Toyota and Nissan report higher sales; Aston Martin gets a new boss

Both Toyota and Nissan are reporting good news for their global operations despite the doom and gloom seen by the boss of Fiat and the potential for a slowdown in the Chinese car market.

Toyota has recorded a more than 27% increase in sales in its Chinese joint venture with China FAW Group compared to October of last year, which means that sales for the Japanese behemoth is now up more than 13% for the year to date.

Toyota started the year with a target of more than one million car sales in China this year where it sold 917,000 in 2013. The news of the increase comes despite evidence of a major slow-down of the China economy with the manufacturing PMI falling to 50.8 (above 50 indicates growth). China’s once red-hot auto market has suffered a decided chill of late with commercial vehicle sales showing the slowest increase in 19 months, with a 2.5% increase over the corresponding month last year, and forecasts believe that the overall industry will slow from a 14% growth rate to 8% this year. Nissan has just reported a 25% increase in net income for the six months to September as demand in North America powered the Yokohama-based Japanese car maker to a total of US$2.08 billion for the period. New vehicle sales saw a 5.8% increase at 2.58 million vehicles in the six-month period.

“Nissan successfully overcame challenging market conditions in the first-half of the fiscal year, delivering solid revenues and profitability amid encouraging demand for our latest models,” said Chief Executive, Carlos Ghosn.

Unfortunately for Nissan, the head of their Infiniti brand, Andy Palmer, is about to jump ship and assume the role as Aston Martin’s new CEO. Infiniti has been one of the standout successes for Nissan, particularly in North America, and so it is not really a surprise that Briton’s Aston Martin look to an industry insider with a track record in one of their key markets.

Production of Aston Martin’s are halted temporarily to welcome Andy Palmer.

Aston Martin has been leaderless since the previous CEO, Ulrich Bez, stepped down last year after turning 70 years old. Palmer, who has some 35 years in the auto industry and who has lived in Japan for the past 13 years, will take over the company as it enters perhaps it’s most significant and ambitious period of investment to date.

Aston Martin, which is owned by Kuwait’s Investment Dar and Adeem Investments and Italian private-equity firm Investindustrial, is in a competitive battle with the larger premium manufacturers and is investing some US$750 million in developing new engines and a further US$75 million to expand its manufacturing facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire. Much of the engine development work will be in conjunction with Daimler Benz who is a minor 5% shareholder.


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