Apple Will Build Car Serving for 40Years

 On March 12th, Toyota Motor Corporation President and Chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Toyoda Akio (Hoda Akio ) said that he welcomes Apple to enter the automotive industry, but warned the latter that it is not easy to build a car, and it should do a good job to take on all customers. Responsibility preparation.

Apple car

Toyoda said: “Anyone can make a car as long as they have the technical ability. However, when the car is manufactured, I hope they will realize that they must unswervingly fulfil the long-term commitments they have made to customers and do Be prepared to face various charges in the next 40 years."

Apple has not publicly discussed its car plans. Earlier, there were reports that the company started looking for potential auto partners at the end of last year and was considering starting the production of cars as early as 2024. South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. said in January that it was negotiating with Apple to produce its driverless electric vehicles but then withdrew its statement.

Toyoda said that he has no objection to Apple's entry into the auto industry, but warned that it must deal with many related issues in the car life cycle. The life cycle of a car is about 30 to 40 years, and Apple must assume all responsibility for its own cars, including repairs, recalls, etc., until they are scrapped.

He added: "The entry of technology companies into the automotive industry means that the future prospects of the automotive industry are promising, and the choices of consumers will expand. We welcome new companies to join in, but I think they need to fulfil their obligations like established companies. That's fair."

Apple's Japan office did not respond to a request for comment. If Apple does enter the car market, it may produce its own cars or outsource production, just like the iPhone. If you choose to outsource, Apple and its contractors will have to decide who is responsible for repairing the car, handling the recall, and dealing with safety regulators.

Toyoda’s comments indicate that the industry is unwilling to accept Apple’s model of letting its partners take long-term risks. He also did not disclose whether any members of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association are negotiating with Apple.

Toyota car

Apple's entry into the car market has aroused the concerns of many traditional car manufacturers, who fear that Apple-branded cars may disrupt the current market. These concerns may lead to the failure of Apple’s negotiations with many companies in recent months because these companies do not want to become Apple’s car OEMs.

However, as the world's largest and second-largest automakers, Toyota and Volkswagen do not seem to be so worried. Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in February that he was not afraid of Apple entering the market. He said that the automotive industry is different from the technology industry, and Apple "cannot subvert it overnight." (Little)

According to the Securities Times, citing a report from The Wall Street Journal, Akio Toyoda, the head of Toyota Motor Corporation, recently stated at a year-end press conference of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association that he is dissatisfied with the " electric car revolution" that is currently emerging.

He believes that many companies will die, a lot of investment funds will be in vain, and more carbon dioxide will be released in the process.

Toyoda Akio "Blasts" Electric Vehicles:

According to foreign media reports, recently, at the year-end press conference of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Toyota's head Akio Toyoda attacked electric vehicles , saying that electric vehicles were overhyped and claimed that electric vehicles would stifle enterprises. , Requires huge investment and emits more carbon dioxide.

Toyoda said that if all cars are powered by electricity, there will be a power shortage in Japan in the summer. In addition, the infrastructure required for a full transition to electric vehicles will cost Japan 14 trillion to 37 trillion yen (135 billion to 358 billion U.S. dollars). He also said that if Japan bans gasoline-powered cars too hastily, "the current business model of the auto industry will collapse" and cause the loss of millions of jobs.

Toyoda said that in a country like Japan where most of the electricity comes from burning coal and natural gas, electric vehicles do not help the environment. "The more electric cars we make, the more severe the carbon dioxide emissions," he said.

Toyoda also said that he was worried that government regulations would make cars a "flower on the mountain" beyond the reach of ordinary people.

The head of Toyota is bombarded: If all-electric vehicles are used, there will be a power shortage

Akio Toyoda said: “ Tesla not only seriously overestimated its own value but also not mature enough to influence the global automotive development trend, especially in the field of electric vehicle technology.” He also used “restaurant management” as an analogy.” Tesla claims that their recipes will be the car standards of the future, but Toyota has a real kitchen and chef."

Toyoda admitted that the current valuation of Tesla does exceed the sum of the valuations of seven Japanese automakers, but he emphasized that Toyota currently produces and sells much more cars and types than Tesla.

According to data from the survey agency, Tesla sold about 367,500 vehicles throughout 2019, accounting for only 3.4% of Toyota's average annual sales of 10 million vehicles. The gap in production capacity is even more obvious. In 2020, Musk plans to produce 500,000 electric vehicles, while Toyota's production is 10.74 million.

It is understood that although Toyota has developed very early in the field of electrified vehicles, it has not launched pure electric models in Japan and the United States, but has launched hydrogen fuel cell models; in the Chinese market, it is only gradually opening up gasoline-electric hybrid models and The only two pure electric models, the pace of the models being introduced to the market is still very slow.

 In recent years, Toyota has worked hard to quickly bring more pure electric models that are synchronized with the current market to the market. This includes the pure electric versions of Toyota C-HR, Yize, Lexus UX and other models launched by Toyota in the Chinese market this year. Toyota has also promised to sell electric vehicles with solid-state batteries by 2025.

The head of Toyota is bombarded: If all-electric vehicles are used, there will be a power shortage

Toyota Logo

On November 6, Toyota Motor released its financial report for the first half of fiscal 2021. The financial report showed that Toyota’s revenue from April to September 2020 was 11.38 trillion yen, a year-on-year decrease of 25.9%; operating profit was 519.98 billion yen, year-on-year A decrease of 62.85%; net profit was 631.19 billion yen, a decrease of 46.7% year-on-year. Compared with the first fiscal quarter, the performance of the second fiscal quarter has recovered.

Global multi-country plans to phase out fuel vehicles:

Akio Toyoda's remarks are very different from Japan's plan to phase out fuel vehicles.

According to CCTV Finance, citing the Japan Broadcasting Association, on December 3, local time, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stated that Japan will strive to achieve net-zero domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In order to meet this policy goal, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan is studying and intends to ban the sale of new vehicles using gasoline as fuel in the mid-1930s.

The Japan Broadcasting Association quoted multiple sources as reporting that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry hopes to change the models sold from gasoline vehicles to all-electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. The government is expected to formally determine the ban on new gasoline vehicles before the end of this year. Sale time. Data show that in 2019, low-emission or zero-emission new vehicles sold in Japan, including hybrid vehicles, accounted for less than 40% of domestic new vehicle sales.

In order to promote the sales of electric vehicles, Japanese electric vehicle buyers can currently receive up to 400,000 yen, which is approximately 25,000 yuan in subsidies. Recently, the Japanese government has decided to increase subsidies. The subsidy amount can reach up to 800,000 yen, which is about 50,000 yuan. The new subsidy policy will be implemented in 2021.

On November 17, local time, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson published an article in the Financial Times stating that the UK will ban the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered cars and trucks in 2030, and set a grace period for hybrid cars and trucks. (2035), aimed at meeting the country’s climate goal of net-zero emissions. This is another advancement since the United Kingdom moved the ban on sales from 2040 to 2035 in February of this year, which is a full ten years earlier than the original plan.

In September of this year, California Governor Newsom announced that he had signed an executive order: By 2035, all new car sales in California must be zero-emission (including cars and pickups); by 2045, the sales of new heavy vehicles in California must also be zero. Emissions: By 2024, California will no longer issue hydraulic fracturing permits for oil and gas exploitation.

The French government also announced in 2017 that it would completely ban the sale of fuel vehicles by 2040.

On March 9, global automakers are currently facing a shortage of chip supply, and many companies have even been forced to suspend production. However, Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan does not seem to be affected much, thanks to the "Business Continuity Plan" (BCP) it established ten years ago.

The BCP plan started in 2011, when the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan disrupted Toyota’s supply chain, making the world’s largest automaker realize that the production cycle of semiconductor products is too long and cannot cope with the impact of devastating shocks such as natural disasters. For this reason, the company decided to stock up on key parts of automobiles on a regular basis.

According to the requirements of the BCP plan, suppliers need to store for Toyota the equivalent of two to six months of consumption of chips, depending on the time required from order to delivery. According to a number of people familiar with the matter, this is the biggest reason why Toyota has not been affected by the global chip supply shortage so far. Previously, the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia and the resulting blockade caused a surge in demand for electronic products, forcing many automakers to suspend production.

A person familiar with Harman International said: “As far as we know, Toyota is the only car manufacturer that is properly equipped to deal with chip shortages.” Harman International is a subsidiary of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and specializes in production. A company of car audio systems, displays and driver assistance systems.

Toyota said last month that even if companies such as Volkswagen, General Motors, Ford, Honda, and Stellaris are forced to slow down or suspend part of their production, the company's production will not be significantly affected by the shortage of chips, which will allow competitors and investors All surprised. At the same time, Toyota raised its vehicle production forecast for the last fiscal year ending this month and raised its full-year earnings forecast by 54%.

Classic Lean Solution:

Toyota President

People familiar with the matter said that Harman International had a shortage of CPU and power management integrated circuits as early as November 2020. Although Harman does not produce chips, due to the BCP agreement with Toyota, it is obliged to prioritize the needs of the automaker and ensure that it has enough semiconductors to maintain the latter's chip supply for digital systems for four months or more. Long time.

At present, the chip that is seriously short of supply is the microcontroller unit (MCU), which controls a series of automotive functions, such as braking, acceleration, steering, ignition, combustion, tire pressure gauge, and rain sensor. However, after the 2011 earthquake, Toyota changed its way of buying MCUs and other microchips. The earthquake triggered a tsunami, killed more than 22,000 people, and triggered the Fukushima nuclear accident.

After the earthquake, Toyota estimated that its procurement of more than 1,200 parts and materials may be affected. For this reason, it has drafted a list of 500 priority items that need to be secured in the future, including Japan’s major chip supplier Renesas Electronics (Renesas Electronics). ) Semiconductors produced. The impact of this disaster was very serious. It took Toyota 6 months to restore production outside of Japan to normal levels. In China, Toyota completed the recovery of production capacity two months ahead of schedule.

This has had a huge impact on Toyota’s just-in-time production strategy, because the strategy requires the smooth flow of parts from suppliers to factories and then to the assembly line. It also requires measures to streamline inventory. This is also why Toyota has emerged as a leader in efficiency and quality core. When supply chain risk is now at the core of almost every industry, this move shows that in the semiconductor field, Toyota is ready to abandon its own rule book and is reaping rewards.

A Toyota spokesperson said that one of the goals of its lean inventory strategy is to be more sensitive to inefficiencies and risks in the supply chain, identify the most potentially disruptive bottlenecks, and figure out how to avoid these bottlenecks. For Toyota, BCP is a classic lean solution.

People familiar with the matter said that according to the so-called annual cost reduction plan, Toyota will return part of the cost reduction quota to chip suppliers every year to pay for the inventory arrangement agreement signed with chip suppliers. Inventory of MCU chips (usually a combination of multiple technologies, CPUs, flash memory and other devices), parts suppliers such as Denso, partly owned by Toyota Group, and chip manufacturers such as Renesas and TSMC hold.

It is reported that although there are different kinds of MCUs, what is in short supply is not cutting-edge chips, but more mainstream chips with semiconductor nodes between 28 and 40 nanometers. Toyota's BCP has also mitigated the impact of natural disasters brought about by climate change, such as more severe typhoons and heavy rains, which often cause floods and landslides in various parts of Japan, including the southern part of Kyushu where Renesas produces chips.

People familiar with the semiconductor supply said that Toyota and its affiliates have become "extraordinarily sensitive to the effects of climate change and their ability to resist risks has also been greatly enhanced." But natural disasters are not the only imminent threat. Automakers worry that as automotive products become more digital, electrified, and demand continues to rise, coupled with the surge in demand for chips from manufacturers of smartphones, computers, aeroplanes, and industrial robots, the supply of chips may be disrupted.

People familiar with the matter said that in terms of chip supply, Toyota has another advantage over other competitors, thanks to its long-term policy of ensuring that all technologies used in its cars are understood, rather than relying on suppliers’ Black box". Toyota engineers said: "This approach makes us stand out."

Losing control of technology:

Due to the rise of hybrid and all-electric vehicles, as well as the emergence of autonomous driving and connected car functions, the use of semiconductors and digital technologies by automakers has exploded in this century.

These innovations require higher computing power and to some extent use a new category of semiconductors called "systems on a chip" (SoC). To put it simply, combining multiple CPUs on the same logic board has prompted many automakers to agree to let large component suppliers manage risks.

However, in keeping with its strategy of "not relying on black boxes," Toyota has deepened its understanding of semiconductor development internally. Many years ago, the company also recruited engineering talents from the chip industry and opened a semiconductor factory in 1989 to help design and manufacture MCUs used to control powertrain systems.

Toyota has been designing and manufacturing its own MCU and other chips for 30 years until 2019 it transferred its chip manufacturing to Denso to integrate the supplier's business. However, this transaction may indicate that Toyota is finally willing to abandon the "non-reliance on black box" approach and "lost control over technology in the name of improving development efficiency." 

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