Filed under: Acura , Audi , BMW , Buick , Chrysler , Dodge , Ford , GMC , Honda , Infiniti , Jeep , Lexus , Lincoln , Mazda , Mercedes-Benz , Mini , Nissan , Scion , Subaru , Toyota , Volvo , Ram Consumer Reports has released its annual Auto Reliability Rankings, and surprise of surprises, Japan is dominant. Among brands in 2014, Lexus , Toyota and Acura make up the top three marques, while Mazda , Infiniti , Honda and Subaru sit fifth, sixth, eighth, and tenth, respectively. For those keeping track at home, Japan’s dominance wasn’t complete, though. Audi’s 2014 models helped the German brand jump from eighth to fourth, while Volvo saw a massive, 13-spot improvement, to seventh overall. Even GMC got in on the action, jumping three places, to ninth. Outside of the top 10, America, Europe and Japan saw more mixed results. Scion took the biggest tumble of any brand, falling ten positions to number 11, while Subaru , though still in the top ten, dropped five spots (coincidentally, CR had nothing good to say about Subaru and Toyota’s joint venture, calling the BRZ and Scion FR-S each brand’s least reliable vehicle). Nissan fell nine places to number 22 overall. BMW and Mercedes-Benz each climbed one place, to fifteenth and thirteenth, respectively. The big earners, though, besides Volvo, included Buick , which jumped nine places to number 12.
Filed under: Concept Cars , 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show , Motorsports , Hybrid , Performance , Europe , Hatchback , Toyota Did you know that the Yaris is Toyota’s best-selling vehicle in Europe? That may help explain to us Americans why the car that’s lowest on the company’s totem poll here in the US got turned into an all-wheel-drive hybrid track monster for the 2013 Frankfurt Monster Show . Called the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R , this three-door pocket rocket isn’t just a hybrid making a lot of horsepower – it incorporates technology from Toyota’s TS030 Hybrid racecar that competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship series, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans . The Yaris Hybrid-R packs a 300-horsepower, turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood, which should be enough for most speed freaks, but Toyota pairs it with two 60-hp electric motors at each rear wheel (the same ones used in the production Yaris Hybrid that’s sold in Europe). That makes total system output an insane-for-this-size 420 hybrid horsies. But that’s not all, as the Yaris Hybrid-R forgoes the traditional battery pack below the rear seats in favor of a supercapacitor, which can both hold more energy and has a much faster power charge/discharge speed than traditional batteries. Paired with the supercapacitor is a third 60-hp electric motor/generator positioned between the engine and six-speed sequential transmission. Its job is to feed the super capacitor energy during deceleration and direct its power to the rear electric motors when more grip and oomph is needed. Indeed, the powertrain for this through-the-road hybrid is decidedly more high-tech and competition-spec oriented than the somewhat boy race appearance package suggests, though we dig the 18-inch TRD wheels wrapped in proper Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and Recaro seats. And it’s not just a track warrior, as Toyota engineers have given it both Track and Road driving modes, though a track is the only place you would ever see the Yaris Hybrid-R’s potential fully realized.
Filed under: Car Buying , GM , Toyota , Volkswagen General Motors released its first quarter sales figures this week, reporting that it sold 2.36 million cars and trucks worldwide. That figure represents an increase of 3.6 percent when compared to the same period last year. GM’s growth was attributed to many factors, including global Cadillac sales that were up 26 percent and Chevrolet posting a one percent increase over last year (this marked Chevy’s tenth straight year of record global sales). Volkswagen came in just behind GM, as the German automaker reported global sales from January through March at 2.27 million vehicles, an increase of five percent when compared to last year. While that number was strong, VW is cautioning that markets outside China and the US, such as those in Europe, are becoming a challenge as economies falter. Yet to report sales is Toyota , current holder of the global world sales crown (the Japanese company sold 9.75 million cars last year, against 9.29 million sold by GM and 9.1 million vehicles sold by VW). Even though GM and Toyota both say they don’t care who sells the most units, it is unquestionably a strong bragging point and sales equate to revenue. That said, Toyota will report its first quarter numbers next week. GM outsold VW globally in first quarter, Toyota reports numbers next week originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Hybrid , Wagon , Geneva Motor Show , Videos , Toyota , Diesel The Toyota Prius V has a lot to recommend it, but adventurous and sporty styling is not in its repertoire. That’s why this new Auris Touring Sports has our attention. Claimed to be the “first full hybrid estate car” in the compact class, this two-box Auris has genuine visual panache to go with its load-lugging capability and parsimonious fuel economy. In the metal, we think its v-shaped grille and headlamp treatment acquits itself better than it does on the new RAV4 , a model that shares its new design language. Built by Toyota UK, the Auris Touring Sports hybrid is powered by a familiar-sounding 1.8-liter gas engine paired with an electric motor, with total system output quoted at 134 horsepower. The model will also be available in a variety of gas or diesel trims if you prefer your vehicle sans electrification (a non-hybrid model is shown). It goes on sale later this year in Europe, but don’t hold your breath to see one in North America. Still interested? Scroll below to see a couple of videos and to read the official press release. Continue reading Toyota Auris Touring Sports is a handsome Prius V alternative [w/videos] Toyota Auris Touring Sports is a handsome Prius V alternative [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 06 Mar 2013 06:30:00 EST.
LOS ANGELES, CA, FEBRUARY 2 2 , 2013 – Lexus and The Weinstein Company are in the midst of producing five short films as part of a series titled “Life is Amazing.”
Filed under: Europe , Ford , Hyundai , Mercedes-Benz , Subaru , Toyota , Volkswagen , Volvo , Renault , Peugeot Electric cars may have won the European Car of the Year award two years in a row now ( Opel Ampera in 2012, and Nissan Leaf in 2011), we can say without reservation that the 2013 ECotY will be a petrol-burning, internal combustionizer. That’s because not a single electric vehicle made it to the contest’s final round. But eight other cars did. At the top of the alphabetical list is Ford’s Fiesta -based, B-Max MPV. Five doors, good ride and fuel-efficient, award-winning engine choices are some of the reasons it makes the list. Next is the Hyundai i30 , known as the Elantra GT Stateside , with either five or three doors, a roomy cabin and a 1.6-liter CRDi engine. The nominating committee commends the handsome hatch for improved exterior aesthetics and a multilink suspension that “shows in ride and handling.” Mercedes gets the next spot with its hot hatch: the turbocharged A-Class , followed by another hatch, the Peugeot 208 . The next finalist is from another marque we haven’t seen in the States for quite some time – the fourth-generation Renault Clio , followed by the Subaru / Toyota dynamic duo of BRZ and the GT86 . The last two contenders are the all-new Volkswagen Golf and the svelte Volvo V40 . The European Car of the Year will be announced in early March after the jury has tallied its votes.
TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 28, 2012 –The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today the launch of its collaboration with Lexus to produce five short films for a film series entitled “ Life is Amazing .”
Filed under: Car Buying , China , Europe , Chrysler , Honda , Toyota , Volkswagen , Fiat Automotive News has announced its annual list of Industry All-Stars. This year, the theme is apparently “success in the face of economic uncertainty,” or something of that liking. The list points to executives who have led their respective brands and automakers to positive sales in spite of the European financial crisis and slowing sales in China . See the list below, and you’ll understand why: Industry Leader of the Year and CEO, Europe – Martin Winterkorn, CEO, Volkswagen Group (above): The VW boss started with the German automaker in 2007, overseeing a staggering 12 brands. Under his leadership, sales of Volkswagens have gained in both China and America. VW has also expanded production to America and grown its operations in Brazil. Winterkorn is a very hands-on executive, traveling to America six times to test and tweak the American-built current-generation Passat. Volkswagen is aiming to be the largest and most profitable automaker in the wold by 2018, and Winterkorn will stay on through that time, making him accountable for those goals. CEO, North America – Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Chrysler Group: How does 31 straight months of positive year-over-year sales sound? The Fiat and Chrysler chief has bestowed dealers with a wealth of new product, and the American automaker is expected to post $1.5 billion in profits this year, in spite of economic turmoil in Europe.
Filed under: Hybrid , Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Hatchback , Toyota Automotive News reports Toyota is recalling a total of 2.77 million vehicles worldwide for faulty water pumps and steering system issues. A total of 670,000 of those are 2004-2009 Prius hybrids sold in the US. Those vehicles are headed back to the dealer, where technicians will inspect the intermediate shaft in the steering column for deformed splines and replace the shaft if necessary. Around 350,000 of those same models will also be inspected for a faulty electric water pump. In some cases, the motor driving the pump could stop, causing the electric motor to overheat and stop functioning while being driven. Toyota has not received any reports of accidents as a result of either problem, and says the inspections and replacement work should be completed in around one hour. The recalls also affect 496,000 vehicles in Europe and a further 1.5 million in Japan. All told, the steering shaft recall covers 10 models worldwide, including the Corolla and Wish models manufactured in Japan between 2000 and 2009. Five models are affected by the water pump recall, though we’re still waiting for confirmation from Toyota as to which they are. You can read the full Toyota press release below , covering the US-spec Prius issues, for more information.
Filed under: Performance , Etc. , Europe , Videos , Toyota By now, you’ve likely absorbed every last ounce of ink, both physical and virtual, spilled on the Subaru BRZ , Scion FR-S and Toyota GT 86 triplets. You’ve watched the videos, poured over the press releases and configured your own. And while your waking moments may be filled with imaging what it would be like to cane the 2.0-liter terror across Europe, odds are you haven’t actually done the deed. Nino Karotta has, and he’s been kind enough to document the excursion for the rest of us. Unlike most of the ham-fisted video reviews of the trio we’ve seen so far, this one delves well beyond the fact sheet to give us a glimpse of what the car is actually like to operate. Karotta takes the GT 86 from the twisting mountains of France across Germany via the Autobahn and into Austria for a date with his own AE86. With a stellar soundtrack, beautiful videography and insightful commentary, the video is what all reviews should strive to be. How does the newcomer stack up against its ancestor? We won’t spoil it for you.