Toyota Riding Wave of New Product Launches

First Up 11/25/19

Nissan Eyes Sedan Market Growth
Nissan's hopes of shedding its bargain-brand reputation and regaining market share hinge on a raft of product reboots, Nissan executives said on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show. According to Automotive News, the product revival started with the unveiling of the redesigned 2020 Sentra, and it will encompass 10 new and freshened vehicles by the end of 2020, including an electric crossover. "New products are going to be critical" to turn the business around, David Kershaw, Nissan division vice president of sales and regional operations, told Automotive News. By developing more "aspirational products," Nissan hopes to attract more creditworthy customers and reduce the need for discounting, which has harmed the brand's image and wreaked havoc on dealer margins. Nissan division's U.S. sales through October tumbled 6 percent, and the automaker's 7.5 percent share of the U.S. market through three quarters trailed rivals Toyota (12.3 percent) and Honda (8.6 percent), according to the Automotive News Data Center. Meanwhile, about 30 percent of Nissan's U.S. dealerships are losing money, with an additional 10 percent merely breaking even, a person familiar with the data said this summer. Read more here.

Musk Touts 146,000 Orders for Tesla's Pickup Truck
Elon Musk says Tesla has received nearly 150,000 orders for its new electric pickup truck since the automaker revealed the futuristic vehicle earlier this week to mixed reviews. According to The Detroit News, the Tesla CEO tweeted Saturday that the company received 146,000 orders for the wedge-shaped “Cybertruck” since is unveiling Thursday night. Musk said 17% of the orders are for the single-motor model, 42% are for the dual-motor version and 41% are for the tri-motor model. The much-hyped unveiling went off script when its supposedly unbreakable window glass splintered twice when hit with a large metal ball. Some analysts panned the truck’s blocky, angular looks. Placing an order costs buyers $100, which Tesla says is fully refundable. Read more here. 

Global Economy to Stagnate if Trade Uncertainty Persists, OECD Warns
The global economy is at risk of settling into a low-growth rut without urgent action to roll back recently erected obstacles to trade and greater investment in tackling climate change, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Thursday. According to The Wall Street Journal, in its quarterly report on the outlook for the global economy, the Paris-based research body said it continues to expect that world output of goods and services will increase this year at the slowest pace since the financial crisis. But it doesn’t now expect any pickup in global economic growth next year, and only a modest acceleration in 2021. “Things are not really moving,” said Laurence Boone, the OECD’s chief economist. “What we are seeing is investment stalling, paving the way for growth to stay at this very low level.” The OECD said investment had weakened in the face of uncertainties created by a trade war between the U.S. and China, the U.K.’s pending departure from the European Union, and other developments that have contributed to the “erosion of the rules-based global trading system.” Read more here (subscription required). 

Toyota Riding Wave of New Product Launches
Toyota’s Jack Hollis said the automaker is proud of its history of environmentally friendly vehicles, reports The Detroit Bureau. Toyota is planning to add the all-new Toyota Highlander to its line-up to its portfolio of core products. The automaker unveiled the 2020 Highlander at the New York Auto Show last spring and it is ready for sale by the end of the year, giving the Toyota a shot in the arm just as the introduction of an all-new RAV4 did, according to Jack Hollis, the Toyota Motor North America vice president in charge of the Toyota brand. Highlander sales have been very strong this year even though the new version was waiting just over the horizon, Hollis said during an interview with at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new Highlander will shore up the company’s position in the critical midsized SUV segment and complement the RAV4, which has become Toyota’s best-selling vehicle. Read more here.  

AutoNation Hires Next CFO
AutoNation said Friday it has named its next chief financial officer, bringing over Office Depot executive Joseph Lower, reports Auto Remarketing. Lower, whose most recent post was Office Depot’s executive vice president and CFO, will take on that role at AutoNation starting Jan. 13 and report to chief executive officer Cheryl Miller. His background also includes time with B/E Aerospace and The Boeing Company. In addition to AutoNation’s finance department, financial controls and external reporting, financial planning and analysis, Lower will have responsibilities for the tax, internal audit, treasury, investor relations and corporate real estate activities of the group. Lower will also head up AutoNation’s strategy and shared service center in Irving, Texas.  He also joins AutoNation’s executive committee. “We are excited to have Joe join the AutoNation team. Joe is a seasoned financial professional, with a versatile background across multiple industries,” Miller said in a news release. Read more here.

Beltway Talk Podcast: Q&A with Toyota's Director of Public Policy Communications
In this latest Beltway Talk we take the opportunity to pick the brain of Ed Lewis, Director of Public Policy Communications at Toyota. Ed gives us an update on Toyota’s activity in Washington, D.C., and discusses trade, fuel regulations, and why Toyota’s dealers are so critical to their mission as a company. Listen in and subscribe by clicking here. 

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