One of the most powerful typhoons of the year is barreling toward parts of Japan, including Tokyo. Weather officials say it could dump record amounts of rain. The storm is already battering Chiba Prefecture where violent gusts have torn roofs off homes and left some residents with injuries.
Meteorological Agency officials have classified Typhoon Hagibis as "very strong". The storm is moving northwards over the Pacific towards Japan's main island of Honshu.
TOKYO — Subaru reported a 48% increase in first-quarter operating profit on Monday as global sales grew, led by demand for the Ascent and Forester SUVs in the United States. The smallest of Japan's major automakers posted an operating income of 92.2 billion yen ($870 million) for April-June, versus 62.1 billion yen a year earlier and an average estimate of 65.6 billion yen from eight analysts polled by Refinitiv. Sales in the United States, by far Subaru's biggest market, rose 20%. It accounts for about 60% of Subaru's overall sales. The maker of Legacy sedans and Forester SUV crossovers maintained its forecast for operating income at 260 billion yen for the year to March 2020, up 45% from a year earlier. The previous fiscal year was marred by a string of recalls, production stoppages and inspection improprieties that cut the automaker's earnings in half. Subaru reiterated its annual forecast for global sales of 1.06 million vehicles. It also left unchanged its assumption that the yen will average 110 against the dollar over the course of the fiscal year, versus 111 last year. A stronger currency eats into profits because cars exported from Japan become more expensive and the value of earnings made overseas decreases.
Major automakers on Monday posted higher U.S. new vehicle sales for May, the first increase for 2019 as a strong economy and upbeat consumer sentiment fueled demand. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV,, Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co Ltd all posted sales gains for May compared with the same month in 2018. U.S. new vehicle sales through April had fallen 3%, fueling expectations of a weaker year for automakers in 2019 than last year. Concerns of a downturn have been further heightened by recent threats from U.S. President Donald Trump that he will impose new tariffs on all Mexican imports. Fiat Chrysler (FCA) reported a 2.1% rise in sales, as demand for both light- and heavy-duty pickup trucks remained strong. The Ram pickup, a major profit-driver for FCA, had a 33% gain in sales versus May 2018. FCA and General Motors Co have both launched redesigned pickup trucks. Ford Motor Co has for decades built the single best-selling truck brand in its F-Series trucks, with the Chevy brand a solid No. 2 and Ram a distant third. But in the first quarter of this year, Ram brand trucks outsold Chevrolet-brand trucks. Both GM and Ford report sales quarterly instead of on a monthly basis. Japanese automaker Toyota posted a 3.2% sales increase, boosted by strong demand for its Camry sedans. Nissan said its sales rose 0.1%, driven by SUV and truck sales. The Japanese automaker's sales in the first fourth months of the year had fallen more than the industry average. Nissan has been heavily reliant on consumer discounts and low-margin fleet sales to boost U.S. demand, but has seen its market share drop since 2016. Honda Motor Co Ltd reported a 4.9% drop in sales for May, driven by declining sedan sales. Passenger car sales in the United States have fallen steadily in the last few years as Americans abandon sedans in favor of larger, more comfortable pickup trucks and SUVs, which are also far more profitable for automakers. U.S. auto sales are expected to be about 16.9 million units in 2019, a 2.5% fall from 2018, according to industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.