The Chinese Are Coming - #45


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Page 1: Toyota Makes A Move
Page 2: Electric - Autonomous - Connected - New Deals

Toyota has been an underperformer in China for years. Japan's No. 1 routinely sold about half as many vehicles as GM and VW. Even Nissan outpaced the company in sales.

Not anymore.

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An energized Toyota is now on track for record sales and profits in China. This year, Toyota (and Lexus) will combine for sales of nearly 2 million vehicles.

Toyota China Sales (millions)
2017: 1.3
2018: 1.5
2019: 1.7 (f)

Lexus is flying higher, too. A lot higher. Sales are up 28% YTD.

Lexus China Sales
2017: 132,000
2018: 149,000
2019: 200,000 (f)

Toyota is also planting strategic seeds. Toyota recently revealed new plays in electric, autonomous and ride-sharing vehicles which include:

• Looking at a $550 million investment in Didi, China's ride-hailing powerhouse.
• Working with Baidu to cooperate on autonomous tech development.
• Developing high quality electric batteries and vehicles with both BYD and CATL.

What's behind Toyota's new momentum? In 2017, Chairman Akio Toyota instructed his lieutenants to "move much faster" in China. Be careful though, he cautioned, not to anger the Trump Administration.

"For Toyota to operate globally, we need to strike a fine balance between China and the United States. It's imperative to avoid making enemies." - Akio Toyota (May 2019)

In May, Toyota sold more cars in China than in the US for the first time.

GM and VW better watch their backs.

The China Genius Briefing: How do your company's plans line up with the fast-shifting economic realities on the ground in the PRC? Do a direct and timely reality check. Contact Bill Endemann at to learn more about the China Genius Briefing.


– Page 2 –

Electric • Autonomous • Connected • New Deals


(Photo: The 2019 BYD Tang EV designed by former Audi executive Wolfgang Egger)

(Photo: The 2019 BYD Tang EV designed by former Audi executive Wolfgang Egger)

• Toyota joins hands with BYD to develop electric cars for China.

• Toyota partners with CATL for battery development and supply.

• CATL saw profits surge 120% in period Jan-June 2019.

• China is now home to 1 million EV charging piles, 59% of which are privately-owned and operated.


• BMW taps into Tencent's data computing and storage platform for autonomous tech development.

Baidu lures Geely and Toyota into the Apollo initiative to jointly develop autonomous tech

Connected & Shared

• Chinese state investment agencies pour $407 million into voice recognition leader iFlytek.

• Didi will allow customers to access competitor ride-hailing services via the Didi app.

• Didi plans to raise a fresh $2 billion from investors, lifting valuation to $62 billion.

New Deals

• China-made Volvo XC60 SUVs will be sold in 25 European countries starting this month.

• Proton will produce a Geely compact crossover in Malaysia.

• Geely-controlled Lotus introduces electric supercar Eviya, packing 1,973 horsepower.


About Us: ZoZo Go advises company leaders on the future of autonomous, electric and connected vehicles in the U.S. and China. Our clients: automakers, suppliers, tech companies and investors.

ZoZo Go's core offerings include The ACES Genius Briefing and The China Genius Briefing. We operate from offices in Hong Kong, San Diego and Shanghai.

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