Tesla pulling plug on Toyota RAV4 EV battery deal

Tesla pulling plug on Toyota RAV4 EV battery deal

May 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Unintended acceleration settlement hits Toyota’s Q4 bottom line

Unintended acceleration settlement hits Toyota’s Q4 bottom line

May 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

How Charlotte lost to Plano without even knowing it was dealing with Toyota

How Charlotte lost to Plano without even knowing it was dealing with Toyota

May 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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 .

Toyota GT86 turbo, convertible, sedan variants back on the table

Toyota GT86 turbo, convertible, sedan variants back on the table

May 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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?

HQ move based on study, not pitch from Gov. Perry, Toyota says

HQ move based on study, not pitch from Gov. Perry, Toyota says

April 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Toyota restructuring US operations, possibly moving to Texas [UPDATE]

Toyota restructuring US operations, possibly moving to Texas [UPDATE]

April 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota UPDATE: It’s official, Toyota has announced it is relocating its North American headquarters in Plano, Texas. See the full story here . According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, Toyota is poised to announce Monday that it is restructuring its US operations, which may include plans to relocate some of its operations to Texas. Toyota Motor Sales has been located in California since 1957, and is responsible for North American sales, marketing, and distribution for Toyota, Lexus and Scion . According to Toyota literature, its Torrance operations presently employs 6,156 workers and represents a $2.3-billion investment. Workers in Toyota’s Torrance offices were abuzz about the possible relocation to Texas. One young offspring of a Toyota employee even posted to Twitter that her parents warned about the upcoming move, and she said she’s refusing to go. Rumors at one point had Toyota settling in Richardson, TX, just outside Plano. But Autoblog talked to Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka, who said she would be thrilled if that were true, but has not heard anything on the subject. Autoblog also emailed with Bill Sutherland, a city councilman in Torrance, CA, who said, “To date the only info I have is what I have read in the paper expecting a press release Monday.” If the automaker moves its operations to the Lone Star state, the transition is expected to take place in waves over two to three years.

Toyota restructuring US operations, possibly moving to Texas

Toyota restructuring US operations, possibly moving to Texas

April 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, Toyota is poised to announce Monday that it is restructuring its US operations, which may include plans to relocate some of its operations to Texas. Toyota Motor Sales has been located in California since 1957, and is responsible for North American sales, marketing, and distribution for Toyota, Lexus and Scion . According to Toyota literature, its Torrance operations presently employs 6,156 workers and represents a $2.3-billion investment. Workers in Toyota’s Torrance offices were abuzz about the possible relocation to Texas. One young offspring of a Toyota employee even posted to Twitter that her parents warned about the upcoming move, and she said she’s refusing to go. Rumors at one point had Toyota settling in Richardson, TX, just outside Plano. But Autoblog talked to Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka, who said she would be thrilled if that were true, but has not heard anything on the subject. Autoblog also emailed with Bill Sutherland, a city councilman in Torrance, CA, who said, “To date the only info I have is what I have read in the paper expecting a press release Monday.” If the automaker moves its operations to the Lone Star state, the transition is expected to take place in waves over two to three years. It is not immediately clear when the transition will begin, or if Toyota Financial Services also plans to relocate its operations – a division that employs a further 3,286 workers. It is also unknown how many employees will be offered assistance packages, should this move to Texas actually happen.

Toyota updates Euro-market GT86 suspension, appearance

Toyota updates Euro-market GT86 suspension, appearance

April 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Coupe , Europe , Scion , Toyota While we were busy ogling the Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0 with its Yuzu yellow paint and a workover by Toyota Racing Development , and the Japanese Toyota 86 buyers were trying out their Playstation-compatible Sports Drive Logger telemetry system, the European 2015 Toyota GT86 got fitted with some new parts of its own. New on next year’s model are stiffer mounts for the front suspension and rear shock absorbers, and new shocks in the back for better damping and less friction. Toyota says the result is sharper steering and less body roll. Inside, the instrument panel and center console get decorated with a “carbon-fiber motif.” There are new shades of pearl white and silver to dress up the outside, and the roof gets a shark-fin antenna for sharper looks and aero. It goes on sale this summer, and you can read everything we just told you in the press release below . We’ve reached out to Scion to see if we’ll get the same upgrades on the FR-S this summer, too, company PR rep Nancy Hubbell telling us, “The European changes are among those being considered for the US model FR-S and we’ll have final confirmation soon.” Continue reading Toyota updates Euro-market GT86 suspension, appearance Toyota updates Euro-market GT86 suspension, appearance originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota launches new Passo hatchback in Japan [w/video]

Toyota launches new Passo hatchback in Japan [w/video]

April 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Budget , Japan , Videos , Hatchback , Toyota With considerable manufacturing capacity here in the United States and even a NASCAR program, it’d be all too easy to categorize Toyota as an American automaker. Only it’s not. It’s Japanese, of course. And back in the Japanese Domestic Market, it offers a whole range of models we’ll never see in North America. Models like the Crown sedan, Noah minivan and this, the new Passo hatchback. Sold in various markets as the Daihatsu Boon, Daihatsu Sirion, Perodua Myvi and (for a time) the Subaru Justy, the Toyota Passo is a compact hatchback that slots in size-wise between the Yaris sold in America and the Aygo offered in Europe (except the Passo is taller than either). Power comes from a 1.0-liter engine with 69 horsepower that can be had in front- or all-wheel drive, or a 1.3 driving 95 horses to the front wheels alone. A continuously variable transmission is on duty regardless of engine choice. Front-drive models get a stop/start system, but even all-wheel-drive versions are eligible for government tax credits. That’s because, though the new Passo only appears to be mildly updated, the engines have been thoroughly reworked to deliver 30-percent better fuel economy than the previous model, coming in 20-percent better than the standards being enacted by the Japanese government for next year.

2015 Toyota Camry ushers in ‘sweeping redesign’ [w/poll]

2015 Toyota Camry ushers in ‘sweeping redesign’ [w/poll]

April 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: New York Auto Show , Sedan , Toyota With a dozen years atop the nation’s best-selling car charts, you might think that there wouldn’t be a lot of incentive for Toyota to rework its Camry , particularly so early in the life of the current model. But despite its unassailable sales totals, the midsize sedan has come in for substantial criticism for its milquetoast dynamics, piecemeal interiors and bland design. As part of CEO Akio Toyoda’s mantra to build more exciting cars, the 2015 Camry has arrived with a fresh new look and content that goes far beyond the Japanese automaker’s typically slight mid-cycle redesigns. Featuring some 2,000 new parts, the 2015 Camry casts a 1.8-inch longer shadow and stretches across a widened track (0.4 inches). And it won’t be just the widened track that should help deliver a more dynamic performance – Toyota is citing a stiffer chassis thanks to additional spot welds along with a rejiggered suspension, retuned electric power steering and a new two-stage brake booster for improved braking feel. A new XSE trim promises the sportiest performance yet, including model-specific shock absorbers and springs, stiffer bushings, unique stability control programming and 18-inch wheels to go along with a unique front end treatment featuring mesh grille inserts and a revised fascia. But Camry sales have rarely been driven by performance – millions of the things have been purchased due to the family sedan’s ironclad reputation for attributes like reliability, strong resale value, comfort and ease of use. The latter two aspects often help secure the former, and to that end, Toyota has made a lot of changes to the Camry’s interior, both seen and unseen. Visible changes include a redesigned gauge cluster with a new 4.2-inch TFT display, richer materials, a redesigned center stack and a console tray with available wireless charging. Hidden alterations include 30-percent more sound insulation to help deliver a serene ride.

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