Filed under: China , Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Earnings/Financials With the April 15 tax deadline just a few months away, our US readers will be faced with a decision should they get a refund: save or spend? It seems this issue is one many of us face whenever there’s a windfall, trying to decide whether we should set the money aside in an account of some sort or use it as a down payment on a new car or a trip to the Apple store. Unsurprisingly, major corporations face a similar, albeit more complex, issue. Take Toyota , for example. With President Akio Toyoda at the helm, the Japanese manufacturer has gracefully weathered recalls and natural disasters, all while turning beaucoup profits. Last quarter, profits quintupled to 434.4-billion yen ($4.3-billion USD), according to Bloomberg . Toyota also upped its forecast for the end of fiscal year 2013 (which ends on March 31 for Japan), to a record 1.9-trillion yen (about $18.8 billion). Now, the Japanese brand is reportedly sitting on a cash pile of nearly $40 billion, leaving Toyoda-san in an envious predicament – what should the company do with all that money? Some think Toyota should be doing something, anything with that big stack of cash. Some think Toyota (and Toyoda) should be doing something, anything with that big stack of cash.
Filed under: Car Buying , Chevrolet , GM , Lexus , Mazda , Toyota We focus a lot on what new cars are like to drive, but it’s difficult on a one-week loan to really get a sense of what a car is like to live with. Sure, we try to recreate that sense with our long-term vehicles, but even after a year, it’s impossible to know fully learn about a car, particularly in terms of reliability and cost of repairs. For 2014 model year vehicles, Kelley Blue Book has put together a list of the most affordable vehicles over a five-year period. At the tippy top of the list are Mazda and Lexus , with the Zoom-Zoom automaker winning the award for best non-luxury brand. Lexus, meanwhile, was the most affordable luxury marque over a five-year period. It’s interesting to note, though, that not a single Mazda won its segment in this year’s awards. General Motors did quite well, taking eight segments, including both the subcompact and plug-in segments, with the gas-powered Chevrolet Spark and Spark EV . The Chevy Camaro SS and ZL1 took the high-performance car award. Toyota was well represented, with five winners split between the main brand ( Corolla , Prius C and Tacoma ) and Lexus ( LS and RX ). KBB’s five-year cost-to-own analysis takes into account depreciation and fuel costs (the two biggest hits to a driver’s wallet), as well as finance and insurance costs, as well as repairs, maintenance and state fees that come with a new model.
Filed under: Chicago Auto Show , Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota For drivers who want to benefit from the increased efficiency of a hybrid sedan but who don’t want to look like they’d rather be hugging trees, Toyota has just announced its 2014.5 Camry Hybrid SE Limited Edition . The SE LTD combines the exterior bits and pieces that make the SE look sportier than other Camry models with the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, electric motor and nickel metal hydride battery pack of the Camry Hybrid. That means the Hybrid SE offers up 200 combined system horsepower to the front wheels, and we’d expect it to be rated at the same 40 miles per gallon city and 38 highway of the Camry XLE Hybrid. Only 5,000 units will be produced between February and June of 2014, with an asking price of $27,845, which is about $700 more expensive than the base Camry Hybrid LE or $2,620 less than the Hybrid XLE that Toyota says shares a similar level of equipment. Sounds like a fair shake to us. Scroll down below for the complete press release. Continue reading Toyota Camry Hybrid SE adds a dash of limited-edition sport Toyota Camry Hybrid SE adds a dash of limited-edition sport originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 04 Feb 2014 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Motorsports , Technology , Toyota , Racing The 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship is gearing up to be one of the most exciting seasons of endurance racing in recent memory. All of the factory-entered LMP1 class cars are using hybrid powertrains, and Porsche is returning to the top class of the sport after a 16-year absence. Don’t count out Toyota , though. The team has just revealed the first official details about its 2014 TS040 LMP1 car, and it has a big surprise – all-wheel drive. The TS040 will follow Audi’s lead and will use a combination motor and generator to power the front wheels. The system will generate power under braking and will use it up when accelerating to give a boost in traction over last year’s rear-wheel-drive Toyota TS030 . Toyota will stick with a gasoline-fueled, naturally aspirated 3.4-liter V8 to feed the rear wheels and will take on Audi’s diesel, turbocharged 3.7-liter V6 and Porsche’s gasoline-fueled, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Sadly, there are no real pictures of the TS040 yet. Toyota is holding off on unveiling the car until the end of March at the WEC test at the Paul Ricard circuit, and the racing season doesn’t begin until April 20 with the 6 Hours of Silverstone. You can read the whole press release about the TS040 below .
Filed under: Budget , Hybrid , Minivan/Van , Sedan , Truck , Recalls , Safety , Toyota When we reported yesterday on Toyota’s stop-sale order of certain 2013 and 2014 models due to an issue with the fabrics on models with heated seats not conforming to flammability regulations, one of our many questions was how many vehicles were affected? More importantly, how many of those cars have already found homes? Kelley Blue Book has the troubling statistics. Every 2013 and 2014 Avalon features heated seats. 6.2-percent of 2013 and 4.5-percent of 2014 Camry sedans, meanwhile, were sold with heated seats. That doesn’t seem as bad as 100-percent of the larger Avalon, until you consider the Camry’s huge volume – the 5.6-percent average still accounts for a lot of cars. Sienna minivans are heavily affected as well, with a total of 37-percent of 2013s and 46-percent of 2014s fitted with butt warmers. The stop-sale only affects 7-percent of 2014 Corolla models, but like the Camry, that number is rather misleading due to the sheer volume of cars Toyota moves. You can see the entire breakdown of percentages by clicking on the inset image. According to Karl Brauer, a senior analyst for KBB, this problem comes at the worst possible time.
Filed under: Minivan/Van , Sedan , Truck , Safety , Toyota , Luxury Toyota has issued a stop-sale order on six of its core models due to concerns about the flammability of certain seat fabrics. The issue rests not with the cloth and leather covers themselves, but with a piece of seat heater beneath them that fails to meet US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for flame retardancy. There have been no reports of fires or injuries from the affected cars, which include some of Toyota’s biggest volume sellers. 2013 and 2014 Camry , Camry Hybrid , Avalon and Sienna models equipped with heated seats are included in the stop-sale, as are 2014 Tundra pickups and Corolla sedans. The exact number of vehicles with the non-compliant materials are still being tabulated, according to The Detroit Free Press . According to a Toyota spokesman, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been notified, although it remains to be seen if a recall will be issued. Outside of a full recall, though, it’s unclear how Toyota will deal with vehicles equipped with the flammable materials that have already found homes. In the meantime, Toyota is reportedly developing a fix for those vehicle still sitting on dealer lots. UPDATE : John Hanson, National Manager, Environmental, Quality, and Safety Communications for Lexus, has confirmed to Autoblog that no Lexus models are affected by this seat fabric issue. We have not yet heard back from Scion, but we’ll update this post as soon as we do .
Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Rumormill The Toyota Prius is undeniably the king of the hybrid market in the United States, with a 39.4 percent market share in 2013. With the next-generation Prius likely to go on sale in 2015, Toyota is trying to build an even more efficient hybrid to keep its control of the market. Keeping cost down will be one of the major concerns of the new Prius. The next generation will ride on the new, modular Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The lighter underpinnings will improve efficiency and will reduce production costs by allowing for more shared components among vehicles. Toyota will not reveal how many vehicles will use the new platform. But even with the cheaper platform, price will remain a concern. Toyota is still deciding whether all versions of the next Prius will use lithium-ion batteries or whether some models will stick with the heavier nickel-metal hydride batteries to keep cost down. Of course, the reason most people buy the Prius is because of its great fuel efficiency. Toyota will aim for at least an 8 percent improvement in fuel economy in the next Prius, which would increase it to 58 miles per gallon city and 52 mpg highway.
Filed under: GM , Toyota , Volkswagen , Earnings/Financials Toyota is the top-selling automaker in the world. Again. Still. With total reported sales, including those from subsidiaries, of 9.98 million in 2013, Toyota’s performance was enough to outpace rival General Motors by around 270,000 vehicles. That’s a 2.4-percent gain over 2012, and it makes Toyota the top-seller two years in a row. Still, the gap between the top three is shrinking – Toyota held a 460,000-unit lead in 2012. GM sold 9.71 million vehicles last year, a four-percent increase, coming in second place ahead of Volkswagen , which sold around 9.5 million. According to Bloomberg , Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said his company managed to win the sales race while also remaining more profitable than GM or VW. It’s going to be another interesting year in 2014 as the three behemoth automakers vie for the title of World’s Largest. Toyota has predicted that it will increase sales in 2014 to 10.32 million – which would make Toyota the first automaker ever to surpass 10 million global sales – though General Motors and VW are expected to again fight for the lead in the massive Chinese market.
Filed under: Marketing/Advertising , Videos , Toyota , Celebrities With just over a week to go before the Big Game, automakers left and right are giving us sneak peeks at the big-budget ads they’ve got lined up for game day. Audi is keeping us on our collective toes with something about a dog show , and Volkswagen is trying to squeeze everything awesome into one spot, but Toyota looks poised to have them both beat. Because the Japanese automaker has got a far more lovable dog cast for its commercial, and the one bit of awesome the Germans seem to have forgotten. That’s right, Toyota’s commercial has got Muppets. With their new movie Muppets Most Wanted set to hit theaters in March, everybody’s favorite gang of shag carpets with googly eyes is on a mission to “unborify” Terry Crews, the actor of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Everybody Hates Chris fame. Which only seems fitting for a Super Bowl commercial, seeing as how Crews played six seasons in the NFL as a defensive end and linebacker. We’re not sure that portraying the driver of a Highlander as someone who needs to be “unborified” is the right message Toyota wants to send in the first place, but we’ll reserve final judgement for when we see the full clip. In the meantime you can watch the half-minute teaser video below for a little Muppet mayhem. Continue reading Terry Crews and The Muppets out to ‘unborify’ Toyota’s Super Bowl commercial Terry Crews and The Muppets out to ‘unborify’ Toyota’s Super Bowl commercial originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Hybrid , Minivan/Van , Japan , Toyota We know the feeling: you’ve got what seems like your whole bloodline to transport, and maybe not quite two of every living kind, but a household pet or two. So you’re going to need something big to fit them all. Something like a Toyota Sienna ought to do the trick. But if you live on an Asian island that, we’re sorry to say, has been known to flood in what can only be referred to as an Act of God but whose vehicles fall short of such biblical proportions, at least you can get one with a suitably biblical name. (And an awesome one at that, if this writer may say so.) That would be Noah, the name Toyota gives to its JDM minivan. It’s also known as the Voxy, and Toyota has just revealed new versions of both. Previewed in concept form at the recent Tokyo Motor Show , the production Noah and Voxy have been completely redesigned. The boxy form allows for as many as eight seats and a low, flat-folding cargo floor to accommodate your whole clan and all the stuff you could buy from Uniqlo and Muji with the roomiest interior in its class. Toyota is offering both with a variety of gasoline and hybrid powertrain configurations driving the front wheels or all four through a continuously variable transmission in a range of trim levels starting from 2.18 million yen (equivalent to $20,952 at today’s rates) to 3.4 million yen ($32,694). The Voxy is sold through Toyota’s network of Netz dealerships across Japan, and the Noah through its parallel Corolla dealers.