Five automakers now being investigated by NHTSA for airbag woes

Five automakers now being investigated by NHTSA for airbag woes

June 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Chrysler , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota It appears that Toyota’s renotification to owners of recalled vehicles from last year is just the tip of the iceberg for what could potentially be a much larger industry-wide recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a preliminary evaluation investigation into roughly 1.1 million vehicles from Chrysler , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota and parts supplier Takata regarding faulty airbag inflators in several models. NHTSA has received six reports – three directly, two from Takata and one from Toyota – of vehicles with ruptured airbag inflators from 2002-2006, which resulted in three injuries. So far, all six incidents have occurred in high humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico. According to Toyota’s latest recall announcement, the inflators may have an improper propellant that could cause it to rupture in a crash and the bag to deploy abnormally. This new investigation follows a previous recall from April 2013 of about 3.4 million vehicles worldwide for the airbag inflators from Takata. As Autoblog reported, Toyota jumpstarted the new situation when it found that the original list of serial numbers for the faulty part was incomplete and discovered more cars in need of replacement. Honda and Nissan told us that they were investigating whether further models would need called in again as well. Mazda told Autoblog : “Regarding the current Takata situation, we’re working closely with NHTSA and investigating the situation, but nothing else to report at this time.” Chrysler Group responded to us with the statement: “Chrysler Group engineers are conducting the appropriate analysis. The Company will cooperate fully with the National Highway Traffic Administration.” According to The Detroit News , the previous Takata inflator recall possibly stemmed from a manufacturing defect at the company’s Washington state factory.

Toyota to start production of hydrogen vehicles in December

Toyota to start production of hydrogen vehicles in December

June 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will be in showrooms sooner than planned, the Japan Times reporting that production will commence in mid-December with the sedan following “by the end of this year.” No reason was given for the new timeline; Toyota has been saying all along that we’d see it in 2015. The company is said to be “considering” production volume of “dozens of… vehicles per month” at a “likely” price of eight million yen, which is $78,030 US. That is well in line with the numbers thrown around last year, when the target was somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 . Then late last year, during our first drive of the FCHV mule , we wrote that “the official quote… [is] that a price of ‘less than 10 million yen is ideal.'” That alleged $78K is a sizable sum to be one of the early adopters on the hydrogen fuel cell wagon train, but with things moving around so much – and with Toyota publicly citing hydrogen fuel cells as the future – there’s plenty of reason to be cautious about that number. Toyota to start production of hydrogen vehicles in December originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 08 Jun 2014 09:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota Develops ‘Diamond-like’ Computer Chips to Boost Hybrid Mileage

May 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Toyota City, Japan – Toyota is using one of the hardest materials in nature after diamonds to develop a semiconductor chip it hopes will improve the fuel efficiency of its hybrids, such as the Prius, by as much at 10 percent. The company and its partners announced today that they have developed a silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor for use in automotive power control units. Toyota plans to begin test-driving vehicles with the technology on public roads in Japan within a year.

Toyota Motor Corporation Announces Financial Results for Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2014

May 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Toyota City, Japan, May 8, 2014— Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) today announces its financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014. For Comprehensive FY2014 Financial Materials: http://www.toyota-global.com/investors/financial_result/

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?

Toyota launches updated Yaris in Europe, Vitz in Japan [w/videos]

Toyota launches updated Yaris in Europe, Vitz in Japan [w/videos]

April 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Budget , Hybrid , Europe , Japan , Videos , Hatchback , Toyota , Diesel Toyota first launched the Yaris in 1999, though that model was sold in the North America as the Echo . The second generation arrived in 2005, replaced by the third in 2011. Sometime next year, Toyota is expected to roll out a new Yaris for North America, to be built in Mexico on the same platform as the next Mazda2 . But before that comes to pass, Toyota has introduced a mild facelift for the Yaris in markets other than ours. With styling cues borrowed from the new Aygo and the Yaris Hybrid-R concept, the new Yaris (for Europe) and Vitz (for Japan) are distinguished by updated styling front and rear. Though the European model bears a more aggressive look than the JDM version, both feature the new X motif that seems to be the new look for the whole family – particularly for small hatchbacks. The back end has also been revised to incorporate new LED taillights and a (faux) diffuser in the bumper. The cabin, meanwhile, has been redesigned to feel roomier and quieter with upgraded equipment. The suspension has also been refined, and in Europe at least, Toyota will continue to offer the Yaris with a choice of 1.0- or 1.3-liter gasoline engines, 1.4-liter diesel or hybrid powertrains. We’d tell you more about the varied specifications, but Toyota, in all its worldwide wisdom, oddly released one photo and a press release for the EU-spec Yaris, a whole mess of photos but no press release for the JDM-spec Vitz, but videos for both.

Toyota retires robots in favor of humans to improve automaking process

Toyota retires robots in favor of humans to improve automaking process

April 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota Mitsuru Kawai is overseeing a return to the old ways at Toyota factories throughout Japan. Having spent 50 years at the Japanese automaker, Kawai remembers when manual skills were prized at the company and “experienced masters used to be called gods, and they could make anything.” Company CEO Akio Toyoda personally chose Kawai to develop programs to teach workers metalcraft such as how to forge a crankshaft from scratch, and 100 workstations that formerly housed machines have been set aside for human training. The idea is that when employees personally understand the fabrication of components, they will understand how to make better machines. Said Kawai, “To be the master of the machine, you have to have the knowledge and the skills to teach the machine.” Lessons learned by the newly skilled workers have led to shorter production lines – in one case, 96percent shorter – improved parts production and less scrap. Taking time to give workers the knowledge to solve problems instead of merely having them “feed parts into a machine and call somebody for help when it breaks down,” Kawai’s initiative is akin to that of Toyota’s Operations Management Consulting Division, where new managers are given a length of time to finish a project but not given any help – they have to learn on their own. It’s not a step back from Toyota’s quest to build more than ten million cars a year; it’s an effort to make sure that this time they don’t sacrifice quality while making the effort. Said Kawai, “We need to become more solid and get back to basics.” Toyota retires robots in favor of humans to improve automaking process originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 12 Apr 2014 15:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota Develops New Series of Gas Engines That Will Boost Fuel Efficiency At Least 10%

April 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Toyota City, Japan – Toyota will soon introduce vehicles globally with a series of newly-developed, highly efficient gasoline engines that achieve outstanding thermal efficiency 1 and fuel efficiency improvements of at least 10%.

Toyota unveils two new small displacement engines

Toyota unveils two new small displacement engines

April 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Technology , Toyota Toyota introduced a pair of brand-new engines in Japan today, that it says will eventually spawn 14 different variants by 2015. Where these two engines stand out in today’s world, is that neither mill boasts direct injection, and both are naturally aspirated. The larger of the two is a 1.3-liter, while the smaller engine, a 1.0-liter, was developed in collaboration with Daihatsu. What makes these two unique is that they both use the Atkinson cycle. Now, we aren’t going to bore you by explaining just what this is – there’s Google for that. Suffice it to say, Atkinson engines are highly efficient, but that efficiency comes by sacrificing power. That’s why they’re so popular in hybrids, which can offset the power losses. This focus on fuel efficiency extends throughout the new engines, which also benefit from tweaks like a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system and a trick intake port, while the 1.3 employs Toyota’s iE variant of variable valve timing. Both engines can be fitted with stop-start tech. According to Toyota, when fitted with stop-start the 1.3 should provide around a 15-percent bump while the 1.0-liter will increase economy around 30 percent, when they arrive on the road.

Toyota issues multiple recalls for 6.4 million vehicles worldwide [UPDATE}

Toyota issues multiple recalls for 6.4 million vehicles worldwide [UPDATE}

April 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Europe , Japan , Recalls , Safety , Toyota UPDATE: The text below has been amended to include new details provided by Toyota. It looks like 2014 may go down as the year of recalls. We were already at a record pace , and now it seems Toyota is recalling 6.39 million vehicles worldwide, including about 30 of its models for a variety of problems. None of the faults have caused any injuries or fatalities, but there have been two reports of fires caused by a defective engine starter motor. Toyota’s numbers show 1.772 million vehicles being recalled in the US, but that includes some overlap because the Yaris is being repaired for multiple faults. According to The Detroit News , there are 2.36 million affected models in all of north North America, 1.09 million in Japan and 810,000 in Europe, plus smaller numbers in other regions. Toyota tells us that there are 6.76-million faults to repair in total, with those problems spread out over the aforementioned 6.39-million units. Among the vehicles recalled in the US are 1.3 million units of the 2009-2010 Corolla , Matrix and Tacoma , the 2008-2010 Highlander , the 2006-2008 RAV4 and 2006-2010 Yaris . The problem is that the driver’s airbag module is attached via a spiral electrical cable. The connections on the cable can be damaged when the steering wheel is turned, which could deactivate the airbag and cause the airbag warning light to come on.

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