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4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  Tokyo  >  Nissan Motor Co Ltd    7201   JP3672400003

NISSAN MOTOR CO LTD (7201)

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Subaru takes slow lane for self-driving cars, says costly for buyers

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06/19/2017 | 11:19am CEST
FILE PHOTO: Subaru's new XV hits shopping cart carrying water bottles during a collision test demonstration at its factory in Ota

While major automakers race to develop driverless cars, Subaru (>> Subaru Corp) is taking a slower approach, saying its vehicles may be less advanced than its rivals' by 2020 as autonomous features remain costly for the buyers of Japan's smallest carmaker.

While major automakers race to develop driverless cars, Subaru (>> Subaru Corp) is taking a slower approach, saying its vehicles may be less advanced than its rivals' by 2020 as autonomous features remain costly for the buyers of Japan's smallest carmaker.

Automakers such as Ford Motor Co (>> Ford Motor Company), General Motors Co (>> Genpact Limited) and Nissan Motor Co (>> Nissan Motor Co Ltd) are increasingly looking beyond conventional vehicles to survive in an industry that is moving into electric and self-driving cars.

Smaller players are doing the same, but automakers like Subaru with limited research and development resources than their bigger rivals are showing caution in committing to advanced technologies on their own.

At a recent demonstration of its driving assist system "Eyesight", Subaru said its goals for autonomous driving were modest versus bigger rivals, some of which aim for self-driving cars on city streets by 2025.

"We're looking at how to develop (more advanced)capabilities, but we believe such functions will remain beyond the reach of Subaru customers," Tetsuo Onuki, chief general manager at Subaru's technical research centre, said last week in comments for publication on Monday.

"We're not aiming to develop driverless cars. What we're trying to do is make driving safer for people."

Subaru's new automated cruise control system can track cars travelling in front at low speeds, building on a similar feature marketed by bigger rival Nissan last year.

The automaker has said it will continue to develop automated functions on its own, tapping outside technology as needed.

It has plans to start developing an all-battery electric car this year, but it will use technology developed by Toyota Motor (>> Toyota Motor Corp) in a plug-in hybrid model planned for release in 2018.

"The risk Subaru runs with tempering their ambitions is that, if the market wants (more sophisticated technologies) ... and they don't make it on their own, they'll have to buy it off the shelf from a supplier," CLSA analyst Chris Richter said.

He added that an increased dependence on suppliers would leave Subaru with less control over developing new technologies.

Other smaller Japanese automakers have also acknowledged the challenges of competing with bigger rivals on advanced technologies given their relatively limited budgets.

Mazda Motor Corp (>> Mazda Motor Corp) has yet to announce plans to develop self-driving cars, while it will draw on its partnership with Toyota to develop electric cars.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp (>> MITSUBISHI MOTORS CORPORATION) has said its takeover by Nissan last year had given it access to Nissan's automated driving technology, something it had lacked the resources to pursue on its own.

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

By Naomi Tajitsu

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Financials ( JPY)
Sales 2018 12 032 613 M
EBIT 2018 -
Net income 2018 586 211 M
Debt 2018 4 977 370 M
Yield 2018 4,87%
P/E ratio 2018 7,28
P/E ratio 2019 6,76
EV / Sales 2018 0,79x
EV / Sales 2019 0,78x
Capitalization 4 554 152 M
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Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 21
Average target price 1 299  JPY
Spread / Average Target 20%
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NameTitle
Hiroto Saikawa Vice Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Carlos Ghosn Bichara Chairman
Joseph G. Peter CFO, Head-Investor Relations & Accounting
Celso Guiotoko Chief Information Officer
Takao Asami Senior Managing Executive Officer & Head-Research
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