Filed under: Europe , Ford , Hyundai , Mercedes-Benz , Subaru , Toyota , Volkswagen , Volvo , Renault , Peugeot Electric cars may have won the European Car of the Year award two years in a row now ( Opel Ampera in 2012, and Nissan Leaf in 2011), we can say without reservation that the 2013 ECotY will be a petrol-burning, internal combustionizer. That’s because not a single electric vehicle made it to the contest’s final round. But eight other cars did. At the top of the alphabetical list is Ford’s Fiesta -based, B-Max MPV. Five doors, good ride and fuel-efficient, award-winning engine choices are some of the reasons it makes the list. Next is the Hyundai i30 , known as the Elantra GT Stateside , with either five or three doors, a roomy cabin and a 1.6-liter CRDi engine. The nominating committee commends the handsome hatch for improved exterior aesthetics and a multilink suspension that “shows in ride and handling.” Mercedes gets the next spot with its hot hatch: the turbocharged A-Class , followed by another hatch, the Peugeot 208 . The next finalist is from another marque we haven’t seen in the States for quite some time – the fourth-generation Renault Clio , followed by the Subaru / Toyota dynamic duo of BRZ and the GT86 . The last two contenders are the all-new Volkswagen Golf and the svelte Volvo V40 . The European Car of the Year will be announced in early March after the jury has tallied its votes.
Filed under: Car Buying , Toyota After dealing with flailing global economies, numerous recalls and safety allegations and then the depleted inventory from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Experian Automotive says that Toyota is finally back on top when it comes to consumer loyalty in the US. Toyota edged out General Motors and Ford Motor Company to grab this loyalty crown for the first time since the third quarter of 2009. The metric for this title was determined by owners of a vehicle choosing from the same corporate automaker for their next vehicle purchase. For Toyota, this means that 47.3 percent of its current customers will purchase a Scion , Lexus or Toyota model as their next car compared to 46.2 percent for GM and 46 percent for Ford. Honda and Hyundai rounded out the top five in this list. In terms of individual brand loyalty – when buyers come back to the same brand – Ford took the spot in this category with 44.7 percent of buyers returning to the Ford showroom for their next purchase, including six cars in the top 10 for overall loyalty. Ford Fusion customers are the most loyal with 59.9 percent buying another Ford, but Flex , Edge , Five Hundred, Escape and Fiesta are all in the top 10. Oddly enough, the top vehicle among brand loyalty was the Chevrolet Sonic (which has only been on the market for less than a year – we’re not sure what to make of that…) with 60.3 percent of its buyers trading in for another Chevy product. Other interesting facts to note from Experian Automotive’s study include the median age of vehicles has increased from 9.8 years up to 10.8 years since 2008, indicating that people are keeping their cars for an extra year before trading them in. Besides Toyota, Chrysler was the only automaker listed as having increased its market share and vehicle purchases in the second quarter of this year.
Filed under: Hatchback , Toyota , Electric 2012 was supposed to be the year the all-electric version of the Toyota / Scion iQ made a splash. Instead, it appears that while it remains technically true that the iQ EV will launch this year, it will be a much, much smaller splash than previously anticipated. According to Reuters , the iQ will have an “extremely limited release.” That’s a kind way to say that the 100 iQ EVs that Reuters says Toyota will now sell in the U.S. and Japan is a much smaller figure than was anticipated. The writing has been on the wall for a while. All the way back in 2009, Toyota hinted that the EV, which can only go 50 miles on a charge, might be destined for car-sharing services , and in 2011, a Toyota spokesperson confirmed the iQ EV would be a ” low-volume vehicle .” Now, the official Toyota line (see below ) is that: Toyota has seen that many customers are not yet willing to compromise on range, and they don’t like the time needed to re-charge the batteries. Moreover, the infrastructure for recharging has not become as widespread as originally anticipated. So, even though Toyota is ready with the iQ EV, we believe a plug-in hybrid solution offers a better way than pure electric for most customer needs in the short- to medium-term, and that is where we will concentrate our commercial activities . Toyota vice chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada tells Reuters , “The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.” Compare this attitude to the one displayed by Daimler , which today has hundreds of Smart Electric Drive vehicles functioning as car-sharing rides through its Car2go program in places like San Diego, CA and Austin, TX. Toyota will still move forward with the launch of the RAV4 EV, and expects to sell around 2,600 of them in the next three years .
Filed under: Car Buying , BMW , Honda , Lexus , Mercedes-Benz , Toyota , Volkswagen , Luxury Perhaps the most frustrating thing about being mired in the 99% is that due to the prevalence of reality-distorting TV and the booming personal security business, we really have no idea what it’s like to be Mitt Romney , Donald Trump or one of the Koch brothers. At least in the olden days, we plebs could point and stare, mouths agape as the robber barons rode through city streets in their jewel-encrusted carriages. But today? Good luck catching a glimpse of Trump’s platinum-dipped Maybach or the plutonium-burning hovercrafts that the Koch’s use to fly to their secret Tea Party Illuminati meetings. What’s that? Rich people buy their cars at dealerships just like we do? Yep, and according to a new study from TrueCar , Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags don’t go in for luxury models nearly as completely as you’d think. TrueCar has released a list of the top 10 most popular cars in the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S.
Filed under: Coupe , Performance , Plants/Manufacturing , Recalls , Scion , Subaru , Toyota The Scion FR-S / Toyota GT86 / Subaru BRZ triplets are being recalled due to an issue not with the car, but with the owner’s manual: pages detailing the operation of the smart airbags contain a misprint. Although it’s classified as a recall, owners don’t need to take their cars to their dealers; Scion and Subaru will be sending the nearly 2,800 owners corrected pages that can be inserted in the manual. If you’d rather have your dealer do the Elmer’s Glue work, they will have corrected pages that they can insesrt in the owner’s manual for you. Two separate issues seem to be affecting the FR-S only, even though it is built on the same line with the BRZ. Toyota issued “tech tips” to dealers to let them know that owners have reported that condensation has been forming inside the taillamp housings. According to an exchange on the FT86Club forum , the coupe’s chief engineer declared that problem fixed after remedying a detail in the production process. Another tech tip regarding body panel issues read, “Some 2013 Scion FR-S vehicles may exhibit a condition where body panel fitting may not meet customer expectations.” It refers to complaints that panels were as much as a quarter-inch out of flush. It isn’t clear how many cars are affected, nor how many owners have formally complainted, but according to a post on TundraHeadquarters.com, Toyota is “looking into it.” Scion FR-S faces teething problems, owner’s manual recall originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 11 Jun 2012 09:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Government/Legal , Toyota Even though Toyota’s unintended acceleration debacle is as ancient as Jurassic fleas for most of us, the California Distric Court of Judge James Selna is still chainsawing through a massive docket of claims. Judge Selna had been considering whether plaintiffs in California, New York and Florida could sue Toyota for economic loss related to the claims of unintended accleraton – the plaintiffs wanted Toyota to reimburse them for the alleged decline in value of their cars. According to a report in Bloomberg , Selna issued a final ruling that the New York and Florida plaintiffs can’t sue for economic loss if they didn’t experience unintended acceleration, or if they didn’t experience “a measurable loss” when selling their cars. California plaintiffs, on the other hand, can sue even if there was no unintended acceleration event or perceived depreciation. The ruling could remove millions of owners from of plaintiffs and make an economic-loss class action lawsuit more difficult, but plaintiffs attorneys have said they’ll try to get the cases tried in New York and Florida courts. However, the ruling doesn’t affect other plaintiffs suing over the same issue in other states. This doesn’t affect the unintended accleration cases, though; three litmus-test trials are scheduled for next year. Judge dismisses most Toyota economic-loss claims from New York, Florida originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 May 2012 16:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Concept Cars , Budget , Sedan , Hatchback , Toyota , Beijing Motor Show , Design/Style Details on the pair of Dear Qin concepts that Toyota unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show this week are sparse, but they do hint at something interesting coming to every market where the Japanese automaker sells cars. Calling them “global-strategic concepts,” Toyota says the sedan and hatchback versions of the Dear Qin models have “a design aiming to attract more people to the user base.” With that curious statement in mind, the first promotional video for the Dear Qin models (which you can watch by scrolling below ) is both language- and information-free, emphasizing the design of the cars for a global audience. With explosions and lightning, of course. Reports have said that Toyota is working on a new global, front-wheel drive model that is supposed to be launched in 2013. We can imagine these concepts foreshadowing those cars, and hope we get a pair of highly efficient compacts out of the design process. We’ll skip the explosions and lightning, though. Continue reading Toyota Dear Qin hatch, sedan foreshadow new global FWD models [w/video] Toyota Dear Qin hatch, sedan foreshadow new global FWD models [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 Apr 2012 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Technology , Toyota “We couldn’t find anything, but we’re still blaming the car.” That’s the gist of the statement from a National Academy of Sciences panel headed by New Jersey Institute of Technology physics professor Louis Lanzerotti. The NAS supports U.S. regulators shutting down investigation of Toyota unintended acceleration incidents without finding electronic faults that would cause the behavior. However, at the same time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is planning to call for further oversight and more study to attempt to rule out electronic causes. About the only thing that’s concrete is that crashes happened. To be fair, electronic faults can be tricky to pin down, even with far simpler systems than the networked-computing setups that modern cars universally employ. That’s why event data recording is already part of many automotive systems, along with a high degree of redundancy and fault tolerance. Many carmakers also already program engine management to douse the throttle with brake application in certain situations. Few are more interested in catching intermittent, potentially catastrophic problems than the companies building the cars, and most have already implemented the systems these organs of the state are calling for. Even so, the NAS and NHTSA appear keen to write these tendencies into law.
Filed under: Hybrid , Europe , Technology , Hatchback , Toyota , Electric With the Toyota Prius plug-in set to launch in early 2012 , now’s the perfect time to dive into the interim results from the cars’ trials in London. Here are some details straight from Toyota : Average journey distance has been 7.3 miles, with 59 percent of all journeys covering between 3.1 and 12.4 miles Average speed has been 17.7 miles per hour, with 69 percent of journeys at speeds less than 18.6 mph Initial fuel consumption data indicates performance is 27 percent better than an equivalent diesel Average recharging time is 72 minutes Where drivers have access to a domestic charge point, more frequent recharging occurs Twenty-two percent of drivers have even been able to drive further than the official 12.5-mile range in EV mode. Electric-powered driving so far has accounted for one third of all miles driven in the PHEV demonstration. Working in partnership with EDF Energy, Toyota leased 20 third-generation Prius plug-ins to London-based businesses and organizations to monitor vehicle performance and recharging patterns. Details of journey times, speeds, distances, fuel usage and recharging habits have been logged and analyzed to compile useable data. The three-year trial kicked off last summer, meaning that these interim results are from less than one year of real-world use. Continue reading Toyota says Prius plug-in is “27-percent better than an equivalent diesel” Toyota says Prius plug-in is “27-percent better than an equivalent diesel” originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink