Filed under: Sedan , Toyota , Electric Looks like someone was able to read the future back in July. That’s when rumors first circulated that Toyota ‘s upcoming fuel cell vehicle will be called the Mirai. Today, Toyota president Akio Toyoda confirmed the name alongside plans to build out a hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the US Northeast. In Japanese, mirai (未来) means “future,” which is a fitting name for a car that Toyota believes represents the direction the auto industry will go in the coming years. In a promotional video announcing the name, Toyoda said, “For [Toyota], this isn’t just another car. This is an opportunity – an opportunity to really make a difference. And making a difference is what Toyota is all about.” To help that future come into existence, Toyota CEO Jim Lentz also disclosed the vague outline of a fuel cell infrastructure investment that Toyota and partner Air Liquide will make in a five-state Northeastern corridor that consists of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. The Mirai will be available there in 2015 and Toyota is going to build 12 stations in and around New York and Boston to support the launch. More details will be available later. Toyota says the Mirai will be able to go “up to 300 miles” on a tank and refuel in less than five minutes.
Filed under: Motorsports , Audi , Porsche , Toyota , Racing As is so often the case, the 2014 Le Mans was a war of attrition, and Audi managed to prevail once again after all 24 hours had been recorded in the history books, with its Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro claiming first and second places, followed by Toyota in third. Drivers Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer inherited the lead in their No. 2 Audi after the No. 7 Toyota, driven by pole-sitter Kazuki Nakajima, was forced to retire with electrical problems in the 15th hour. The No. 2 Audi led the race until it was forced to the pits to replace a turbocharger in the 17th hour, allowing the No. 1 Audi, driven by Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gene (who was a last-minute replacement for Loic Duval, who crashed hard during practice) and defending champion Tom Kristensen, led the race until the 21st hour, when it too had to pit with turbocharger issues. This gave the No. 20 Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber the lead until it was forced off the track with gearbox problems, eventually finishing in 38th position. In LMP2, the Jota Sport Zytek Z11SN-Nissan driven by Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Oliver Turvey claimed victory, the first five LMP2 finishers all powered by Nissan .
Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Technology , Ford , Toyota Hybrids are known for their great fuel economy and low emissions, but it looks like given current market conditions, only about three percent of new car consumers are willing to pay the premium for them. A new study from IHS/Polk finds that the hybrid market share among overall US auto sales are falling , despite more models with the technology on sale than ever before. The study examined new car registrations in March from 2009 through 2014. In that time, the auto industry grew from 24 to 47 hybrid models available to consumers, but market share for the powertrain remained almost stagnant in that time. As of 2009, hybrids held 2.4 percent of the market; it fell slightly to 2.3 percent in 2010 and grew to 3.3 percent in 2013. However, 2014 showed a drop back to 3 percent. Overall hybrid sales have been growing since 2010 , but they just aren’t keeping up with the total auto market. According to IHS/Polk, this isn’t what you would expect to see. Usually, each new model in the market brings along with it a boost in sales. The growth in hybrid models 2009 to 2014 should have shown a larger increase in share for the segment.
Filed under: Toyota , Earnings/Financials Depending on how you want to look at things, the US Attorney’s Office $1.2-billion dollar settlement with Toyota in March over its unintended acceleration recall was either a big blow to the company or completely inconsequential. From January to March, net income fell five percent to 297 billion yen ($2.89 billion), compared to 313.9 billion yen ($3.05 billion) a year ago. However, the automaker still posted record full-year profits worldwide. Operating profit also fell in the US by 9 percent to $498.1 million for the quarter, but sales were up by 6 percent to 581,261 vehicles. According to Automotive News , global revenue was still up from January to March by about 13 percent and vehicle sales were up 6 percent to 2.58 million units. However, the payment to the feds did little to hold the company back last year. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, Toyota had net income of 1.82 trillion yen ($17.7 billion), compared to 962.1 billion yen ($9.5 billion) in the last fiscal year. Total vehicle sales were also up. The settlement certainly seemed to stagger Toyota for the quarter, especially in the US. But it didn’t do much overall.
NEW YORK (April 11, 2014)
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Nissan , Toyota , Volkswagen If you’ve noticed that there have been more recalls than usual this year, you may be on to something. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , the US market is on pace to break a record for recalls. In 2013, 22 million cars were recalled. We’re only a third of the way through 2014, though, and we’ve already halved that figure, with 11 million units recalled. That’s wild. Considering the past few months, it shouldn’t be a surprise that General Motors is leading the charge, with six million of the 11 million units recalled coming from one of the General’s four brands. Between truck recalls , CUV recalls and the ignition switch recall , 2014 hasn’t been a great year for GM. Other recall leaders include Nissan ( one million Sentra and Altima sedans), Honda ( 900,000 Odyssey minivans), Toyota ( over one million units in a few recalls), Volkswagen ( 150,000 Passat sedans), Chrysler ( 644,000 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs) and most recently, Ford ( 434,000 units , the bulk of which were early Ford Escape CUVs). So while it’s been a bad year for GM so far, its competitors aren’t doing too well, either. It’s not the end of the world, though.
Filed under: Marketing/Advertising , GM , Toyota General Motors might be mired in several recalls , as well as the ongoing investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Congress into the automaker’s response to those recalls. However, the company can celebrate taking the title of the US’ second-largest advertiser in 2013. According to Ad Week examining a recently released study, total advertising spending in the US posted its fourth consecutive year of rising expenditures with 0.9-percent growth to $140.2 billion. Of that, the auto industry spent $15.2 billion to promote its goods in 2013, up 3.8 percent. The country’s biggest advertiser was Procter and Gamble, which dropped $3.17 billion in 2013, an increase of 11.8 percent. GM became the nation’s second largest promoter with $1.794 billion in spending, up 10 percent. The biggest proportion of that money went to sell Cadillac and GMC . AT&T barely lost out with $1.793 billion in advertising, 15.2 percent growth. The 10 businesses with the highest ad investments spent a cumulative $15.9 billion during the year, 6.6 percent higher than 2012. Toyota came in eighth place making it the only other automaker to rank in the top 10.
TORRANCE, Calif., (March 24, 2014)
Filed under: Budget , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , UAW/Unions , India The Detroit News reported today that Toyota will restart production at two Indian plants, following a shutdown on Monday. Factory labor, management and police in Asia engage in the kind of violent altercations that we’re not used to, having almost entirely walked away from the overtly brutal relations epitomized by the Pinkerton Detective Agency and the Flint Sit-Down Strike . In India, a plant owned by a Ford transmission supplier plant was shut down in 2009 after incidents between workers and armed men around the same time as Ssangyong workers occupied a factory in South Korea , in 2012 Suzuki Maruti workers rioted over wages around the same time upset employees beat a ceramics factory president to death in retaliation for a labor leader’s killing. Toyota is the latest to company trying to avoid that road. The Detroit Free Press reported earlier this week that it shut down two plants in India after 11 months of acrimonious wage negotiations and arbitration have gone nowhere. Toyota said the plant workers in Bidadi, near Bangalore, had deliberately stopped production at times over the past 45 days and threatened management. The workers said they wanted their wages raised by an amount already agreed to by management, but that management had reneged; news reports weren’t clear on the amount, some saying nearly 10,000 rupees ($165 US) more per month, another saying 4,000 rupees ($65 US), but reports agree that Toyota has said it will only go as high as 3,050 rupees ($50 US). Terms of today’s resolution have not been released, but we do know that production will begin again on Monday, March 24. Toyota temporarily idles pair of Indian plants due to labor unrest originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Mar 2014 18:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Concept Cars , Hybrid , Performance , Japan , Tokyo Motor Show , Toyota , Specialty , Design/Style , Electric Toyota is getting ready for the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, and to tease us, the Japanese automaker has released photos and information about the concept vehicles it’ll be bringing to the show. In all, there’ll be five world premieres from Toyota (six if you split the Voxy and Noah minivan concepts), including some vehicles that’ll be released in the near future, and others that need more time to incubate. Let’s get the world premieres out first. Toyota is a pioneer of gasoline-electric hybrids, but it’s also pursuing hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles. The clearest indication of this is the FCV concept , a hydrogen-powered sedan in the same vein as the the FCV-R that will bow at the auto show. (Read more about the FCV, here .) Other world debuts include the FV2 concept (pictured), a unique, one-seat future vehicle that emphasizes the “Fun to Drive” philosophy; the JPN TAXI concept , a next-generation taxi concept designed with Japanese hospitality in mind; and the Voxy and Noah concepts, next-generation minivans that differ most in exterior design cues and are scheduled to launch in the Japanese market in early 2014. The Aqua G Sports concept , based on the Prius C , will debut at the show and is a hybrid sports car that’s scheduled to launch in the Japanese market later this month. The i-Road , an electric trike that’s already been confirmed for production (check out our recent test, here ) will also be on display. We’ve been waiting for this next concept since the Toyota GT-86/Scion FR-S was launched, and we’ve already seen it in person , but Toyota will debut the FT-86 Open Concept again, calling it a “world premiere.” Toyota says it “was created to explore future sports car variations,” and while it hasn’t changed since our last viewing, the car now wears a new paint color: Flash Red. Since the paint was created specifically for the auto show, we can only guess that this is why Toyota considers it a world premiere, unless we find out otherwise.