Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Nissan , Toyota , South Korea The strong yen has Japanese carmakers looking to optimize every efficiency in order to keep their cars competitive in export markets. One strategy gaining momentum is to do some island hopping, specifically, moving plants and manufacturing to Kyushu, the southernmost main island in the Japanese archipelago. Car production there as a percentage of total Japanese production has doubled from 2001 to 2011, but more startling are the recent increases: Nissan just moved its Note and Caravan production there, Toyota is boosting production there by 600 percent, and total units made in Kyushu climbed 21 percent from 2010 to 2011. The three big factors involved are lower personnel costs, lower auto parts costs and increased productivity because of newer, more efficient factories. Companies can save ten percent on personnel in Kyushu versus traditional manufacturing centers like Aichi and Kanagawa, which are on the main island of Honshu and near major cities like Nagoya and Tokyo. Kyushu is also much closer to the South Korean peninsula, and the weakness of the South Korean won means importing lower-priced Korean auto parts is an even more attractive option. Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun says it could soon be the Detroit of Japan. The prediction could be sped up if intergovernment talks can rework laws on transportation: it’s illegal for trucks with South Korean plates to drive on Japanese roads, so trucks hauling parts get shipped to Kyushu ports and their cargo is transferred to Japanese trucks. Japanese and South Korean officials are working to determine how to allow trucks from across the strait to travel unhindered from Korean auto parts factories to Japanese car factories. Kyushu on the road to becoming Japan’s Motor City originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 Jul 2012 12:02:00 EST.
TORRANCE, Calif., Jan. 4, 2012 – Lexus is set to introduce the LF-LC 2+2 hybrid sport coupe concept vehicle, created at the company’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach, Calif., at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 9, 2012.
TMS Group Vice President and Lexus Division General Manager Mark Templin reveals the Lexus LF-LC hybrid sport coupe concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Jan. 9, 2012.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Detroit Auto Show , Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota , Electric Toyota can justifiably be proud of its position not only as one of the largest automakers in the world, but also the world leader in hybrid vehicles. In fact, the Japanese automaker claims that half of all hybrids sold are Toyotas. But it didn’t get there by resting on its proverbial laurels, and it isn’t going to maintain (let alone increase) its market share by doing so, either. That’s where the concept car you see here comes in. Taking position as something of a Prius of the future, the NS4 concept cuts a striking profile – certainly more striking than the current kamm-tailed Prius. But even though the technologies it encompasses are targeted to reach the market by around 2015, the show-car details – like that eminently dentable front beak -probably won’t. While Toyota works on all manner of electric and fuel cell powertrains, the NS4 packs a similar plug-in hybrid system as the current Prius PHEV. But the show car encompasses a slew of other technologies, like a smartphone-like interface to monitor and control everything from the air conditioning to the battery charge. Toyota has also packed the NS4 with its latest pre-collision and blind-spot monitoring systems, adaptive headlights and four new types of glass – the one part of the car we probably take most for granted. Of course, this being a concept car, Toyota has also replaced the side mirrors with an around-view camera system, but laws being what they are for now, don’t expect to see that in showrooms just yet.
Toyota Motor Sales President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Lentz introduces the Prius c and Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 10, 2012.
Bob Carter, Toyota Motor Sales group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division, gives Toyota’s forecast for the industry at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit on Jan. 10, 2012.
Scion Vice President Jack Hollis reveals the Scion Racing/GReddy Performance FR-S at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Jan. 9, 2012.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Detroit Auto Show , Hybrid , Hatchback , Toyota Toyota has released a quick teaser video for the company’s NS4 Plug-In Hybrid Concept ahead of the vehicle’s debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show . Though less than a minute in length, the clip gives us a clear look at the vehicle’s badges as well as quick line-drawing outline. Toyota has released few details about the NS4 beyond saying the vehicle will be an “advanced plug-in hybrid.” Whether that means the vehicle will boast new battery, engine or motor technology remains to be seen. Odds are the NS4 will be used to display new design language for the entire Toyota hybrid fleet. The NS4 Plug-In Hybrid Concept will debut next week, along with the company’s Prius C ; a Yaris -sized hybrid with better fuel economy figures than the current Prius. While the model has received an unveil at the Tokyo Motor Show , we’ve yet to see the vehicle on American soil. Hit the jump to check out the NS4 Concept teaser video for yourself. Continue reading Toyota teases NS4 plug-in hybrid concept again Toyota teases NS4 plug-in hybrid concept again originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Jan 2012 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Concept Cars , Detroit Auto Show , Hybrid , Toyota , Electric Toyota is bringing a new concept to the 2012 Detroit Auto Show . The company calls its NS4 showcar an “advanced” plug-in hybrid , though it hasn’t shared any more information beyond the vehicle’s name. While we can’t say for certain, odds are the concept will give us a glimpse of what the company has planned for future hybrid design instead of boasting any tangible next-generation technology. As you may recall, Toyota and BMW recently partnered up to create a new lithium-ion battery pack, so it may be some time before we see the tech debut, even in a concept vehicle. Toyota has also made it clear the company will bring along the Prius C , which will make its North American debut at the Detroit show (see gallery below). The Prius C rides on a platform about the same size as the Yaris , but comes packing a hybrid drivetrain. Word has it the vehicle will come with Prius-besting EPA fuel economy figures, too. Hit the jump for the brief press release, and stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the Detroit show. Continue reading Toyota confirms NS4 plug-in hybrid concept and production Prius C for Detroit Toyota confirms NS4 plug-in hybrid concept and production Prius C for Detroit originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 20 Dec 2011 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .