TOKYO — Panasonic shares fell almost 6.5 percent on Tuesday after the electric vehicle battery maker reported a drop in quarterly earnings and cut its full-year outlook, just as EV partner Tesla branched out in battery tech. The Japanese firm on Monday chopped 9 percent from its operating profit outlook after booking a 19 percent drop in October-December, blaming weak demand for auto components and factory equipment in China, where the economy is slowing. Both figures were far below analyst estimates. Later on Monday, EV maker Tesla said it had agreed to buy U.S. energy storage company Maxwell Technologies for $218 million in an all-stock deal that could help the electric car maker produce batteries that hold more energy and last longer at a time when it needs to cut costs and faces growing competition. Maxwell executives told investors in January that it had developed and patented a "dry electrode" technology that could significantly increase the driving range and reduce the cost of electric vehicle batteries. In a presentation, Maxwell said it expected strategic alliances "within six months" centered around this technology. The company also makes ultracapacitors, which discharge energy faster than batteries and are seen as complementing battery technology. Ultracapacitors, combined with the energy of batteries, can enable rapid response times, function across a broader temperature range and lengthen battery life by up to two times, according to a blog post on Maxwell's website. Volvo-owner Geely Holding Group last May announced a deal with Maxwell and described the company's ultracapacitor technology as helping to deliver "peak power" for hybrid cars. "Tesla needs Maxwell's solvent-free battery electrode manufacturing for a viable path to lower battery costs," said Craig Irwin of Roth Capital Partners. "Real competitors are coming now, so Tesla needs to move fast." Maxwell sells ultracapacitor cells to General Motors and Volkswagen AG subsidiary Lamborghini. Panasonic is the exclusive battery cell supplier for Tesla, which in turn is Panasonic's biggest EV battery client. The Japanese electronics firm also makes types of ultracapacitors. Industry analysts in Japan pointed to Panasonic's outlook as the main source of investor concern on Tuesday, saying the Maxwell deal's impact on Panasonic was as yet unclear."The latest earnings have revealed how tough the situation is for Panasonic," said analyst Masahiko Ishino at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.
The Maxwell deal comes as Panasonic is set to lose its exclusivity with Tesla, whose Chief Executive Elon Musk said the U.S. EV maker plans to source battery cells locally for a new car factory in Shanghai, "most likely from several companies.
Typhoon Kong-rey has become a low pressure system. But weather officials in Japan are still urging people to watch out for strong winds and high waves.
The storm battered southwestern Japan on Saturday. Several people were injured and one died. A man in his 60s lost his life after being crushed by a falling log in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Following the heavy rains in western Japan, questions are beginning to emerge. Some wonder whether people were given enough warning to leave areas threatened by rising waters. Others ask whether the high loss of life could have been avoided.
Muddy waters fill the streets of Ozu City in Ehime Prefecture. Four people died and 4,600 homes were damaged. The waters are believed to have reached up to 4.6 meters, sweeping away everything in their path.
The Federal Trade Commission recently issued warnings to multiple companies including Sony and Nintendo reminding them that stickers on their products that claim that the warranty will be void if they are removed are illegal. The FTC had sent them warning letters earlier this month to bring to their notice that their warranties might be in conflict with U.S. law. Sony has already updated its warranty policies following the warning letter and Nintendo has now done the same.
The companies that received the warning letters from FTC include Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, ASUS, and HTC. The letters were sent to warn them that their warranties which claimed that customers couldn’t use third-party parts, accessories, or that if they removed the warranty stickers might be against the law of the land.
Recently you might have heard that the FTC has actually issued a warning to several companies, reminding them that stickers that claim that warranty is void if they are removed is illegal. One of those companies that was warned by the FTC is Sony and the good news is that the company has been quick to comply with the warnings.
According to reports, it appears that Sony has recently updated its warranty policies to comply with the law. The company has made changes to two of its policies, one of which has to do with the use of unlicensed third-party peripherals, and the other has to do with third-party repairs and the opening of the console in general.
The upgraded 2018 Toyota Kluger range is now on sale in Australia, headlined by the inclusion of active safety technologies like autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive cruise control across the range.
Following in the footsteps of the smaller RAV4 and larger Prado, the popular Kluger is the latest model from the Japanese manufacturer to get the safety suite fitted as standard.