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Toyota working on cars that hover above the roadway

Toyota working on cars that hover above the roadway

June 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Technology , Toyota Toyota is one of the largest automakers in the world, but it’s not content simply building and selling conventional cars – it’s been at the forefront of numerous advancements in ground transportation. It is widely credited with advancing the cause of hybrid propulsion, and alongside Audi and Google , is among the first automakers seriously testing self-driving cars . We could go on, but the news here is that Toyota is reportedly developing vehicles that hover above the road surface instead of rolling along it. The news comes from Hiroyoshi Yoshiki, one of Toyota’s tech gurus, who revealed at Bloomberg’s Next Big Thing summer in San Francisco that the company is working on hovering cars – ones that travel just above the road surface, but don’t actually fly in three-dimension space. According to The Verge , a spin-off of our own sister-site Engadget , Yoshiki refused to elaborate on what the project entails and how far along it is. He was speaking along acting NHTSA chief David Friedman, who lauded such advancements as a “great taste of innovations to come,” but stressed the significance of more concrete improvements to conventional automobiles – like inter-car communications to keep vehicles from colliding on the highway – as more relevant to today’s industry. Toyota working on cars that hover above the roadway originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota expands airbag recall to 2.27M vehicles worldwide

Toyota expands airbag recall to 2.27M vehicles worldwide

June 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , SUV , Truck , Recalls , Safety , Hatchback , Toyota Was your Toyota inspected under the company’s recall campaign for faulty airbag inflators last year? You might have another trip ahead to have it repaired again. The automotive giant says that it found “the involved serial numbers provided by the supplier were incomplete, and did not include all of the potentially involved inflators,” according to its official announcement. That means more replacements are needed. Toyota’s April 2013 inflator recall covered the Corolla , Matrix and Tundra from the 2003 and 2004 model years, the Sequoia from 2002 to 2004 and the Lexus SC 430 from 2002 to 2004. At the time, the company said it would need to inspect about 510,000 vehicles in the US but only expected to replace around 170,000 inflators. However, the latest announcement increases that figure to about 766,300 vehicles in the US. Toyota spokesperson Cindy Knight told Autoblog that the new amount is the combination of owners who need to have their vehicle looked at again and those who didn’t come in for the initial recall. The company learned about the problem when Takata, the supplier, provided it with an improved list of the faulty part’s serial numbers. According to The Detroit News , the latest recall affects about 2.27 million vehicles from them worldwide .

Toyota to start production of hydrogen vehicles in December

Toyota to start production of hydrogen vehicles in December

June 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will be in showrooms sooner than planned, the Japan Times reporting that production will commence in mid-December with the sedan following “by the end of this year.” No reason was given for the new timeline; Toyota has been saying all along that we’d see it in 2015. The company is said to be “considering” production volume of “dozens of… vehicles per month” at a “likely” price of eight million yen, which is $78,030 US. That is well in line with the numbers thrown around last year, when the target was somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 . Then late last year, during our first drive of the FCHV mule , we wrote that “the official quote… [is] that a price of ‘less than 10 million yen is ideal.’” That alleged $78K is a sizable sum to be one of the early adopters on the hydrogen fuel cell wagon train, but with things moving around so much – and with Toyota publicly citing hydrogen fuel cells as the future – there’s plenty of reason to be cautious about that number. Toyota to start production of hydrogen vehicles in December originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 08 Jun 2014 09:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Minivan market not what it used to be, but margins make up for it

Minivan market not what it used to be, but margins make up for it

June 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Minivan/Van , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Hyundai , Kia , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Residual values for last year’s minivans are higher than they were in 2000. Much like the station wagon was the shuttle of Baby Boomer generation, the minivan has been the primary means of transport for Generations X and Y. Just as the boomers abandoned the Country Squire, though, those kids that were toted around in Grand Caravans and Windstars are adults, and they certainly don’t want to be seen in the cars their parents drove. So why, then, are there still some brands holding out in the minivan market? Chrysler has already announced that a new Town & Country will arrive in the next few years, the Kia Sedona has just been given a massive redesign and both the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey remain strong products despite being in the middle of crossover-heavy lineups. The simple answer? It’s all about the money. “They’re good moneymakers,” George Girjel, owner of Toyota of Cool Springs in Tennessee, told Automotive News . “And the more loaded they are, the faster they sell. The Sienna Limited retails for about $49,000, and we can’t keep any in stock.

Cosworth announces Power Packages for Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S with up to 380 hp [w/video] [UPDATE]

Cosworth announces Power Packages for Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S with up to 380 hp [w/video] [UPDATE]

June 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Aftermarket , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Scion , Subaru , Toyota Cosworth stands on the list of the most famous engine tuners in the world with its DFV engine engine dominating Formula One for a time in the ’70s. So when it teases plans to take on the FA20 engine from Subaru and Toyota found in the BRZ , Scion FR-S and Toyota GT86 abroad, our interest is indeed piqued. Cosworth is promising to take the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine from its current 200 horsepower all the way to 325 hp and even 380 hp in a future track version through a series of staged Power Packages. At the moment, only the first stage is available that takes the mill to a potent 230 hp. Cosworth says that its new strategy is to offer its upgrades in kits rather than individually so that it can be sure that everything works and fits when owners receive it. The Stage 1 Power Package emphasizes helping the FA20 breathe better and includes a nearly complete replacement for the stock exhaust system. There is a sports exhaust with four-inch, diagonally cut, polished tips and Y-shaped muffler, an overpipe front pipe with a spherical resonator and a new manifold header that is 22 percent lighter the standard unit. In addition to that, the kit comes with a software reflash, low temperature thermostat, Cosworth badge and plaque. The Stage 1 kit is available now for $2,799, but it only includes a cat-back exhaust. Stage 1.2 includes the overpipe and Stage 1.3 incorporates the ceramic-coated manifold.

Cosworth announces Power Packages for Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S with up to 380 hp [w/video]

Cosworth announces Power Packages for Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S with up to 380 hp [w/video]

May 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Aftermarket , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Scion , Subaru , Toyota Cosworth stands on the list of the most famous engine tuners in the world with its DFV engine engine dominating Formula One for a time in the ’70s. So when it teases plans to take on the FA20 engine from Subaru and Toyota found in the BRZ , Scion FR-S and Toyota GT86 abroad, our interest is indeed piqued. Cosworth is promising to take the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine from its current 200 horsepower all the way to 325 hp and even 380 hp in a future track version through a series of staged Power Packages. At the moment, only the first stage is available that takes the mill to a potent 230 hp. Cosworth says that its new strategy is to offer its upgrades in kits rather than individually so that it can be sure that everything works and fits when owners receive it. The Stage 1 Power Package emphasizes helping the FA20 breathe better and includes a nearly complete replacement for the stock exhaust system. There is a sports exhaust with four-inch, diagonally cut, polished tips and Y-shaped muffler, an overpipe front pipe with a spherical resonator and a new manifold header that is 22 percent lighter the standard unit. In addition to that, the kit comes with a software reflash, low temperature thermostat, Cosworth badge and plaque. The stage one kit is available now, and stages two and three go on sale later this summer, according to its website . Autoblog contacted Cosworth for pricing information for the kits.

Toyota mints 10-millionth vehicle in Kentucky

Toyota mints 10-millionth vehicle in Kentucky

May 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota In 26 years, from 1988 up to now, the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky plant in Georgetown has built ten million vehicles – nearly enough for every citizen of Seoul, Korea or the nation of Hungary. The first car to roll off the line back when the claymation California Raisins were singing old Marvin Gaye hits and everybody wanted to know Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was a white Camry . The ten-millionth car to roll off the line among the Avalons and Venzas also produced there: a white Camry Hybrid . Toyota has put $5.9 billion into the site since its inception, employment is up to 7,000 associates and will grow when Lexus ES350 assembly begins next year. Whereas car number one is a showpiece for the ages, one of the automaker’s current associates will get to win the ten-millionth car in a blind drawing to be held this summer. There’s a press release below with more information on the impressive milestone. Continue reading Toyota mints 10-millionth vehicle in Kentucky Toyota mints 10-millionth vehicle in Kentucky originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 May 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more collaborating to increase fuel efficiency

Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more collaborating to increase fuel efficiency

May 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Technology , Honda , Mazda , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Subaru , Suzuki , Toyota Toyota , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Subaru , Mitsubishi , Suzuki and Daihatsu have announced an alliance that will see a push to improve fuel economy from both gas-powered and diesel-powered engines by as much as 30 percent before the end of the decade. The newly assembled Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines put the roughly $20-million project together, with the Japanese government committing to half the cost while the eight manufacturers will chip in the rest. According to Automotive News , the automakers will team up and share basic research on internal-combustion engines in a bid to cut costs. Eventually, the results of the research will find its way into a production vehicle, although it’s unclear just when we’ll see the fruits of this partnership on the road. While the manufacturers have aimed to make improvements by 2020, that goal is part of a larger, 10-year road map, which aims to improve the thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines to 50 percent. Currently, thermal efficiency in gas engines is at 39 percent while diesel is at 42. The actual targets of improvements will be quite different based on the type of engine. Diesel mills, traditionally a weak point for Japanese manufacturers, will see a focus on reducing NOX emissions and particulate matter, while gas engines will aim for more complete combustion cycles while reducing knock. Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more collaborating to increase fuel efficiency originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 25 May 2014 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

Toyota’s Lentz says fuel cells are the future, not EVs

Toyota’s Lentz says fuel cells are the future, not EVs

May 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Electric Toyota is not bullish on EVs. That comes from the company’s North American CEO, Jim Lentz , who said the company will focus not on electrification, but on continued hybridization with a long-term focus on hydrogen fuel cells. Lentz questioned the long-range ability of EVs, saying that Toyota feels “there are better alternatives, such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and tomorrow with fuel cells.” Lentz spoke about Toyota’s focus on hydrogen following Forbes Brainstorm Green conference and barely a week after a battery deal between Tesla and Toyota ended , according to Automotive News . That deal provided for 2,500 battery packs for the Rav4 EV . While valuable to Toyota, the deal “was never about open-ended volume,” Lentz said. “It was time to either continue or stop. My personal feeling was that I would rather invest my dollars in fuel cell development than in another 2,500 EVs.” Freed of its venture with Tesla , hydrogen now appears to be in Toyota’s focus. According to AN, Toyota is starting in California, offering a $7-million loan to a company called FirstElement Fuel to develop hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the Golden State. Automotive News cites a study by Toyota that claims 68 refueling stations located across the state would provide for 10,000 HFC owners. California is already planning on having 50 stations by the end of 2016.

Toyota recalls 370k Sienna minivans, 10.5k Lexus GS models over separate issues

Toyota recalls 370k Sienna minivans, 10.5k Lexus GS models over separate issues

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Minivan/Van , Sedan , Recalls , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury The year of the recall continues, but this time it isn’t from General Motors . Toyota is announcing two, separate recalls affecting a pair of its models. First, Toyota is recalling 370,000 Sienna minivans from the 2004 to 2011 model years that are registered or originally sold in cold-weather states. The problem is that the spare tire carrier assembly cable can be splashed by water contaminated with road salt and cause corrosion. There is a splashguard in place to prevent this, but it sometimes gets lost in “normal usage,” according to the company. If the cable does break, then “the spare tire may separate from the vehicle.” This is actually the second repair for this problem for some of these vehicles. In 2010, Toyota issued a recall on 600,000 Siennas from the 1998 to 2010 model years. At the time, it installed a new splashguard and sprayed the area with an anti-rust chemical. However, according to Toyota spokesperson John Hanson speaking to Autoblog, the campaign worked for the 1998 to 2003 models but wasn’t sufficient for the newer ones. For the latest recall, the vehicles are getting the entire cable replaced with a stainless steel unit and a new splashguard.

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