Recharge Wrap-up: Honda FCV Concept comes to Detroit, Toyota seeks young green energy fellows

December 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Green , Detroit Auto Show , Honda , Mercedes-Benz , Toyota , Electric , Hydrogen Honda will bring its FCV Concept to the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The hydrogen-powered concept made its Japanese debut in November, and will now make its way to North America for the first time. The FCV concept improves upon the design of the FCX Clarity with a more striking appearance and roomier interior. Its smaller powertrain packaging means more space for people, and the FCV Concept seats five passengers. Honda also expects the next-generation fuel-cell car, which is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in March 2016, to cost less and have a range of over 300 miles. Read more in the press release below . Continue reading Recharge Wrap-up: Honda FCV Concept comes to Detroit, Toyota seeks young green energy fellows Recharge Wrap-up: Honda FCV Concept comes to Detroit, Toyota seeks young green energy fellows originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota calling for independent, industry-wide Takata airbag testing

Toyota calling for independent, industry-wide Takata airbag testing

December 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Safety , Toyota The initiative is still very new, and there’s no set timeframe for this third-party testing to begin. With Takata’s airbag inflator recall expanding nationwide soon , the scope of this safety campaign is only growing, and is set to affect millions of additional vehicles. Toyota thinks that it can help, though. The Japanese automaker has announced an initiative to get all of the affected companies to band together to fund independent, third-party testing of the faulty components. The goal of this work is to “ensure the inflators that require replacement are accurately identified and promptly fixed,” according to Toyota. All of the data would be shared among the participating automakers to better understand the causes of these problems, which still aren’t entirely known , and come up with the best way to repair the affected vehicles. “By combining our collective efforts behind a coordinated, comprehensive testing program, we believe we can achieve greater results. Together we will be better equipped to address this issue more rapidly for all customers,” said Simon Nagata, President and CEO, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, in the company’s release. According to Toyota spokesperson Cindy Knight speaking to Autoblog , the initiative is still very new, and there’s no set timeframe for this third-party testing to begin. The automaker’s first step is simply getting the word out that it’s looking for partners.

Manga stylized Toyota Aygo takes on Godzilla

Manga stylized Toyota Aygo takes on Godzilla

November 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Budget , Japan , Videos , Hatchback , Toyota Japan has given the world so much to enthuse over. We’re not sure the Toyota Aygo is necessarily one of them as much as, say, the Scion FR-S or Lexus LFA (especially since it’s actually made in Europe), but for many Nipponophiles, the centuries-old artistic discipline of Manga certainly is. And now the two have come together in this two-and-a-half-minute animated short. In Toyota’s own take on the classic narrative, an Aygo animated by celebrated artist Sonia Leong takes on Godzilla. As in, a giant lizard rampaging through a Japanese city, not the Nissan GT-R , against which the little Toyota would certainly stand even less of a chance by any metric other than affordability, fuel economy or ability to park in tight spots. In any case, watch this Manga-fied video above, and feel free to read through the related press release below. Continue reading Manga stylized Toyota Aygo takes on Godzilla Manga stylized Toyota Aygo takes on Godzilla originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 13 Nov 2014 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota pimps out Esquire van for Japanese businessmen [w/video]

Toyota pimps out Esquire van for Japanese businessmen [w/video]

October 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Minivan/Van , Japan , Videos , Toyota , Luxury A few months back we reported on a dealership owner in Japan who was petitioning Toyota to make a luxury van. The problem, he reasoned, was that he couldn’t take as many friends, colleagues and clients around with him in his Lexus LS , and his Toyota Alphard van wasn’t luxurious enough. Well, it seems like he wasn’t alone, and Toyota has listened. The Japanese auto giant has just revealed the Esquire, a new luxury van designed with just such customers in mind. It’s significantly smaller than the Sienna we get in America, smaller than the aforementioned Alphard and about the same size as (this writer’s favorite) the JDM Noah van (on which we gather it’s based). But what sets the Esquire apart is its upscale appearance. The boxy van is distinguished by its dominant T-shaped chrome grille with a unique emblem that encompasses a shield, sword, “the collar of a gentleman’s suit” and the letters Esq. The flank is characterized by a strong beltline with chrome lower window frame and an expansive greenhouse with tinted rear glass. Inside the flexible cabin you’ll find accommodation for seven or eight passengers (depending on specification), synthetic leather upholstery and wood and metallic trim. There are even wheelchair-enabled models on offer as well.

Toyota casts off in Ponam-31 motor yacht [w/video]

Toyota casts off in Ponam-31 motor yacht [w/video]

October 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Etc. , Japan , Videos , Toyota Some Japanese automakers focus purely on cars, while others dabble in all sorts of motorized transportation. Honda , for example, makes everything from motorbikes to jet aircraft. But while Toyota may be known principally for automobiles, it also makes a line of boats . And this is the latest. The new Toyota Ponam-31 motor yacht is built around an aluminum hull with a flybridge and cockpit rear deck layout, similar to the Carver 32 on which this writer spent his childhood summers. It measures 31 feet overall and is powered by a pair of 3.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engines derived from the Land Cruiser Prado (known in these parts as the Lexus GX 460 ) but marinized for nautical application. Toyota has even equipped its new Sports Utility Cruiser with such features as Drive Assist and a Virtual Anchor System. Toyota expects to sell around 15 units of the Ponam-31 through its network of 49 dealers across Japan, with prices starting at 29,700,000 yen (about $27,500 at today’s conversion rates). Scroll down below for a video, along with a press release, meant to show potential customers what’s waiting for them.

Toyota highlights JDM Mark X with special Yellow Label edition

Toyota highlights JDM Mark X with special Yellow Label edition

September 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , Japan , Toyota Never heard of the Toyota Mark X ? That’s because the Japanese automaker only sells it in its home market (and in China as the Reiz). It’s a rear-drive (or all-wheel-drive) sports sedan about the size of a Lexus IS , whose existence is probably why Toyota will never bring the Mark X to North America. The current model has been on the market since 2009, but Toyota is rolling out a series of updates – including the new Yellow Label model pictured here. Available on the 250G, 250G Four and 250G S trim levels, the Yellow Label gets a special shade of Awaken Yellow paint (though it can be had in black, white or silver as well), with an interior decked out in either yellow or black. It also gets piano lacquer trim, yellow stitching, pink gold accents, special tread plates and other interior equipment upgrades, as well as a unique set of alloys. All of which makes the Toyota Mark X Yellow Label perfect for recreating scenes from Kill Bill without the need to squeeze into yellow leathers. (In fact we wouldn’t be surprised to see Toyota doing just that for a promo clip.) Power comes from a 2.5-liter V6 (and not the larger 3.5 available on the 350S model) channeled through a six-speed automatic to either the rear wheels or all four. Pricing ranges between 2.8 and 3.1 million yen (~$26-30k), representing a premium of about 106k yen ($1k) over non-yellow models. Toyota operates four distinct dealer networks in Japan, and the Mark X is sold through Toyopet stores.

Toyota’s Psy-style Waku-Doki ad inherits Japan’s bizarre ad crown

Toyota’s Psy-style Waku-Doki ad inherits Japan’s bizarre ad crown

July 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Etc. , Japan , Marketing/Advertising , Videos , Toyota A new Japanese Toyota ad featuring crisply suited businessmen driving into the jungle only to segue into a Psy-style music-video dance-off with a gorilla and natives is the latest car commercial to go viral. Jungle Wakudoki is the newest installment in a grand tradition of bizarre ads from the island nation that are by turns hilarious, head-scratching and occasionally even frightening. Let’s face it: My people are weird. I’m half-Japanese and take suitable pride in my Asian roots, but even I can’t figure out what’s been slipped into the water coolers of the country’s ad agencies much of the time – or the nation at large, for that matter. From Japan’s ubiquitous obsession with all things adorable ( kawaii ) to its offbeat sense of humor and its bizarrely perverse and violent tentacle porn, it’s clear there’s a lot going on in the culture, and only some of it bubbles up to the surface in its marketing efforts. Much of the strangest and most amazing ads are for non-transportation products (e.g. laundry soap , snacks, energy drinks), but the automotive space has its fair share. This latest Toyota ad had me trawling YouTube for a common theme, trying to make sense of why these spots are the way they are. Scroll down to watch the Toyota ad in question as well as a bunch of other examples of Japan’s most bizarre car-related ads and see if you can’t find the thread that runs between them.

The cars that won’t live to see 2015 [w/video] [UPDATE]

The cars that won’t live to see 2015 [w/video] [UPDATE]

July 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Acura , BMW , Cadillac , Chevrolet , Chrysler , Infiniti , Lamborghini , Lexus , Mazda , Mercedes-Benz , Nissan , Scion , Toyota , Volkswagen , Volvo Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception. Japan’s automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet . Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD , and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC . From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives. German automakers are also well represented on the list, with BMW splitting the 1 Series coupe and convertible into the new 2 Series line, Mercedes reintegrates the CL-Class coupe into the S-Class family, and Volkswagen is finally killing off the Chrysler -made Routan . Elsewhere in Europe, the long-serving Gallardo is being replaced by the Hurac

Lexus LX to get diesel engine?

Lexus LX to get diesel engine?

July 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: SUV , Etc. , Lexus , Toyota , Australia , Diesel Australian consumers appear poised to get another diesel-burning luxury SUV in the near future, and word is it’s coming from Lexus , of all automakers. Sean Hanley, chief executive of the company’s branch in Oz, recently told Aussie website Drive that he’s “pretty confident” that the new engine for the LX is getting the green light. Like in the US, the LX in Australia is currently only offered with a 5.7-liter, gasoline-burning V8. However, sales of the big SUV are presently minuscule Down Under, with Drive reporting just 153 LX570s sold in all of Oz last year. Hanley is negotiating with Japan to get the new diesel in hopes of boosting flagging sales. If his efforts are successful, it would be the first diesel engine offered in a Lexus there. Hanley didn’t specify exactly which mill the SUV would get. However, given the LX’s close relationship with Toyota Land Cruiser , the diesel 4.5-liter twin-turbo V8 already available in the Toyota in markets outside of North America seems like a natural choice. Don’t expect the variant to be hopping across the Pacific, though.

‘Car of the Future’ Is Here. Now.

June 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ASPEN, Colo., June 27, 2014 – Driving helps make lives safer, greener and more convenient at Toyota’s “Experience the Future of Mobility” exhibit, open now at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival. Toyota is staging the North American debut of its “Car of the Future” at the annual conference. Unveiled earlier this week at a press conference in Japan, the zero-emission hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) will be available for sale to customers in California in summer 2015.

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