Filed under: Sedan , Honda , Nissan , Toyota Belts and pulleys will continue to replace traditional gears in the coming years as more carmakers turn to Continuously Variable Transmissions to suck the fun out of future machines increase fuel economy. According to a new Automotive News report, by the numbers, about one percent of new vehicles were equipped with a CVT in 2005. By 2010, that number of new vehicles in the U.S. grew to seven percent, thanks largely to Nissan , not to mention an increase in the number of hybrid models sold in America (most of which are fitted with the technology). Experts at IHS Automotive now predict that percentage will more than double by 2016 to 16 percent. The belt-and-pulley transmission can adjust to an engine’s torque in an infinite number of ways, making it more efficient than traditional gearboxes. But CVTs have become the bane of many enthusiasts and critics because of a number of undesirable characteristics – namely the unpleasant ‘rubber band’ sound they emit under hard acceleration. According to Automotive News , Japanese carmakers appear especially interested in adding CVTs to their lineups. Honda is widely expected to offer a CVT on its next-generation four-cylinder Accord , Toyota may include a CVT on its future Corolla , and the CVT stalwarts at Nissan introduced its 2013 Altima earlier this year with an upgraded CVT that helps it achieve 38 miles per gallon on the highway. While CVTs continue to improve, some providing faux programed “shift points” through sport programs or paddle shifters, they remain a non-starter with most enthusiasts we talk to.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator David Strickland has released a letter defending the agency’s handling of investigations into claims of unintended acceleration by Toyota owners. Republican Senator Charles Grassley has said questions remain about what caused unintended acceleration instances in the Japanese manufacturer’s vehicles, specifically whether or not the trouble was caused by electronic glitches. Grassley specifically questioned whether NHTSA had the experience necessary to diagnose the defect. The senator also wondered why NHTSA investigators called in NASA scientists for assistance during the investigation. Strickland, meanwhile, has responded by saying NHTSA did, in fact, have the requisite experience and that NASA was called upon for a second opinion. The administrator underscored the fact that neither NHTSA nor NASA could find an electronic reason for the claims of unintended acceleration. As you may recall, the government agency concluded in early 2011 that faulty gas pedals and floor mats were to blame for the runaway syndrome. According to The Washington Post , Grassley’s letter stemmed from tips from whistleblowers who claim the runaway vehicles were actually caused by errant strands of solder within the pedal assembly itself. Those strands could reportedly cause shorts within the system. Strickland responded by saying NHTSA investigated the solder issue, otherwise known as “tin whiskers,” and found the issue to cause no more than a jumpy throttle, a stance Toyota agrees with.
Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing , Crossover , Lexus , Toyota , Canada , Luxury In an effort to reduce the Yen’s impact on its bottom line, Toyota says it will invest $100 million in its Cambridge, Ontario plant to increase output of the Lexus RX CUV. The Ontario factory is Toyota’s only Lexus producer outside of Japan. “This is a big and ambitious project with new technology, exacting standards and tight timelines,” Brian Krinock, president of Toyota’s Canada manufacturing unit, said in a press release. “Our team members have demonstrated time and time again that they thrive on these kinds of challenges.” The expansion will take the plant’s Lexus capacity from 74,000 units a year to 104,000, including 15,000 RX 450h hybrids. By the time production begins in early 2014, the plant is expected to have added about 400 new jobs and take overall employment to 6,900 workers. Continue reading Toyota looking to shift some Lexus RX production from Japan to Canada Toyota looking to shift some Lexus RX production from Japan to Canada originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Jul 2012 09:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Technology , Toyota “Intellitouch” is the name Toyota will apparently use to refer to a new electronic control scheme it is developing. That’s according to Car and Driver , which has spotted the name in a new Toyota trademark application. According to the submission, the name refers to “electronic touch sensitive controllers, sold as an integral part of motor vehicles.” C/D speculates that for Toyota to bother developing a brand name, there must be more to the new gadgets than just touchscreen navigation. In fact, the magazine thinks Toyota is gearing up for Intellitouch to compete with Cadillac’s Cue and Ford’s MyFordTouch and their capacitive touch switchgear. The control setup could also be similar to the gesture-based touchpad systems already offered by Audi and shortly, by BMW . Another Toyota trademark filing is for “EBIN,” a wireless charging system for personal electronics. While inductive chargers have been around for a while, several automakers are rushing to include them in upcoming models. General Motors recently trademarked the name, “Dockspot” for its version. Toyota readying Intellitouch touchpad controllers? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Jul 2012 15:30:00 EST.
Filed under: Car Buying , Europe , Japan , Toyota Toyota has pushed ahead of General Motors and Volkswagen as the world’s largest automaker in the first half of 2012. According to a new Bloomberg report, the 4.9 million units sold by the Japanese automaker in the first six months of 2012 represents an impressive 34-percent jump. Toyota’s sales beat out GM by 300,000 units and VW by 520,000. Still, The General’s sales were up 2.9 percent to 4.67 million vehicles sold, while Volkswagen moved 4.45 units, an 8.9 percent increase. While Toyota has enjoyed success in its top markets, North America and Japan, GM and VW have struggled with the economic crisis in Europe. The Japanese automaker was able to accomplish this even in the wake of the disastrous tsunami in its home market and flooding that occurred in Thailand. According to IHS Automotive market analyst Rebecca Lindland, the strong start may be followed by a downturn in momentum: “they are still restocking dealerships, pulling in consumers who may have waited… but that positive impact will trail off as the year progresses.” Toyota previously took the top spot as the largest global automaker from GM back in 2008 amidst the American financial crisis, but General Motors reclaimed that title in the wake of Japan’s natural disasters. Toyota sales rebound to reclaim spot as world’s largest automaker originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Jul 2012 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Motorsports , Budget , China , Hatchback , Toyota , Racing This could be something or it could be nothing, but it’s got us curious and we have no idea what it is. A site in China found what appear to be renderings of a three-door Toyota Yaris wearing an as-yet-unseen body kit and a Lexus -shaped grille. The changes are thorough, and alterations like the bulging fenders front and back and the deep skirting all-round indicate that they aren’t taken casually. Of particular note is the spindle grille lifted from the Lexus design book and what looks like an aero element around the rear glass. Theories so far are that it is a concept for an upcoming Chinese auto show, a sportier Yaris production model that will be added to the lineup, a factory-installed kit or a tuner kit. Or it could have something to do with Toyota’s return to the World Rally Championship. A company source has already cited the Yaris as the car that “makes sense,” with Autoweek reporting it will be a “Yaris-based” entry even though the Yaris is too short according to the WRC regulations. One issue with that, though, is that the tiny, split-twin exhaust pipes make no sense for a WRC car; the Mini WRC car runs its pipes the same way, but they’re huge. We will look out for more information on whatever kind of Yaris this might be. Is Toyota working on a Lexus-influenced extreme Yaris?
Eight Toyota Manufacturing Facilities Recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Improved Environmental Performance
ERLANGER, Ky. (July 25, 2012) –
ERLANGER, Ky. (July 24, 2012) – Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (TMMC) announced today that it will invest more than $100 million and hire approximately 400 team members to increase Lexus production at its Cambridge, Ontario facility.