Akio Toyoda may have lost his title, but he’s still the man

Ott Tanak, right, and Martin Jarfiuga, left, celebrate their victory with Toyota chief Akio Toyoda after day four of the 2018 WRC Rally Finland.

Ott Tanak, right, and Martin Jarfiuga, left, celebrate their victory with Toyota chief Akio Toyoda after day four of the 2018 WRC Rally Finland.
picture: Massimo Petiole (Getty Images)

Nobody thinks Akio Toyoda won’t be an active participant in Toyota’s future Sen. Joe Manchin’s attempt to reduce existing tax breaks for electric cars hit a predictable snag, And Ford can’t ignore Formula 1 anymore. All that and more in morning shift On January 27, 2023.

First gear: in the background, but still there

Akio Toyoda’s decision to step down after 13 years at the helm of Toyota came as a shock yesterday, as did the replacement he named — Koji Sato, the 53-year-old boss of Lexus. While Toyota has never been strictly a family-run company, Half of its twelve chiefs were in the familyAkio was the first since his uncle Tatsuru left the position in 1995.

But “Morezo do not go away. As he stated yesterday, he will remain in the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company. Analysts have some ideas about what exactly that means for Toyota’s immediate future. from Reuters:

Market reaction to Toyoda’s announcement was muted — the automaker’s stock ended slightly in Tokyo on Friday — as investors bet the company is unlikely to see a major overhaul in the foreseeable future.

“The new appointment is less about a change of direction and more about careful consideration of the best possible way to organize delivery, avoiding disruption and chaos,” said Julie Pott, an analyst at Pelham Smithers Associates in London.

“It is likely that he will remain active as president for a long time and continue to make his mark on Toyota.”

Those within Toyota’s walls don’t see much changing in the near term, either:

One Toyota executive, who asked not to be identified, said the automaker was headed for a period of “cloistered rule”, referring to a period in Japan’s history when a retired emperor continued to play a key decision-making role.

At a news conference on Thursday, broadcast on Toyota’s in-house media platform, Toyoda looked fully in control, turning from time to time to offer instruction and reminders to Sato.

Still, outsiders have been able to put their stamp on the company. Toyoda’s soon-to-be predecessor as chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada, is often credited with spearheading development of the Prius.

“Toyota is a public company that likes to pretend it’s a family company,” said John Shook, a former Toyota manager who now consults on the lean management techniques pioneered by the automaker.

“Choosing someone who is much younger and with Sato’s background indicates Akio recognised the time for change had come.”

Or at least the time for public-facing change. Maybe Toyota’s transformation into whatever it does next — taking EVs seriously, perhaps — it will happen gradually and no one will notice.

Second gear: Not everyone sees Manchine Road

Earlier this week, Sen. Joe Manchin proposed legislation To make the strict rules on battery sources for the Inflation Reduction Act for electric vehicle tax credits retroactive to January 1st. Since the beginning of 2023, The battery side of the standards has not been enforced, as the US Treasury Department must first issue guidelines to automakers before they can take effect.

Manchin sought the unanimous support of his colleagues. It looks like he won’t get it, thanks in part to Sen. Debbie Stabenow Reuters:

“China has cornered the electric vehicle supply chain market,” said Manchin. [The] The Treasury “now continues to let the $7,500 credit go without any concerns whatsoever about critical minerals requirements.”

Manchin, along with Republican Sen. Mike Brown, sought unanimous approval to pass the motion but Stabenow objected.

EV credit is “complicated, it just doesn’t work for several years for US companies,” Stabenow said. She said automakers need more time to meet battery sourcing requirements.

“It’s not unbelievable what the Treasury is doing…they’ve been given a very complex job of trying to figure out how this consumer credit works,” Stabenow said.

In an interview with Reuters, Stabenow said Manchin’s bill would “literally strip credits from people who buy cars today… Basically, (Manchin) is not a fan of electric cars.”

He will also take loans from people who You have Bought cars in the last three weeks – cars that people bought with the understanding that they would save thousands at the end of tax season. The Treasury will need a little time to figure out the details; We shouldn’t have asked for too much, given the complexity of the bill.

Third gear: Ford can’t ignore F1, especially if GM can’t ignore F1

The word on the street is that Ford wants to cash in on Formula 1’s popularity and may strike a deal with Red Bull to brand the team’s power units after next-generation engine regulations come into effect in 2026. Of course, when Motorsport.com When I asked Ford recently about its stance on F1, the response was non-committal:

Mark Rushbrooke, head of Ford Performance, has suggested a change in mindset, although F1 now deserves attention thanks to its recent growth.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Rushbrook said: “Formula 1 is definitely strong and growing, both in the US and globally.

“What they’ve done well is create great racing and great competition. It’s still the pinnacle, but they’ve been able to reach new audiences with things like Drive to Survive.

As a company we go racing for innovation, technology transfer and learning opportunity, but also for marketing reasons. It has definitely transformed, and it certainly requires consideration.”

Asked specifically about rumors of a possible 2026 entry, Rushbrook said: “We don’t comment on speculation, but it’s the same with all of these series out there.

“It is our responsibility to study them, understand them, and then make decisions about whether or not they make sense.”

The thing is, GM may have bid through Cadillac to partner with Andretti’s longtime outfit. Should this just happen Flag He’ll be watching Ford closely, even if he’s a rusherook shyly plays it now:

Having one of its main competitors in the market racing in Formula 1 would certainly provide some impetus for Ford to take over.

However, Rushbrook felt that what GM did would not strictly dictate Ford’s plans.

Asked if GM’s involvement would change anything for Ford, he said: “Not necessarily. But it will be interesting to watch how that progresses, and whether they make it to the XI.”

I like to imagine Ford rushing into F1 because General Motors is there. The big three are pettiness and jealousy Something wonderful eternal. Technically, the Stellantis was already on the grid, if you count Alfa Romeo. It won’t last for much longer Audi enters the Sauber battleAnd, unfortunately for the Stilants, no one took Alpha seriously anyway.

Fourth gear: Panasonic is eyeing another American manufacturer

If you’re curious about what’s going on in the electric vehicle battery manufacturing space, go there The interview that Bloomberg just published With Panasonic Energy North America President Alan Swan. In short that Panasonic has Its partners diversified Being an All-Tesla company in its early days, it’s going to need more production capacity, just like everyone else. A new plant is likely to come, though Swan won’t say when or where yet:

Could you announce another plant in the US by 2024?

We’re very focused in Kansas, of course, we want to get it right. We’ve taken the technology, but now we’ve really scaled up. That’s what really makes us stand out in the industry: 66 batteries per second, that’s a lot of batteries. That is, 2 billion batteries per year. And we know we can probably do that. So Kansas takes us to the next level.

There was this beauty pageant between Kansas and Oklahoma to win this plant, every state was throwing incentives at you. Is there still potential for a plant in Oklahoma?

We estimate that we’ll grow roughly fourfold by 2030. So yeah, there’s definitely potential for other plants in the US.

You have to respect Panasonic — the company that gave up making televisions to focus on nose hair trimmers and microwaves, all the time. Grow quietly as Tesla did, so much so that they no longer need Tesla. Don’t bet on them.

Fifth gear: American Honda sees a brighter car for 2023

2022 hasn’t been a banner year for Honda’s business in the US, but it has reason to believe it will reach greener pastures by the end of 2023, according to Auto News:

American Honda Motor Company expects to increase its sales volume by 25 percent this year compared to its disappointing performance in 2022, which led to sales of less than one million vehicles in the American market and ranks last among the best manufacturers in the United States.

Honda brand projects will close 2023 around 1.2 million sales, and Acura targets 160,000 units, said Mamadou Diallo, vice president of vehicle sales for American Honda, during a briefing earlier this week.

Diallo, who will assume the expanded role of American Honda’s senior vice president of auto sales when EVP National Operations Dave Gardner retires at the end of March, called the year just ended “frustrating” and said successive challenges prevented a production supply.

The key is that Honda entered 2023 with more inventory and also a plan to build more cars. It will also introduce its first Ultium-based electric SUV this year – an introduction And Acura ZDX – Only for North America.

Diallo said Honda started last year with about 20,000 vehicles in available inventory and hovered in single digits for supply days for most of the year.

Looking ahead, Diallo said the brands are optimistic.

“We started the year with nearly double the inventory available compared to last year and plan to build about 1.3 million units,” Diallo said.

At the heart of what the brand has called “the year of the Honda SUV,” Diallo said 2023 marks “the year of our digital and electrified transformation.”

“This year you will really see the proof points of our smart strategy as we drive into all-electric sales,” he said.

In fact, we are all killing time even he died.

Back: “about 350 feet”

On this day 58 years ago, streaks never looked so good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *