Toyota said on Sunday it was setting up a research institute in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University to study car technology using hydrogen power and other green technologies that could ease environmental problems in China. The initiative, outlined by Toyota's President and Chief Executive Akio Toyoda in a speech at Tsinghua University, is part of the Japanese carmaker's efforts to share more technology with China as it seeks to expand its business in the country by beefing up manufacturing capacity and distribution channels, a source close to Toyota said. The Tsinghua-Toyota Joint Research Institute will conduct research into cars and new technology to solve environmental problems in China, including reducing traffic accidents, Toyota said in a statement. The institute will "cooperate in research not only related to cars for Chinese consumers, but also in research related to active utilization of hydrogen energy that can help solve China's energy problems," the company said. The move dovetails with Toyota's announcement this month that it would offer carmakers and suppliers around the world free access to nearly 24,000 patents for electric vehicle technologies. Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi told Reuters earlier this month that the automaker intended to become a tier 2 supplier of hybrid systems and that it had already received enquiries from more than 50 companies. (Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing; Editing by Susan Fenton)
Remember the Honda Element? It was a seriously quirky and boxy crossover that served as a predecessor to the HR-V. Its styling was meant to be inspired by lifeguard stations, while its bi-parting doors provided wide access into the cabin, eliminating the need for B-pillars.
The Lexus RC F could be considered as a bit of old school compared to its rivals, such as the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 S. After all, it eschews any kind of forced induction in favor of a big, old-school naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8. But is this a bad thing?
MARYSVILLE, Ohio — Honda is slowing production of Accord sedans as car buyers continue to favor SUVs and trucks. The Japanese automaker says it will temporarily idle a second-shift production line in August at its Marysville, Ohio, assembly plant. The shift is expected to resume production in several years. Honda says the line being shut down produces about 55,000 vehicles a year, most of which are Accords. A company spokeswoman says that there will be no layoffs, but that Honda will offer voluntary buyouts to some employees. Honda says the reduction also will affect production at its engine and transmission plants in Ohio. Sales of the Accord this year are up 4.6% through March but fell nearly 10% last year. The Accord is a perennial favorite of consumers and automotive journalists alike, and the new generation that debuted in the 2018 model year has drawn particular acclaim. Trucks and SUVs have made up 70% of U.S. new vehicle sales this year.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Daimler is looking to make 6 billion euros ($6.75 billion) in cost cuts and efficiency gains by 2021 at Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and a further 2 billion euros at its Daimler Trucks division, Manager Magazin said on Thursday. Around 10,000 jobs will be cut at Daimler, the business-focused magazine said, without citing sources. The separations will likely be voluntary, as Daimler has previously ruled out layoffs until the end of 2020. Daimler declined to comment on the cost savings figure and on Manager Magazin's report. The magazine said the savings are being sought by Daimler's Ola Kaellenius, who will become CEO in May. Daimler said in February it would pursue cost saving measures after fourth-quarter operating profit plunged 22 percent, hit by trade wars, rising costs for developing electric cars and an industry downturn. Manager Magazin said around 30,000 Mercedes-Benz cars with faulty vehicle electronics were produced at its plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, requiring expensive reworking which was causing production delays. Those delays had led to a revenue shortfall of around 2 billion euros and could depress first quarter earnings by up to half a billion euros, the report said. Daimler is due to release first quarter earnings on April 26. Manager Magazin also said Daimler plans to become a carbon neutral company by 2040, ensuring that all new cars, production methods and suppliers work in ways which do not produce carbon dioxide emissions. Separately, Kaellenius will not renew common projects with French carmaker Renault and Nissan, letting an alliance between the carmakers lapse, the magazine said. The Infiniti Q30 and QX30 are built on a Mercedes platform. Mercedes plans to explore more collaboration with Geely, which is Daimler's biggest shareholder with a 9.7 percent stake.
SAN FRANCISCO — Uber's autonomous vehicle unit has raised $1 billion from a consortium of investors including SoftBank Group, giving the company a much-needed funding boost for its pricey self-driving ambitions on the eve of its public stock offering. Uber Technologies said on Thursday that the investment valued its Advanced Technologies Group, which works to develop autonomous driving technology, at $7.25 billion. SoftBank will invest $333 million from its $100 billion Vision Fund, while Toyota and automotive supplier Denso Corp will combined invest $667 million. Reuters had reported in March talks of the investment in ATG, which has locations in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. The funding allows Uber to transfer some of the substantial cost of developing self-driving cars onto outside investors. That is likely to appease some investor concerns over Uber's spending on the autonomous unit, which has topped $1 billion since the program started in 2016. The business unit brings in no meaningful revenue for Uber, which last year lost $3.03 billion. The company is not even offering free rides in the robot cars to passengers, like some of its rivals are, following a fatal crash last year in Arizona involving an Uber self-driving SUV. Uber released its IPO filing this month and is preparing to launch is "roadshow," when it will pitch its company prospective investors, the week of April 29, setting up for an early May debut on the New York Stock Exchange. Uber is expected to raise $10 billion at a $90 billion to $100 billion valuation, at least an 18 percent jump from its current $76 billion valuation. As part of the deal, ATG becomes its own legal entity but remains under the control of Uber with its financial performance folded into Uber's. A new ATG board will be formed, with six seats from Uber, one from SoftBank and one from Toyota. Eric Meyhofer, currently the head of ATG, will take the title of CEO and report to the new board. Such sizable deals are unusual for companies so close to an IPO, because bringing in large new investors changes the company's capital structure. The deal, however, will almost certainly require approval from the inter-agency regulatory group called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). A law enacted last year expands that group's powers to review minority stakes by foreign investors in startups with certain sensitive technologies, and self-driving technology is widely considered to have defense applications. SoftBank's investment in General Motors' self-driving car unit Cruise is still under CFIUS review and is likely weeks away from a decision, even though that investment was announced more than a year ago.