This month’s snapshot of automotive industry news includes highlights from both Toyota and Honda.

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Automotive Industry Updates

Toyota Bounces Back With Help From Eager American Buyers and A Weak Yen

Toyota has almost tripled its net income from a year ago, due in part to brisk sales in North America and a weaker yen. The yen, which has weakened almost 30 percent since September, according to the New York Times, has given Toyota's profit a major bump. For every yen the currency loses in value against the dollar, Toyota estimates, its operating profit rises 35 billion yen.

The New Honda Accord Coupe Makes A Sporty Return to Form

CNET Editors have given the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe a "very good" rating, saying "with its V-6 engine, six-speed gearbox, and great handling the 2013 Honda Accord Coup is way more than a car this sie should be."  The review mentions the cabin tech system, basic app integration with Aha and Pandora and cites the LaneWatch camera as very useful. Negative mentions include the multi screened infotainment system and missing active driver aid technologies.

The CNET review's bottom line? The 2013 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L V-6 is a big step in the right direction for Honda, with great performance and good tech.

Toyota Prius Continues To Trounce Honda's Insight In Global Hybrid Sales

According to Green Car Reports, the Toyota Prius was one of the world's highest-selling cars in 2012, selling 389,932 units globally.  By comparison, global sales of the Honda Insight were only 22,440--just one seventeenth the number of the Prius.

Honda's Charitable Giving Program Benefits Region

In a recent op-ed piece, The Daily Home, describes the difficulty in overestimating the economic impact of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama on its region since the company arrived here in 2001. With an approximate investment of facilities of $2 billion and about 4,000 jobs, not to mention suppliers that have located in the area, Honda is making a tremendous difference.

The company continues to grow and produce vehicles that earn high marks from industry and consumer publications, and just last week production began on the Acura MDX, joining the product line of Ridgeline pickups, Odyssey vans, Pilot SUVs and V-6 engines produced at the Lincoln factory.

Somewhat lesser known are the company's charitable giving programs, which focus primarily on the five counties where most of the company's employees reside - Talladega, St. Clair, Calhoun, Etowah and Jefferson.

Honda Adds New Transmission Plant to Auto Plant in Mexico

According to Industry Week, Honda De Mexico announced last week that it will construct a new transmission plant in Celaya, near the city of Guanajuato. This plant will be on the same site as the new automobile plant currently under construction that will begin production of the Honda Fit in spring 2014.

Transmission production will begin operation in the second half of 2015 with an annual production capacity of 350,000 units, with plans to more than double annual output in the coming years.

Peter Anthony Named Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist 

The finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 have been announced and Peter Anthony is among the few.

According to the program, "The awards recognize high-growth entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in areas such as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities."

The Midwest region received 107 nominations, and 34 finalists were selected by a panel of independent judges.

Honda Recognizes UGN as Top North American Parts Supplier With Excellence Award

Leading automotive parts supplier, UGN, Inc., was among 53 suppliers in North America honored by Honda for excellence during the company's record production year in 2012. Their Jackson, Tenn., plant was a recipient of the Honda 2013 Parts Supplier award, which has earned five service part delivery awards in a row.

Honda recognized its network of 632 original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and service parts suppliers during a major conference and met separately with service parts suppliers that provide parts for in-market Honda and Acura vehicles, honoring an additional 50 suppliers for outstanding performance.

UGN, Inc., and other top-performing suppliers were recognized for their excellence in key areas including: Quality, value, efficiency, and on-time delivery.