Filed under: Motorsports , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Toyota Blindfold slalom racing sounds like a really dumb, albeit entertaining, idea. The concept is quite simple: blindfold a driver, find a co-driver to bark orders and see who can negotiate a set course the quickest. Of course, any time you have someone behind the wheel who has no idea where the car is going, there’s the potential for crashes, and this short video delivers. This video demonstrates how blindfolded slalom is supposed to go, as well as what it looks like when things go wrong. You even get a glimpse at the aftermath. It seems like it would be a lot more fun with beater cars you didn’t care about, not what looks like a pretty clean third-generation Toyota Supra . By running this event on a drag strip with retaining walls, these guys are putting themselves and some nice cars in harm’s way. That said, the video below would also appear to be a good reminder of one of life’s key tenets: Always pick a good co-driver. Fair Warning: the video contains some mildly explicit language. Scroll down to check it out, and let us know in Comments if you’d be willing to try blindfold slalom racing.
Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota is on track for record profits, and in return, its Japanese workers are receiving their first increase in base wages since 2008, plus higher pay based on seniority and a larger bonus for 2014. The Japanese automaker predicts the average laborer will net a 2.9 percent income gain. The average Toyota employee will earn 2,700 yen ($26.28) more each month, a 0.8 percent increase from last year. Workers will also receive about 7,300 yen ($71.09) more monthly based on seniority and promotions. Finally, the company’s union pushed through a median bonus of 2.44 million yen ($23,768) for 2014, the highest in 6 years. The pay boost comes as Toyota forecasts a record 1.9-trillion yen ($18.5 billion) profit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, according to Bloomberg . It has been helped by the Japanese government’s efforts to weaken the yen on international markets and expand inflation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been asking businesses to increase compensation to end years of deflation and offset upcoming higher sales taxes. Honda and Nissan have also raised their wages there in recent months. Toyota raises Japanese base wages for first time since 2008 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:29:00 EST.
Filed under: Motorsports , Performance , Videos , Lexus , Toyota , Racing We all know that street racing is dangerous, and that motorsports are best left on the track or drag strip. However, that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t some outlaw allure among enthusiasts of racing on public roads. In this video, Vice Japan profiles Eikichi Nagayoshi of Japan’s island of Okinawa. He is a used car dealer by day and an illegal racer by night. Nagayoshi has a deep love for his highly customized Toyota Aristo (better known to us as a first-generation Lexus GS ) that he claims produces over 1,000 horsepower and has hit 205 miles per hour. He races his car both on drag strips and in drifting competitions, but says that he often has to ship the car to mainland Japan to compete. In the absence of those opportunities, he sometimes gathers friends and takes the racing to the public roads. While we’re not down with street racing, this Vice video is an intriguing personality piece, as well as a look into Japan’s fabled underground racing scene. Scroll down to check out the video, but make sure you have the “CC” button clicked, because several portions are subtitled. Continue reading Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:45:00 EST.
Filed under: Budget , Recalls , Safety , Crossover , Toyota Toyota has announced a small recall of its redesigned, 2014 Highlander over issues with one of its seat belts. The affected vehicles, which were built from November 20, 2013 to January 18, 2014, could have a seatbelt assembly in the middle seat of the third row that wasn’t properly secured to a floor anchorage at the factory. In total, 7,067 of the new Highlanders are included in the recall, which was discovered not after a crash, but during a post-build inspection at the factory. It’s unclear if there have been any injuries as a result of the faulty seat belts. Toyota is set to inform owners of the affected vehicles as well as dealers with the recalled Highlander models in their inventory. Naturally, repairs will be performed free of charge. For the full bulletin form the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , scroll down. Continue reading 2014 Toyota Highlander recalled over seatbelt anchors 2014 Toyota Highlander recalled over seatbelt anchors originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Budget , Geneva Motor Show , Europe , Hatchback , Toyota , Peugeot , Citroën It almost made it, but images of the redesigned Toyota Aygo have leaked ahead of its official debut at tomorrow’s Geneva Motor Show . The new Aygo sports an aggressive look overall with a, um, mark on its face. That distinguishing design feature aside, we quite like the angular headlights and muscular overall look of this little city car. The gaping trapezoidal air intake make the Aygo look more substantial, while swollen rear wheel arches hint at something sportier than your standard commuter device. Sportiness, though, isn’t likely to be a big part of the Aygo. As it’s built on the same platform as the Citro
Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Lexus , Toyota , Design/Style A reshuffle in the uppermost ranks of Lexus could see the Japanese luxury brand further energize its recent focus on design. Tokuo Fukuichi, Toyota’s global design boss, is the new head of Lexus International. Fukuichi will retain his role as the overall head of design for Toyota , Lexus and Scion , and will assume his new position at the head of Lexus and on its board on April 1 (no fooling). This is going to be an interesting move for fans of design to watch, as Fukuichi has repeatedly been mentioned as a designer that enjoys pushing the envelope and experimenting. He is, after all, the man responsible for designing the most awesomely odd minivan of the 1990s, the mid-engined, rear-drive Toyota Previa, and more recently, he signed off on the controversial Lexus LF-NX concept , which is said to presage a new production small crossover. “Regarding changes in design, no one has 100 percent confidence,” Fukuichi told Forbes back in January 2013. “No one can really say with pure certainty that, ‘In two years, this will sell well.’” As Akio Toyoda continues to demand more assertive, edgier designs, it’s that point of view that should make Fukuichi a valuable addition to Lexus, as it continues to challenge the competition from Germany. Fukuichi replaces Kiotaka Ise, who will become the chief officer at Toyota Research and Development, according to Automotive News . Lexus gets new boss, and he’s a designer originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Car Buying , SUV , Toyota Many Americans view their 30th birthdays as significant milestones, even though the average life expectancy here is more than 2.5 times that age. So you might think Toyota would be keen to party over the 30th anniversary of its 4Runner , since most models don’t even live to half that age. You can put that idea away unless you consider discounts of $500 to $1,000 something worthy of cake and kazoos, since it appears that’s all the birthday SUV will get. That’s right, not even a trim-and-tape special edition or so much as a sticker. We asked Toyota for comment and were told they had “No other 30th anniversary 4Runner items to announce at the time.” So, about those incentives: they climb from $500 on the SR5 and Trail editions to $750 on Premium models and $1,000 on the Limited trims. Toyota says they’re available at dealerships now and will last for the entire year. There’s a press release below with a little more background, and there’s a sad violin playing somewhere in the distance. Disappointed, party of one, your table is now ready… Continue reading Toyota celebrates 30 years of 4Runner with… incentives?
Filed under: Concept Cars , Coupe , Performance , Toyota , Design/Style Enthusiasts have been begging for a new Supra practically since Toyota stopped selling its fourth generation in the US way back in 1998. We’ve been hearing rumors about a successor for years, but the Toyota FT-1 Concept from the 2014 Detroit Auto Show is the first tangible sign from the automaker that a new generation may be on the table. To temp us even more, the Japanese company reportedly filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office last week to renew its 2010 trademark for the name “Supra.” Granted, these kinds of trademark updates aren’t uncommon, as automakers don’t want to lose their rights to nameplates (even if they have no immediate plans to use them). However, Toyota briefly abandoned its rights to the Supra name entirely. According to The Motor Report , the original trademark was continually renewed until 2006, but the Japanese automaker let it lapse in the US until applying for it again in 2010. The FT-1 Concept in Detroit was created at Toyota’s Calty Design Research center in California and carries cues from the 2000GT , Celica and Supra in an ultra-curvy body. Officials did not disclose anything about its powertrain. Toyota is also co-developing a future sports car platform with BMW that will underpin models from both companies, but few other details are konwn, and it isn’t yet clear that the joint venture has anything to do with a future Supra. Hope springs eternal. Toyota renews Supra trademark, we renew frothing at the mouth originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:01:00 EST.
Filed under: Budget , Safety , Videos , Hatchback , Toyota It doesn’t matter the make or model – modern vehicles are technological miracles when it comes to occupant protection. Take this story out of New York City, which involved two people going for a very wild ride in a Toyota Matrix . Carlos and Raquel Broadbelt were on the Cross Bronx Expressway overpass when they hit a patch of ice while dodging a pothole, sending them hurtling into a guardrail and over the side of the overpass. They fell 50 feet onto the road below. Despite the catastrophic accident – and the mangled Toyota – both driver and passenger walked away. The couple spent a night in the hospital just for observation. The Broadbelts’ miraculous survival has even surprised doctors, who told Dave Carlin from CBS New York they’d never seen an accident like it. Take a look below for the full news report from CBS New York . Continue reading Couple survives 50-foot fall from overpass in Toyota Couple survives 50-foot fall from overpass in Toyota originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 11 Feb 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Hybrid , Recalls , Toyota Toyota has announced a set of voluntary recalls covering 960,000 Prius , RAV4 , Tacoma and Lexus RX350 models in the United States to address two separate issues. Worldwide, Toyota will have to recall a total of 1.9 million Prius cars. The Prius recall affects about 700,000 2010-2014 models in the US, due to a fault in the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU software. It says that the current software could result in high temperatures on certain transistors and possibly damage them. When it fails, the error forces the car into failsafe mode. Toyota says that in rare circumstances, it could even shut the hybrid system down while the car is being driven. Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada told Automotive News that the software update should take about 40 minutes, and dealers would start to be notified about affected vehicles today. She also told them that the first reported glitch occurred in May 2011 in the US when the system overheated and the car entered failsafe mode. The affected cars were built between March 2009 and Feb. 5, 2014, according to Automotive News .