Toyota Slides; Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Mazda Rack Up U.S. Sales Gains

First Up 02/02/23

Toyota Slides; Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Mazda Rack Up U.S. Sales Gains

Honda Motor Co. snapped a 17-month losing streak, Toyota Motor Corp. volume dropped 15 percent and Hyundai and Kia racked up another month of U.S. sales gains in January on improved inventory levels, higher fleet volume and electric-vehicle demand. Toyota, hampered by some of the industry's lowest inventory levels, said deliveries dropped 17 percent at the Toyota division and 0.9 percent at Lexus, the luxury brand's 12th straight decline, reports Automotive News. Honda Motor Co., also saddled with low stockpiles in wake of the severe chip shortage, said January volume rose 14 percent, behind a gain of 10 percent at the Honda division and 66 percent at Acura. Volume last month rose 8.6 percent to 52,001 at Hyundai and 22 percent to 51,983 at Kia, the companies said Wednesday Subaru, another brand hindered by lean inventory, said January sales edged up 0.5 percent for its sixth straight monthly gain. The results were aided by record January deliveries of the Crosstrek. Mazda posted sales of 22,967, a 9 percent increase and the company's fourth consecutive gain. Genesis also reported record January sales of 3,905, a 7.3 percent gain. Click here for the full story.

Honda to Start Producing New Hydrogen Fuel Cell System Co-Developed with GM

Japan's Honda Motor Co said it will start producing a new hydrogen fuel cell system jointly developed with General Motors Co this year and gradually step-up sales this decade, in a bid to expand its hydrogen business. Honda will target annual sales of around 2,000 units of the new system in the middle of this decade, the company said aiming to boost that to 60,000 units per year in 2030. The Japanese carmaker is seeking to expand the use of its new system not only for its own fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), but also commercial vehicles such as heavy trucks, as stationary power stations and in construction machinery, reports Reuters. Honda will start production of the hydrogen fuel cell system through its joint venture with GM this year, said Honda senior managing executive director Shinji Aoyama. With the "next-generation" system, the company aims to more than double durability compared with its older fuel cell system and to bring costs down by two-thirds. Click here for the full story.

Congress Reintroduces Bill to Stop Surge of Catalytic Converter Thefts

U.S. lawmakers in the House and Senate reintroduced legislation Monday that would help law enforcement combat an alarming rise in catalytic converter thefts across the country. The bill — known as the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft, or PART, Act — aims to reduce catalytic converter thefts by requiring new vehicles to have the VIN stamped onto the converter, allowing law enforcement officers to link stolen parts to the originating vehicles. It also would create a grant program to allow dealerships, repair shops and other eligible parties to stamp VINs onto converters of existing vehicles, and it would establish federal criminal penalties for theft, sale, trafficking or known purchases of stolen catalytic converters, reports Automotive News. U.S. Rep. Jim Baird, R-Ind., led the bill's reintroduction in the House, where it has the support of Reps. Betty McCollum, and Angie Craig, both Minnesota Democrats, and Republican Reps. Randy Feenstra of Iowa, and Michael Guest of Mississippi. In the Senate, the bill is spearheaded by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., with support from Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Republican Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, and J.D. Vance of Ohio. Click here for the full story.

Nissan Max-Out Electric Roadster Goes from Virtual to Reality, See the Photos

Nissan hasn’t offered a drop top since the 370Z Roadster was axed in 2019, but that hasn’t stopped the company from showcasing the new Max-Out convertible concept. Unveiled as part of an event highlighting the future of sustainable mobility and innovative design, the concept was shown digitally in 2021 and has now been transformed into a physical vehicle. Despite that, Nissan said virtually nothing about the model other than it was “designed to provide a liberating sense of openness while offering an enhanced, dynamic driving experience.” Carscoops reports the company added the concept “displays Nissan’s innovation to develop a diverse range of advanced and striking vehicles, with a clear vision of how they can benefit both individuals and society.” Putting the marketing hyperbole aside, the Max-Out concept is a stylish electric convertible that features a fully enclosed grille which appears to double as a digital display. This treatment can also be found on the wheel covers, which look like wormholes. Click here to view photos. Click here to learn more about the Nissan Max-Out Electric Roadster.

First Look: Mazda’s Bigger, More Luxurious New CX-90

After weeks of dropping teaser pics and videos, Mazda finally lifted the covers on the CX-90, the new three-row SUV set to serve as the brand’s new flagship. The 2024 CX-90 rides on an all-new Mazda large vehicle platform that will anchor a handful of other upcoming products — including the CX-70 that will follow it into U.S. showrooms. And it provides a glimpse at the brand’s updated design language. “We’ve been on a journey, the last few years, to completely change the face of Mazda,” U.S. brand boss Jeff Guyton said during a media backgrounder in Malibu, Calif., ahead of the official public unveiling. From the large vehicle platform on up, pretty much everything about the CX-90 is new. That covers everything from the updated infotainment system to the choice of powertrains. Unlike some competitors who offer just one engine package, Mazda has two options here, including its first-ever plug-in hybrid, reports The Detroit Bureau. That package uses a 2.5-liter inline-4 SkyActiv gas engine paired with a electric drive system — which, Mazda claims, has been “tuned specifically for the U.S.” Click here for the full story.



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