Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Earnings/Financials , South America With uncertainty in the US and Chinese markets, automakers are scrambling to rev up their efforts in what were traditionally secondary markets. Take Toyota’s efforts in Latin America. A recent story from The Wall Street Journal highlights the Japanese brand’s push in the southern hemisphere, particularly in Brazil, where it has expanded its operations and installed new executives with a greater range of powers, all in a bid to grab a bigger slice of the ever-growing South American pie. South America is dominated by General Motors , Fiat and Volkswagen , which maintain a combined 60 percent of the market share – Toyota holds a mere 4.5 percent. The WSJ spoke with Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s boss in Latin America, who said, “We are playing catch up, but we’re catching up fast. We now have the resources to give the region the attention it really needs and deserves.” That attention includes an all-new, locally produced small car called the Etios. As bewildering as it seems, Toyota wasn’t competing in the low-cost economy car market in South America. With the Etios , which arrived in September of 2012, its sales in the first seven months of 2013 are up 75 percent. Toyota is also expanding on its local infrastructure, which includes the $600 million Sorocabo factory, located near S
Filed under: Concept Cars , Frankfurt Motor Show , Hybrid , Technology , Hatchback , Toyota , Racing The Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept has been teased already, offering up little glimpses and details of the Frankfurt -bound vehicle. And while those few, shadowy shots have been great, we’ve really wanted to know how this hatchback would deliver its promised 400-plus horsepower. Under hood sits a 1.6-liter, race-derived, direct-injection, turbocharged four-cylinder that powers the front wheels. Sounds peachy, but with 414 horsepower splashed across the page, we’re going to need something more than a 1.6-liter, turbo four. A supercapacitor, developed from the Toyota TS030 Hybrid Le Mans racer sits in place of a hybrid’s traditional battery packs. The benefit, according to Toyota , is that power can be more rapidly absorbed and discharged than in a traditional battery system, like nickel metal-hydride. The gas engine is joined by a trio of 60-horsepower electric motors. Two of the them power the rear wheels, while the third sits between the engine and the six-speed, sequential gearbox. Developing the same amount of power as the rear-axle motors, this centrally located motor channels power to the race-derived supercapacitor during braking, and ships extra grunt to the rear wheels under acceleration when the front wheels start to lose grip. Besides the distributive power of the central motor, the rear electric motors can adjust the amount of torque flowing to each wheel, much like a differential.
Filed under: Safety , Lexus , Scion , Toyota The performances of some Toyotas in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) regimen of crash tests leave something to be desired. Consider the small overlap frontal crash test: only six Toyota , Lexus and Scion vehicles have undergone the new test, yet all but one of them received a poor rating. Osama Nagata, CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., says midcycle vehicle updates are in the works to address the safety issues brought to light by the IIHS test, Automotive News reports . He confirmed that the RAV4 is getting safety updates following its crash test performance last month , but he didn’t name any other models. All three Toyotas that were tested – 2013 RAV4, 2012-2013 Prius V , 2012-2013 Camry – received poor ratings. The 2007-2012 Lexus ES 350 and 2006-2013 IS 250/350 also received poor ratings. The only other Toyota Motor Corp. vehicle to score better than poor is the 2014 Scion TC. It received an acceptable rating in the small overlap frontal crash test and is the only recent vehicle in Toyota’s line-up to get the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. The small overlap front crash test measures the safety of a car when its front left corner is strikes an object during an accident, bypassing traditional crumple zones, which deform in a way to protect passengers.
Filed under: SUV , Europe , Videos , Toyota , Diesel , Luxury , Off-Road We’d seen leaked images of the the refreshed 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, now Toyota has deemed it officially ready for the European masses it is aimed at. We can only hope the masses are ready for that grille, probably the most intense of the many changes made to the volcano-eating truck. The new face and its “powerfully projecting vertical bars” were designed to “accentuate the new Toyota’s rugged appearance,” as if the legendarily capable SUV wasn’t rugged enough. Other changes include redesigned headlight clusters, stronger character lines along the sides, new taillights and license plate “garnish” in back, and a slew of new wheel choices. Both the three- and five-door are 20 millimeters longer, all of that in the front overhang, but the approach angle apparently hasn’t changed. The new organization of trims runs from Entry to Legend, Prestige and Executive. The interior has been reorganized with better seats in the second and third rows, a new upper center console, a redesigned panel for controlling on- and off-road driving functions, reworked Optitron meters with a 4.2-inch LCD screen, and new switchgear, fabrics and color schemes. Infotainment has been upgraded with Toyota Touch 2 and Toyota Touch 2 with Go. They mirror your smartphone if said phone happens to be either a Samsung Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 2. On-road driving dynamics have been improve with suspension changes, and a Rear Cross Traffic Alert added to the suite of safety features for maneuvering the beast.
Filed under: Car Buying , Videos , Crossover , Toyota Not surprisingly, the 50-millionth Toyota product sold in the US was a Camry , but Toyota had a big surprise in store for Michael Dee, the buyer of said milestone vehicle. Toyota group vice president Bill Fay showed up at Dee’s house to not only personally thank him for the purchase, but also completely paid off that brand new Camry, presenting the owner with a clear title. But that wasn’t all. As you can tell from the image above, Fay had one more trick up his sleeve. The group VP brought along a brand new 2013 Toyota RAV4 , which was also presented to Dee in appreciation. The best part is that Dee’s genuine amazement was all caught on video, which is posted below . Continue reading Toyota gives a free RAV4 to 50-millionth customer [w/video] Toyota gives a free RAV4 to 50-millionth customer [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Motorsports , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Scion , Subaru , Toyota , UK , Racing , Comparisons , McLaren The Toyota GT86 , in all of its forms, is one of the best-handling cars money can buy, a trait that can put a smile on the faces of all but the most jaded car enthusiasts. But if good handling isn’t what they’re looking for, then what is? Our first guess would have to be more power, something the 200-horsepower Toyota would benefit from. Autocar tries out that theory by driving two turbocharged GT86s on track, then pitting the more powerful one against the 616-hp McLaren MP4-12C in a track battle. The first GT86 turbo Autocar ‘s Steve Sutcliffe drives makes around 255 rear-wheel horsepower and a bucket-load more torque than the stock car. That’s plenty of power to either have a lot of fun or get into a lot of trouble. But the GT86 that Sutcliffe tails in the McLaren is race-prepped, stripped to the bone and wears slicks to harness a heavy-hitting 335 hp at the wheel. Weighing in at under 2,500 pounds, the Toyota can’t overcome the MP4-12C’s power-to-weight ratio of 5.3 pounds per horsepower, but it comes pretty close. Enjoy a lot of chasing and drifting fun in the video below ! Continue reading Autocar pits McLaren MP4-12C against turbo Toyota GT86 Autocar pits McLaren MP4-12C against turbo Toyota GT86 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .