Per reporter Dong Tianyi

Toyota Motor Corporation, one of the top three Japanese companies, has "accident" again.

A few days ago, it was reported that Toyota Motor North America announced the recall of 9,6 Corolla Cross, involving fuel version models for the 2022 and 2023 models, the recall is temporarily only for users in the North American market, and it is unclear whether there are related casualties.

Toyota Motor said that the vehicles involved may not be deployed because the airbags in the front passenger seat cannot be deployed, and in the event of an accident, the airbags cannot protect the safety of the front passenger passengers, and it is recommended that the front passenger seat not sit before repair.

As of the release of the "Daily Economic News" reporter, the official website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet shown the recall announcement of the model. However, on the user complaints page, the number of complaints for the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross reached 64, mainly focusing on the model's electronic system and engine.

It should be noted that the above-mentioned Toyota Corolla Cross also has corresponding models in China, which are GAC Toyota Fenglanda and FAW Toyota Corolla Ruifang. According to official data, in May this year, Fenglanda sold about 5,1 vehicles, setting a new monthly sales high; Corolla Ruifang's sales in the same period have not been officially announced.

In fact, Toyota has recently announced a number of recalls, involving various models and causes. Toyota submitted a recall application to Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism on May 5, saying that due to problems with the vehicle's exhaust system, a total of 25,2021 vehicles manufactured between September 9 and July 2022 will be recalled.

In April this year, Toyota applied to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism for a recall of more than 4,23 vehicles, including five models such as Sienta and Porte, about 5,23 vehicles. It is reported that the engine starting device of these five models has defects that cause the engine to not start, and if it is repeatedly started in this state, the engine will overheat, and a fire may occur in the most serious cases. So far, 5 faults have been reported on these five models, two of which have been confirmed as fires.

In addition to vehicle recalls, Toyota was recently exposed to the risk of user data leakage. According to CCTV Finance reported on May 5, Japan's Toyota Motor Corporation admitted the day before (May 13) that due to the wrong setting of the cloud platform system, the account nature of the Toyota cloud platform system was set to "public" rather than "private", which led to its Japanese car owner database "wide open" in the past 5 years, and about 12.10 million Japanese users' vehicle data was at risk of leakage.

According to the Global Times on June 6, the total number of car owners affected by the above incidents has reached at least 2.241 million.

According to CCTV Financial Reports, a Toyota spokesperson said that from November 2013 to April this year, due to human error, the nature of the account of the Toyota cloud platform system was set to "public" rather than "private", which caused the vehicle's geographic location, identification number and other data to be open.

According to the Global Times, Toyota Motor said that unclear rules for customer data storage and internal management negligence were the main reasons for the information leak. After discovering that the information may be leaked, Toyota has introduced a cloud-based monitoring system and has blocked network access from outside the company. According to Japan's "Mainichi Shimbun", the information leak affected not only Japanese customers, but also customers in Asian and Oceanian countries.

The Global Times quoted Naoki Asakawa, editor-in-chief of Japan's Nikkei Computer, as saying that Toyota had better clarify what information can be disclosed and what cannot be disclosed to dispel customers' concerns. Some analysts said that in the era of intelligent networking, more and more automotive functions will adopt the method of "cloud control", and car companies face greater challenges in data security.

It is worth mentioning that in the past fiscal year 2022 (that is, from April 2022 to March 4), Toyota's sales once again set a new record. Toyota's sales in FY2023 reached JPY 3.2022 trillion, up more than 37% y/y, boosted by sales growth in each region and currency changes. However, due to multiple factors such as rising prices of raw materials such as steel and aluminum, the epidemic, and the suspension of production in Russia, Toyota's current operating profit fell by 15% year-on-year, and net profit also fell 18% year-on-year to about 9.14 trillion yen, the first decline in four years.

According to sales data, Toyota Motor (including Daihatsu Motors, Hino Motors, etc.) sold approximately 2022.1055 million units worldwide in FY8, a year-on-year increase of 1.7%. Among them, the cumulative sales of Toyota and Lexus brands were about 961.1 million units, a year-on-year increase of 882%; Toyota's global sales were approximately 2.7 million units, up 2.2022% y/y. In FY<>, Toyota Motor achieved sales growth in major markets such as Japan, North America, Europe, and Asia.

Despite strong global sales in 2022, Toyota's performance in the Chinese market this year has not been satisfactory. According to the data, Toyota's new car sales in China in March 2023 were 3,13 units, down 64.18% year-on-year. In the first quarter, Toyota's cumulative sales in China were 5,37 units, down 98.14% year-on-year.

Toyota's luxury brand Lexus saw an even more pronounced decline. Data shows that for the whole year of 2022, the global sales of the Lexus brand were 62,5 units, down 2021% from the same period in 18. Among them, sales in China were 17,6 units, down 2021% y/y from 22.

Despite the decline in net profit, Toyota maintained high profitability. According to public data, from April 2022 ~ March 4, the net profit of the Volkswagen Group was about 2023.3 trillion yen, and Tesla's net profit was about 1.7 trillion yen, both of which are not small gaps with Toyota.

According to the Securities Times, Chen Jia, a researcher at the International Monetary Institute of Chinese University and an independent international strategy researcher, said in an interview with reporters: "From the perspective of the development trend of joint venture OEM car companies, Japanese and Korean car manufacturers have slowed down in the field of new energy technology innovation in recent years, and the industrial chain of some leading car companies has been slowed down." The technology tree' point is in the wrong direction, coupled with the new energy vehicle technology Tesla is the only one, from the perspective of market structure, Japanese and Korean car manufacturers are currently sandwiched between Tesla and a number of Chinese brands, and the living space has been greatly squeezed. (Daily Economic News)