Filed under: Sedan , Performance , Lexus , Toyota There’s little question that Lexus has succeeded in challenging its German rivals in the luxury marketplace. And with the LFA , it has proven that Japan can build a world-class supercar. What’s left blank is the space in between. Toyota Motorsport GmbH came up with a compelling answer in the form of the Sports 650 prototype, a Lexus LS with a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 641 horsepower and other go-fast components to challenge the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and Audi S8 . Toyota boss Akio Toyoda was reportedly so impressed with the project that he initially ordered TMG to build ten examples – one for him and each of his nine best friends. But since the model on which the project was based has since been replaced, questions remain over the project’s fate. Georg Kacher – European correspondent for Automobile and Car magazines – recently drove the prototype and reports that “the project will now likely be transferred to the new model out in 2015.” That could come down purely to speculation, but Kacher tends to get the inside line on industry news, so this particular bowl of gossip soup might not requite the usual grain of salt we otherwise might add. TMG Lexus LS Sports 650 destined for production after 2015? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Nov 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
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: Hatchback , Aston Martin , Scion , Toyota While slow sales and a $50,000 price tag may have been contributing factors to the Aston Martin Cygnet being cancelled last month , Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez is pointing the finger at Toyota for the demise of this luxurious little city car. In a discussion with Autocar , Bez is quoted as saying that the ultimate reason the Cygnet was cut is because Toyota plans on dropping the iQ (on which the Cygnet is based) in 2014 – a claim denied by the Japanese automaker. Interestingly, the article also cites another publication reporting that a Toyota importer in the Netherlands heard the same news as Bez, and it has already stopped importing the cars. If the European Toyota iQ is cancelled, that would likely spell the end of the slow-selling Scion iQ in the US, which has sold just 3,365 units through September (a drop of 51 percent year over year). Regardless of why production of the Cygnet ended, Bez also says that a lack of support from Toyota on the project prevented it from being offered in the US or receiving a supercharged engine , which are two factors that likely would have made the car appealing to more buyers. Aston CEO claims Cygnet cancelled because Toyota is dropping iQ in 2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 27 Oct 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Japan , Crossover , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury Japanese site CarWatch has revealed images of the next-generation Toyota Harrier , known to US and European buyers as the Lexus RX . The new model features a considerably more aggressive fascia in keeping with some of the latest Lexus design trends, while the back features a pair of wide, wraparound taillights. The profile features a revised greenhouse, with a rather complex rear window treatment, while a subtle character line connects the front and rear taillights. According to the badging, the model shown features a hybrid powertrain, although there’s little information on which engine is being used. We’d wager it’s an evolution of the same 3.5-liter V6 hybrid found in the current RX450h . This early look doesn’t have a great deal of other info, and there are no images of the interior. We’re not yet clear on how closely the North American RX will adhere to the Harrier seen here, but historically the two models have been quite close. That said, we’d expect a more prominent ‘spindle’ grille on the Lexus version than the baleen strainer on the vehicle shown here. A page on Toyota’s Japanese website says the new Harrier/RX will receive a winter 2013 debut. That makes for a difficult determination of what auto show the new CUV will arrive at.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Toyota Toyota is going to be back in the spotlight, as the first of its unintended acceleration lawsuits is headed for trial. This case covers a Los Angeles sushi shop owner, Noriko Uno. According to the what the family told The Detroit News , Uno only put about 10,000 miles on her 2006 Toyota Camry in four years. Uno was apparently afraid of high speeds, avoiding the freeway and taking a route home along LA’s surface streets to avoid them. On August 28, 2009, Uno’s Camry suddenly accelerated to 100 miles per hour, eventually striking a telephone poll and a tree and killing her. The family contends that Uno attempted to step on the brakes and pull the emergency brake, neither of which brought her speed under control, while Toyota maintains that improperly installed floormats and driver error have been behind the majority of the 80 cases expected to be heard in court. In Uno’s case, The Detroit News is expecting the trial to focus on the lack of an override if the gas and brake pedals were pressed at the same time. Brake overrides were installed on Toyota’s European fleet. The Uno family attorney will need to prove to the jury that it wasn’t driver error that killed Noriko Uno. Uno’s case will be a bellwether case, which other state courts will use to predict potential outcomes for similar lawsuits.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Geneva Motor Show , Lamborghini , Toyota , Volkswagen , Alfa Romeo , Design/Style , McLaren We’ve returned from a very busy week in Switzerland, and in going back over all of our 75 stories from the Geneva Motor Show , our editors have gathered up their personal favorite debuts from the European expo. The wonderful thing about the Geneva show is just how wide of an array of vehicles are on display – everything from funny little one-off EVs to the most exotic of supercars to, well, truly ridiculous displays of coachbuilding . And because of that, this list of our editors’ favorites might not be as predictable as you think. But we don’t want to give anything away just yet. Scroll down to have a look at our team’s favorites from Geneva. Continue reading Editors’ Choice: Top Five 2013 Geneva Motor Show Debuts Editors’ Choice: Top Five 2013 Geneva Motor Show Debuts originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 08 Mar 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: New York Auto Show , Aston Martin , Audi , BMW , Land Rover , Mazda , Mercedes-Benz , Porsche , Scion , Toyota , Volkswagen , Ferrari , Renault , Peugeot With the Chicago and Geneva auto shows not even out of the way yet, the automotive world’s sights are set on the New York Auto Show for the naming of the 2013 World Car Awards , and the top 10 finalists for World Car of the Year and World Performance Car were recently announced and will be voted on by 66 journalists from around the world (including our own European Editor, Matt Davis ). Vying for the top award are the Audi A3, 2013 Range Rover, 2014 Mazda6, Mazda CX-5, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Peugeot 208, Porsche Boxster/Cayman, the trio of Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86, Volkswagen Golf and the Volvo V40. Since its inception, past winners of this award include Volkswagen Up! (2012), Nissan LEAF (2011), Volkswagen Polo (2010), Volkswagen Golf (2009), Mazda2/Mazda Demio (2008), Lexus LS 460 (2007), BMW 3 Series (2006) and the Audi A6 in the award’s inaugural year. The competition is no less fierce for the performance car of the year with the Aston Martin Vanquish, Audi RS5, BMW M6, BMW M 135i, Ferrari F12Berlinetta, Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG and SLS AMG, Porsche Boxster/Cayman, Renault Clio Sport and the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86. This award was first handed out in 2006 with previous recipients including Porsche 911 (2012), Ferrari 458 Italia (2011), Audi R8 V10 (2010), Nissan GT-R (2009), Audi R8 (2008), Audi RS4 (2007) and the Porsche Cayman S (2006). The top three finalists for each award will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5, and the winners will be revealed on March 28. Continue reading 2013 World Car of the Year finalists announced 2013 World Car of the Year finalists announced originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Feb 2013 18:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Japan , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota is expecting to see a sales increase of around two percent next year, according to Automotive News . The Japanese manufacturer is set to retake its position as the world’s largest automaker this year, and 2013 may see the company’s global sales step to 9.91 million vehicles. That figure includes sales from subsidiaries like Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor Company. Much of that projection depends on US sales increasing to balance out a 15-percent decline in Japan . The Japanese government allowed subsidies for fuel-efficient vehicles to expire in September, and Toyota sales have slackened as a result. Globally, new vehicle sales are expected to crest 80 million units for the first time in 2012 despite economic woes in the European Union. Next year, Toyota expects to see its overseas operations enjoy an eight percent rise in sales to 7.87 million units while Japanese deliveries are projected to decline to 2.04 million vehicles. The company predicts sales in Asia, meanwhile, will be driven largely by Indonesia. Interestingly enough, the company has not settled on a sales target for China . Toyota already forecasting record sales in 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Dec 2012 14:16:00 EST.
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.
Filed under: Coupe , Performance , Toyota Every sighting of a MkIV Toyota Supra compels a wistful pause and the rhetorical query, “Ah, Toyota … what happened?” The FT-HS concept has been adorning auto show plinths since 2007, taking rumblings of a Supra successor everywhere it went. Last December, four years of hoping out loud led to Motor Trend reporting a Supra return with a 3.5-liter V6, perhaps to be ready in 2015. For any chance of that happening, the Toyota GT 86 / Scion FR-S needed to do well. Seven months later Toyota’s little 300-horsepower coupe is still accelerating enthusiast hearts, and in May of this year MT added hybrid mechanicals, 400 horsepower, a CVT from the Lexus RX and a $60,000 price to its earlier report of a Supra redux. A new report in Asia One doesn’t divulge details, but does make it appear that a new Supra is inevitable: at a European event for the FR-S, chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said, “The president (Akio Toyoda) has asked me to make a successor to the Supra as soon as possible.” This could be revisionist history, but the larger plan according to Tada has been that the GT 86/FR-S is the middle child in Toyota’s sports car strategy, with a lower-tier entry like a new MR2 and an upper-tier entry like the Supra on the company’s mind since the beginning. According to the engineer, reasoning for the sports car push is that Toyota needs to add “driving fun” to its green-car credentials, and it needs to create a stronger bond with buyers that continues beyond the dealership. Tada said both new sports cars would take at least five years to develop and Asia One predicts that the Supra (or whatever it’s eventually called) will come first, but Tada gave no indication of where it stands in the development process and he doesn’t know when they’ll be ready. We’re of the opinion that tomorrow isn’t too soon. Toyota planning Supra, MR2 successors within five years?