Toyota to suspend all domestic factory operations after cyberattack, report says

TOKYO — Toyota said it will suspend all domestic factory operations on Tuesday losing around 13,000 cars after one a company supplying plastic parts and electronic component was hit by a suspected cyberattack.

No information was immediately available about who was behind the attack or the motive.

The attack comes just after Japan joined Western allies in clamping down on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, although it was not clear if the attack was at all related.

A spokesperson at the supplier, Kojima Industries said it appeared to be some kind of cyberattack. A spokesperson from Toyota described it as a “supplier system failure.”

The incident might hurt Toyota’s efforts to return to full production following factory halts in January and February because of chip shortages and COVID-related disruptions.

Toyota, which has remained relatively resilient to supply chain snags through most of the pandemic, has been trying to ramp up production to make up for lost output and meet soaring global demand for cars.

Toyota’s production in January fell 15 percent from a year earlier, after it had to halt output in the Chinese city of Tianjin when the government carried out multiple rounds of mass-testing on residents.

Earlier this month, some of Toyota’s North American operations were affected by protests that shut some of the main trade routes between the U.S. and Canada.

The disruptions in the first two months of the year prompted Toyota to cut its output goal for the fiscal year through March to 8.5 million vehicles from a previous target of 9 million.

Toyota is investigating whether it can resume operations later this week, the Nikkei reported. 

The automaker operates 28 assembly lines at 14 plants in Japan. 

Bloomberg contributed to this report

2022 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS: The BEST 911!!!

You have your choice of more than 20 different 911 trims, but this all-wheel-drive GTS hits the sweet spot.

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Magna sees full systems, data as key in era of EVs

BRIMLEY, Mich. — Magna International Inc. seeks to maintain its position as the industry electrifies and becomes more connected.

The supplier says its ability to offer complete systems to automakers, not just individual components, will be a key differentiator as it looks to do so.
“Having different systems come together and how well they interact with each other is going to be the significant value that Magna brings to the table,” CEO Swamy Kotagiri said at a media event this month.

As the small but growing share of electric vehicles in the global new-vehicle marketplace continues to expand, much of what Magna is developing is now tied in one way or another to EVs. According to the company, about 70 percent of its engineering projects are related to EVs, and Magna expects about 145 million EVs on global roadways by 2030.

Magna, of course, is far from alone in devoting significant resources to electrification. Automakers are pouring billions of dollars into EVs, and Magna’s supplier competitors are doing the same.

But Magna’s size and scope — developing everything from powertrains to seating and providing complete vehicle assembly for automakers — make it a unique case study in understanding how legacy companies are navigating a rapidly shifting automotive landscape.

“Although electrification began as a solution to address climate change and emissions regulations and requirements, we are seeing it more and more as a brand differentiator” for the automakers, Kotagiri said.

Magna, therefore, sees its role as supporting automakers with electric technology that will help them become more efficient and economical as they look to distinguish their EVs from dozens of others on the market in the coming years.

As an example, Magna this month highlighted its EtelligentForce battery-electric, four-wheel-drive powertrain system for pickups that it says can be implemented into automakers’ existing gasoline-powered trucks without having to upend their architectures.

“You can actually just drop it into a regular pickup truck,” said Tom Rucker, president of Magna Powertrain. “It uses the same points, the same suspension. You don’t even have to do major changes to your assembly line and manufacturing processes.”

It’s an example of how Magna hopes to provide value to automakers in the electric age, by offering solutions that can easily integrate with automakers’ existing technology, saving their customers precious resources in an era of sky-high R&D budgets.

Kotagiri said the relationship between suppliers and automakers will continue to evolve as EV technology develops.

“It’s important to have the balance to say, ‘I work with these OEMs; here are their strategies and here’s what I’m doing for them today, but here’s the path for the next step,’ ” he said. “It’s not just saying, ‘Tell us what you want and we’ll give it to you.’ ”

The Ontario-based supplier, which ranks fourth globally on the Automotive News list of top suppliers by worldwide annual sales to automakers, already has “significant content” on new battery-electric vehicles being launched worldwide, the company said during its fourth-quarter earnings call this month.

Among vehicles it will supply content for are the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup, the Rivian R1S electric SUV, the Cadillac Lyriq electric crossover and the GMC Hummer electric truck, as well as models by Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. In addition, the supplier’s Magna Steyr contract assembly unit will build Fisker’s Ocean SUV at its factory in Austria.

“Obviously, if electric vehicles do well, we’ll do well,” Kotagiri said.

Kotagiri said the supplier sees the types of products and services evolving as vehicles become more electrified and connected.

“When we say Magna is a mobility company, we don’t constrain ourselves to say we’re only supplying systems and components,” he said. “That means we could play a role in the infrastructure management side, whether it’s data or data storage. As vehicles and subsystems become more connected, there is a play there.”

Data, in particular, will play a key role for Magna in the future as it looks to take advantage of a treasure trove of information being produced by vehicles and their components to learn how to make them more efficient.

He pointed to the company’s truck powertrain project as an example, saying sensors in the vehicle could be used to quickly gather data to make the powertrain work even more efficiently in wintry road conditions.

“It detects slip. It looks at traction every 10 milliseconds or so. Now, imagine you could do that predictively. That means I’ll need to work with the ADAS systems. Well, we do ADAS,” Kotagiri said.

“As different groups are talking to each other, we’re able to bring that consolidation of different systems and take advantage of that. That’s what I mean by data. I’m not talking consumer data. I’m talking about data that’s coming from the systems and how we can further optimize it to improve efficiency or safety.”

The company this month reported 2021 sales of $36.2 billion, up 11 percent from a year earlier.

Tesla Giga Berlin final approval expected by week’s end, opening ceremony set for March 22-23: report

Tesla Giga Berlin final approval expected by week’s end, opening ceremony set for March 22-23: report

A recent report from Germany suggests that Tesla Gigafactory Berlin’s final approval is expected to be released at the end of this week. A grand opening event, complete with the first deliveries of the Made-in-Germany Model Y, is reportedly being prepared as well. 

The information was recently shared by German news outlet Tagesspiegel, which noted that Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke’s “Task Force Tesla” had met last Tuesday to discuss the facility’s final approval. The meeting reportedly only lasted 20 minutes, but the discussions were clear: there were no more significant challenges facing Tesla’s Germany-based electric vehicle factory. 

Preparations are reportedly now underway for Gigafactory Berlin’s grand opening event. The official opening of the facility is scheduled for March 22, 2022, according to the news media outlet, though this date could be pushed back a day to March 23, 2022 instead. Brandenburg police are reportedly making necessary preparations for the event as well. 

Similar to the grand opening of Gigafactory Shanghai’s first phase, Giga Berlin’s official launch will reportedly include the handover of the first production Model Y to customers. A total of 30 Made-in-Germany Model Ys are expected to be delivered to customers at Giga Berlin’s official opening event. 

Tesla built the first phase of Giga Berlin at its own risk using over 20 early approvals, and so far, the company has gone as far as producing pre-production vehicles that are not allowed to be sold to consumers. Sightings from Tesla enthusiasts in the area estimate that over 1,000 pre-production Made-in-Germany Model Ys have been manufactured out of the 2,000 pre-production vehicles that the company was allowed to produce.

Gigafactory Berlin was initially announced by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in November 2019. Construction started soon after in 2020, with the company aiming to start Model Y production as early as June 2021. This date proved to be too optimistic, as Giga Berlin encountered one challenge after another. The project faced issues involving a complicated approval process, strong opposition from environmental groups, and implications from Tesla’s addition of a battery plant to the complex.

It has been a long time coming for Gigafactory Berlin. But with the facility’s final approval now seemingly within reach, it appears that the wait will soon be worth it. 

The Teslarati team would appreciate hearing from you. If you have any tips, reach out to me at [email protected] or via Twitter @Writer_01001101.

Tesla Giga Berlin final approval expected by week’s end, opening ceremony set for March 22-23: report

Here’s What You Wanted To Know About The Honda e

Here’s What You Wanted To Know About The Honda e

Last week we got our hands on a Honda e press car and asked our readers to send us any questions they may have about it. We received many interesting questions about the charming but also pricey EV from Japan, so we will try to answer most of them here.

Is the Honda e completely quiet?

Despite its compact size, Honda did a great job in soundproofing the Honda e which in combination with its refined ride, lack of aerodynamic noises, and silent electric powertrain make it very quiet both on the highway and in the noisy city streets. You could have a nice conversation and also relax while being in traffic. By the way, its quietness prompted us to test the eight-speaker premium audio system that is standard on the flagship Advance trim. Despite the speakers looking small, the bass was strong and clear creating a good overall experience on par with the car’s character – in that price segment, we wouldn’t risk getting the lower-spec sound system.

How distracting is the panoramic dash display at night and can you turn it off?

I am not a big fan of huge infotainment screens and I feel good when they offer me the option to turn them off completely when needed. Surprisingly, the multi-screen setup in the Honda e didn’t bother me at all since it adjusted well with the lighting conditions and didn’t feel irritatingly bright at night. It looked more like an extended digital instrument cluster with the black background and the darker wallpapers helping a lot.

My experience has taught me that it is not only the size of the screen that matters but also the position. You can get more irritated by a tiny display in the wrong spot than by a larger one that stays out of your field of vision. While the screen in the Honda e seems to be high positioned in the press photos, in reality, it doesn’t feel that way. In fact, the top end of the steering wheel usually hides a small portion of the instrument cluster, proving that the whole screen setup is rather low compared to the large front windshield.

Driven: The Honda e Advance Is A Retro-Futuristic Gadget On Four Wheels

Answering Miknik’s question, yes the dual screens can be turned off (besides the digital instrument cluster and mirrors of course). However, judging from the fact that the Honda e will be mostly driven in urban areas and not so much in dark highways, plus the great auto-dimming of the screens, we don’t expect many people to feel the need to press the off button.

Do we prefer the rear-view cameras over conventional rear-view mirrors and were they odd to use?

The short answer is that I could definitely live with them. I initially approached the mirror-replacing camera trend with skepticism but they proved to be quite usable. The angle of the lens is wide enough to almost eliminate blind spots and the brightness adjusts itself automatically in a very successful way. I could clearly see behind me when the bright sun was shining on the cameras and also during the night. As fellow reader Corky Paul suggested, the ability of the cameras to see in low light was indeed better than the conventional mirrors.

I have to admit that I kept moving my head while parking in a quest to see the lower part of the car from a different angle, which obviously doesn’t work with the fixed image on the screens. However, I didn’t really need to do that since the bird’s eye view camera is good enough for the job. Furthermore, besides helping with aerodynamics, the tiny cameras were advantageous when driving through narrow roads with parked cars on both sides, since I didn’t have to worry about scratching my mirror caps.

Read Also: You Asked, We Answered What You Wanted To Know About The 2022 Kia EV6

What I didn’t like was the central mirror that could turn into a screen in the Honda e Advance trim, showing the unobstructed feed from the rearview camera. In this case, the screen made it more difficult for my eyes to focus and adjust. I also found reflections on the glass being distracting at times, so I kept the mirror in its regular non-digital mode for most of the time.

BarryFastCars would like to see the Honda e next to a Hyundai Ioniq 5

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to photograph it but we did pass right next to a Hyundai Ioniq 5 so we made the comparison. To be precise, Hyundai’s EV is 741 mm longer, 138 mm wider, and 102 mm taller with a 470 mm longer wheelbase than Honda’s supermini.

Is the Honda e as adorable in person as it is in photos?

Yes! It is one of the cars you give a second look over the shoulder every time you park. Surfacing is great and the curved glossy-black panels on both ends are reflecting the environment upside down which is cool. What could be better is the very plasticky feeling of the otherwise premium-looking front end.

What’s going on with the Sports EV concept?

The Honda Sports EV concept was introduced in 2017, just a month after the premiere of the Urban EV concept. While the latter evolved into the Honda e production EV in 2019, the former has not reached the market yet. Despite earlier reports, our take is that Honda created this two-door electric sportscar for show purposes and will likely wait for a few more years before dropping such a vehicle into the market – if at all. Imagine a sportscar with the small 35.5 kWh battery and the limited range of the Honda e – you would likely need a tow truck every time you let loose on a B-road.

Can the Honda e drift?

Neither the 134 hp (100 kW / 136 PS) of the base model, or the 152 hp (113 kW / 154 PS ) of the Advance trim are enough to smoke the rear tires of this 1,527 kg (3,366 pounds) EV, but you can enjoy small drifts when the circumstances are right. In Sport mode with the ESP turned off, the little Honda had some tail-happy moments on worn-off tarmac. That is when the low center of gravity, the 50:50 weight balance, and the quick steering proved to be beneficial, drawing a smile on the driver’s face.

Carenthusiast asked us about the second-row seating and the cargo space

I am 1.84 m (6.04 feet) tall and I could easily fit in the back seat of the Honda e with the driver’s seat in my preferred position. I would say it has decent space at the back when you compare it to other urban EVs and it can seat four adults in relative comfort, although it is more cramped than modern ICE-powered superminis. To be fair, the limited real-life range of around 170 km (106 miles) means that practically no one will be using the Honda e for long road trips.

Boot space is very limited at 171 lt (6 cubic feet). This is slightly less than the 185 lt (6.5 cubic feet) of the Fiat 500 and the 211 lt (7.5 cubic feet) of the MINI Cooper SE. At least it has a practical shape and the rear seats fold nearly flat for when you need to carry more than one small suitcase. For reference, the two soft cases you can see in the picture are the charging cables.

See Also: Would You Rather Have The Fiat 500 Or The Honda e?

Juris Muris asked about the price

The Honda e is small but pricey although it makes up with the generous standard equipment, especially in the Advance variant we drove. In the UK, the Honda e is listed for £34,365 ($45,989) while the Honda e Advance costs £36,865 ($49,334), which is similar to what you’d pay for a mid-spec Honda CR-V Hybrid AWD in the same market. In Greece, where we tested the car, prices are €35,990 ($40,304) and €38,990 ($43,641) respectively. Note that the aforementioned prices do not include government incentives.

We hope we answered all of your questions. If you want to learn more about the Honda e you can read our full review here.