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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Excellent although necessarily 'long' article that asks many good questions and has some excellent proposals for action.

Regardless of how you might feel about hybrids or GM et al - strongly suggest you read it.


http://www.glgroup.com/News/Is-Toyotas-Prius-Being-Dumped-On-The-US-Market--23242.html

April 3, 2008

Is Toyota's Prius Being Dumped On The US Market?


Analysis By: Jack Lifton
Chief Executive Officer , Jack Lifton, LLC



INTRO / Implications: / Background
It has always been a mystery to OEM American automotive industry financial analysts how Toyota could afford to build and sell the Prius, and any other hybrids, without seemingly taking into account the escalating costs of the nickel metal hydride battery, NiMH, packs due to the commodity metal supercycle that has taken place entirely during the product life of the Prius.
The raw materials for the NiMH battery pack used in the 1999 Prius, 60 lbs of nickel, 24 lbs of lanthanum, and 3 lbs of cobalt cost a total of less than $400.00 then. The same battery today has a raw material cost of $1600.00. The added costs of manufacturing the components and assembling them, along with a built-in computer management system at least doubles the cost of the final 'battery.'
Are the batteries recycled? If so, where? Perhaps the solution to these mysteries plus the answer to the question "How much were the development costs of the NiMH battery?" is simple; the answer,for Toyota, may be zero.
PROBLEM DEFINITION / Analysis:

- and it has been believed up until now that Toyota, much against the grain of Japanese risk-averse culture, went ahead with the development of the NiMH battery as a gamble. One that paid off when GM dropped its EV1, lead-acid, battery powered car when California backed off on requiring zero-emission cars as 2% of sales in the late 1990s. Toyota, it has been believed, stepped into the void to establish its green credentials without any competition.
Toyota has never been forthcoming on the question of whether or not the Prius was, and perhaps still is, a 'loss-leader,' i.e., that it was being sold for less than its cost of production in order to establish a market.
One reason that Toyota could not answer this question is simple enough: Under WTO rules such loss-leading sales might well be determined to constitute 'dumping,' or selling below the actual cost of producing the product in its home country, which is considered a predatory pricing scheme, which gives an unfair advantage to the dumper and can be punished by special import duties and fines to level the playing field.
- but government backed R&D in the US has always been of a general nature and certainly never intended to give a competitive advantage to just one of the companies involved, -
One cannot help but notice that today GM having failed, along with its Detroit Three colleagues, to get $500 million of US government funding for a battery 'Manhattan' project has elected to spend nearly 1 billion dollars, so far, of its own money to hedge its bets by building a 'pilot plant' to produce electric cars of all types in limited 'mass' production while investing more than 100 million dollars, so far, in a mix of new and old battery development shops, such as A123 and SAFT, for example, while selecting just one global size battery manufacturer, Johnson Controls, International, to do the manufacturing engineering development for whichever battery type(s) is(are) chosen finally for mass production.
The question now becomes: Is the playing field between Toyota and GM level? Or, has Toyota had the advantage of having the Japanese taxpayer pick up the bills for the NiMH battery it and everyone else, except GM, uses today, and for the sale of each of which a license fee is being paid to Toyota(?), leaving it free to go down the lithium battery road with more cash than it should be able to do?
I am beginning to wonder if, in fact, the entire lithium battery development agenda in Japan, which Toyota's rival, Honda, is conspicuously not following, is a sham designed to deflect attention from an unfair deal struck by Toyota with the Japanese government for NiMH development to allow it to build hybrids only in Japan using Japanese labor and components while selling the cars almost entirely in the US.
Note also that NiMH batteries are critically dependent on rare earth metals obtained today only in China, and that the Japanese government has a stockpile agency, which maintains a supply of rare earth metals, and many others, at no carrying cost to Japanese companies to ensure that Japanese industry has supplies to bridge any interruption.
- Toyota has always used this excuse for continuing to make NiMH battery powered cars only in Japan.
ACTIONABLE OPTIONS / HOW TO CORRECT

I propose to the US OEM automotive industry, GM, in particular, that it get directly involved in bringing American rare earth metal mines into production, so that NiMH batteries and small powerful electric motors using rare earth magnets can be built here in the US using domestic raw materials.
The job of the Defense Stockpile Agency would then be only to buy and hold as a buffer against interruption of supply the rare earths metals critical to OEM automotive and military production needs.
I further propose that such stockpiled metals be mandated by law to be first offered to domestic American companies for their needs, and only if and when such needs are satisfied could stockpiled metals then be sold for export. This is exactly what Japan, China, and Korea do now.
Such a program and policy as outlined above would, in my opinion, cause non-Chinese manufacturers of batteries and electrical devices dependent on rare earth metals to move to the US en masse, just as American companies in those businesses have moved to China.
I further think that a case should be brought within the jurisdiction of the WTO by the OEM American owned and operated automotive industry demanding evidence that the Japanese government did not subsidize the development and the manufacturing of NiMH batteries for any Japanese company, and demanding if it is shown that they did that a fine be levied against that company, Toyota(?), for every hybrid ever made by it in Japan and sold into the US market, and that further, no such cars be further allowed to be sold in the US, which are not made substantially in the US using domestic American raw materials if they are available.
Japanese companies would be thrilled to be able to buy domestic American produced raw materials such as rare earths, and undoubtedly make hybrids here in the US if they could buy raw materials domestically for dollars.
KEY QUESTION :
Is anyone listening at GM headquarters or in Washington, DC?
 

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Is the article essentially saying that Toyota has an unfair advantage with the prius because the japanese government had a hand in funding it and thus they can afford to sell it at below cost in the US and not take much of a hit?

Perhaps if the US wasn't so busy spending billions (trillions?) on an illegal war going nowhere, they could afford to fund domestic technologies as well.
 

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Is the article essentially saying that Toyota has an unfair advantage with the prius because the japanese government had a hand in funding it and thus they can afford to sell it at below cost in the US and not take much of a hit?

Perhaps if the US wasn't so busy spending billions (trillions?) on an illegal war going nowhere, they could afford to fund domestic technologies as well.
No. The US is not funding or conducting research for the express gain of US companies like the Japanese government is. Under the World Trade Organization it is illegal to partake in dumping which is one of the main points of this article. If the US did fund battery development for just GM/Ford/Chrysler and then these companies sold cars at cut rates in other countries, it would be illegal too.

Why must people bring up ignorance on a war that has nothing to do with this? By the way, what is your definition of "nowhere"? Free elections, education for all (females too), etc is nowhere? Keep your politics in political discussions and not in car forums.
 

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No. The US is not funding or conducting research for the express gain of US companies like the Japanese government is. Under the World Trade Organization it is illegal to partake in dumping which is one of the main points of this article. If the US did fund battery development for just GM/Ford/Chrysler and then these companies sold cars at cut rates in other countries, it would be illegal too.

Why must people bring up ignorance on a war that has nothing to do with this? By the way, what is your definition of "nowhere"? Free elections, education for all (females too), etc is nowhere? Keep your politics in political discussions and not in car forums.
The war is basically a money pit. I apologize for bringing politics yet again into this discussion but billions and possibly trillions of dollars are being wasted on a war that shouldn't have been authorized to begin with. This is money that could have been used to fund projects for alternative fuels and battery development here and instead its going to a war that is basically at a stand still at the moment. I'll admit some positive things have been done but for the most part its becoming one big money pit
 

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The US gov't accuses Canadian sawmills of dumping softwood on the US market and installs massive tariffs bankrupting all but the largest mills yet will never accuse any Asian nation of dumping any product. Go figure. **** your neighbor and biggest trading partner but heaven forbid you ruffle feathers over in Asia, cause you might not get cheap shoes and jeans.
 

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Is the article essentially saying that Toyota has an unfair advantage with the prius because the japanese government had a hand in funding it and thus they can afford to sell it at below cost in the US and not take much of a hit?

Perhaps if the US wasn't so busy spending billions (trillions?) on an illegal war going nowhere, they could afford to fund domestic technologies as well.
What are you smoking Mr. Burns? It must be good stuff. Illigal war? Last I checked, Congress Authorized and the President Signed off on this effort.

Plus the UN has no authority to make law. Its charter does not have any legal authority over soverign constitutions...
 

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Regarding the war: Wars advance technology.

Regarding what's relevant to this thread: What I find to be so egregious about the Prius is that Toyota completely ignores the damage done to the environment just to make the batteries. Of course, the press seems to ignore this as well.
 

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What are you smoking Mr. Burns? It must be good stuff. Illigal war? Last I checked, Congress Authorized and the President Signed off on this effort.

Plus the UN has no authority to make law. Its charter does not have any legal authority over soverign constitutions...
If attacking a sovereign nation on absolutely no basis, and what's worse, lies, is not considered illegal then that's just yet another example of corruption in our world.
 

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What are you smoking Mr. Burns? It must be good stuff. Illigal war? Last I checked, Congress Authorized and the President Signed off on this effort.

Plus the UN has no authority to make law. Its charter does not have any legal authority over soverign constitutions...


There has not been a formal declaration of war from the Congress, as the Constitution sets forth, since World War II. So yes it is an illegal war.
 

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If attacking a sovereign nation on absolutely no basis, and what's worse, lies, is not considered illegal then that's just yet another example of corruption in our world.
Keep your political opinions to yourself.
 

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If attacking a sovereign nation on absolutely no basis, and what's worse, lies, is not considered illegal then that's just yet another example of corruption in our world.
+1

For 7 years Washington is occupied by bunch of Big Oil emissaries. US military transformed into the gang shooters serving interests of Exxon/Shell/BP around the globe. Meanwhile in a homeland, financial crisises happening one after another. Sad.

The part where I laugh though is when TV shows folks in red states whining about 4$ gas and how they can't afford driving to work anymore.
 

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The US gov't accuses Canadian sawmills of dumping softwood on the US market and installs massive tariffs bankrupting all but the largest mills yet will never accuse any Asian nation of dumping any product. Go figure. **** your neighbor and biggest trading partner but heaven forbid you ruffle feathers over in Asia, cause you might not get cheap shoes and jeans.
Thanks for writing the only sane, BS-free post in this whole thread :clap: :yup:
 

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Never saw cheap shoes or jeans from Japan.
There was a time I remember back in the 70's when we would buy stuff and look at it, even trinket toys or cheap dinnerware, and it said 'Made in Japan' and we used to laugh.

In the 80's, this seemed to move to 'Made in Taiwan'. And the 90's thru now, everything says 'Made in China'. We all laughed at this stuff at first.

Now, it seems, the only thing that's laughed at is 'Made in America'.

True story...sadly...
 

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America 123 - A most notable effort for a new thread.
Just look at all the half-baked sideways-slanted non-related chatter in this thread.
With a few worthwhile posts as leaven.

If the United States took the same attitude as China and Japan, Detroit would not be what it is today.

I saw a figure today that indicated that there are between 7 and 8 MILLION H1B visa holders in the United States. Yeah, that's a great way to encourage people to go into engineering by pushing down wages.

Just thinking about all the things that I used to buy that were labeled "Made in USA" and "Made in Canada". I feel for the people whose lives were torn asunder because our government seemingly will not stand up for the common man and woman.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
America 123 -
Just look at all the half-baked sideways-slanted non-related chatter in this thread.
With a few worthwhile posts as leaven.

If the United States took the same attitude as China and Japan, Detroit would not be what it is today.

I saw a figure today that indicated that there are between 7 and 8 MILLION H1B visa holders in the United States. Yeah, that's a great way to encourage people to go into engineering by pushing down wages.

Just thinking about all the things that I used to buy that were labeled "Made in USA" and "Made in Canada". I feel for the people whose lives were torn asunder because our government seemingly will not stand up for the common man and woman.
Thanks plane.

Its deliberate - that means many things as a reply to your post - as I know you know.

As usual, good points all on your part.

Sometimes you just go numb in light of whats happening 'round here, there, and everywhere.

That first one, the second one, and especially that last one (of yours) can really get the juices goin'.
 

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The US gov't accuses Canadian sawmills of dumping softwood on the US market and installs massive tariffs bankrupting all but the largest mills yet will never accuse any Asian nation of dumping any product. Go figure. **** your neighbor and biggest trading partner but heaven forbid you ruffle feathers over in Asia, cause you might not get cheap shoes and jeans.
I'm not sure I understand you.

I can assure you that our decision to allow dumping from Japan (as suggested earlier) would have nothing to do with our desire for cheap Chinese goods. China would probably be pleased if we called Toyota out on their alleged dumping.
 
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