Filed under: Hybrid , Toyota , Quick Spins We don’t often come into contact with the Toyota Crown Hybrid , especially in colors other than pink . But when Toyota offered us the keys and a half-hour window to test out the Japanese version of the Lexus GS on US soil not long ago, we had to accept. Driving Notes: We’ll start with the start. The Crown Hybrid makes the friendliest, Japanese-iest sound when you turn it on. It’s like a high-fructose THX movie is starting. Considering this is a premium car, we were surprised the first time we turned it on, but then had to do it again and again. Purely for journalistic video-capturing reasons, of course, so you can watch and hear it below . We wish we had better-than-cellphone microphones to capture it. Compared to the Lexus GS 300h , which we drove immediately afterword along with the exact same route, it is clear the Crown is an executive’s car. The seats and suspension somehow made us feel privileged, not a feeling we’re used to in most hybrid cars.
Filed under: Budget , Sedan , Plants/Manufacturing , Subaru , Toyota Subaru may be set to end production of the Toyota Camry at its Lafayette, IN facility by 2017, according to a report from the Louisville Journal-Courier and a CBS affiliate in Columbia, South Carolina . Speaking to the plant’s Executive Vice President Tom Easterday, the whole affair sounds like a done deal. “Based on changes in Toyota’s production plans, they have decided that the award-winning Camry production contract will not be renewed,” Easterday said. Easterday was quick to emphasize that just because Camry production would end, doesn’t mean jobs will be lost. “There will be no loss of jobs at SIA as a result of this,” he said, before adding that the loss of Camry production will have no impact Subaru’s $400 million investment to ready the plant for Impreza production in 2016 . That said, adding a promised 900 jobs may take longer than originally planned, as Camry production staff are set to be retrained on Subaru production. SIA currently has the capacity to produce 100,000 Camrys per year, and began production of the family sedan in 2007 alongside production of the Subaru Outback , Legacy and eventually, the soon-to-be-discontinued Tribeca . We spoke via email with Toyota spokesperson Curt McAllister, who said, “We are not in position to discuss production plans at this time.” Subaru has not responded as of this writing, but we’ll update this post as soon we hear something. Subaru Indiana plant to stop building Toyota Camry originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 15 Nov 2013 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Car Buying , Budget , Sedan , Plants/Manufacturing , Honda , Toyota , Earnings/Financials The battle to claim October’s best-selling compact sedan title has been won by the Honda Civic . The Japanese four-door sold 27,328 units, leaving the Toyota Corolla – September’s title holder – in its wake with 23,637 units sold. In terms of year-to-date sales, the Civic sits at 280,899 units, with the Corolla trailing at 257,184 vehicles. Sitting in third place, separated by a significant gap from the leaders, is the Chevrolet Cruze with 16,087 units sold. The Ford Focus earned fourth, with 15,108 units moved out of showrooms. (It is interesting to note that while the Civic and Corolla have both enjoyed double-digit sales increases year-over-year, the Cruze and Focus have seen significant decreases during the same period.) Sales of the Hyundai Elantra hit 14,876 units, putting it in fifth place, with the Volkswagen Jetta earning sixth place with 11,710 units. Rounding out the ten top sellers were the Nissan Sentra (8,399 units), Mazda3 (7,647 units), Dodge Dart (5,617 units) and Subaru Impreza / WRX (4,923 units). The Kia Forte (4,706 units) and Volkswagen Golf (2,249 units), eleventh and twelfth respectively, have fallen behind. For complete US auto sales coverage, be sure to check out our By the Numbers articles, which we run at the end of every month. Honda Civic overtakes Toyota Corolla as America’s best-selling compact originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Nov 2013 08:43:00 EST.
Filed under: Budget , Sedan , Recalls , Safety , Crossover , Toyota , Luxury Toyota has announced plans to voluntarily recall 803,000 vehicles from model years 2012 and 2013, over concerns with the air conditioning condenser housing. The recall covers the Camry , Camry Hybrid , Avalon , Avalon Hybrid and Venza , although the exact split between affected models wasn’t available. According to Toyota, the condenser can leak onto an airbag control module, which in turn could cause a short circuit. In most cases, this will just lead to an airbag warning light, but in rarer instances, the airbags could fail to deploy or pop out of their own accord. There’s also a concern over a loss of power steering if the airbag control module develops a short. It’s unclear if there have been any injuries or crashes relating to the defects. Toyota will begin informing owners of affected vehicles via first class mail, and will ask them to report to dealerships for recall work, involving the installation of a cover on the condenser housing. Scroll down for the official press release from Toyota. Continue reading Toyota recalling 800k Camry, Avalon and Venza models for AC issue Toyota recalling 800k Camry, Avalon and Venza models for AC issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Oct 2013 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Budget , Government/Legal , Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Hyundai , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury The government shutdown is eroding consumer confidence in the auto market, says John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai’s US sales unit, and could lower October sales by as much as 10 percent, Automotive News reports . “It’s that anxiety that keeps customers, potential buyers, on the sidelines when making a big purchase like an automobile,” Krafcik says, adding that industry sales could be off by five to 10 percent in October compared to September. The fourth quarter, which started October 1, usually consists of increased auto sales as dealerships clear their lots to make room for the next year’s models. Leading up to the fourth quarter this year, the auto industry was doing well in the fragile, recovering US economy, although September deliveries decreased by 4.2 percent, due in part to this year’s Labor Day sales being recorded for August. To help its customers, Hyundai announced it is deferring new-car loan and lease payments for furloughed federal workers until they’re called back to work and also offering them a three-month payment deferral if they buy a new Hyundai in October. “We have already had requests from over a thousand people to have their payments deferred,” Krafcik says. Toyota and Nissan joined Hyundai as the latest automakers to provide financial relief to customers affected by the federal employee furloughs. Krafcik says US Gov. shutdown is slowing Oct. auto sales originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Oct 2013 19:01:00 EST.
Filed under: Budget , Sedan , Performance , Toyota , Australia , Rumormill Sources in Australia are reporting that we’ll be seeing a small, rear-drive sedan from Toyota , based on the GT 86/ Scion FR-S . Yes, a convertible variant is still in limbo, but a four-door sedan is in the works. It’s unclear if the rumored GT 86 sedan would spawn Scion and Subaru variants (it’s hard to cross all ten fingers while you type, but we’re having a go). Working with remarks made by the car’s chief engineer Tetsuya Tada in his blog and a rendering from Japanese magazine Holiday Auto , the Australian site Motoring is claiming that the new model’s wheelbase will grow about four inches over the current GT 86’s 101.2-inch wheelbase. Besides the larger overall space between the axles, the sedan will offer a more potent engine option over the current 2.0-liter, flat-four. Promising 268 horsepower, which is a big jump over the current car’s 200 ponies, the new powertrain will be derived from the Hybrid R setup , shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show. If, like us, you’re reaching for the salt, and we don’t blame you. Motoring seems to think the new model will be available later in 2015 or early in 2016, with pricing that should be within reach of current GT 86 owners (around 30,000 Australian dollars, or $28,371). Toyota to offer sedan version of GT 86? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Oct 2013 11:15:00 EST.
Filed under: Budget , Sedan , Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota Toyota may have performed some major surgery on the 2014 Corolla , but that hasn’t helped the Japanese automaker overcome tough new crash test procedures. The Corolla, Toyota’s bread-and-butter compact sedan, managed only a Marginal score on the new small overlap crash test, which was just added last year. Despite the low score, the Corolla performed well in the moderate overlap front, side, rollover and rear testing, which was enough to score it a 2013 Top Safety Pick. In testing in August, six of the Corolla’s competitors earned the Top Safety Pick + award , for good or acceptable scores across the board. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Corolla’s “Marginal” score was down to an “intruding structure,” that could cause injuries to the lower left leg. There was also concern that in a collision, the driver’s head would move after hitting the air bag, and collide with the A-pillar or dash. Take a look below for the crash test video, as well as a press release from the IIHS. Continue reading 2014 Toyota Corolla gets marginal IIHS small overlap crash test score [w/video] 2014 Toyota Corolla gets marginal IIHS small overlap crash test score [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Oct 2013 09:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Car Buying , Budget , Sedan , Toyota We’ll be publishing our First Drive of the 2014 Toyota Corolla later today, but right now, we can reveal that the eleventh-generation compact will be priced from $16,800 when it hits dealerships this fall (*not including a $810 destination charge). Four trim levels will be offered, and that sub-$17,000 price point reflects the base L grade with a six-speed manual transmission. Adding the four-speed automatic (yep) brings that price up to $17,400, which gets you the usual features standard on this class of car, including Bluetooth connectivity, eight airbags and – a first for this price point – LED headlamps. From there, the LE trim ($18,300) adds a backup camera, cruise control, keyless entry, Entune audio (including a 6.1-inch touchscreen) and a brand-new continuously variable transmission replacing the four-speed auto. There’s even an Eco version of the LE trim that uses a different engine tune to provide fuel economy of up to 42 miles per gallon on the highway. The top-trim S, pictured above, comes with a modified front fascia design, rear lip spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport seats and more for $19,000. There are paddle shifters mated to the CVT with seven “gears,” and optional 17-inch wheels are available. Toyota will offer the S trim with a six-speed manual as part of the Plus package, and the Premium pack adds Softex synthetic leather seats. All in, a fully loaded Corolla comes in just under $24,000. Not bad, at all.
Filed under: Budget , Wagon , Toyota , Rumormill The hopes of car enthusiasts are often vain little things; bordering on irrational desires for technologies and form factors that the market has declined to buy in volume, at least in North America. Manual transmissions, diesel engines (although slightly more mainstream these days), compact pickup trucks and, of course, station wagons, are all variations on the well-worn theme here. And so, when we come across a rumor that one or more of these items from our wish list might be upcoming, and a surprise at that, we tend to get fairly amped. Use that as background when you’re considering just how many grains of salt to swallow with this latest Toyota Corolla rumor, which stems from a leaked schematic on the dealership level, and portends a wagon bodystyle for the new car. One enthusiastic Autoblog reader and Toyota dealership employee recently stumbled upon the interior lighting schematic drawing you see inset here, which clearly identifies both the “4D” four-door sedan version of the 2014 Corolla, but also a long-roof “5D” car that is unimpeachably a station wagon (click to expand the image). The real question is, is it a Corolla? What’s possible, albeit disheartening, is that we’re looking at a diagram for the European Auris Touring Sports model (pictured above), a car that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show this past March. However, at least from the diagrams above, the D-Pillar doesn’t look correct, and the nose doesn’t seem quite “pointy” enough, for lack of a better word. It also doesn’t explain why a US dealer would receive such information. Just this week, we drove the 2014 Corolla (look for the review very soon), and at that launch event, Toyota spokespeople told us that there were no further bodystyles planned “at this time.” That kind of language leaves the door open just a crack for a North American wagon.