Toyota Is Happy To Talk Some Shit About Tesla

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Toyota is feeling saucy over Tesla, GM will import big SUVs into China for the first time, and Honda is forecasting big profits. That and more in The Morning Shift for November 6, 2020.


1st Gear: I Have Always Liked Akio Toyoda

I like him even better when he’s talking shit about Tesla. This is for no other reason than an insatiable need for messy drama. Toyoda, of course, is the president of Toyota and grandson of its founder and a seemingly fun guy. He had the following to say about Tesla, via Bloomberg:

“Tesla says that their recipe will be the standard in the future, but what Toyota has is a real kitchen and a real chef,” Toyoda, 64, said during an online briefing on Friday after more than doubling the company’s operating profit forecast for the current fiscal year.

Tesla overtook Toyota as the world’s most valuable automaker in July, thanks to investor enthusiasm for next-generation electric vehicles. Indeed, Tesla is now worth more than Toyota and Japan’s six other major car manufacturers combined, Toyoda pointed out. That’s despite the fact that Tesla sold about 367,500 vehicles, or 3.4 percent of Toyota’s output of 10.74 million units, last year.

“We are losing when it comes to the share price,” the grandson of Toyota’s founder said. “But when it comes to products, we have a full menu that will be chosen by customers.”


“They aren’t really making something that’s real, people are just buying the recipe,” Toyoda said of Tesla, expanding on the cooking analogy. “We have the kitchen and chef, and we make real food.”

This situation is particularly funny because of the parties involved. Toyota used to make its own EVs, like the RAV4 EV in the ‘90s, but gave up in favor of hybrids. When the company had to make an EV in the early 2010s, it simply got Tesla to supply the EV architecture for a new RAV4 EV, including the battery and powertrain. Within a few years, Toyota gave up on that, too. It’s an important wrinkle that it’s Toyota calling out Tesla, the Tesla that helped Toyota out of a jam, the Toyota that dropped its Tesla deal not long later.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has not responded, on Twitter or otherwise, as of this writing. I’m sure Musk’s response will be along the lines of a good old-fashioned “lol,” though hopefully he takes it personally and the situation degenerates.

2nd Gear: Related: Toyota Projects Big Profits

So does Honda. Most of it, in both cases, is thanks to bigger sales in China.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Toyota and Honda HMC 2.05% Motor Co. on Friday upgraded their profit forecasts for the year ending March 2021, crediting a revival in demand in China and the U.S. Toyota expects operating profit of ¥1.3 trillion, the equivalent of $12.6 billion, for the year, more than double the previous forecast, while Honda said operating profit would more than double compared with its earlier forecast, to the equivalent of just over $4 billion.

In the July-September quarter, Honda sold more cars in China than in its traditional stronghold of the U.S.: 455,000 in China, up 20% over a year earlier, compared with 388,000 in the U.S.

Honda’s chief operating officer, Seiji Kuraishi, said that while overall global sales were likely to shrink this fiscal year, the decline was manageable because “We are getting the numbers up principally in China.” Nissan Motor Co. , which reports results Thursday, has also said it is focusing on China for growth.

Toyota, meanwhile, said China sales rose 33% in October compared with a year earlier, following smaller increases in previous months. Sales drivers include higher-end models such as the Lexus ES and the Toyota RAV4 sport-utility vehicle, suggesting wealthier Chinese who had been streaming to Japan as tourists before the coronavirus pandemic are getting their Japan fix in a different way.


3rd Gear: GM Will Import Big SUVs To China

It thinks that it can make a profit over there with the big SUVs that America can’t get enough of. GM’s probably right, though I don’t know enough about regulations in China to say for sure.


From Reuters:

General Motors Co GM.N plans to sell full-size sport-utility vehicle (SUV) models in China for the first time, and will import a range of models to beef up its product lineup into the world’s biggest car market, its China chief told Reuters.

The plan would mark a change of tack for GM, which currently produces all of the vehicles it sells in China within the country, which is set to be the only major economy to grow this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

GM, China’s second-biggest foreign automaker, is aiming to offer four models as it looks to improve its brand image and support a sales recovery: Chevrolet’s Tahoe and Suburban, Cadillac’s Escalade and the GMC Yukon Denali.

The Detroit-based company is showcasing those models at the China International Import Expo, or CIIE, an annual import show in Shanghai which started on Wednesday and runs into next week.


4th Gear: Uber’s Food Delivery Business Is Doing Well But Not Much Else

Uber has never been profitable. You can expect that to continue, as the pandemic upends its business evermore. On the upside, Uber Eats is doing well.


From Reuters:

Uber Technologies Inc said on Thursday demand for its food-delivery service exploded in the latest quarter, but recovery in its global rides business is being held back by its most important market, the United States.

Uber’s recovery will depend much on the course of the pandemic, with a resurgence in virus infections threatening to keep customers wary about returning outside or planning frequent trips far into 2021.

Ride bookings were dragged down by a slow recovery particularly on the U.S. West Coast, while Europe and the Middle East recovered more steadily, down only 36% from last year.

Ride-hailing customers who have returned are proving to be price-sensitive, pressuring margins in what was once Uber’s largest and most important segment.


5th Gear: Volkswagen Will Sell Eight (!) ID Electric Cars In China

Here in the U.S. we will only be getting the ID.4 to start, though it’s unclear what ID models we might get after that. It will probably depend on sales of the ID.4, which I’m guessing won’t be great since it costs only a little less than a Tesla and isn’t obviously better. In China, things will be a bit different.


According to Automotive News:

Volkswagen will introduce eight ID-series electric vehicles in China by the end of 2023, aiming to greatly enhance its green credentials in the key market.

The first ID model, the locally built ID4 compact crossover, will arrive in early 2021, VW Group China CEO Stephan Wollenstein said in the south China city of Shenzhen on Tuesday.

The ID4 will offer two variants — the ID4 X, and a smaller and sporty version — the ID4 Crozz.


The two ID4 variants, which were revealed in Shenzhen on Tuesday, each have a range of more than 500 kilometers on one change, Wollenstein said.


Reverse: Yikes


Neutral: How Are You?

This is the fifth presidential election I’ve been of voting age for and also, of course, the strangest. It’s probably ruined me for the rest of them, nothing can ever (hopefully!) get this weird again. Thank God it is all but over.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.


Nate with shorter name

Figuring out how people without garages are going to recharge electric cars is going to be a stumbling block for a long time.