Filed under: Car Buying , Chevrolet , Ford , Mitsubishi , Toyota , Volvo , Earnings/Financials We all remember the financial crisis that began several years back. At its core was a splurge of subprime lending for housing loans. The housing bubble burst, triggering a collapse of the mortgage-backed securities market. Apparently, those types of loans still exist in the automotive industry, and the market share for these types of “nonprime, subprime, and deep subprime,” loans has grown 13.6 percent compared to the third quarter a year ago. According to an Automotive News report, high-risk lending expanded to 24.8 percent of total loans in Q3, up from 21.9 percent for this time last year. As this level increased, average credit scores of borrowers dropped to 755, down from 763 a year ago. In that time, the average financing amount increased $90 per vehicle, to $25,963. At 818, Volvo maintains the highest per-owner credit score, while Mitsubishi has the lowest, at 694. The highest rate of borrowers was at Toyota , with 14 percent of the market, followed by Ford with 13.1 percent and Chevrolet at 11.1. Part of the growth in lending is the willingness to offer longer-term loans.
Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Nissan , Toyota No surprise here. Both Nissan and Toyota have moved to cut production in Japan , according to Reuters . Nissan has made it clear that it will will drop capacity from the 1.35 million units produced in 2011 to 1.15 million in 2013. In 2012, Nissan expects to produce 1.22 million vehicles in its home country, though production is expected to increase in countries like China , Brazil and Russia to help offset the drop. The report says Nissan has already stopped production on two lines at its Oppama plant, and the manufacturer has plans to stop production of the Tiida in Japan altogether. The story is much the same with Toyota. The manufacturer has announced that by 2014, it will cut production in Japan by around 10 percent to 3.1 million vehicles. Before the financial crisis, Toyota produced 3.9 million units domestically. But that was when it still made financial sense to build machines in Japan and export them around the world. Japan has seen its currency strengthen against the dollar, making exports less and less financially viable.
Filed under: Toyota , Earnings/Financials Now that the title of world’s largest maker has become a clear and eager battle, we can expect more regular updates on the progress of the combatants. Bloomberg reports that Toyota snagged the #1 crown in Q1, taking it away from General Motors with 2.49 million units sold across its five brands compared to 2.28 million for GM. Volkswagen was just another tenth down at 2.19 million units sold. What all three might appreciate even more than the crown – except for VW, who is monomaniacal about the No. 1 tag – is that sales volumes and profitability are up, at least in America. Toyota’s sales rebound from the catastrophes of last year (and indeed, the last few years) is being underlined by its performance here, where the Prius Plug-In is the third-best seller against a background of the nation’s best car sales market in five years . Even with double its usual fleet sales in Q1, Toyota expects this financial year’s profits to double . The year isn’t over yet and it remains close, but for now it looks like there’ll be good news for everyone. Well, until 2016, when Volkswagen is predicted to vanquish all challengers at the top of the podium, two years ahead of its own ridiculously ambitious schedule. Toyota takes title of World’s Largest Automaker…
Filed under: Marketing/Advertising , Mercedes-Benz , Nissan , Toyota , Earnings/Financials , Ferrari Automakers fared extremely well in Interbrands’ Best Global Brands 2011 Report. The study, which ranks the financial strength of all kinds of brands around the world, was topped by Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Google and General Electric. Most automakers either held fast or moved up in the top 100, with the exception of Ferrari , which fell from 91 to 99. Despite having a rough row to hoe these last two years, Toyota still leads the automaker pack on the list, sitting tight this year at number 11, after dropping from eighth last year , followed closely at 12 by Mercedes-Benz . Nissan popped back on to the list this year, making a surprise comeback at 90 after a four-year absence. According to Interbrands, both Nissan and Toyota showed enough resilience in the face of both the earthquake and Toyota’s quality control issues that their brand value actually increased for 2011. Funnily enough, Ford was the only one of the Detroit automakers to make the list. Others on the list included BMW , which held fast at 15, Honda , which jumped one place to 19, Volkswagen which climbed from 53 to 47, Ford , which held fast at 50. Audi and Hyundai both moved up four places, into 59 and 61, respectively. Porsche held its footing at 72, while Nissan and Ferrari brought up the rear.