 2018. Read more here. 

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