Filed under: Truck , Toyota , Off-Road Despite the earnest efforts of Japanese automakers like Toyota and Nissan , the American pickup truck scene remains wholly dominated by the likes of Ford , General Motors and Chrysler . This is not news. Part of the reason is because of the sheer number of variants offered by US automakers – everything from work-spec base trucks to house-leveling heavy duty models can be had, with a seemingly endless combination of engines, cab sizes, bed lengths and trim levels. It’s a hugely profitable business, and though the Japanese automakers still offer competitive fullsize trucks, in terms of sheer volume, they simply don’t compete. But American pickups aren’t just about work; there’s a huge play aspect involved, too. Look at the desert-storming Ford F-150 SVT Raptor or the Ram Power Wagon – these butch trucks are built with superb off-road prowess in mind, and Detroit’s Japanese rivals have once again largely been silent in this segment. Until now. Introduced at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show , Toyota now offers the TRD Pro series of models that, in addition to the crazy-orange Tundra seen here, includes the smaller Tacoma pickup and 4Runner SUV. And this isn’t just some pretty appearance package, either – there’s honest-to-goodness capability baked into all of the TRD Pro models. Intriguing, for sure, so I recently spent a weekend with the big boy Tundra to see what’s what.
Filed under: Coupe , Sedan , Truck , Chevrolet , Hyundai , Toyota Quick Spin: 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Toyota might not be able to keep up with American pickup manufacturers in terms of sales, but that doesn’t mean its fullsize Tundra isn’t a wholly baked, tough truck. In an effort to attract new buyers, Toyota has released this off-road-ready TRD Pro variant for 2015. Senior Editor Steven Ewing takes one for a quick spin to see what’s what. Is Hyundai’s new Sonata in a sales slump? The 2011 Sonata was a massive step forward for Hyundai, and the car was really quite successful. But some insiders suggest that, since the redesigned Sonata launched this year, Hyundai’s midsize sedan might be losing some steam. Of course, officials at Hyundai are quick to point out that this isn’t necessarily the case. Read both sides of the story, here. Chevy spied testing… ’80s Camaros?
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , BMW , Chrysler , Dodge , Ford , Honda , Infiniti , Mazda , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Pontiac , Subaru , Toyota Unfortunately, the government’s list still contains errors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it’s urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement , and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors , leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX ), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe , a joint project with Toyota . According to a statement sent to Autoblog by GM, the inaccurate entries on the earlier version came because, “The original NHTSA advisory incorrectly listed a group of 2002-2003 GM models that were part of a 2002 recall involving airbags made by other suppliers.” This campaign has been spurred by recent discoveries from Takata about the risks from these inflators . It’s possible for the airbags to rupture in a crash and spray shrapnel at occupants. The problem is known to have caused serious injuries and several deaths , and the likelihood of a malfunction has been determined to be especially likely in high humidity areas. The recalls related to the faulty parts go back to at least 2001 , and most of the vehicles on the latest list are also among the same ones from a campaign in June . Since this isn’t a new recall and NHTSA is simply urging people to take action, it’s possible some of these models might already be repaired. NHTSA appears to be having serious problems with the stress the Takata airbag issue is putting on its consumer website. According to The Detroit News , the agency’s VIN lookup service is down , and its daily listing of new recalls is also not working as of this writing.
Filed under: Etc. , Marketing/Advertising , Toyota Ever wonder where automakers get the names for their cars? You’re not alone. The sitcom Seinfeld opened Episode 94 – the one where George Costanza buys a Chrysler LeBaron instead of a Volvo – with a bit about nameplates like Integra, Supra and Impreza. Toyota , clearly, is not exempt from choosing evocative but enigmatic names for its models, and now the Japanese automaker is taking us through the etymology of some of its nameplates. Names like Supra may require no clarification, but what about Camry ? That comes from the Japanese word kanmuri for Crown (which is, incidentally, the name of another Toyota sedan). Yaris ? According to the company, it’s “an amalgamation of words from Greek mythology and German. In Greek mythology, ‘Charis’ was a symbol of beauty and elegance.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Lexus , Toyota Toyota is re-notifying owners and expanding its Takata airbag inflator recall for some regions. The renewed campaign covers 247,000 examples of the Toyota Corolla , Matrix , Sequoia , Tundra and Lexus SC430 that are located in southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. All of the models come from the 2001-2004 model years and have potentially faulty Takata-made inflators on the front passenger side. According to the company, testing shows the problem warrants “immediate action,” and its press release says, “this action intensifies Toyota’s efforts to reach customers and remedy previously recalled vehicles, and a small number of newly included vehicles.” According to Toyota, it submitted some recalled inflators to Takata for testing, and it found a high probability of rupturing in high humidity areas. The automaker said it had no reports yet of injuries or fatalities related to the problem. This is Toyota’s third inflator recall this year. In June, it called in for repair the same vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years in high-humidity areas , and it conducted a separate campaign nationwide for the parts in additional models. In April 2013, it also announced a fix campaign for 1.73-million vehicles worldwide for the same issue. To fix the problem, Toyota will send a letter to owners this week, and dealers will replace the inflator. If the part isn’t ready, dealers will deactivate the passenger side airbag and will advise owners that no one should sit there until repaired.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Acura , BMW , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GM , GMC , Honda , Infiniti , Lexus , Mazda , Nissan , Pontiac , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles “to act immediately” to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota , Lexus , Honda , Acura , Mazda , BMW , Nissan , Infiniti , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GMC , Oldsmobile and Pontiac . While NHSTA doesn’t specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota’s own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven’t already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there. We don’t need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be – even in a stationary vehicle – but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to s hrapnel being sprayed into the cabin . If you’re unsure whether your vehicle is covered under this campaign, NHTSA has a new VIN lookup tool for all recalls recently that could be handy in this situation. Scroll down for the full list of potentially affected models and the agency’s statement – there are upwards of nearly five million vehicles that could be affected. Continue reading NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST.
Filed under: Classics , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Supercars , Acura , Toyota , TV/Movies It’s easy to poke a joke here and there about John Davis, the long-time host of MotorWeek . His voice is so monotonous that, from time to time, if you closed your eyes, you may think it’s generated via a computer. But you have to give him and the rest of the show a lot of credit. The program has been on the air for decades, giving people direct, straight-down-the middle automotive reviews. MotorWeek ‘s massive back catalog of reviews are slowly making their way onto YouTube , and they provide a fascinating chance to look back on how performance cars rank against their contemporaries from back in the day. Two recent additions include the show’s old looks at the 1986 Toyota Supra , the dawn of the third-generation model, and the now-iconic 1991 Acura NSX . Both reviews are interesting in their own way. These days you hear nary a negative word about the original NSX, but MotorWeek isn’t afraid to point out a few flaws. And the Supra really shows the progress of suspension tuning in the intervening decades because it has some serious body roll in the corners. Scroll down to check out both videos and get a blast from the automotive past.
TORRANCE, Calif. (Oct. 13, 2014)
Filed under: Etc. , Japan , Videos , Toyota UPDATE: A previous version of this post included an incorrectly converted price figure. The text below has been updated with the correct information. Some Japanese automakers focus purely on cars, while others dabble in all sorts of motorized transportation. Honda , for example, makes everything from motorbikes to jet aircraft. But while Toyota may be known principally for automobiles, it also makes a line of boats . And this is the latest. The new Toyota Ponam-31 motor yacht is built around an aluminum hull with a flybridge and cockpit rear deck layout, similar to the Carver 32 on which this writer spent his childhood summers. It measures 31 feet overall and is powered by a pair of 3.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engines derived from the Land Cruiser Prado (known in these parts as the Lexus GX 460 ) but marinized for nautical application. Toyota has even equipped its new Sports Utility Cruiser with such features as Drive Assist and a Virtual Anchor System.
Filed under: Motorsports , Sedan , Toyota , Racing Toyota recently introduced the all-new 2015 Camry for the street, so it follows that it should want to promote its new bread-and-butter sedan by putting it out on the racetrack as well. And that’s just what it’s done here with the release of the new Toyota Camry for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The new Camry represents the first reskin of the standard stock car chassis since the Gen-6 model was introduced in 2012. Toyota’s Calty Design studio worked closely with series organizers to determine which parts could be redesigned to more closely resemble the new production model, and what you see here is the result. Since it is based on the same control chassis as all the others, the Camry’s skin is applied over a steel tube frame and powered by an old-school 5.86-liter pushrod V8 mated to a four-speed manual gearbox. Although the idea of a Japanese automaker in American stock car racing didn’t initially get the warmest reception from some of the good ol’ boys when it first entered the series back in 2007, it has by now become a staple of the NASCAR circuit. After all, it’s hard for even the most patriotic of racing fans to argue with the US-built Camry’s ranking as one of the most American cars by content on the market. Toyota Racing Development will roll out the new Camry at Daytona in February during Speedweeks, after which it will also reveal a new Camry for the second-tier Xfinity Series (currently known as the Nationwide Series). Continue reading 2015 Toyota Camry set to circle NASCAR track near you 2015 Toyota Camry set to circle NASCAR track near you originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 13 Oct 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .