Toyota hybrid cars are selling like crazy because hybrids are the right solution
Last Sunday was Reformation Sunday, the day when the Lutheran side of my family celebrates the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic side of my family quietly complains, which is probably why I feel compelled to preach to the choir today. I don’t have 95 theses this morning, but just two: Hybrids are good and Toyota is right to pursue a strategy of increasing hybrids while not neglecting electric vehicles.
Today’s dump will be (approximately) All about Toyota Because there’s only so much Toyota news to talk about. From news about wage increases to profitability and electric vehicle investments, we’re very interested.
Oh, yeah, I think we’ll also talk about Tesla’s successful lawsuit and the CEO firing because that’s in the news today.
Also side note: Martin Luther would have liked us to call his morning news brief “morning dump” because Martin Luther loved poop jokes. seriously.
Toyota’s hybrids are now as profitable as its gas-powered cars
Toyota released a set of financial reports for the third quarter (Q2 because it runs on a different financial calendar), and you can see most of them here. There is a lot of information, most of it good.
Financially, it looks like the fiscal year ending March 2024 will likely be the best ever if nothing happens in the next fiscal half. In the most recent quarter alone, the company’s net income reached $8.6 billion, compared to about $2.9 billion for the fiscal second quarter (calendar Q3) of last year. Revenue also rose nearly 25% to $76.6 billion.
However, buried in all of this information is an essential piece of information, and it has been nicely summarized by Car News:
Profit parity for hybrids is a big, big, big thing. Toyota hybrids command a small premium over non-hybrids (the base Corolla costs $21,900 and the base Corolla Hybrid starts at $23,300), and that appears to be enough to cover the additional costs. In the example of the Corolla, city mpg jumps from 32 mpg to 53 mpg, which is a significant amount.
While there are some clear advantages to a society with more electric vehicles than gas-powered vehicles, the market simply has not been able to provide the affordable electric vehicles that people want in most parts of the world. For both political and practical reasons, charging infrastructure and incentives to purchase vehicles at a sufficiently low cost have not yet been achieved. Society will reach that point eventually, but the massive electric vehicle program the United States is now implementing has not yet succeeded.
Hybrids are a great interim step, and Toyota has the best hybrid lineup in the business, having gotten off to a great start with the Prius.
Toyota hasn’t completely given up on electric vehicles, and is doubling down on investment in its North Carolina plant
Akio Toyoda remains Toyota’s president, although he is no longer CEO. What he says is important and what sounds like the last 900 years, the late (who Utopia) Patrick George was working on a giant piece on Toyoda Road path He finally published the damn thing, which you can read here, including this fascinating section on Toyoda’s apparent resistance to electricity:
When asked about this, he insisted that he was not against electric cars but had doubts that they could be the only solution to cars’ contribution to climate change. “What we are really fighting is carbon,” he said at Le Mans. “But if I’m asked whether this is the only option, or the only solution to global warming, then I have some questions.”
He said that Toyota operates everywhere in the world. “There are about a billion people among our customer base who do not have enough electricity infrastructure in their daily lives,” he said. “If we say (electric vehicles) are the only option to pursue, what will happen to these people?”
Toyota lowered its guidance for fiscal year 2023, saying it would sell only about 123,000 electric vehicles, well below its initial target of 202,000 electric vehicles. Has the dream of electric cars died? not exactly.
the AP We have a story today from North Carolina about Toyota’s plan to double its investment in its massive battery plant outside Greensboro.
The Japanese automaker expects the new investment will create about 3,000 additional jobs, bringing the total to more than 5,000, when its first U.S. auto battery plant begins operations near Greensboro in 2025. The plant will serve as Toyota’s lithium-ion battery hub. The company said its North American production will be the main supplier for the Kentucky-based factory tasked with building its first American-made electric vehicles.
Toyota’s fourth and largest investment in the North Carolina facility brings its total investment to about $13.9 billion to help achieve its goal of selling between 1.5 million and 1.8 million electric or hybrid vehicles in the United States by 2030. It will also add eight new electric vehicle production lines. And hybrid batteries.
While it will make batteries for hybrid cars, the plan also aims to support the sale of electric vehicles in the United States by being able to take advantage of tax credits. Toyata’s hybrid feature is great, but that doesn’t mean the company can skate forever without competitive electric cars (isn’t Bees Forks that), especially for Lexus, which is losing massive market share to Tesla.
Toyota is reportedly raising the salaries of its North American employees
What a strange coincidence. Just days after the United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement with the Detroit Three automakers that will see huge pay increases and a massive reduction in the time it takes to reach the highest wage level, Toyota is reportedly doing the same.
From a pro-labor site Work notes:
Another reason for the longer contract is that the UAW is planning a push to organize several non-union automakers: Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Honda, Nissan, and others, Fine said. He said: “When we return to the negotiating table in 2028, it will not only be with the Big Three, but with the Big Five or the Big Six.”
Labor Warrants received a letter from a Toyota worker in Alabama the next day, saying management had called an emergency meeting. He said Toyota – clearly frightened – was raising the top wage to $32, cutting the time to get there from eight years to four. Another worker at a Toyota plant in Kentucky said the company is working to increase wages and cut advancement to the top rate in half there as well. The new top rate will rise to $2.94 to $34.80 for production workers and from $3.70 to $43.20 for skilled trades.
If this happened it is just a very strange coincidence.
Tesla wins lawsuit over Autoplio crash
In what could be a good sign of the many legal issues Tesla faces regarding its Autopliot system, a jury has once again decided that Tesla was not responsible for an accident in California:
for every Reuters:
The outcome in civil court shows that Tesla’s arguments are gaining momentum: When something goes wrong on the road, ultimate responsibility falls on drivers.
The 12-member jury announced that it found that the car had no manufacturing defect. The ruling came on the fourth day of deliberations, and the voting result was 9-3.
So, just remember that next time you try to use the assisted driving system. If something goes wrong, it’s your fault.
Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn appears to be being kicked out of his house
Lebanon may not allow the extradition of its citizens, but one of the country’s courts has just ruled that former Nissan-Renault Chairman/CEO Carlos Ghosn cannot continue to live in the house Nissan bought for him.
from Japan Times:
A Lebanese judge decided to expel former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn from his luxurious home, four years after he was accused by an investment company of “trespassing on the property of others,” a judicial official said.
The official added that Ghosn, who resided at the property in Beirut after fleeing prosecution in Japan in 2019, appealed the ruling on Friday. A spokesman for Ghosn confirmed that he had appealed the ruling.
Ghosn and his wife must “vacate the property… within a month,” according to a copy of the decision dated October 16.
Ghosn’s legal team says they have new documents that were not available at trial that will show the house actually belongs to him. It’s frustrating for Ghosn, but we’re sure he can lower the price of the $19 million mansion because we know he’s used to living in cramped spaces.
The big question
Do you think the new Prius is exciting? Also bonus question: Did you get the first shot joke?