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Toyota Motor’s 2018 top stories in China

Monika From Gasgoo| February 01 , 2019

Toyota 2018 China sales, Toyota 2018 China top stories, China automotive news

Shanghai (Gasgoo)- Toyota attained a YoY growth of 14.3% in sales with 1,474,500 vehicles sold throughout 2018, successfully completing its original sales target. Both two joint ventures gained positive increase. GAC Toyota delivered 580,337 vehicles with a YoY surge of 31.8%. FAW Toyota saw its 2018 sales edge up 2.0% to 720,306 units.

Gasgoo hereby summarized the automaker's top stories that happened in China last year as below.

Toyota launches new mobility ecosystem and concept vehicle at CES 2018

Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda announced on January 8 a new mobility service business alliance and e-Palette Concept Vehicle designed to meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications.

Unveiled at CES 2018, the new e-Palette Alliance will leverage Toyota's proprietary Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to develop a suite of connected mobility solutions and a flexible, purpose-built vehicle. The new alliance will create a broad-based ecosystem of hardware and software support designed to help a range of companies utilize advanced mobility technology to better serve customers. 

Launch partners include Amazon, DiDi, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber, who will collaborate on vehicle planning, application concepts and vehicle verification activities.

GAC Toyota third assembly line put into operation

GAC Toyota claimed on January 16 that its third assembly line was formally put into operation.

In the initial stage, the third plant features an annual capacity of 10,000 vehicles and this number is expected to be enlarged to over 200,000 units per year to meet the ever-growing market needs, which will make the total capacity of the automaker's three assembly lines increased to 600,000 units on an annual basis.

The new plant is constructed based on TNGA, involving as much as RMB 3 billion of investment. Focusing on small-size vehicle's production, it aims to build itself into a vehicle production line with the highest efficiency and the best quality in the world.

Toyota plans to roll into China's EV market in GAC Motor vehicle

Reuter reported on May 18 that Toyota was taking an unprecedented route to meet China's stringent green car quotas: its showrooms would sell an electric vehicle without the Japanese company's distinctive triple-oval logo.

Instead, it would feature the label of GAC Motor, Toyota's Chinese partner, and would be built around GAC's lower-cost technology.

The move will give GAC access to the Japanese carmaker's stringent quality control, prestige and sales channel. For Toyota, it presents a quick way to meet Beijing's requirements that such vehicles represent 10% of an auto manufacturer's production by 2019.

According to two company executives familiar with the matter, Toyota planned to start selling the GAC Toyota ix4 by the end of the year. The car is a battery-powered compact SUV based on GAC's Trumpchi GS4, and had been in development for two years.

Both FAW-Toyota, GAC Toyota launch locally-produced CH-R in June

Toyota's CH-R small-sized SUV was introduced into China and has been locally produced there by both FAW Toyota and GAC Toyota.

The CH-R developed by FAW-Toyota named IZOA hit the market on June 22, and just one day later, the GAC Toyota-made version went on sale. Prices for the locally-produced CH-Rs range between RMB140,000 and RMB180,000.

GAC Toyota adds RMB 2.45 billion to enlarge capacity, introduce new SUV model

GAC Group had agreed a project that allowed GAC Toyota to expand its production capacity and introduce more models, the group announced on July 2. The project involves an additional investment of RMB 2.45 billion, which should be raised by GAC Toyota itself.

GAC Toyota saw its annual retail sales volume exceeding 440,000 vehicles in 2017, surpassing its initial sales goal. To ease the capacity pressure and introduce the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform, the third assembly line of the Sino-Japanese joint venture was put into operation in January last year with an initial capacity of 100,000 vehicles on an annual basis.

In addition, the automaker has another two assembly lines possessing annual capacity of 380,000 vehicles in total. Once the capacity of the third assembly line is completely released, the total capacity of GAC Toyota will increase to 600,000 vehicles per year.

Toyota cuts marketing costs to fuel research

Toyota had begun slashing costs, starting with sales and marketing, and shifting resources into research that would help it keep up with new competitors, four people familiar with the matter said, citing by Reuter on June 21.

One of the company's first moves was to cancel contracts with the China unit of its long-term communication and advertising agency, Dentsu Inc, the sources said.

Some senior executives from Toyota said the savings should be plowed into investment in emerging technology such as autonomous vehicles.

Toyota was frustrated with the cost of at least two events Dentsu organized in China: a ride-and-drive for Toyota's premium Lexus brand in March and the Beijing auto show display stand for Toyota in April.

Toyota said to increase production capacity in China by 20%

Toyota would build additional capacity at its auto plant in China's Guangzhou, a company source said in August, in addition to beefing up production at a factory in Tianjin city by 120,000 vehicles a year.

The planned capacity expansions in Guangzhou and Tianjin are part of a medium-term strategy of the Japanese automaker that aims to increase sales in China to two million vehicles per year, a jump of over 50%, by the early 2020s, according to four company insiders with knowledge of the matter.

In addition to boosting manufacturing capacity, Toyota also plans to roll out 10 HEV and BEV models in China by 2020, including the PHEV version of the Corolla and the Levin as well as an electric SUV based on the locally-produced C-HR. It intends to strengthen the domestic production of batteries and engines by teaming up with auto parts suppliers.

FAW Toyota to add annual capacity of 120,000 NEVs

FAW Toyota planned to invest RMB1.762 billion in renovating its plant located in Taida, Tianjin, which would add an additional capacity of 120,000 NEVs, including 110,000 PHEVs and 10,000 EVs, according to reports released in early August.

Its first PHEV model will be the Corolla PHEV and the first BEV model is expected to be derived from the IZOA, which might be introduced to China in 2020.

GAC Toyota unveils first all-electric SUV model ix4 at Chengdu Motor Show 2018

On Aug. 31, GAC Toyota launched its first mass-produced pure electric SUV, the GAC ix4, at the Chengdu Motor Show 2018 with two variants. Price starts from RMB 163, 800 after enjoying purchase tax exemption. 

The launch of the GAC ix4 symbolizes that GAC Toyota has made great progress in new energy vehicle (NEV) market. It is said that GAC Toyota will introduce all-new energy-saving and NEV vehicle products per year over the next three years.

In addition, the participation of the GAC ix4 also makes the joint venture achieve a wide range of mass production covering such power systems as naturally aspirated engine, turbocharged engine, hybrid system and all-electric system.

Toyota announces executive, organizational, and personnel changes

Toyota Motor Corporation announced on November 30 that it planned to change its executive lineup and revise its organizational structure in January 2019 to further advance its "acceleration of management" and the development of a diverse and talented workforce. Additionally, in view of the fast pace of change in the environment currently surrounding Toyota, TMC plans to advance the timing of executive changes from the traditional April to January, in 2019, just as it did in 2018.

Of personnel changes, Kazuhiro Kobayashi, former chairman and president of Toyota Motor (China) Investment Co., Ltd, resigned his post, which was succeeded by Tatsuro Ueda (former CEO of China & Asia Region) as Toyota China's chairman.

Toyota registers new trademark in China dubbed “YARIS CROSS”

Toyota has registered a new trademark in China dubbed “YARIS CROSS”, according to the record from the China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce. The new trademark is expected to be used as the name for a new model.

It could be conjectured from the name that the new model will be a crossover which is to rival models like the Kia KX CROSS in China's market once the registration is legally passed.

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