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Toyota hits top gear as weak yen drives Japan Inc – The weak yen has revved up Toyota Motor. The Aichi-based carmaker, announcing first-half results this month, lifted its full-year net profit forecast by 12 per cent to Y2tn ($17bn) – record amount for a publicly traded Japanese company. Even so , that forecast is probably on the conservative side, says Takaki Nakanishe, an analyst at Jefferies in Tokyo, as it is based on the yen trading at 105 – a record amount for a publicly traded Japanese company.
Daimler looks to China for Maybach revival
Daimler is relaunching its abandoned Maybach luxury brand in China as it targets the world’s largest car market to drive the revival of the brand.
Toyota eyes hydrogen-powered boost – After years of reflection over its growth strategy and quality lapses, Toyota is back on the offensive with its most aggressive bet yet on hydrogen-powered vehicle technology. The company said its fuel-cell saloon would be released in Japan on December 15, with US and European launches due next summer and September respectively. The Mirai – “future” in Japanese – will be $57,500 in the US and €66,000 in Europe, with prices set to fall below $45,000 with subsidies and tax credits.
JLR opens front in software battle – Jaguar Land Rover is launching a connected car software platform, opening the latest front in the battle between carmakers and tech companies for control of the dashboard. The smartphone app, known as Just-Drive, will allow drivers to plug in their mobile device via USB port in the glove compartment and use voice commands to open apps, send messages and navigate. The new software, announced at the Los Angeles motor show yesterday, puts JLR’s technology up against that of Google and Apple, the Silicon Valley pioneers that have launched in-car connected systems in the past year.
The Daily Telegraph
9 to 5 I holding UK back – A group of the UK’s biggest employers are urging British companies to allow staff to work from home, at flexible hours, and part time. The Agile Future Forum (AFF), set up by former Lloyds Bank chairman Sir Win Bischoff, is publishing research today sowing the UK is one of the best-placed countries to encourage flexible working, but that many companies’ restrictive working practices mean they are missing out on potential economic benefits.
No interest rate rise until 2016, warns HSBC – The Bank of England may not raise interest rates until at least 2016 because the UK’s economic growth has started to slow, according to analysts at HSBC. The country’s biggest bank has pushed back its forecast of the central bank’s next rate increase by a whole year, from the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016. The change to HSBC’s forecast reflects the Bank’s most recent quarterly inflation report and evidence of an economic slowdown.
Business rates ‘will outstrip council tax and fuel duty’ – The amount that British companies pay in business rates is growing at almost the same level as council tax and fuel duty combined, according to an analysis that highlights the strain that the levy is putting on businesses. Estimates by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) show that the amount generated by the controversial tax will surpass council tax and fuel duty in the 2015-2016 financial year.
October new car sales driving industry growth – A solid rise in car sales last month means that 2014 could be the first year of growth for the European automobile industry since before the financial crisis. A 6.5pc increase in sales this October on the same month last year has driven European car registrations into tier 14th consecutive month of year-on-year growth.
6,000 more car crashes in winter – More than 6,000 additional car crashes occur due to the tougher driving conditions in winter. Data from insurance firms’ “black box” car telematics show a 6.2 per cent rise in accidents since October. They indicate that 6.393 more car accidents occur on UK roads in winter than summer.
Ruling will speed curbs on diesel cars – Drivers of diesel vehicles face new restrictions after the European Court of Justice ruled that Britain’s courts should order the Government to produce plans to comply with European limits on air pollution in all areas as quickly as possible. The Government admitted in the summer that under its present plan, people in Birmingham, Leeds and London would be exposed to dangerous nitrogen dioxide pollution until the 2030s, more than 20 years after the EU deadline, while seven other cities would breach NO2 limits until at least 2025.
Car making slows over economic fears – the number of vehicles produced by UK car factories fell by 6.7% to 150,060 in October compared to the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The decline dragged down output in the year to date below last year’s level to 1,282m vehicles.
‘Ageist road sign promotes job prejudice’ – Road signs depicting a hunched-over couple clutching a walking stick encourage discrimination against the over-50s, the government’s tsar for the elderly has said. Ros Altmann said that the signs should be banned because they reinforced the belief among some bosses that it was not worth training older people.
Land Rover under fire – Land Rover has been accused of “setting an appalling example” by holding a 4×4 photo shoot on Moel Ellio, a protected mountain in Snowdonia – and tearing up the grass on a site of special scientific interest. The company said landowners were on site oversee the shoot.
The future of motoring will be powered by hydrogen, vows Toyota – Toyota is so convinced that hydrogen is the future of the motor car that is has named its new fuel-cell vehicle Mirai – the Japanese word for “the future”. As the big marketing push in West Coast America begins this week at the opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, declared “We are at the turning point of automotive history.”
Insurers head for red – motor insurers are poised to fall back into the red this year. The cost of car insurance has shown signs of rising for the first time in more than three years in recent months, and motorists are expected to have paid up to 2% more for their car insurance over the full year compared to a year earlier.
BMW recall – BMW is reviewing whether to expand its recall to check whether possibly fatal airbags were installed on both the driver and passenger sides of older generation 3-series models. Japanese airbag supplier Takata and carmakers have been recalling vehicles on concerns that airbags could rupture upon activation. BMW said the recall and the review were precautionary measures.
Children at risk of bad motorists – Children are paying the price of “selfish” driving around the country, a road safety charity said yesterday. Two in five have been hit by a vehicle or had a near-miss while cycling or on foot, the study by the road safety charity Brake revealed. Its survey of 5,000 primary school children found that 67 per cent think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling.
High street revival key to recovering economy – British business leaders have urged the Government to splash the cash on improving manufacturing and revitalising the high street, to keep the economic recovery on track. Manufacturers’ organisation EEF has called on Chancellor George Osborne to use his autumn statement early next month go give a massive boost to the nation’s creaking road infrastructure and allocate more funds to manufacturers to come up with innovative designs to challenge overseas rivals.
How to be in the driving seat for music played in taxis – Could this be the end of awkward small talk in taxis? A new partnership between Spotify and Uber will allow passengers to drown out their drivers with personalised music tracks. Uber customers who use the Spotify streaming service can select their preferred musical choices when they book a car through the min-cab firm’s mobile app.
Drivers have 1.400 car park prangs a day – Motorists are having nearly 1,400 crashes in car parks ever day – because vehicles are getting bigger while parking spaces stay the same size. A report by Accident Exchange reveals there are more than 500,000 car park prangs annually in the UK, costing drivers £716million a year.