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 .
Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Australia There is more bad news for the Australian auto industry today, as Toyota has just announced that it will follow General Motors and Ford in shuttering its manufacturing operations on the continent. Production and assembly will cease by the end of 2017, but Toyota will remain in Australia as a sales and distribution company. “We did everything that we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to build cars in Australia,” said Toyota Australia President and CEO Max Yasuda. In an official statement , Yasuda said that the closure would directly affect 2,500 manufacturing employees and an unknown number of corporate workers. However, a report in the Australian newspaper The Age suggests that the jobs of 24,000 workers at Australian auto suppliers could also be in jeopardy. Toyota currently builds its Camry , Camry Hybrid , Aurion sedans in Australia, along with four-cylinder engines, and it plans to begin importing the Camry and Aurion after production stops. The plight of the Australian auto industry took a sharp turn for the worse last May when Ford announced that it would end Australian production in 2016. GM revealed its plans in December to stop building Down Under in 2017. In less than a year, the country has lost all three of its remaining domestic automakers ( Mitsubishi stopped building cars in AU back in 2008). Questions whether Toyota would stay arose soon after GM’s news.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota , Earnings/Financials According to those all-too-nebulous “people familiar with the matter,” Toyota is close to a settlement with the US federal government to end a criminal probe over its long-running unintended acceleration fiasco. Though Toyota has never admitted guilt, the deal could reportedly crest a billion dollars and would likely include a criminal deferred prosecution agreement, and while we’re not legal experts, The Wall Street Journal explains that such a deal would “[force Toyota] to accept responsibility while avoiding the potentially crippling consequences of federal criminal convictions.” The report from WSJ also suggests that Toyota is facing charges that it “made false or incomplete disclosures” to various government agencies regarding possible defects to its cars. Such charges may include mail and wire fraud violations. Toyota has already paid out fines totaling $66.2 million to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because it failed to report safety defects in a timely manner. This deal with the federal government is not related to the billion-dollar class-action settlement reached with Toyota owners over falling vehicle values, and it’s also different from the roughly 400 lawsuits still in courts alleging personal injury of wrongful death due to cases of unintended acceleration. In other words, don’t expect to hear the end of such courtroom verdicts and settlements anytime soon… Toyota nearing $1B settlement of unintended acceleration criminal probe originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 09 Feb 2014 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Chicago Auto Show , SUV , Truck , Toyota , Off-Road With a rich history of creating off-road worthy trucks and SUVs and a somewhat bland impression of its brand overall, Toyota has wisely created a line of TRD Pro Series vehicles to spice up its showrooms and newly engage customers. Debuting at this year’s Chicago Auto Show before rolling into dealers this fall, the TRD-tuned vehicles include the 4Runner , Tacoma and Tundra , all with added rough-road gear and amped-up looks. The TRD Pro Series trucks might end up, in many cases, as lifestyle accessories for outdoorsy types, but that doesn’t mean they’re all show. TRD springs and Bilstein dampers are set up for off-road performance, while skid plates will protect the softish underbellies of these would-be rock-crawlers. The trio all get lifted over stock height, as well, with two-inch gains for the Tundra and Tacoma (lovingly referred to as “Taco Supreme” in the Toyota press release), and an inch-and-a-half rise for the 4Runner. We detailed all of the changes to the Pro Series vehicles in our original announcement post , and you’ll also find more granularity of information in the Toyota press release below . Before you dive in, however, be sure to take in our set of live, action-packed images from the Chicago Show floor. Continue reading Toyota demos its TRD Pro Series line [w/video] Toyota demos its TRD Pro Series line [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Feb 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Chicago Auto Show , Truck , Toyota , Design/Style , Off-Road To the general public, Toyota is often thought of as a maker of bland but dependable cars, crossovers and SUVs that get their owners and a whole herd of whatever from Point A to Point B. Generally speaking, they’re fuel efficient, comfortable and affordable. What the general public may not realize, however, is that Toyota enjoys a very strong history of going off road, too. The legendary Land Cruiser arguably established the trend, helping explore remote parts of the globe, while various guerilla warfare outfits and world military branches have unwittingly joined up with the boys from Top Gear to help cement the Hilux pickup’s reputation for invincible performance. Now, though, Toyota is launching a new line of trucks and SUVs in the US that are even more explicitly targeted at hitting the trails. Meet the TRD Pro Series. Featuring the 4Runner , Tacoma and Tundra , each Pro Series vehicle features TRD-tuned springs with Bilstein shocks, a TRD front skid plate, a TRD shifter, black wheels, branded floor mats and a “TOYOTA” grille badge, the latter of which harkens back to classic models. TRD Pro Series vehicles will be offered in the new Inferno paint color shown above, as well as Black and Super White. The Tundra benefits from softer TRD springs that also provide a two-inch lift and a better ride in the rough, while the truck itself rides on 18-inch wheels with Michelin ORP tires. Each truck gains an extra two inches of wheel travel in front and 1.25 inches in back, while a TRD dual exhaust should generate a nicer sound than the trucks’s standard V8 engine.
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.