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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Tokyo, Japan, May 28, 2014 — Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will begin trial leasing of newly developed clinical research versions of its “Walk Training Assist” and “Balance Training Assist” robots to 20 medical facilities in Japan this autumn. The clinical research versions are improved versions of those announced in 2011 as part of the Toyota Partner Robot series. The improved robots are aimed to help in the rehabilitation of patients who find it difficult to walk or maintain balance due to illness or injury.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Convertible , Japan , Videos , Toyota , Toys/Games It’s been two years since Toyota first revealed its Camatte show car at the Tokyo Toy Show. Though sadly never destined for production, Toyota brought the concept back the following year as the Camatte 57s roadster, and is now returning to the same show with yet another take on the kid-friendly, configurable 1+2 with interchangeable body panels – this time with a slew of features that are fresh not only to the concept itself, but to the industry altogether. This year the Camatte is being showcased in two forms: a bare chassis in the Tech Lab that lets kids see the inner workings of a modern automobile, and another in the Design Lab that lets kids draw their own motif for the concept that is then displayed on an LED hood. The overall approach reminds us of the way Toyota’s budget brand Daihatsu unveiled the Kopen roadster concept at the Tokyo Motor Show late last year, only even more kid-focused and decidedly more light-hearted than you might otherwise expect from one of the largest industrial giants in the world, and could only have been made for a toy exposition. In Japan. Which would explain the ridiculously upbeat videos below , where you’ll also find the brief press release. Continue reading Camatte concept puts the Toy back in Toyota [w/videos] Camatte concept puts the Toy back in Toyota [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Chrysler , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota It seems Toyota won’t be the only one recalling the faulty Takata airbag inflators for long. Honda insiders in Japan claim that the company is getting close to announcing its own worldwide campaign that would begin before the end of June. Unnamed sources close to Honda in Japan tell Automotive News that the company is pursuing an internal investigation into possibly affected models and is working with Takata to gather more information. They claim that it could involve even more than the 1.14 million cars worldwide that the automaker covered under the first recall for the problem in April 2013, including 561,000 vehicles in the US. Toyota jumpstarted this process last week when it recalled over 2 million cars worldwide , including 844,277 in the US . Soon after, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began a preliminary evaluation into the issue following six reported incidents, and started assembling data about potentially affected models from Toyota, Honda, Mazda , Nissan , Chrysler . NHTSA also began investigating Takata itself. The safety hazard comes into play because it’s possible that the inflators contain an improper propellant that could cause it to burst in an accident. Not only does this affect airbag deployment, in some cases the shrapnel hits occupants too. So far, all six reported incidents to NHTSA have occurred in high humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico.