Filed under: Technology , Honda , Mazda , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Subaru , Suzuki , Toyota Toyota , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Subaru , Mitsubishi , Suzuki and Daihatsu have announced an alliance that will see a push to improve fuel economy from both gas-powered and diesel-powered engines by as much as 30 percent before the end of the decade. The newly assembled Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines put the roughly $20-million project together, with the Japanese government committing to half the cost while the eight manufacturers will chip in the rest. According to Automotive News , the automakers will team up and share basic research on internal-combustion engines in a bid to cut costs. Eventually, the results of the research will find its way into a production vehicle, although it’s unclear just when we’ll see the fruits of this partnership on the road. While the manufacturers have aimed to make improvements by 2020, that goal is part of a larger, 10-year road map, which aims to improve the thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines to 50 percent. Currently, thermal efficiency in gas engines is at 39 percent while diesel is at 42. The actual targets of improvements will be quite different based on the type of engine. Diesel mills, traditionally a weak point for Japanese manufacturers, will see a focus on reducing NOX emissions and particulate matter, while gas engines will aim for more complete combustion cycles while reducing knock. Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more collaborating to increase fuel efficiency originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 25 May 2014 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Electric Toyota is not bullish on EVs. That comes from the company’s North American CEO, Jim Lentz , who said the company will focus not on electrification, but on continued hybridization with a long-term focus on hydrogen fuel cells. Lentz questioned the long-range ability of EVs, saying that Toyota feels “there are better alternatives, such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and tomorrow with fuel cells.” Lentz spoke about Toyota’s focus on hydrogen following Forbes Brainstorm Green conference and barely a week after a battery deal between Tesla and Toyota ended , according to Automotive News . That deal provided for 2,500 battery packs for the Rav4 EV . While valuable to Toyota, the deal “was never about open-ended volume,” Lentz said. “It was time to either continue or stop. My personal feeling was that I would rather invest my dollars in fuel cell development than in another 2,500 EVs.” Freed of its venture with Tesla , hydrogen now appears to be in Toyota’s focus. According to AN, Toyota is starting in California, offering a $7-million loan to a company called FirstElement Fuel to develop hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the Golden State. Automotive News cites a study by Toyota that claims 68 refueling stations located across the state would provide for 10,000 HFC owners. California is already planning on having 50 stations by the end of 2016.
Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Electric Toyota may have an ace up its sleeve in the fuel economy wars, as it’s developed a new type of semiconductor that will allegedly help the company’s hybrids net a ten-percent improvement in fuel economy. The tech is still in development, although Toyota is already reporting five-percent gains during testing, six years before it plans to implement the new semiconductor in production vehicles, meaning the ten-percent improvement doesn’t seem like an untenable goal. That is, until you hear from Kimimori Hamada, the project general manager of Toyota’s electronics division. “We are aiming for great improvement in fuel economy and miniaturization,” Hamada told Automotive News . “This is a very challenging target.” The new semiconductors are made from wafers of silicon carbide, rather than just silicon. The compound is far more efficient, losing just a tenth of the energy that’s lost from a normal silicon semiconductor. That not only makes the semiconductor more efficient, but it allows Toyota to use a power control unit that’s 80 percent smaller. While the initial results are promising, silicon carbide is considerably more expensive than silicon, and once acquired, it’s more difficult to work with. “There are still enormous technical barriers,” Hamada said. New Toyota semiconductors could increase hybrid fuel efficiency by 10% originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 May 2014 10:15:00 EST.
Filed under: Aftermarket , Coupe , Performance , Scion , Subaru , Toyota Subaru may or may not produce an STI version of the BRZ . Things seem to go back and forth on the subject. But Subaru Tecnica International isn’t the only company with a history of tuning Subies. So does Cosworth , and now the British racing firm appears to be turning its attention to the BRZ and its Toyota- and Scion-badged siblings. For those unacquainted, Cosworth is more than your average tuning company. It’s a racing firm first and foremost, having made F1 engines under its own name as well as Ford’s (chief among them the all-conquering DFV 3.0-liter V8 of 1960s and 70s fame), not to mention engines for Indy, rally and even high-performance, road-going versions of the Ford Sierra , Chevy Vega and Mercedes 190E . The list goes on and on, but you get the point. Now withdrawing from Formula One , Cosworth is focusing its attention on tuning road cars again with the launch of the Cosworth Power Package line, the first of which will focus on the Toyota GT86 (aka Scion FR-S ) and Subaru BRZ. We don’t know just yet what will be included in the packaged dubbed FA-20, but from the video teaser below, it seems there’ll be upgrades to the exhaust, suspension, aero and – if we’re lucky – maybe a super- or turbocharger for the 2.0-liter flat-four engine. We’ll have to wait and see, but we get the feeling that with Cosworth on the job, it’ll be worth the wait.
Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota They say everything is bigger in Texas, and apparently that includes the Toyota’s effect on the economy. The giant Japanese automaker’s new headquarters in Plano, TX, will add an estimated $7.2 billion to the state over the next 10 years, according to a new study commissioned by the city and cited by Bloomberg . The benefits appear to be an absolute steal compared to the direct incentives that Plano and the state are giving Toyota . The report finds that by the time the automaker’s campus is complete in 2018, it could have 3,650 full-time workers there at an average salary of $104,000. The city has prepared $6.75 million in grants, plus property tax discounts, according to Bloomberg . In addition to that, the state is offering the business $40 million in incentives from its Texas Enterprise Fund. This is still a fraction of what Toyota is estimated to bring in. Toyota announced in April that it would move its US operations to Plano after being headquartered in California since 1957. The move affects thousands of employees from the sales and engineering divisions. The first workers will arrive there this fall, but Toyota will eventually have a whole campus in Plano by late 2017.
Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing , Crossover , Toyota , Earnings/Financials , Tesla , Electric The future of the Toyota RAV4 EV appears to be in doubt. Tesla supplies the EVs battery packs, and it says that production ends later this year. ” Toyota is expected to end the current RAV4 EV model this year,” Tesla said in its quarterly financial filing obtained by Bloomberg . “Our production activities under this program are expected to end in 2014,” the company said. This timeline fits closely with the original production plans for the RAV4 EV. When the $100-million project was first announced, Tesla said that it expected to supply battery packs for the vehicle from 2012 to 2014 . Building components for the Japanese automaker continues to bring in money, though. In the company’s Q1 2014 letter to shareholders , it said: “Automotive revenue included $15 million of Toyota powertrain sales.” According to Bloomberg , Toyota has sold just 1,594 RAV4 EV models from 2012 through April 2014. Initially, the business had estimated that it would sell 2,600 units of the electrified crossover . Toyota has not officially said that it plans to end production of the RAV4 EV yet.
Filed under: Toyota , Earnings/Financials Depending on how you want to look at things, the US Attorney’s Office $1.2-billion dollar settlement with Toyota in March over its unintended acceleration recall was either a big blow to the company or completely inconsequential. From January to March, net income fell five percent to 297 billion yen ($2.89 billion), compared to 313.9 billion yen ($3.05 billion) a year ago. However, the automaker still posted record full-year profits worldwide. Operating profit also fell in the US by 9 percent to $498.1 million for the quarter, but sales were up by 6 percent to 581,261 vehicles. According to Automotive News , global revenue was still up from January to March by about 13 percent and vehicle sales were up 6 percent to 2.58 million units. However, the payment to the feds did little to hold the company back last year. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, Toyota had net income of 1.82 trillion yen ($17.7 billion), compared to 962.1 billion yen ($9.5 billion) in the last fiscal year. Total vehicle sales were also up. The settlement certainly seemed to stagger Toyota for the quarter, especially in the US. But it didn’t do much overall.
Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota With Toyota set to relocate its North American headquarters to the Dallas, TX suburb of Plano following a top-secret, 100-city search, the cities that missed out can now begin asking themselves what happened during a process they apparently knew little about. That’s a particularly brutal task for Charlotte, which, according to North Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce, Sharon Decker, finished second to Plano. While Toyota has been fairly open about what it was looking for in a new headquarters city – direct flights to Japan, proximity to its US production facilities, a lower cost of living, high-quality educational facilities and finding a neutral site suitable to the California, Kentucky and New York-based employees that would be relocated – it’s been less open about how the finalist cities, which also included Atlanta and Denver, stacked up against each other. The Charlotte Observer has a few ideas. Part of the problem is the distinct lack of direct flights between Charlotte and Asia. US Airways, which operates a hub at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, doesn’t fly to Asia. Toyota, for its part, seems to be placing most of the blame on location. “With manufacturing locations in many US states, Canada and Mexico, we chose a location that better supports our diverse geographic footprint, in a time zone that allows us to communicate better with most of our operations, and has direct flights to all our North American operations and Japan,” Mike Michels, Toyota’s VP of product communications, told The Observer via email. How Charlotte lost to Plano without even knowing it was dealing with Toyota originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 08 May 2014 14:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Convertible , Coupe , Sedan , Performance , Scion , Subaru , Toyota , Australia , Rumormill Okay Toyota , make up your mind. Figure it out. Quit playing games with our heart. Either build a bunch of variations of the excellent GT86 (also known as the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ ) or don’t. At this point, we’re just tired of the back and forth. After no shortage of denials, an Australian website is claiming that Toyota is reconsidering convertible, four-door, turbocharged and all-wheel-drive hybrid variants of the GT86. Kindly pass all the salt. It’s not that we don’t want to believe the Aussies; we do. But when the story lists the same “sources in Japan” as a lot of the other denials and confirmations about GT86/BRZ/FR-S variants, well, there’s a certain sense of the “Boy That Cried Wolf,” here. Ignoring all that, then, what does Motoring.com.au claim to know?
Filed under: Government/Legal , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota’s surprising announcement on Monday that it will move its North American headquarters from Torrance, CA location to the Dallas suburb of Plano, TX is allegedly not due to any political wrangling from the state’s Republican governor, Rick Perry. Perry (above) has been up front in his aggressive pursuit of businesses and jobs for Texas, traveling to California, Missouri, Illinois and New York to tempt corporations to his state. And it’s not just about the promise of much lower taxes, a Perry spokesman reminds Automotive News that the state boasts, “a workforce that is skilled and ready to do any job.” For his part, Jim Lentz , Toyota’s North American CEO said Plano was chosen through an internal process, with the location helped by its proximity to the company’s massive pickup factory in San Antonio rather than any campaigning from the governor. Lentz explained the selection process that led to Toyota choosing the Lone Star State as its new headquarters to Automotive News : “When we made the decision that we weren’t going to go to one of our three existing locations, our search started with about 100 different cities. We put together a decision matrix that put together economic considerations, business considerations, associate considerations,” Lentz says. That left the company with 100 cities, which were pared down to 25, then down to seven, which were then split between four “primary locations” and three “secondary locations.” Lentz wouldn’t elaborate on what other cities were competing with Plano. “We visited all four of those primary locations and it became quite clear that [Dallas] was the primary choice,” Lentz told Automotive News . As The Wall Street Journal points out , however, Toyota is clearly getting a sweet deal to make the move south, including hefty state incentives out of the Texas Enterprise Fund to the tune of $40 million dollars – an estimated $10,000 per job. The WSJ notes that the latter figure is “one of the largest incentives handed out in the decade-old program and cost more per job than any other large award.” HQ move based on study, not pitch from Gov. Perry, Toyota says originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Apr 2014 14:15:00 EST.