Filed under: Chicago Auto Show , Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota For drivers who want to benefit from the increased efficiency of a hybrid sedan but who don’t want to look like they’d rather be hugging trees, Toyota has just announced its 2014.5 Camry Hybrid SE Limited Edition . The SE LTD combines the exterior bits and pieces that make the SE look sportier than other Camry models with the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, electric motor and nickel metal hydride battery pack of the Camry Hybrid. That means the Hybrid SE offers up 200 combined system horsepower to the front wheels, and we’d expect it to be rated at the same 40 miles per gallon city and 38 highway of the Camry XLE Hybrid. Only 5,000 units will be produced between February and June of 2014, with an asking price of $27,845, which is about $700 more expensive than the base Camry Hybrid LE or $2,620 less than the Hybrid XLE that Toyota says shares a similar level of equipment. Sounds like a fair shake to us. Scroll down below for the complete press release. Continue reading Toyota Camry Hybrid SE adds a dash of limited-edition sport Toyota Camry Hybrid SE adds a dash of limited-edition sport originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 04 Feb 2014 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Motorsports , Technology , Toyota , Racing The 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship is gearing up to be one of the most exciting seasons of endurance racing in recent memory. All of the factory-entered LMP1 class cars are using hybrid powertrains, and Porsche is returning to the top class of the sport after a 16-year absence. Don’t count out Toyota , though. The team has just revealed the first official details about its 2014 TS040 LMP1 car, and it has a big surprise – all-wheel drive. The TS040 will follow Audi’s lead and will use a combination motor and generator to power the front wheels. The system will generate power under braking and will use it up when accelerating to give a boost in traction over last year’s rear-wheel-drive Toyota TS030 . Toyota will stick with a gasoline-fueled, naturally aspirated 3.4-liter V8 to feed the rear wheels and will take on Audi’s diesel, turbocharged 3.7-liter V6 and Porsche’s gasoline-fueled, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Sadly, there are no real pictures of the TS040 yet. Toyota is holding off on unveiling the car until the end of March at the WEC test at the Paul Ricard circuit, and the racing season doesn’t begin until April 20 with the 6 Hours of Silverstone. You can read the whole press release about the TS040 below .
Filed under: Budget , Hybrid , Minivan/Van , Sedan , Truck , Recalls , Safety , Toyota When we reported yesterday on Toyota’s stop-sale order of certain 2013 and 2014 models due to an issue with the fabrics on models with heated seats not conforming to flammability regulations, one of our many questions was how many vehicles were affected? More importantly, how many of those cars have already found homes? Kelley Blue Book has the troubling statistics. Every 2013 and 2014 Avalon features heated seats. 6.2-percent of 2013 and 4.5-percent of 2014 Camry sedans, meanwhile, were sold with heated seats. That doesn’t seem as bad as 100-percent of the larger Avalon, until you consider the Camry’s huge volume – the 5.6-percent average still accounts for a lot of cars. Sienna minivans are heavily affected as well, with a total of 37-percent of 2013s and 46-percent of 2014s fitted with butt warmers. The stop-sale only affects 7-percent of 2014 Corolla models, but like the Camry, that number is rather misleading due to the sheer volume of cars Toyota moves. You can see the entire breakdown of percentages by clicking on the inset image. According to Karl Brauer, a senior analyst for KBB, this problem comes at the worst possible time.
Filed under: Minivan/Van , Sedan , Truck , Safety , Toyota , Luxury Toyota has issued a stop-sale order on six of its core models due to concerns about the flammability of certain seat fabrics. The issue rests not with the cloth and leather covers themselves, but with a piece of seat heater beneath them that fails to meet US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for flame retardancy. There have been no reports of fires or injuries from the affected cars, which include some of Toyota’s biggest volume sellers. 2013 and 2014 Camry , Camry Hybrid , Avalon and Sienna models equipped with heated seats are included in the stop-sale, as are 2014 Tundra pickups and Corolla sedans. The exact number of vehicles with the non-compliant materials are still being tabulated, according to The Detroit Free Press . According to a Toyota spokesman, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been notified, although it remains to be seen if a recall will be issued. Outside of a full recall, though, it’s unclear how Toyota will deal with vehicles equipped with the flammable materials that have already found homes. In the meantime, Toyota is reportedly developing a fix for those vehicle still sitting on dealer lots. UPDATE : John Hanson, National Manager, Environmental, Quality, and Safety Communications for Lexus, has confirmed to Autoblog that no Lexus models are affected by this seat fabric issue. We have not yet heard back from Scion, but we’ll update this post as soon as we do .
Filed under: Budget , SUV , Marketing/Advertising , Toyota , Celebrities , Humor We previewed Toyota’s upcoming Super Bowl ad nearly a week ago, but with the big game just around the corner, the Japanese brand has now dropped the minute-long spot which will air on Sunday. As we said in that original post, the commercial stars Terry Crews from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the Muppets (mostly Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem band, as well as Gonzo and Rowlf) and the redesigned 2014 Toyota Highlander . We won’t spoil the premise, but suffice it to say that the Muppets’ goal of loosening Crews up is wildly successful. Make sure to watch through to the end for Animal’s take on Toyota’s motto, “Let’s go places.” We’ve got the full video down below , along with a press release from Toyota . Have a look and let us know what you think. Continue reading Toyota Highlander Super Bowl Muppet ad is pure Mayhem Toyota Highlander Super Bowl Muppet ad is pure Mayhem originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Concept Cars , Convertible , Budget , Performance , Scion , Subaru , Toyota Hope may remain for a convertible version of the Scion FR-S , according to a report from Ward’s Auto . You’ll recall that rumors were swirling about the feasibility of a rear-drive Toyobaru convertible as early as October , and that back in November, Subaru – which makes the FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 – essentially nixed the idea of an open-topped variant . “We make the car, so if we don’t make it, it can’t happen,” brand chief Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told Automotive News , according to Ward’s , at the Tokyo Motor Show . “Our engineering department told me that losing the entire roof requires a complete redesign of the structure. It would need a big change.” Despite Yoshinaga-san’s arguments against a droptop variant, Toyota is apparently still considering the model. Speaking to media at the 2014 North American International Auto Show , Scion’s US vice president, Doug Murtha, hinted that the rear-drive droptop was in the works. “It’s something we’re looking at internally from both a manufacturing standpoint – where do we build something that’s relatively low-volume, if not at Subaru – and from an engineering standpoint: Where are those resources going to come from to do it?” Murtha said. For now, it appears as if Toyota is merely doing its homework on the feasibility of a production version of the FT-86 Open Concept from the 2013 Geneva and Tokyo shows (show above). “Everybody’s had to pony up their volumes and we’ll see if we can make it happen,” Murtha told Wards . Whether the volumes check out or not, the question of how Toyota will get around the engineering issues – making a convertible safe – and figuring out where to build it, mean that while our hopes for an FR-S Convertible are higher, the car still faces a rather rocky road before reaching production.
Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Rumormill The Toyota Prius is undeniably the king of the hybrid market in the United States, with a 39.4 percent market share in 2013. With the next-generation Prius likely to go on sale in 2015, Toyota is trying to build an even more efficient hybrid to keep its control of the market. Keeping cost down will be one of the major concerns of the new Prius. The next generation will ride on the new, modular Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The lighter underpinnings will improve efficiency and will reduce production costs by allowing for more shared components among vehicles. Toyota will not reveal how many vehicles will use the new platform. But even with the cheaper platform, price will remain a concern. Toyota is still deciding whether all versions of the next Prius will use lithium-ion batteries or whether some models will stick with the heavier nickel-metal hydride batteries to keep cost down. Of course, the reason most people buy the Prius is because of its great fuel efficiency. Toyota will aim for at least an 8 percent improvement in fuel economy in the next Prius, which would increase it to 58 miles per gallon city and 52 mpg highway.
Filed under: GM , Toyota , Volkswagen , Earnings/Financials Toyota is the top-selling automaker in the world. Again. Still. With total reported sales, including those from subsidiaries, of 9.98 million in 2013, Toyota’s performance was enough to outpace rival General Motors by around 270,000 vehicles. That’s a 2.4-percent gain over 2012, and it makes Toyota the top-seller two years in a row. Still, the gap between the top three is shrinking – Toyota held a 460,000-unit lead in 2012. GM sold 9.71 million vehicles last year, a four-percent increase, coming in second place ahead of Volkswagen , which sold around 9.5 million. According to Bloomberg , Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said his company managed to win the sales race while also remaining more profitable than GM or VW. It’s going to be another interesting year in 2014 as the three behemoth automakers vie for the title of World’s Largest. Toyota has predicted that it will increase sales in 2014 to 10.32 million – which would make Toyota the first automaker ever to surpass 10 million global sales – though General Motors and VW are expected to again fight for the lead in the massive Chinese market.