Filed under: Hybrid , Toyota , Tesla , Electric Four months have passed since Toyota ended its relationship with Tesla Motors , in which the electric-vehicle specialist supplied full lithium-ion battery packs to the Japanese behemoth for its RAV4 EV rollout, of which 2,500 vehicles will be completed. Now, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has been heard suggesting that a future collaboration is likely within the next two to three years, and that it will probably be much larger than the last one. Both Tesla and Toyota have sung each other’s praises in the not-too-distant past, Toyota telling Autoblog back in May, “We have a good relationship with Tesla and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects.” According to Automotive News , Musk said of the Japanese giant , “We love working with Toyota… We have a huge amount of respect for them as a company and certainly much to learn.” Interestingly, though, the two automakers have rather divergent strategies for eco-friendly automobiles. Toyota, as you’re surely aware, is the clear-cut leader in hybrids and has thrown its massive support in the direction of hydrogen fuel cells, while Tesla has invested heavily in battery-electric technology and high-speed charging stations. Still, both hybrids and fuel cell vehicles still require battery packs, albeit ones smaller than pure EVs, so it’s not an off-the-wall suggestion that Toyota could work with Tesla in the coming years on such diverse products. For the time being, Toyota has responded that it has “nothing to say” about Musk’s suggestions of future collaboration. Tesla expects another higher-volume deal with Toyota in next few years originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Concept Cars , Minivan/Van , Technology , Work , Toyota , Design/Style There’s a quiet revolution happening in US cities. People want to mix an urban lifestyle with a connection to nature and appreciation for craftsmanship. The result of all of this is folks pursuing things as varied as urban farming, home brewing and the whole maker movement. Toyota thinks it has the perfect concept for these intrepid customers with its new Urban Utility – or, U-squared, not U2 like the band – concept that it is debuting during a panel discussion hosted by Make: magazine in San Francisco and debuting publicly on September 20 at the World Maker Faire in New York City. The Urban Utility concept can best be described as a modern take on the old panel van. Designers from Toyota’s Calty Design Research center in California interviewed Maker Faire participants to find out what its users want from a novel vehicle like this. “Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle based on increasing re-urbanization of our cities and urban drivers’ desire for flexibility, fun and maneuverability,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty. On the outside, the Urban Utility doesn’t really scream for attention. It’s meant to meet users “desire for greater utility but a smaller vehicle footprint,” according to the release, but the shape is still very much a van. The designers do try to lend it some panache with the LED headlights up front and checker board side panels.
Filed under: Chrysler , Infiniti , Mazda , Toyota , Earnings/Financials , Fiat Chrysler will still be largely run out of its headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, and Fiat will be based in Turin, Italy. Americans and Italians worried that two of their nation’s industrial icons – Chrysler and Fiat – are merging into a British/Dutch corporation with a blurred identity can rest a bit easier, even as an initial public stock offering looms as early as October. Chrysler will still be run mostly out of its headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, and Fiat will be based in Turin, Italy. “Operationally, day-to-day operations will sit where they sit today,” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said during an earnings announcement earlier this summer. The company will be incorporated in the Netherlands for tax purposes, and the board will meet in London, where unspecified parts of the firm’s “decision-making process” will take place. “Operationally, London will hold nothing, other than the decision-making process of FCA, meetings of the group executive council and some of the senior leaders will be residing there,” Marchionne said. Specifically, Richard Palmer, FCA’s chief financial officer and a native of Bath, England, will move to London. Still, Marchionne stressed the company’s move to London is more than symbolic, even if some functions are still unclear. “It’s a pretty permanent rooting of the organization in London in order to make sure that the machine runs,” he said. Continue reading Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 06 Sep 2014 11:00:00 EST.
Filed under: Sedan , Japan , Toyota Never heard of the Toyota Mark X ? That’s because the Japanese automaker only sells it in its home market (and in China as the Reiz). It’s a rear-drive (or all-wheel-drive) sports sedan about the size of a Lexus IS , whose existence is probably why Toyota will never bring the Mark X to North America. The current model has been on the market since 2009, but Toyota is rolling out a series of updates – including the new Yellow Label model pictured here. Available on the 250G, 250G Four and 250G S trim levels, the Yellow Label gets a special shade of Awaken Yellow paint (though it can be had in black, white or silver as well), with an interior decked out in either yellow or black. It also gets piano lacquer trim, yellow stitching, pink gold accents, special tread plates and other interior equipment upgrades, as well as a unique set of alloys. All of which makes the Toyota Mark X Yellow Label perfect for recreating scenes from Kill Bill without the need to squeeze into yellow leathers. (In fact we wouldn’t be surprised to see Toyota doing just that for a promo clip.) Power comes from a 2.5-liter V6 (and not the larger 3.5 available on the 350S model) channeled through a six-speed automatic to either the rear wheels or all four. Pricing ranges between 2.8 and 3.1 million yen (~$26-30k), representing a premium of about 106k yen ($1k) over non-yellow models. Toyota operates four distinct dealer networks in Japan, and the Mark X is sold through Toyopet stores.
Filed under: Technology , Toyota Toyota executives say the company’s primary focus is on safety. At least for the time being, that means the company won’t pursue development of a driverless car. Speaking at the company’s advanced safety seminar in Ypsilanti, MI, Thursday morning, Seigo Kuzumaki, Toyota’s deputy chief safety technology officer, said that Toyota envisions a future driving environment that optimizes the best of both humans and computers, not choosing one over the other. “Toyota’s main objective is safety, so it will not be developing a driverless car.” – Seigo Kuzumaki “Toyota’s main objective is safety, so it will not be developing a driverless car,” he said. While other companies like, say, Google , anticipate a driverless car future , Kuzumaki and other Toyota executives said they’re not sold on the fact driverless cars will be a marketable product to a wide base of consumers. Even if motorists were eager to accept such a hands-off driving approach, they’re not sure the technology is ready. “At this moment, it is difficult to realize the driverless car safely,” said Ken Koibuchi, head of Toyota’s intelligent vehicle division. “To realize driverless car at this moment, we need a very rich infrastructure.” The company said it is involved in 34 different projects with 17 partners, some of which are examining development of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. At least for now, they believe the future holds a collaborative driving experience between humans and computers, one that means drivers won’t necessarily be tending to other tasks in their vehicles anytime soon. “I think Toyota’s approach is opposite of that,” said Kristen Tabar, a vice president at Toyota’s Technical Center.
Filed under: Car Buying , Sedan , Toyota We last saw the heavily revised 2015 Toyota Camry at the New York Auto Show earlier this year . Now, it’s finally time for the best-selling car in the US to hit the roads in late September, and Toyota is announcing how much the updated model actually costs. The basic Camry LE rings up for $22,970 (*not including a $825 delivery, processing and handling fee). That’s up slightly from the base price of $22,425 for the 2014.5 LE, but the updated sedan has some 2,000 new parts, while also being 1.8 inches longer and boasting a 0.4-inch wider track. The rest of the trim levels include the SE for $23,840, sporty new XSE for $26,150 and XLE at $26,150. Opting for the V6 is the XSE and XLE bumps pricing to $31,370. Separately, the Camry Hybrid gets its own LE, SE and XLE trims. The LE starts at $26,790 with a standard, power driver’s seat and 4.2-inch information display. The SE for $27,995 gets an improved interior and the XLE at $29,980 has leather, heated front seats, LED running lights and more. Powertrains carry over with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic available on all non-hybrid models and a 3.5-liter V6 with a six-speed auto optional for the XSE and XLE.
Filed under: Truck , Toyota , Off-Road Just a few weeks after announcing pricing for the first two members of its TRD Pro Series , Toyota has finally dropped the final pricing details on its new Tundra TRD Pro. Like the Tacoma TRD Pro, the Tundra will be available in two different body styles, with a more affordable Double Cab and a roomier Crew Cab. Prices start at $41,285 for the former and $43,900 for the latter – not counting a hefty $1,100 destination charge – effectively slotting Toyota’s off-road-ready model between the $41,730, Double Cab Limited and $46,465, Crew Cab-only 1794 Edition trucks. As we’ve covered previously, the TRD Pro models come with a raft of off-road gear that should help combat just about any terrain a driver may stumble across. TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks and TRD-tuned front springs add two inches to the big truck’s ride height while the black, 18-inch TRD wheels and available Inferno Orange paint add a bit of visual sass. A new TRD dual exhaust system is also standard, which can confirm sounds great (review coming soon!). Scroll down for the full press blast from Toyota. Continue reading 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro priced from $41,285* 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro priced from $41,285* originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Classics , SUV , Truck , Japan , Videos , Toyota It’s a common refrain among auto enthusiasts to bemoan the current models being sold for being overly complex and expensive and to wish that automakers would just make vehicles like the old days. Sure, they might not have been as safe or efficient, but there was often a certain rugged simplicity that’s gone today. Well, Toyota is actually doing it and thinks there’s enough demand to put the Land Cruiser 70 back into production in Japan for its 30th anniversary. Sadly, it’s only for one year. The original Land Cruiser 70 served a long life in Japan from 1984 to 2004. Even today, the proven model remains in production in some regions abroad. People in its home country still love the vehicle though, and Toyota is brushing off the mothballs to give customers what they want. For the first time ever there, it’s also offering the double-cab pickup version in addition to the traditional enclosed body. The company thinks that it can move about 200 of these classic trucks this year, which isn’t too shabby for a vehicle that’s three decades old. Looking at the pictures above, these look like the same old Land Cruisers, but Toyota is updating them slightly to meet modern safety rules.
Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing , Crossover , Toyota Toyota has announced that it will be making a $100 million investment in its Princeton, IN factory in a bid to increase production of its popular Highlander CUV . The move will create 300 new jobs by 2016 and increase the total number of crossovers the plant can produce by 30,000. Toyota currently builds the Highlander, alongside the fullsize Sequoia , at Toyota Indiana’s West Plant. The additional capacity, though, will be sent to the East Plant, which is currently responsible for production of the recently refreshed Sienna minivan. “The Highlander has been a great product for our plant,” Toyota Indiana President Norm Bafunno said in a statement. “Establishing Highlander as the ‘bridge vehicle,’ as we call it, between the East and West plants increases our ability to meet customer needs for our outstanding products. This exciting news is a true testament to the capability of our hard-working and dedicated team members.” Take a look below for the full announcement from Toyota. Continue reading Toyota makes $100M investment to boost Indiana Highlander production Toyota makes $100M investment to boost Indiana Highlander production originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink