Tuesday Morning Auto News, Aug 14, 2018

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Friday Morning Auto News, Aug 10, 2018



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Thursday Morning Auto News, Aug 09, 2018

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Ancient mystery, finally solved: Who invented the minivan? No, it wasn’t Chrysler

Nakayama in front of the world’s first minivan. Picture (c) Bertel Schmitt

Chrysler is widely believed of having invented the minivan, the vehicle universally despised by car bloggers, and much adored by their soccer-moms. Revisionist history, says Ryuji Nakayama, curator of Nissan’s Heritage Collection. Standing in front of a first-generation Nissan Prairie, and sporting his trademark grey mop-top, Nakayama pronounced the Prairie “probably the world’s very first minivan.”

The Nissan Prairie was launched in 1981, three years before Chrysler’s quintessential Dodge Caravan. The Prairie had everything that characterizes this new segment: Three rows of seats, no center, or “B” pillar, “and for the first time, we had a sliding door that opened on one side only,” Nakayama explained today to a group of reporters that found its way to Nissan’s Zama facility, despite a massive typhoon barreling down on Japan’s metropolis. [Continue Reading]

Wednesday Morning Auto News, Aug 08, 2018

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Tuesday Morning Auto News, Aug 07, 2018

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Trump’s unintended consequences: Detroit down, Toyota up

Senior Managing Director Masayoshi Shirayanagi, and Executive Vice President Moritaka Yoshida. (c) Bertel Schmitt

If you sought a break from the depressing news emanating from major U.S. automakers, all you had to do is go to Japan, to Toyota’s Q2 results conference, to be exact. In the company’s bunker conference room in Tokyo, Toyota’s head accountant Masayoshi Shirayanagi delivered numbers in tune with Toyota’s image: Unexciting, but reliable.

But wait, there was a waku-doki number: Toyota’s operating income was up a whopping 19% compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal, while net income was up 7%. Compare that to GM, if you dare, who’s net income was down nearly 60% in last quarter, while across town in Detroit, Ford’s second-quarter earnings plunged by almost 50%.

And there was another jaw-dropper: Toyota reported an operating margin of 9.3%, up from an already very respectable 8.1% in the same quarter last year. This makes Toyota the “world’s most profitable carmaker,” says Martin Koelling, Tokyo correspondent of Germany’s financial daily Handelsblatt. German premium OEMs Audi (9.2% operating margin), BMW (8.6%) and Daimler (8.4%) are “less profitable than the Japanese,” says Koelling. [Continue Reading]

Friday Morning Auto News, Aug 03, 2018

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