Toyota redesigns Tundra to woo truck buyers

Updated 08 February 2013

Toyota redesigns Tundra to woo truck buyers

CHICAGO: Toyota Motor Corp. has unveiled a redesigned Tundra pickup truck with a back-up camera, easier-to-use controls and other features designed to take advantage of the lucrative US truck market’s anticipated growth.
Toyota last overhauled the Tundra in 2007 to crack a market for full-work trucks dominated by General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. At the time, Toyota executives referred to the Tundra as their most important product launch ever.
But the 2007 Tundra launch coincided with a slowdown in US home construction that hurt truck sales that year and forced the Japanese automaker to pile on incentives to win over buyers.
This time, however, truck sales are on pace to outstrip the gains seen by the overall US auto industry. Analysts expect the trend to persist this year as the housing market improves and automakers launch an array of new models.
“Last time around their timing was off,” analyst Jesse Toprak said, referring to Toyota. “This time, their timing is pretty good in terms of the housing market correlation.”
The 2014 Tundra, on display at the Chicago Auto Show, faces stiff competition. Chrysler launched a redesigned Ram 1500 last autumn, while GM will introduce redesigned versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra this spring.
Next year, Ford will have an overhauled F-150 truck, while Nissan Motor Co’s US arm will launch a redesigned Titan pickup truck.
Toyota also must appeal to today’s consumers, who are less likely to be so-called lifestyle buyers, or those who are enamored of the truck’s image but do not really need it for work, Toprak said.
Buyers are more interested in the truck’s capability and power than with its plush interior and visual appeal.
“It doesn’t matter in terms of the styling of the truck, most truck buyers don’t care about that stuff anyway,” Toprak said. “What matters is the value proposition. That’s what Tundra’s lacked so far.”
The Tundra accounted for 6 percent of the full-size US truck market last year, while the F-Series made up 38.5 percent, according to auto research firm
The Chevrolet Silverado held 25 percent of US market share in 2012. Ram took 17 percent last year, while the GMC Sierra was 9.4 percent, according to the data.
The 2014 Tundra is expected to arrive at dealerships in September. As with the 2007 model, Toyota drew heavily on focus groups in its latest overhaul.
“Tundra’s new exterior design and all-new interior were inspired by customer feedback requesting a more chiseled exterior and refined interior,” Bill Fay, head of US sales for the Toyota brand, said.
Fay said at the show that he expects the US industry’s full-size pickup truck segment to grow about 10 percent in the next two years, hitting 1.8 million sales by 2015.
He said the increased demand may prompt some consumers to reconsider the brands, offering Toyota an opportunity for growth.
Last year, US industry sales of full-size trucks rose 9 percent to almost 1.64 million vehicles. Toyota’s Tundra sales last year rose 22.6 percent to 101,261 vehicles.
Toyota now offers Bluetooth wireless technology as a standard feature to make hands-free phone calls on the 2014 Tundra. The audio, heating and cooling controls are 2.6 inches closer to the driver to improve ergonomics in the new truck, Toyota said.

Financial crime leads to billions of lost business in Middle East, survey finds

Updated 48 min 22 sec ago

Financial crime leads to billions of lost business in Middle East, survey finds

  • Some 45 percent of MENA respondents in Thomson Reuters victims of fraud, corruption and bribery
  • 77 percent of MENA respondents deliberately avoided customers, suppliers, countries or industries viewed as most exposed to financial crime.

LONDON: Middle Eastern companies are losing billions of dollars in business opportunities because of fears about financial crime, according to a Thomson Reuters survey published on Thursday.

Concern about the possibility of severe financial and reputational damage due to regulatory breaches leads foreign investors and firms to shun companies and entire regions where they see “heightened risk.”

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 77 percent of survey respondents said that they deliberately avoided customers, suppliers, countries or industries which they viewed as most exposed to financial crime.

“The impact in terms of lost opportunities at both organizational and national level is difficult to quantify, but likely to impact productivity and economic development,” Thomson Reuters said.

The report was conducted online by an independent third party in March 2018. More than 2,000 senior managers at large global organizations completed the survey, from 19 countries.

In a hard-hitting conclusion, the report said: “For the first time our research has put a price on financial crime: three and a half percent of corporate turnover for the 2,373 large companies in our survey alone. That adds up to a staggering $1.45 trillion.”

Financial crime was said to blight individual lives and undermine the ability of governments to provide key services such as education and health. The IMF has shown that it reduces economic growth and social cohesion.

Che Sidanius, global head of financial crime regulation at Thomson Reuters, said that financial crime caused “incalculable” harm around the world. The proceeds of activities spanning bribery, corruption, fraud, and narcotics trafficking have been implicated in the financing of terrorism, human rights abuses such as slavery and child labor, and environmental crime.

“This has serious economic and social costs in terms of the lost revenues to national exchequers that could be invested in social development, and in terms of the impact on individual lives,” Sidanius said.

Other key findings were that 45 percent of MENA respondents had been a victim of financial crime as opposed to 47 percent globally; 96 percent believed that bribery and corruption was an important issue to tackle; 57 percent indicated that the consequences of bribery and corruption meant less government revenue; only 59 percent said that they fully conducted due diligence; and only 60 percent fully conducted due diligence, the report said.