Toyota's CEO and grandson of the company Akio Toyoda won't brake for anything, and he has been able to pull the company back from a series of misfortunes to help it retake its position as the world's number one carmaker. Toyota has innovated its way back to the top of the class, with bold designs and a weak yen boosting profit. But its export-dependence and weakness in Southeast Asia could see it quickly dethroned.
Even though U.S. auto sales are close to returning to pre-recession levels, don't expect to see a new Ford factory anytime soon. Jim Tetreault, Ford's North American manufacturing chief, says his mandate is to squeeze more production out of existing plants to avoid the high cost of new bricks and mortar. Some plants are operating near capacity.
General Motors will keep the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon names when it rolls out redesigned midsize pickup trucks next year. The new trucks will be markedly different from the current models, with the Colorado targeted toward people who spend time outdoors and the Canyon aimed at professional buyers, Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann said Thursday at an auto industry conference.
Electric car maker Tesla reported a narrower loss for the second quarter on Wednesday, sparking an after-hours rally in its stock. The Palo Alto, Calif., company reported after the close of trading on Wall Street that it lost $30.5 million, or 26 cents per share, in the April-June period. That compares with a loss of $105.6 million, or $1 per share, a year earlier.
The auto industry says people under 34 are gradually starting to buy cars again as their economic circumstances improve. After the Great Recession, sales of cars to young people dropped significantly. Fewer of them even bothered to get drivers licenses. Some experts surmised that the group lost interest in cars because of the prevalence of social media.
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in June to its lowest level in more than 3 ½ years. Exports rose to all-time high and imports declined, signs that economic growth could be stronger than previously thought. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the June deficit fell 22.4 percent to $34.2 billion.
Spirit AeroSystems Holdings said Tuesday that it plans to shed its operations in Oklahoma and postpone filing its second-quarter earnings report. Shares of the Wichita, Kan., aircraft parts maker fell 8 percent following the announcement before regaining some of the loss.
Chrysler's manufacturing chief said Monday that a new midsize car should hit dealerships on time next year, following costly delays with recent product launches. Vice President Mauro Pino said the new model, a sorely needed replacement for the aging Chrysler 200, should reach showrooms as scheduled in the first quarter. The new car is scheduled to reach dealerships sometime in the first quarter of 2014.
“It’s a great way to start the second half of 2013,” says Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the ISM Business Survey Committee. “I think it’s a very positive and well-balanced report in terms of all of the underlying metrics. Things are pointing in a very favorable direction right now.”
Back in January 2010, President Barack Obama set a lofty goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years. With just 18 months to go to 2015, that target seems to be slipping beyond reach and has vanished from White House talking points. Blame tepid U.S. manufacturing growth, the lingering weak global economy, and a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes it harder to sell American goods and services overseas.
Robust hiring in July would mark a fourth straight month of solid gains, an encouraging sign for a U.S. economy that is still struggling with high unemployment. Economists predict that employers added 183,000 jobs — a figure that would show that businesses are growing more confident despite weak economic growth.
Pickup trucks led the charge in July, but strong sales of small cars show that demand for new vehicles is broad — and not slowing down. Car sales grew in the first six months of this year, but not at the blistering pace of trucks and SUVs. Through June, full-size pickups were up 22.5 percent over the year before, while cars were up 5 percent.
U.S. factories revved up production, hired more workers and received a surge of new orders in July, helping them expand at the fastest pace in two years. The gains suggest manufacturing is rebounding and could provide a spark to economic growth.
Chinese manufacturing remained weak last month with small and midsized private businesses suffering a bigger share of the pain, two surveys indicated Thursday, adding to an uncertain outlook for the world's No. 2 economy. The official China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing's manufacturing index strengthened slightly to 50.3 from June's 50.1.
Dell's board rejected CEO Michael Dell's attempt to change the voting rules for his bid to buy the slumping personal computer maker, a decision that is likely to doom the deal. But the endangered buyout could still get a reprieve if Michael Dell and his allies accept a counterproposal that would extend the voting period for a third time and allow a bigger pool of shareholders to cast ballots.
A key government report and a statement from the Federal Reserve made clear Wednesday that the U.S. economy still needs help. The economy grew at a lackluster 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the Commerce Department said. That was better than a revised 1.1 percent rate for the first quarter but still far too sluggish to quickly reduce unemployment.
Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. said Wednesday that second-quarter profit soared 79 percent on higher sales. The company's shares, which had already nearly doubled this year, climbed again in after-hours trading. The gun maker credited the "current political environment" for creating strong demand for guns.
A small business star will be born during a commercial break in Super Bowl XLVIII. A company yet to be selected will have its own 30-second ad during the game, giving it the kind of exposure usually reserved for mega-brands like Budweiser and Chevrolet.
America's third-largest automaker said Tuesday that its sales picked up in the second quarter thanks to strong U.S. demand for trucks and SUVs. But the company cut its target for full-year sales and profit, blaming persistent problems as it adds more shifts and ramps up production of vehicles like the Ram pickup and the Jeep Cherokee small SUV.
The government says the U.S. economy grew at a much faster pace last year than previously estimated. The revised growth figures signal a more sustainable economic recovery and help explain why job growth has accelerated this year. The economy expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate in 2012, up from a previous estimate of 2.2 percent.
German automaker Volkswagen AG says net profit fell 50 percent in the second quarter compared to the previous year, when earnings were boosted by a one-time accounting plus related to its takeover of Porsche. Excluding the Porsche effect, the company's operating earnings rose 1.8 percent in what it called "a difficult market environment," beating analyst estimates.
Ford soon will offer a natural gas version of its F-150 pickup truck, the most popular vehicle in America. The company is the first Detroit automaker with that option in a light-duty pickup truck. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler already have natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks.
Americans' confidence in the economy fell only slightly in July but stayed close to a 5 ½-year high. The report shows consumers remain upbeat about the outlook for job growth later this year. Consumers' confidence in the economy is watched closely because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. It surged in June, coinciding with a stronger job market.
Japan's industrial output fell in June for the first time in five months, the government said Tuesday as it released data highlighting the fragility of the recovery in the world's No. 3 economy. Manufacturing slipped 3.3 percent from the month before in June and was 4.8 percent lower than a year before, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.
With the return of the Datsun, Nissan is making aggressive moves to expand its markets, and the latest numbers show that business for the automaker has been "pretty good." Nissan's quarterly net profits are on the rise, beating forecasts. But here are three reasons why Japan's number two automaker isn't out of the woods yet.