Toyota SEMA cars include Tundra for Baja and wacky DUB Edition Yaris

Toyota SEMA cars include Tundra for Baja and wacky DUB Edition Yaris

October 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Aftermarket , SEMA Show , Minivan/Van , SUV , Truck , Hatchback , Toyota , Off-Road Toyota has released the first images of its brigade of concepts for the 2014 SEMA Show , introducing a trio of TRD-fettled off-roaders, a pair of DUB-inspired models, a race-ready pickup and a Sienna minivan with 48 inches worth of subwoofers. Four of the vehicles being shown by Toyota will take part in the grueling Baja 1000 off-road race. The star of that effort will be a race-prepared Tundra , which will actually be competing from November 12 to 16 in the 47th running of the desert race. It’ll be supported by a trio of vehicles, which mimics Toyota’s TRD Pro Series production vehicles, with the 4Runner , Tacoma and Tundra all acting as support vehicles. Each of these vehicles has been fabricated by the off-road specialists at N-Fab and comes loaded down with communications and guidance equipment, additional lights and off-road body modifications. For softer trails, Toyota will introduce modified examples of its refreshed Sienna minivan and Yaris subcompact. Styled by DUB, the Yaris’ headlines include 20-inch Dropstars wheels on a custom, lowered suspension. A big-brake kit from TRD complete with StopTech rotors rounds out the chassis changes. Aesthetic tweaks include Sparco racing seats, carbon-fiber interior bits matte white pearl paint and a custom widebody kit. A similar treatment has been applied to the Sienna, which is home to an eye-catching quartet of 22-inch wheels.

Meet the finalists for Autoblog’s 2014 Technology of the Year Award

Meet the finalists for Autoblog’s 2014 Technology of the Year Award

October 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Convertible , Coupe , Hybrid , Sedan , Performance , SUV , Truck , Technology , Crossover , BMW , Chevrolet , Dodge , Ford , GMC , Infiniti , Mercedes-Benz , Subaru , Toyota , Electric , Diesel , Luxury , Ram Greetings from (cold and rainy) Petoskey, MI, where many Autoblog editors are testing 14 different cars and trucks that make up the finalists for this year’s Technology of the Year Award . Our tech choices run the gamut from complete vehicles ( BMW i3 , i8 ) to engines, connectivity features, convenience niceties, safety systems, performance data functions and more. And it helps that many of these technologies are housed in some pretty hilariously fun vehicles. Have a look below to see the full roster of what made the cut this year, and stay tuned as we crown a winner during the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show festivities in just a few weeks. Continue reading Meet the finalists for Autoblog’s 2014 Technology of the Year Award Meet the finalists for Autoblog’s 2014 Technology of the Year Award originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota Avalon celebrates 20 years with Touring Sport Edition

Toyota Avalon celebrates 20 years with Touring Sport Edition

October 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , Toyota The Toyota Avalon may not have the sportiest image on the market. Heck, it doesn’t even have the sportiest image in the Toyota lineup. But the Japanese automaker is out to fix that perception, at least a little bit, with the launch of the new Touring Sport Edition. Announced together with some minor updates to the entire Avalon line – consisting primarily of enhanced safety and infotainment systems – the Avalon XLE Touring Sport Edition celebrates the 20th anniversary of Toyota’s large sedan line. Setting this special edition apart are a black paintjob, HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, 18-inch alloys (similar in design to those on the Scion FR-S ) and an interior decked out with perforated leather with dark blue trim… plus, of course, the requisite special badges inside and out. Only 2,500 units will be offered with a $37,170 sticker price that puts it near (if not quite at) the top of the Avalon range that’s capped by the $41,700 Avalon Hybrid Limited. Pricing has increased on most models by around two percent, and you can scope out all the details of the updates to the full range in the press releases below . Continue reading Toyota Avalon celebrates 20 years with Touring Sport Edition Toyota Avalon celebrates 20 years with Touring Sport Edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’

Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’

October 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Audi , Buick , Honda , Kia , Lincoln , Mazda , Porsche , Scion , Subaru , Toyota , Ownership The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year’s list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year’s list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean. Acura isn’t the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC , which declines 10 positions to 19th. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker’s reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports , complaints about “in-car electronics” were the most grumbled about element in new cars.

Aging Prius, dropping gas prices putting hurt on hybrid, EV sales

Aging Prius, dropping gas prices putting hurt on hybrid, EV sales

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Toyota , Electric “As Prius represents by far the biggest chunk of the hybrid marketplace, where Prius goes, the segment goes,” – Ed Kim, Autopacific Fuel prices in the US have been tumbling for the last several weeks, with the average price of a gallon of gas at $3.120 as of October 20, according to the US Energy Information Administration. That price reflects a serious recent drop from $3.299 on October 6. Reports have even suggested that those low numbers might not change for a little while , perhaps as long as years. While drivers certainly love paying less at the pump, the change may be hurting the market for more fuel-efficient models, including the Toyota Prius . According to a report from National Public Radio, sales of hybrids, plug-ins and EVs are down around 5 percent for the year , but trucks and SUVs have seen a 17 and 20 percent improvement, respectively. Autoblog Green’s By the Numbers reports indicate similar figures of around a 5.4 percent drop so far in 2014. In fact, as of September, green-car sales have endured their fourth straight month of declines . That segment of the market fell 11 percent year-over-year in August and 9.6 percent in September. “As Prius represents by far the biggest chunk of the hybrid marketplace, where Prius goes, the segment goes,” Ed Kim, Vice President of Industry Analysis at AutoPacific tells Autoblog . That paints a bleak picture for hybrids, because at the moment, the Prius is doing pretty poorly.

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: BMW , Toyota , Tesla The incredible rise of Tesla’s stock price has done little to now stop two major shareholders from ditching their stake in the American EV manufacturer. First, Daimler , parent company of Mercedes-Benz , ditched its four-percent stake , and less than a week later, Toyota is doing the same thing, selling off an undisclosed bit of its Tesla investment. The move comes as Toyota winds down sales of the RAV4 EV , which gets its batteries and electric motor from Tesla at the company’s Fremont, CA factory. “We have a good relationship with Tesla, and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects ,” Toyota spokesperson Kayo Doi told Bloomberg via email. According to Bloomberg , Toyota maintained a 2.4-percent stake as recently as March 31, making it the tenth-largest of Tesla’s investors. As the Japanese shed an undisclosed percentage of its shares, though, another automaker might be eyeing the California company. Value Walk has a speculative story that claims BMW could be looking at tying up with Tesla, based on a reported meeting between execs from the two companies. The fact that the Munich-based company’s carbon-fiber expertise fits nicely with the Palo Alto company’s EV knowhow is apparently the driving force behind this speculation. But as usual, take this with a grain of salt. Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST.

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: BMW , Toyota , Tesla The incredible rise of Tesla’s stock price has done little to now stop two major shareholders from ditching their stake in the American EV manufacturer. First, Daimler , parent company of Mercedes-Benz , ditched its four-percent stake , and less than a week later, Toyota is doing the same thing, selling off an undisclosed bit of its Tesla investment. The move comes as Toyota winds down sales of the RAV4 EV , which gets its batteries and electric motor from Tesla at the company’s Fremont, CA factory. “We have a good relationship with Tesla, and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects ,” Toyota spokesperson Kayo Doi told Bloomberg via email. According to Bloomberg , Toyota maintained a 2.4-percent stake as recently as March 31, making it the tenth-largest of Tesla’s investors. As the Japanese shed an undisclosed percentage of its shares, though, another automaker might be eyeing the California company. Value Walk has a speculative story that claims BMW could be looking at tying up with Tesla, based on a reported meeting between execs from the two companies. The fact that the Munich-based company’s carbon-fiber expertise fits nicely with the Palo Alto company’s EV knowhow is apparently the driving force behind this speculation. But as usual, take this with a grain of salt. Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST.

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

October 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Toyota explains what names like Camry and Yaris mean

Toyota explains what names like Camry and Yaris mean

October 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Toyota, Lexus expanding Takata airbag recall, re-notifying customers

Toyota, Lexus expanding Takata airbag recall, re-notifying customers

October 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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