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Panasonic to ramp up EV battery production in Japan

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TOKYO — Panasonic Holdings is looking to more than double its domestic production of EV batteries to supply potential customers like Mazda and Subaru and improve the performance of its Japanese factory.

“We are estimating our target for 2030 based on our demand from [potential] customers,” President and CEO Yuki Kusumi said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday. “Our challenge regarding the profit for the automobile battery business … comes from a huge drop in demand for batteries used in specific models,” he said.

Panasonic has slashed output from its EV battery factory in Japan due to slowing demand from key client Tesla.

According to a company document, Panasonic intends to more than double its production capacity in Japan by 2030. Its current domestic capacity stands at about 12 gigawatt-hours annually, compared to its U.S. capacity of around 38 gigawatt-hours. To achieve this, Kusumi said his company could modify some production lines in Japan to make the more advanced batteries that carmakers are looking for.

The Japanese maker is in talks with Mazda Motor and Subaru to supply its cylindrical lithium-ion batteries for EVs.

Kusumi reiterated that his company needs to do more to get underperforming businesses into shape. He said there was a lack of “urgency” and “strict execution” in some parts of his company toward achieve the internal profit target.

Panasonic is likely to miss its key profit targets of a 10% return on equity and a 1.5 trillion yen cumulative operating profit by March 2025.

Panasonic has already decided to sell its car parts subsidiary to a U.S. asset management company. Kusumi did not elaborate on whether he is considering selling or restructuring any other businesses. “Selling businesses is not our goal,” said Kusumi.

Panasonic and its group companies will inspect the profitability of each business division, and take measures, including changing managers or shifting its staff to more promising business areas, to improve operations.

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