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Toyota breaks 90-year record, dethrones GM as US sales leader

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Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation made history by outselling General Motors Company in the United States in 2021, marking the first time the latter has not led US auto sales for a full year since 1931.

The latest report by Reuters said Toyota sold 2.332 million vehicles in the United States in 2021, compared with 2.218 million for General Motors, the automakers said on Tuesday.
GM’s US sales were down 13% for 2021 – and 43% in the fourth quarter – while Toyota was up 10% for the year.
GM last had lower sales in 2010 at 2.202 million.
For all of 2020, GM’s US sales totaled 2.55 million, compared with Toyota’s 2.11 million and Ford Motor Co’s 2.04 million.
Last year was marred by a shortage of semiconductors used heavily in vehicles, forcing automakers to focus on their most profitable models.
GM said on Tuesday it expected the US economic growth would boost the total light-duty vehicle industry sales from around 15 million in 2021 to around 16 million in 2022.
GM has been the largest seller of vehicles in the United States since 1931, when it surpassed Ford, according to data from industry publication, Automotive News.
Senior Vice President Jack Hollis said the automaker is “grateful” for its loyal customers, but “being No. 1 is never a focus or priority.”
The Japanese automaker does not see it as sustainable that it can retain its U.S. sales lead and had no plans to use the 2021 accomplishment in any kind of advertising, he added. Toyota had been credited by analysts for weathering the chip shortage better than other automakers.
GM spokesman Jim Cain said the Detroit automaker had a very strong sales year in the United States in full-size SUVs and pickup trucks as it had focused on profitability, and as the supply of semiconductors improved, so would sales.
“I wouldn’t rush out if I were (Toyota), and get a ‘We’re No. 1’ tattoo,” he said.
GM under Chief Executive Mary Barra also emphasized profitability over volume, abandoning such money-losing markets as Europe and Russia.
For the entire industry, sales finished 2021 at just under 15 million vehicles, according to Wards Intelligence, with the annual sales rate in the month of December finishing at 12.44 million. The full-year number was well below the five-year average of 17.3 million from 2015-2019.
IHS Markit forecasts U.S. sales are expected to reach nearly 15.5 million in 2022.
Toyota sees industry sales jumping to 16.5 million this year, with demand even higher if the industry can boost production further, with its own sales topping 2.4 million.
“If you would have asked me to predict how the year was going to go at the beginning of (last) January, I would have gotten it all wrong because this whole microchip shortage just came out of left field and it wreaked a lot of havoc,” Hyundai Motor America (005380.KS) sales chief Randy Parker said in an interview. “But at the same time, it sharpened our skill set.”
“I’m very bullish on 2022,” he added. Hyundai’s U.S. sales last year rose 19% to more than 738,000 vehicles, including a record number on the retail side.

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Auto finance: CBN, NADDC discuss new options for vehicle buyers

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The Director General of the National Auotomotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu, says the agency has commenced discussions with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to design workable solutions for auto financing to make vehicle purchase affordable for Nigerians.

He stated this in a presentation made at the 9th Annual Transport Lecture organized by Transport Day Newspapers, with the theme, ‘Nigeria’s Transportation For Development: Sectoral Achievements, Prospects and Challenges’, held in Abuja.

“We had a meeting with the CBN yesterday on auto financing. We want to work out a solution that would enable Nigerians to buy new vehicles and pay over a period of six years,” he said.

The NADDC boss said the move was part of the agency’s efforts geared towards promoting and enhancing value addition in the transport cum automotive sector of the economy by creating a conducive business climate to further enhance investment inflow and industrialization.

Aliyu also said the NADDC was rapidly shifting attention to carbonless transport system in Nigeria in a bid to develop and promote advanced transport technology in the automotive industry.

He said, “This is because, vehicle electrification is inevitable, it is the future of automotive industry worldwide and we are working assiduously towards achieving its comprehensive and sustainable adoption in Nigeria.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that poor maintenance culture of vehicles in the transport sector contributes immensely to environmental pollution. The use of EVs that have advanced technology will not only curb these excesses but will also lead to more productivity in the industry.

“Currently, one of our top focus areas is scaling up production of applicable electric vehicles locally, to enable Nigeria meet its target for the Paris Accord and 2060 net zero commitment, both on reducing harmful gas emissions from vehicles” he said.

He further stated the NADDC recently set up a technical committee on electric vehicle development plan aimed at drawing up a comprehensive development programme for vehicle electrification in Nigeria.

According to the NADDC boss, this plan will also ensure that made-in Nigeria EVs are of world standards and compete favourably in the global market.

“As a pilot scheme project, the NADDC has established 100% Solar Powered EV Charging Stations at Usman Danfodio University Sokoto, University of Lagos and University of Nigeria Nsukka and also discussing with other stakeholders for collaboration in establishing more charging infrastructure all over the country.

“In conclusion, NADDC is committed to establishing and giving support to development programmes that will aid the Nigerian transport sector.

“I therefore urge all stakeholders to begin to think of a paradigm shift from the conventional vehicles to carbonless transportation system and key into the vehicle electrification projects of the Council with a view to achieving cleaner air in Nigeria.”

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AutoTrends: Stop driving your old crossovers, Mercedes warns, recalls ML, others

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Mercedes-Benz has asked owners of certain older crossovers to stop driving due a to corroded brake booster that could cause the brakes to fail.

The automaker said the request and corresponding recall applied to 292,287 ML-, GL-, and R-Class crossovers and SUVs from the 2006-2012 model years.

Recalls are common, but urging customers to stop driving is not,  according to thecarconnection.com.

In the affected vehicles, water exposure in the brake booster housing can cause a joint to corrode, leading to a leak in the brake system.

Brake force may also be reduced, forcing drivers to press harder on the brake pedal to decelerate and come to a stop. In rare cases, Mercedes said, it may be impossible to stop if there has been severe corrosion.

The risk of a crash or injury would increase, although Mercedes said it was aware of no known crashes or injuries related to the issue.

According to the premium brand automaker, the emergency brake pedal is not affected, and could be used in case of a regular brake pedal failure. Mercedes will provide complimentary towing of the affected vehicles to service centers.

Dealers are expected to inspect the brake booster housing and replace parts as required. If the part cannot be fixed immediately, Mercedes said it will help “coordinate an individual solution for the customer, including alternate mobility.”

 

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AutoTrends: Hyundai Sonata models face fuel leak risk

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A potential fuel hose leak in 2013 and 2014 models of Hyundai Sonata has again led to the immediate recall of the vehicles globally.

The NHTSA disclosed this, noting that the factory fault could increase the risk of a fire.

The 2013-2014 Sonata and 2013-2014 Kia Optima had previously been recalled for a fuel hose that can crack prematurely and leak fuel.

The tape and zip-tie remedy for those earlier recalls did not stick.

With the new recall, the fuel line will be replaced at no cost to owners, Hyundai states.

Without the proper fix, the leaking fuel could come in contact with a spark or ignition source that could cause a fire in the engine compartment, thecarconnection.com notes.

The recall encompasses 215,171 Sonatas. Owners may smell fuel on vehicles equipped with either the 2.0-litre turbo-4 or 2.4-litre inline-4 engines. Hyundai reported 138 incidents in the past two years of the defect, but the automaker said there were no known crashes, fires, or injuries.

Hybrid versions of both sedans from those model years were recalled for a separate fire risk.

Hyundai and sister brand Kia have issued a series of recalls for increased fire risk for a variety of reasons, ranging from a faulty electrical socket (2011-2012 vehicles) to a short circuit in the braking system (2006-2011 Elantras).

Owners will be notified by mail as early as July 5, and will be instructed to take their affected Sonata into a dealer to have the fuel feed line replaced at no charge, regardless of warranty status.

Hyundai owners who paid for fuel line repairs to address the leak will be reimbursed.

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