BRIEFING: Japanese Vehicle Manufacturers: where to from here?
With all but one of the Japan-based makers recently reporting strong profits for the last financial year, it might be argued that things have never looked better for Honda, Toyota, Nissan and their smaller rivals. But can those (in most cases) record earnings and strong growth be maintained or even improved upon? Has, for example, the now debt-free Nissan learned from its previous folly of slavishly matching Toyota's every move? If so, what plans has it got in the pipeline? Is Suzuki's strategy of supplying small vehicles to many brands sustainable in the medium term? Will Mitsubishi's future product lines help regain the confidence of a sceptical Japanese public? And what of the biggest Japanese maker of them all? Just how will Toyota gain its stated 15% global market share goal in the next decade? The challenges facing all Japanese OEMs are immense. Five years on from the days of Nissan's brush with near bankruptcy, the overall industry ownership and alliance picture looks very different. Which firms, then, look like being the big winners five years from now?
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