- Toyota Goes Trendy With New Camry
Toyota Motor Corporation has rolled out an all-new 2018 Toyota Camry, eliciting enthusiasm from its fans and lovers of sleek sedans globally as it raises the level of fun and excitement in the latest model.
The eighth-generation sedan is said to be the result of Toyota’s total evolution, thanks to its much-talked about new-found performance and style.
A statement from the manufacturer’s communication team says the Toyota team is thrilled by the success of the Camry over the years, including the current model, which informed the decision to reward its fans with something novel and trendy.
Specifically, the all-new Camry utilises the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture), which represents a completely new strategy in the way the company designs, engineers and packages its vehicles.
The TNGA, it says, “retains all of Toyota’s traditional values of superlative build quality and safety while injecting a fun driving experience that plays on all the senses. The physical manifestation is the usage of a new engine, transmission and GA-K platform.”
It quotes Toyota Senior Vice-President, Automotive Operations, Mr. Bill Fay, as saying, “With an exhilarating design, refined interior, stirring driving performance, cutting-edge safety and technology, and class-leading fuel efficiency, the all-new Camry retains its excellent value while raising its level of fun and excitement to new heights. It is simply the best Camry ever and the benchmark in the mid-size sedan segment.”
“With the full implementation of the TNGA in the new Camry, the car’s designers and engineers had an opportunity to develop the eighth-generation model from the scratch. So, instead of resting on past laurels and taking the safe route of basing the new model on the same formula that has made past Camry models the best-selling mid-size sedan in the world, its Chief Engineer, Masato Katsumata, had other plans. He wanted to redefine the genre and create something that would stir people’s souls; so, he went about producing a sedan that not only embraced the Camry’s traditional core components of performance and intelligence, but also added one more element to the mix: experience,” says the automaker.
Toyota says the 2018 Camry has a sleeker profile than the current model, with aggressive character lines.
The design team, according to the firm, has been able to reduce the car’s overall vehicle height by approximately one inch from the current model and incorporate a lower roofline, without sacrificing interior space.
This is achieved by lowering the hip points of the occupants (0.8-inches in the front and 1.2-inches at the rear), and therefore their seating positions.
“Like the front, the rear features an athletic motif that melds flowing lines and complex shapes to form a sculpted landscape. Looking closely at the C-pillar’s detail will reveal a multitude of surfaces that reflect light from all angles,” it states.
The new Camry will be available in five grades: L, LE, XLE, SE and XSE. The sportier SE and XSE grades wear a noticeably different body style than the entry level L and LE, and premium XLE grades, highlighted by a sculpted rocker panel, new 19-inch black machined-finish alloy wheels (standard on XSE and optional on SE) a subtle rear spoiler lip, aggressive front bumper, and rear bumper with a lower diffuser.
Toyota says the completely redesigned interior is a fusion of functionality, futuristic styling, and a high degree of personal space and craftsmanship.
According to the manufacturer, while the driver is situated in a sporty cockpit-type environment having gauges angled toward his or her direction, the front passenger is treated to a sense of openness and freedom that results from the innovative dashboard design.
It says a key visual element of this driver-focused design concept is a sweeping yet elegant new character line that flows down from the instrument cluster and bisects the centre console waterfall.
Toyota says the new front seats have improved ergonomics, providing maximum comfort with a newfound level of ease and engagement to match the Camry’s elevated performance and athleticism.
Its rear-seat accommodation is said to be more refined than ever too, with improved comfort and ergonomics, adding, “Exquisite stitching on the front- and rear-seat surfaces is but one example of the high level of craftsmanship found throughout the vehicle.”
The car features Toyota’s latest in-vehicle information technology whose next-generation displays offer a unique level of integrated information with minimal distraction.
It relays information through three available interlinked displays: a 10-inch colour Head-Up Display; a seven-inch multi-information display within the instrument cluster, and an eight-inch audio/navigation/HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) control panel that’s seamlessly integrated into the centre console in a modern, flush-surface design.
“Convenient and highly intuitive operation is assured through customisable features and smart phone-like touch screen icons that create a seamless connection and user workflow between the in-vehicle information technology and other digital media,” it says.
The TNGA technology
The TNGA is considered the joker in the all-new Camry as the automaker notes that the development of the car has been advanced by this technology.
Toyota says the TNGA is much more than an approach to designing a vehicle’s platform; it is a new strategy that strengthens the development of its vehicles going forward.
“The all-new Camry’s TNGA-based body/platform has created a new dimension of design freedom that includes an extended wheelbase and a wider vehicle stance, realising a stylish and sporty new design aesthetic,” it says.
Toyota says three new powertrains will be available on the new 2018 Camry: an all-new 2.5-litre inline-four-cylinder D-4S petrol engine and a new 3.5-litre V6 with D-4S fuel injection, both of which are paired to a new eight-speed direct-shift automatic transmission (8AT); and a next-generation Toyota Hybrid System (THS II).
It lists the many safety features of the 2018 Camry to include the standard TSS-P suite of safety systems and technologies helping to make gradual progress towards the automaker’s ultimate goal of ‘zero casualties from accidents’.
This safety suite is said to offer cutting-edge active safety technologies such as Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; and Automatic High Beams.
It says select models will also come with standard Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, just as the available Intelligent Clearance Sonar includes a new Rear Cross Traffic Braking system.
It also says the new Camry has 10 standard airbags along with Toyota’s Star Safety System™, which are Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology, among others.
It adds that the new Camry comes equipped with a standard backup camera.
“Camry drivers will be the first to enjoy enhanced connectivity and entertainment through the new Toyota Entune™ 3.0 multimedia system. The new 2018 Camry will feature Entune 3.0 on all models, offering an enhanced set of connected vehicle technologies.”
It says the Entune™ 3.0 delivers several new technologies including available Remote Connect, which provides remote start and door unlock capability, vehicle status notifications, a guest driver monitor, and vehicle finder.
Tech Companies Profiting Big from COVID-19 Pandemic -GlobalData
Tech Giants Growing Market Value During COVID-19 Pandemic
Global tech giants are taking advantage of the numerous business opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic is opening up across the globe.
This was evident in the second quarter financial reports of the top 25 technology companies that saw the market capitalisation of the companies expanding quarter-on-quarter during a global health crisis.
According to the Data compiled by GlobalData, Apple’s second-quarter revenue was aided by the strong performance from its services and wearables business units despite COVID-19 disruption. This, according to the data, allowed the tech giant to gain substantial market share and emerged as the world’s most valuable company.
Speaking on the strong financial statements from global tech giants, Keshav Jha, Business Fundamentals Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Apart from its impressive Q2 performance, the announcement of the new iOS and new iMac during Apple’s annual developer conference (WWDC) in June 2020 seemed to have pleased investors with the company’s MCap rising by over 40% during the quarter.
“The second of the top 25 technology companies by MCap was Microsoft. The company’s business accelerated during the company’s Q3 ending March 31 2020 mainly driven by growth in its cloud usage, increased Xbox sales, and higher demand for Office commercial and Dynamics business solutions. The company’s decision to close its physical stores and invest in e-commerce operations to drive sales, as well as the announcement of regular quarterly dividend, helped its stocks reach a new high.
“In third place was Amazon Web Services (AWS), which recorded a huge surge in demand of its cloud services after the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, an increase in e-commerce retail demand due to lockdowns imposed by governments in major economies helped Amazon’s stock rise over 40% and its MCap crossed US$1 trillion mark in Q2 2020.”
Alphabet, Facebook and Tencent led in the digital advertising space with over 20 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in their market capitalisation. The report noted that in the last three weeks of Q1 2020, advertisement revenue of Alphabet and Facebook dipped slightly but started showing stability in the first three weeks of April.
This renewed interest in the advertisement of the two companies aided their stocks by 20 percent in April as investors remained strongly bullish due to an increase in consumer engagement on its services because of the quarantine and shelter-in-place orders.
Jha continued: “Although suspension of sports events affected Tencent’s media advertising revenue, its online advertisement and games revenues increased over 30% in Q1 2020, ended March 31, which seemed to help the company win over investors’ confidence.”
For major semiconductor companies such as Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductor, NVIDIA, ASML, Broadcom, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm their market value grew between 9 percent to 45 percent quarter-on-quarter during the period.
Jha adds: “The health crisis led to rise in demand for memory chips, mainly due to higher demand from cloud applications linked to remote working and online education. The continued investment in AI, 5G infrastructure, data center, autonomous vehicles and gaming also kept market interested in these stocks.”
While ServiceNow and Zoom were the two entrants on the GlobalData’s top 25 technology companies ‘my MCap list’. They both grew subscription revenues and widening customer base with ServiceNow closing 37 deals in the first quarter. Zoom usage surged by 75.6 percent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter of 2020.
Jha concludes: “The economic downturn caused by COVID-19 has impacted all sectors, but the performance of tech stocks in Q2 suggests that investors believe they can successfully manage the headwinds from the health crisis. Tech companies are uniquely positioned to provide technology and resources to organizations and partners, which help in securely accessing and sharing data while working remotely. These companies are also playing pivotal role for consumers coping with lockdown measures, and in enabling health institutions and governments to maintain databases, which help in containing the spread of virus.”
Please note that the technology companies include software and hardware developers, IT services providers (including internet-based services providers), and electronics manufacturers including semiconductors, mobile devices etc.
Amazon Receives Approval to Launch $10bn Broadband Project, Kuiper
Amazon, founded by Jeff Bezos in 1995, just claimed a major victory by getting regulatory approval to create Kuiper, a planned fleet or constellation of 3,236 of internet-beaming satellites.
If realized, Kuiper would compete with Starlink, a similar yet potentially much larger fleet of 12,000 to 42,000 satellites many times the number of spacecraft humanity has ever launched being formed by SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk.
On Wednesday, the FCC’s five commissioners unanimously voted to permit Amazon to launch its Kuiper fleet into space and communicate with Earth-based antennas, giving the project the paperwork it needs to get off the ground.
“We conclude that grant of Kuiper’s application would advance the public interest by authorizing a system designed to increase the availability of high-speed broadband service to consumers, government, and businesses, the FCC wrote in its order, released on July 30.
In a subsequent announcement by Amazon on Thursday, the company pledged to invest “more than $10 billion in its effort to provide “reliable, affordable broadband service to unserved and underserved communities around the world.”
“A project of this scale requires significant effort and resources, and, due to the nature of [low-Earth orbit] constellations, it is not the kind of initiative that can start small. You have to commit, Amazon said.
That amount, incidentally, is precisely what SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell estimated in May 2018 as the cash it may take to complete Starlink.
Airtel Africa Grows Customer Base to 111.5 Million in Q2 2020
Airtel Africa Increase Customer Base by 11.8% to 111.5 Million
Airtel Africa Plc, one of Africa’s leading telecommunications companies, on Thursday reported a 11.8 percent increase in customer base to 111.5 million for the second quarter of 2020.
Airtel grew revenue by 6.9 percent $851 million, while constant currency revenue growth expanded by 13 percent.
In the financial statement released on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday, the telecom giant said it recorded constant currency revenue growth across key business segments, with voice revenue rising by 2.2 percent and data expanding by 35.7 percent during the quarter.
The company said its mobile money segment grew by 26.3 percent in the second quarter of the year.
Key Highlights of the Quarter
- Underlying EBITDA increased by 7.9% to $375m, with constant currency growth of 14.6%
- Reported underlying EBITDA margin was 44.1%, up by 40 bps(61 bpsin constant currency)
- Operating profit increased by 12.9% to $210m, an increase of 21.5% in constant currency
- Free cash flow was $96m compared to $62m in the same period last year
- Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was $1.0 cents and basic EPS was $1.1 cents
- Net debt to underlying EBITDA was 2.2x, compared to 3.0x in June 2019
Commenting on the performance, Raghunath Mandava, Chief Executive Officer, said: “During last quarter our business was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as restrictions on movements of people and ways of socialising were introduced to contain the spread of infection. In these unprecedented times, we have worked with governments, regulators, partners, and suppliers to keep customers and businesses connected as well as supporting the economies and communities. We focussed on expanding and maintaining our network to ensure it could cope with increasing demand, we kept our distribution up and running by increasing the penetration of digital recharges and stock levels, and we expanded our home broadband solutions to ensure customers could work and access entertainment remotely.
Covid-19 impacted customer usage pattern, particularly during the month of April, however, as some of these restrictions started to be lifted, customer usage trends in May and June returned to being broadly consistent with pre Covid-19 trends. The Group’s performance generally reflected these trends, with revenue growth accelerating in May, and we ended the quarter with 13% revenue growth and 61 bps of EBITDA margin expansion in constant currency. The business showed its resilience even during these unprecedent circumstances with all key business segments – voice, data and mobile money, and all regions – Nigeria, East Africa and Francophone Africa contributing to growth.
During the quarter we also increased our support of the communities where we operate by providing financial support towards essential workers, free data for educational purposes and we worked together with governments to temporarily waive fees on certain mobile money transactions. We also created an exciting partnership with UNICEF to provide children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers.
The outlook remains uncertain, particularly regarding a so called potential second wave of infections and the actions governments will decide to take in that event. However, these results are further evidence of the growth opportunities our markets offer and the effectiveness of our strategy to focus on winning customers, investing in our network and expanding our voice, data and mobile money businesses.”
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