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ZODIAC

Found 18 results

  1. Toyota teams up with Suzuki to crack Indian hybrid market; first new model is compact SUV, people-carrier to follow
  2. Owing to appreciation of Pakistani rupee, IMC decides to pass on the favourable forex impact to its customers
  3. PM Imran Khan directs concerned authorities to get a maximum share for Pakistan in the international auto export market
  4. If you're a fan of the Fast and the Furious movie franchise, you've got to remember the first few movies in the series and how they set the pace for what was to come later. © Universal Pictures The series blasted off with pure exciting street racing content, with the first two movies featuring Vin Diesel's Dom Toretto right at the center of the action along with his best buddy, late actor Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner. In comparison to what it is about now, the initial releases of the franchise were all about winning the race, beating the bad guy, and getting the girl. © Universal Pictures Well, one thing was at the center of it all. A beautiful, powerful nitrous oxide-fitted fast car that would get the job done! And well, the blue-eyed star of the show, Paul Walker, had to have the best pick. Yes, the actor's on-screen character Brian O'Conner drove a bright orange-colored 1994 Toyota Supra, the beauty of which took every viewer's breath away. © Universal Pictures We've got news for you, though. A lucky buyer just purchased it for life. The iconic car, which was used in The Fast and the Furious movie (2001) as well the 2 Fast 2 Furious in 2003, has been sold for a record-breaking price of Rs 4 crores ($550,000) via the Barrett-Jackson market place in the United States. View the full article
  5. The more recent films of the Fast & Furious franchise may have been ludicrous and downright absurd, but for all the original fans of the franchise, there is some good news. The car that Paul Walker was seen driving around in the original The Fast and the Furious is up for grabs. © Universal Pictures The legendary Supra to this day remains to be one of the most iconic cars in film history and was crucial in cementing the reputation of modified JDMs in the global car scene. For the uninitiated, JDMs stand for Japanese Domestic Market cars. © Universal Pictures The Toyota Supra that was used for the film comes in orange, in a shade called Orange Candy, which, back then, was exclusive only to the Lamborghini Diablo. Given that it is the same car that is being auctioned, it still has those green graphics package, on the sides. © Universal Pictures A few similar looking bodyshells were used and destroyed while filming The Fast and the Furious & 2 Fast 2 Furious. However, Barrett-Jackson, the company that is auctioning the car, claims that this isn’t one of those cars with the fake bodyshells, but the actual car. © Barret Jackson Under the hood, we get to see the same set-up that Paul Walker’s Brian O'Conner used in the movie. We get a 2JZ-GTE turbocharged, 3.0-litre, in-line-6 cylinder engine, and a retuned 4-speed automatic transmission. © Barret Jackson As for the body and panels, Bomex body kit, a TRD-styled hood, APR aluminium rear wing, and Dazz Motorsport Racing Hart M5 wheels in 19-inches, and the original custom exhaust system. The car even retains the original camber that it was set up with for the film. © Super Car Blog The black interiors that we saw in the films are the same as well. This particular car was used for a lot of the promotional shots, as well as for shooting a number of the interior shots. © Super Car Blog The car is currently stationed in Scottsdale, Arizona but will be auctioned in Las Vegas next month, between the 17th & the 19th of June. No other details, such as the starting price, reserve or anything pertaining to the auction, are available as of yet. © Barret Jackson In order to prove and maintain the provenance of the car, the winner of the auction will get all related documents and a certificate of authenticity, after the car has been certified by a number of automotive and film experts. © Universal Pictures Given the legacy of the film, and the fact that it was Paul Walker who drove the car, we reckon it would easily fetch half a million dollars. What do you guys think? How much would the iconic car fetch? View the full article
  6. Choosing which car to buy is perhaps one of the hardest decisions most of us make these days. The financials of it are one question; the car you drive says a lot about you. Most of us want it to reflect our personal sense of style. Given how much rides on making the right choice, the vast multitude of options available to Indian consumers these days in each segment, often ends up being a bane rather than a boon. If you have been tearing your hair apart after reading dozens of contradictory reviews, then fear not. As a proud owner of the Toyota Yaris, I am here to help you make a decision by taking you through how I did it. Given that I was moving into a phase of my life and career where I was becoming more confident in expressing myself, I wanted my car to reflect that. The Toyota Yaris caught my eye immediately because its styling was confident yet functional. The sedan looked edgy, but still not totally out-there, which I thought captured the essence of my lifestyle pretty well. Apart from its looks, its interior, comfort, ease of handling and a trouble-free ownership experience were some of the reasons I chose to go with with the Toyota Yaris. 1. Simple, Yet Bold Design LED line guide in tail lamp | Toyota The Toyota Yaris' design is simple yet bold. Thanks to the fact that Toyota has managed to avoid the design excess of its competitors in the segment, the sedan comes across as charming. That is not to say that it's not a head turner. It has distinct design elements, like large projector headlamps and a large trapezoidal front air dam that dominates its face. That, along with the LED line guide in the tail lamp, give the sedan a unique look. 2. Beautiful Inside, And Out Waterfall design dashboard and piano black console | Toyota The first thing that you notice is the beautiful sea of beige inside. Apart from the seats, what also captures your eye is the dash fascia, which sports a piano-black surface with some premium-looking silver buttons. Those, along with a waterfall design dashboard, make this one of the most beautiful cars out there in terms of interior design. 3. No Compromise On Comfort Comfort was one of the biggest factors in my final choice and the Toyota Yaris is second to none on that count. The seats are wide with plenty of leg room and they also come with bottle holders. Additionally, they can also be controlled electronically and offer a good range of adjustments. The multimedia system is even better than what you are likely to find in cars in higher segments. The sedan comes with a 7-inch LED Infotainment and navigation system with gesture control, which helps the travellers choose their entertainment with ease, and without distraction. Gesture-control infotainment | Toyota This time, Toyota has also added a windscreen that's specially designed to keep harmful radiation out. All variants of the model also come with HSEA (IR Cut) Acoustic and Vibration control glasses that keep the ambiance noise pretty low. Another great perk for the summers is that the sedan's air conditioning is top notch and it cools the cabin really fast, thanks to the roof mounted air vents with ambient illumination that circulate the cool air in the rear seats. HSEA (IR Cut) Acoustic and vibration control glasses | Toyota 4. Technologically Superior What sets the Toyota Yaris apart from its competitors is its technological superiority. Toyota has given the sedan a lot of segment-first features including a model class-leading safety kit like ESP, hill-start assist control, traction control, and all four disc brakes. The 7 speed super CVT-i allows for smooth transmission. Standardised 7 SRS airbags and ABS with EBD is available on all variants. All 4 disc brakes | Toyota 7-Speed CVT-i transmission | Toyota 5. Reliable And Trouble-Free Ownership Toyota comes in 6 different colours Being sure that owning a vehicle was going to be a smooth experience was definitely top on my list of priorities while making the selection. That was one of the things that made me gravitate to Toyota. The company is known to give its users a trouble-free experience and it is great to see that despite all the cutting edge technological advancements in the Yaris, Toyota has still been able to make sure that it has retained its reliability. So, buying a car is a personal choice and it will involve different considerations for different people. If you are also looking for something similar to what I was, I would recommend you consider the Toyota Yaris. Looking back, I can say that it is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Test drive for yourself and see, but I can bet you'll fall in love!
  7. Toyota said Wednesday it was investing $1 billion in Asia ride-share company Grab, as the Japanese automaker looks to expand beyond its core business into the "mobility" sector. Photo: fileTOKYO: Toyota said Wednesday it was investing $1 billion in...
  8. Photo: Reuters Uber Technologies is discussing the possibility of installing its self-driving system in Toyota Motor Co (7203.T) vehicles as the US ride-hailing firm seeks to sell its autonomous driving technology to outside companies, the Nikkei reported on Friday. Without citing sources, the Japanese business daily said that the firms are negotiating a possible deal for Toyota to use Uber?s automated driving technology in one of the automaker?s minivan models, and that Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had met with Toyota executives in the United States this week. Toyota, which is developing its own automated driving functions, has said it is open to collaborating with other firms to quickly bring new mobility technologies to market. It already has partnerships with Uber on ride-hailing and development of self-driving systems. ?We regularly exchange information about automated driving with Uber for some time now,? a spokeswoman said, adding that no decisions have been made beyond its existing partnership. In January, the Japanese automaker said it was working with Uber to develop a system of self-driving vehicles for tasks including ride hailing and parcel delivery. Toyota is an investor in Uber, and offers flexible vehicle leasing terms for Uber drivers. It has declined to comment on its size of its stake in the company.
  9. hird-generation humanoid robot T-HR3 developed by Japan´s auto maker Toyota keeps its balance during its performance at the International Robot Exposition 2017. -AFP2 TOKYO: Japanese auto giant Toyota Wednesday showcased a humanoid robot that can mirror its user's movements, a product it says has uses as varied as elderly care and disaster response. The T-HR3 can be controlled by a wearable system that allows users to operate the entire robot in real-time by simply moving their own limbs. It is one of the main attractions at the International Robot Exhibition that opened in Tokyo on Wednesday. Toyota's new robot is the latest in dozens of humanoid models that have been developed recently thanks to rapid technological advances, especially in artificial intelligence. "We are thinking about using this mainly for home elderly care and daily life support," Akifumi Tamaoki, head of Toyota´s Partner Robot division, told AFP. "Technically, this robot could also be used in workplaces, disaster areas and outer space." Robot-makers see big potential for their use in Japan, where the number of elderly people is rapidly growing, causing labour shortages in a country that strictly controls immigration. The T-HR3 has 32 joints and boasts smooth human-like movements. It can also balance itself in one-legged poses. Sensors on the robot can detect how much force it should exert on humans or objects. A head-mounted display allows the user to see from the perspective of the black-and-white prototype, which is 5.1 feet tall and weighs 75 kilogrammes. Toyota has no immediate plans to sell the T-HR3, whose development costs were not disclosed. In 2004, the company unveiled a trumpet-playing robot - its first humanoid machine - in a bid to catch up with robot technology frontrunners like Honda and Sony. Three years later, the carmaker made another robot that could play the violin as part of an effort to develop futuristic machines capable of assisting humans in Japan's greying society. The country's most famous robot is arguably Asimo, an astronaut-looking humanoid developed by Honda which has been hired out as an office servant and has even popped up to offer toasts at Japanese diplomatic functions. Separately, Japan's SoftBank has also developed a talking human-like robot called "Pepper", which has been introduced into workplaces around the world.
  10. MOSCOW : Russia?s technical safety watchdog Rosstandart said on Wednesday it had been informed by Toyota Motor Corp about the recall of 9,310 Toyota Hilux cars produced between Sept. 2, 2011 and Nov. 28, 2014. The recall is due to possible air bag faults, it said.
  11. A man takes a photo of a Toyota Motor Corp's Corolla car in Caracas, Venezuela, October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello CARACAS: Toyota Motor Corp on Wednesday unveiled a new model of its Corolla vehicle that will be assembled in Venezuela, marking a bright note for a local auto industry struggling to survive amid the country?s deep economic recession. Toyota said it was currently producing 20 units per month of the new Corolla, which will be sold only in Venezuela, and expected to raise production in 2018. Company executives acknowledged that demand for cars in Venezuela has fallen steadily amid the crisis. ?We know the current state of the industry,? Toyota Venezuela president Hiroyuki Ueda said at a press conference to present the new vehicle. ?However, we have overcome obstacles, we have a new Corolla ? and this is for us a reason for celebration.? The once-thriving Venezuelan automotive sector went from selling almost 500,000 units a year in 2007 to about 3,000 vehicles last year, according to the country?s auto industry association. Toyota?s existing facility in Venezuela employs 1,100 staff and has a capacity of 22,000 units per year but is currently assembling only 100 units per month and expects to close out 2017 with an output of only 1,200 units. Close to 100 multinationals remain in the country with operations at a minimum due to lack of raw materials, resulting primarily from a shortage of dollars caused a dysfunctional currency control system. Several automakers including Toyota sell cars in dollars, a practice the government prohibit for most items but has specifically approved for the auto industry in order to allow them to import assembly parts without going through the exchange controls. Toyota will sell two versions of its Corolla: a family model that sells only in local bolivar currency and a luxury edition that will be sold in a combination of bolivars and dollars at an approximate cost of around $30,000. Wilfredo Valdivia ? Toyota?s institutional relations manager in Venezuela ? said the subsidiary uses revenue from the export of locally-manufactured parts to help maintain operations. ?Our priority and philosophy is to maintain production,? Valdivia told Reuters. ?We are working at very low volumes, but we have made a commitment.?
  12. Do you think Bugatti is the most valuable car brand in the world? Think again. Pagani? Rolls Royce? Lamborghini? No. Nein. Nada. It's Toyota. What? Yes, it's Toyota, says brand value analysis major, Interbrand. Interbrand's list of top 2017 global brands based on their market value is out and we are going to list out the top 15 automobile brands that are on it, having already told you that Toyota ranks number one in the automobile space. We'll get to the nitty gritties in a bit, have a look at the list first and we're sure your view of the automobile industry will take a hit. 1. Toyota Brand value TODAY: $50,291 million Brand value 2016: $53,580 million Growth: -6% © Facebook Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 2. Mercedes Benz Brand value TODAY: $47,829 million Brand value 2016: $43,490 million Growth: 10% © Mercedes Benz India Facebook 3. BMW Brand value TODAY: $41,521 million Brand value 2016: $41,535 million Growth: 0% © BMW India Facebook 4. Honda Brand value TODAY: $22,696 million Brand value 2016: $22,106 million Growth: 3% © Carguideh 5. Ford Brand value TODAY: $13,643 million Brand value 2016: $12,962 million Growth: 5% © Ford India 6. Hyundai Brand value TODAY: $13,193 million Brand value 2016: $12,547 million Growth: 5% © India 7. Audi Brand value TODAY: $12,023 million Brand value 2016: $11,799 million Growth: 2% © Audi India Facebook 8. Nissan Brand value TODAY: $11,534 million Brand value 2016: $11,066 million Growth: 4% © Nissan 9. Volkswagen Brand value TODAY: $11,522 million Brand value 2016: $11,436 million Growth: 1% © VW 10. Porsche Brand value TODAY: $10,129 million Brand value 2016: $9,537 million Growth: 6% © Porsche India Facebook 11. Kia Brand value TODAY: $6,681 million Brand value 2016: $6,326 million Growth: 6% © Kia Facebook 12. Land Rover Brand value TODAY: $6,095 million Brand value 2016: 5,696 million Growth: 7% © Land Rover India Facebook 13. Mini Brand value TODAY: $5,114 million Brand value 2016: $5,696 million Growth: 3% © Mini India Facebook 14. Ferrari Brand value TODAY: $4,876 million New Entrant on the list © Ferrari Facebook 15. Tesla Brand value TODAY: $4,009 million Brand value 2016: $4,011 million Growth: 0% © Tesla Facebook Now to the nitty gritties. If you've been following Interbrand's valuation, you'll know that Toyota has been a top ranker on the global automobile brands list for a while. It ranks sixth on Interbrand's global best brands list, with brands like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Amazon and Samsung, ahead of it. Even though it has dropped a couple of notches on the list this year, it is still the most valuable automobile brand in the world, today, and not just according to Interbrand, but also market analysis firms like BrandZ and Millward Brown. Close, but not close enough, are the brands Mercedes and BMW, the former having bumped up by a few thousand mils in the last one year and the latter by a few hundred. The exciting new entry on the list, however, is Ferrari that ranked 88 overall and surpassed Tesla in the fight to the 15 most valuable automobile brands, pegged at 14. Toyota has been keeping marque automobile makers like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Land Rover, Mini and Tesla at several arms distance and for good reason. The Japanese multinational has provided satisfactory services to its client base, making it a popular choice to this day. So we suppose making bespoke automobiles or speed road rockets aren't everything, after all? Did this motivate you to buy a brand new Toyota?
  13. The Toyota Motor Corp. company logo is pictured at the company's plant in Onnaing, near Valenciennes, France, May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Files MEXICO CITY: Toyota Motor Corp on Friday said it planned to build pickup trucks and possibly SUVs at a new plant in Mexico, a move that followed threats by US President Donald Trump to penalize the company if it built small cars south of the border. Toyota initially planned to produce Corolla sedans at the plant it is building in the central state of Guanajuato but will now switch production of the small cars and a new Mazda SUV crossover to a new assembly plant planned for the United States. Trump in January had threatened to impose a hefty fee on the world's largest automaker if it built Corollas for the US market in Mexico. Toyota de Mexico spokesman Luis Lozano said the global auto maker would study producing SUVs in Guanajuato, in addition to the Tacoma truck model. "We're going to concentrate only on pickups at the beginning and are studying the potential for SUVs in the future," he said, adding that trucks and SUVs represented some 65 percent of the North American market. The decision came as Toyota planned to take a 5 percent share of smaller Japanese rival Mazda Motor Corp as part of an alliance that will see the two build a $1.6 billion US assembly plant and work together on electric vehicles. A move to produce SUVs in Guanajuato would mark a continuation of a "burgeoning trend" of Mexican manufacturing meeting quality standards needed to produce more expensive vehicles, said Christopher Wilson of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. "Instead of building lower value cars that generally offer smaller margins in Mexico and keeping high-value SUV and luxury model production in the US, they are moving in the opposite direction," said Wilson, deputy director of the think tank's Mexico institute. "The moves by Toyota seem to be designed to reduce political pressure on the company from President Trump," he added.
  14. Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda and Mazda Motor President Masamichi Kogai shake hands at a joint news conference in Tokyo, Japan August 4, 2017. Photo: Reuters TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp plan to build a $1.6 billion US assembly plant, the two said on Friday, as part of an alliance that will also see the Japanese automakers jointly develop electric vehicle technologies. The two will take small stakes in each other as part of the tie-up: Toyota, the world's second-largest automaker by vehicle sales last year, will take a five per cent share of Mazda, extending its dominance in Japan's auto sector. Mazda will take a 0.25 per cent share of its larger rival. The plant, something of a surprise at a time of overcapacity in the US market, will be a boost to US President Donald Trump, who campaigned on promises to increase manufacturing and expand employment for American autoworkers. The plant will be capable of producing 300,000 vehicles a year, with production divided between the two automakers, and employ about 4,000 people. It will start operating in 2021. Trump welcomed the move in a tweet, terming it a 'great investment': The electric vehicles cooperation, meanwhile, comes as the tightening of global emissions regulations prompts more automakers to develop battery powered cars, as the industry struggles with hefty research costs and intense competition from technology companies over technology like self-driving cars. As part of the agreement, Toyota and Mazda will also work together to develop in-car information technologies and automated driving functions. Toyota, Japan's biggest auto company, has been forging alliances with smaller Japanese rivals for several years, effectively engineering a loose consolidation of the Japanese auto sector. It already owns a 16.5 per cent stake in Subaru Corp, Japan's No. 6 automaker, with which it also has a development partnership. Toyota is also courting compact car maker Suzuki Motor Corp to cooperate on R&D and parts supply as Toyota seeks to tap its smaller rival's expertise in emerging Asian markets. A stake in Mazda may also prevent future incursions by tech companies, one analyst said. "For a technology company which lacks the expertise in making cars, Mazda could look like a very interesting acquisition. They're very good, they're not too expensive. Maybe Toyota realises this," CLSA managing director Chris Richter said. "By buying a five per cent stake, Toyota takes Mazda off the table rather than having it sit out there like a free agent which could someday be used against them." Mazda car mechanic works at a garage affiliated with its dealership in Tokyo, Japan, February 16, 2017. Photo: Reuters Corolla production shift Mazda stands to gain from a deal that gives the small automaker a production foothold in the United States. At the moment, Mazda ships all vehicles sold in the country, its biggest market, from its plants in Japan and Mexico. It also gets a boost in electric cars. With an R&D budget of around 140 billion yen ($1.27 billion) this year, a fraction of Toyota's 1 trillion yen, Mazda has said that it lacks the funds to develop electric cars on its own, a view shared by Subaru and Suzuki. "Mazda needs electrification technology. In the past they've pooh-poohed EVs, they've felt that they can make internal combustion engines more efficient, but the bottom line is that globally you need to have this technology," said Janet Lewis, head of Asia transportation research at Macquarie Securities. Mazda, whose annual global vehicle sales are one-eighth that of Toyota, caters to a specific audience largely in North America with its design-conscious sedans and SUVs, and has been focusing on developing more fuel-efficient gasoline engines. The automakers plan to produce Toyota Corollas and a new Mazda SUV crossover at the new plant. Toyota initially had been planning to produce Corollas at its new $1 billion plant currently under construction in Mexico, but this will shift to the United States, and the automaker will instead produce its Tacoma truck model in Mexico. Toyota has set a goal for all of its vehicles to be zero emission by 2050. Last year it established a division to develop full-sized EVs, shifting gears after long favouring EVs only for short-distance commuting given their limited driving range and lengthy charging time.
  15. The electric i-Road.Photo: Toyota Motors TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp is working on an electric car powered by a new type of battery that significantly increases driving range and reduces charging time, aiming to begin sales in 2022, the Chunichi Shimbun daily reported on Tuesday. Toyota's new electric car, to be built on an all-new platform, will use all-solid-state batteries, allowing it to be recharged in just a few minutes, the newspaper said, without citing sources. By contrast, current electric vehicles (EVs), which use lithium-ion batteries, need 20-30 minutes to recharge even with fast chargers and typically have a range of just 300-400 kilometres (185-250 miles). Toyota has decided to sell the new model in Japan as early as 2022, the paper said. Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi said the company would not comment on specific product plans but added that it aimed to commercialise all-solid-state batteries by the early 2020s. Japan's biggest automaker is looking to close the gap with EV leaders such as Nissan Motor Co and Tesla Inc as battery-powered cars gain traction around the globe as a viable emission-free alternative to conventional cars. Whether Toyota will be able to leapfrog its rivals remains to be seen, however, as mass production requires a far more stringent level of quality control and reliability. "There's a pretty long distance between the lab bench and manufacturing," said CLSA auto analyst Christopher Richter. "2022 is ages away, and a lot can change in the meantime." How quickly the new EVs will catch on would also depend largely on battery costs. Having long touted hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and plug-in hybrids as the most sensible technology to make cars greener, Toyota last year said it wanted to add long-range EVs to its line-up and set up a new in-house unit, headed by President Akio Toyoda, to develop and market EVs. Toyota is reportedly planning to begin mass-producing EVs in China, the world's biggest auto market, as early as in 2019, although that model would be based on the existing C-HR sports utility vehicle and use lithium-ion batteries. Other automakers such as BMW are also working on developing all-solid-state batteries, eyeing mass production in the next 10 years. Solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes rather than liquid ones, making them safer than lithium-ion batteries currently on the market.
  16. SAN JOSE: Nvidia Corp announced a partnership with Toyota Motor Corp on Wednesday, saying the Japanese car maker would use Nvidia's artificial intelligence technology to develop self-driving vehicle systems planned for the next few years. Toyota will use Nvidia's Drive PX artificial intelligence platform for its autonomous vehicles planned for market introduction, Nvidia Chief Executive Jensen Huang said in his opening keynote at the company's GPU Technology Conference in San Jose. Nvidia came to prominence in the gaming industry for designing graphics processing chips, but in recent years has been a key player in the automotive sector for providing the so-called "brain" of the autonomous vehicle. Nvidia, which also has partnerships with Audi and Mercedes, is among the more popular technology partners in the self-driving car race. Its partnership with Toyota is the latest in a string of alliances between tech companies, automakers and suppliers in the fast-growing sector. Nvidia's Drive PX supercomputer fuses incoming data from the car's hardware such as cameras and radar and uses artificial intelligence to help the car understand and react to its environment. "We're talking about not just development now but the introduction of vehicles into the market," said Danny Shapiro, Nvidia's senior director of automotive. "Now we have the biggest (automaker) in Japan using our Drive PX platform." In January, Nvidia and Audi said the German automaker would use the Drive PX to help it put autonomous vehicle on the road starting in 2020. Nvidia is also co-developing with Mercedes a project to come to market within the next 12 months, both companies said in January. Toyota, which last year set up a U.S.-based Toyota Research Institute (TRI) to focus on AI and robotics, envisions a dual-track development of autonomous technology. It is simultaneously developing full self-driving cars while also working on what it calls "guardian angel" partially autonomous technology that may still require involvement from drivers.
  17. TOKYO: Toyota on Wednesday reported its first drop in annual net profit for five years, while it unexpectedly warned that earnings would fall again owing to pricey US customer incentives and a forecast pick up in the yen. The company´s top executive also repeated concerns that it was getting harder for Japan´s biggest automaker to keep profits buoyant as sales top out around 10 million vehicles annually. The downbeat prediction underscores how the country´s automakers have relied heavily on a slump in the yen in recent years. But the currency´s sharp gains in 2016 -- largely driven by Brexit and tumbling world equity markets -- took a bite out of Toyota´s latest results. On Wednesday, the Corolla and Prius hybrid maker warned it expected more forex pain, pushing down profits again in the current fiscal year to March. Meanwhile, customer incentives in the lucrative North American market hammered Toyota´s operating profit in the region. US auto sales have been sputtering, forcing automakers to boost incentives to land customers -- something Toyota´s top US executive has warned is unsustainable. "Incentives are trending upward and competition is becoming extremely fierce," Executive Vice President Osamu Nagata told a press briefing in Tokyo. "We don´t want to get involved in excessive incentives." Overall, Toyota posted a net profit of 1.83 trillion yen ($16 billion) on slightly lower revenue of 27.6 trillion yen in the recently ended year to March. That is down more than 20 percent from a record 2.31 trillion yen net profit the previous year. Toyota, which lost its crown last year to Volkswagen as the world´s top-selling automaker, expects a net profit of 1.5 trillion yen in the year to March 2018 -- way off market expectations of around 1.9 trillion yen. ´Cash cow´ Toyota´s latest annual vehicle sales ticked up to 10.25 million units from 10.09 million units. Demand in North America remained flat, while Toyota registered a sales pick-up in Europe, Japan and the rest of Asia. Unit sales dropped in Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East. The company launched an internal restructuring last year to make it leaner and boost profits, but CEO Akio Toyoda said Wednesday the firm had far to go in overhauling itself. "The main problem is that Toyota has become too big...Profits are set to decline for two years so we´ve lost twice in a row," he told reporters. Separately, the automaker announced it would buy back as much 250 billion yen ($2.2 billion) of its own shares, which tends to boost a stock´s value. "Japan´s auto sector saw ups and downs in its earnings as the yen fluctuated this fiscal year -- foreign exchange will continue to be a major factor for the industry," said Satoru Takada, a Tokyo-based analyst at research firm TIW, before the results were published. "There is also a concern that demand in the cash cow North American market may have peaked as competition there intensified. "The Chinese market is growing thanks to tax cuts but the pace is slowing," he added. Weakness in the yen inflates the value of profits that Japanese firms earn abroad. This past fiscal year has seen sharp moves in the currency, with it surging after Britain´s shock vote to exit the European Union boosted demand for the safe haven asset. The trend briefly reversed course after billionaire Donald Trump´s November US presidential election win boosted the dollar against the yen and other currencies. Japan´s auto industry is facing uncertainty over Trump´s drive to support US firms over foreign imports, a stance that has raised fears of a global trade war. He has targeted Toyota with strong criticism of its ongoing project to build a new factory in Mexico, threatening it with painful tariffs. Nissan reports its annual earnings on Thursday. Honda last month said its annual net profit jumped nearly 80 percent, largely owing to a drop in costs tied to a massive recall of airbags made by key supplier Takata.
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