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.

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

October 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Acura , BMW , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GM , GMC , Honda , Infiniti , Lexus , Mazda , Nissan , Pontiac , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles “to act immediately” to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota , Lexus , Honda , Acura , Mazda , BMW , Nissan , Infiniti , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GMC , Oldsmobile and Pontiac . While NHSTA doesn’t specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota’s own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven’t already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there. We don’t need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be – even in a stationary vehicle – but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to s hrapnel being sprayed into the cabin . If you’re unsure whether your vehicle is covered under this campaign, NHTSA has a new VIN lookup tool for all recalls recently that could be handy in this situation. Scroll down for the full list of potentially affected models and the agency’s statement – there are upwards of nearly five million vehicles that could be affected. Continue reading NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST.

Toyota casts off in Ponam-31 motor yacht [w/video] [UPDATE]

Toyota casts off in Ponam-31 motor yacht [w/video] [UPDATE]

October 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Etc. , Japan , Videos , Toyota UPDATE: A previous version of this post included an incorrectly converted price figure. The text below has been updated with the correct information. Some Japanese automakers focus purely on cars, while others dabble in all sorts of motorized transportation. Honda , for example, makes everything from motorbikes to jet aircraft. But while Toyota may be known principally for automobiles, it also makes a line of boats . And this is the latest. The new Toyota Ponam-31 motor yacht is built around an aluminum hull with a flybridge and cockpit rear deck layout, similar to the Carver 32 on which this writer spent his childhood summers. It measures 31 feet overall and is powered by a pair of 3.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engines derived from the Land Cruiser Prado (known in these parts as the Lexus GX 460 ) but marinized for nautical application. Toyota has even equipped its new Sports Utility Cruiser with such features as Drive Assist and a Virtual Anchor System.

Toyota GT86 14R-60 shows how to do lightweight at a steep price

Toyota GT86 14R-60 shows how to do lightweight at a steep price

October 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Aftermarket , Coupe , Performance , Japan , Toyota Toyota is finally making good on its Griffon concept from last year with this limited-edition 14R-60 that basically hops through the Toyota Racing Development catalog to imagine the ultimate lightweight GT86 (the continental relative to the Scion FR-S / Subaru BR-Z ). Unfortunately, it’s not coming stateside, and even if this modded Toyobaru were coming here, you might not want to pay the rather steep price. Like the concept, the 2.0-liter boxer engine still makes the same 197 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. However, the drivetrain isn’t entirely untouched thanks to a new air filter, engine oil cooler, a reinforced clutch, lightweight flywheel, and mechanical limited-slip differential from TRD. The six-speed transmission is also tweaked, with different gearing in first and second and an altered final drive ratio. To keep things planted the suspension gets a new coilovers, a V-shaped tower brace in the front and another in the rear. Improved deceleration comes thanks to upgraded brakes. There also are even more goodies on the outside, including a complete body kit that includes a carbon-fiber roof and massive rear spoiler. The stock wheels are replaced with 18-inch forged magnesium units, as well. Inside, buyers get a pair of TRD-branded race seats with four-point harnesses and some Alcantara trim.

2015 Toyota Tundra Bass Pro Shops Off-Road Edition a Gulf-State exclusive

2015 Toyota Tundra Bass Pro Shops Off-Road Edition a Gulf-State exclusive

September 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Truck , Toyota , Design/Style Americans certainly have a fondness for pickup trucks with the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado frequently being among the top sellers each month , and that attachment is famously strong in the Lone Star State. We already saw Chevrolet unveil its Colorado Sport concept at the State Fair of Texas. Not to be outdone, Toyota debuted its new the 2015 Tundra Bass Pro Shops Off-Road Edition there, as well. All of the Tundras use a 4×4 CrewMax SR5 configuration with the Tow Package, and they all come with Toyota’s 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower and a six-speed automatic gearbox. What actually sets these vehicles off as the Bass Pro Shops special edition is the 20-inch matte black wheels, tubular side steps, a spray-on bedliner, stainless steel exhaust tips and fender flares. To promote the connection with the store, there are Bass Pro Shops-branded floor mats and company decals on the bed. Of course, pickups are meant to get used, and to make sure of that, buyers also receive a package containing fishing, hunting, camping or marine gear worth about $1,000. The special edition trucks will only be available in the Gulf States of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas beginning this October, and they’ll carry a price of $43,975. Continue reading 2015 Toyota Tundra Bass Pro Shops Off-Road Edition a Gulf-State exclusive 2015 Toyota Tundra Bass Pro Shops Off-Road Edition a Gulf-State exclusive originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 27 Sep 2014 09:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

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