Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Toyota , Earnings/Financials UPDATE: Just like that, Toyota has released an official statement confirming its $1.2-billion dollar settlement with the US Attorney’s Office. Our story has been updated to reflect this development and the automaker’s official statement has been added below . Toyota has reached a settlement over the criminal probe into its unintended acceleration problems, and the outcome is more expensive than first expected. The Japanese automaker has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to close the investigation among other settlement terms. The criminal inquiry focused on whether the company kept information from regulators and how it handled drivers’ complaints about the problems, according to the sources. Between 2009 and 2010, Toyota ended up recalling over 10 million vehicles worldwide over sudden acceleration fears. Fixes include modifying floor mats, gas pedals, and installing brake override software on affected models. In addition, Toyota made the latter standard on all of its new vehicles. The first rumblings of a settlement broke last month when “people familiar with the matter” revealed a possible billion-dollar agreement . That rumor suggested that the deal would also include criminal deferred prosecution arrangement that would force Toyota to accept responsibility but let it avoid federal criminal convictions.
Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota is on track for record profits, and in return, its Japanese workers are receiving their first increase in base wages since 2008, plus higher pay based on seniority and a larger bonus for 2014. The Japanese automaker predicts the average laborer will net a 2.9 percent income gain. The average Toyota employee will earn 2,700 yen ($26.28) more each month, a 0.8 percent increase from last year. Workers will also receive about 7,300 yen ($71.09) more monthly based on seniority and promotions. Finally, the company’s union pushed through a median bonus of 2.44 million yen ($23,768) for 2014, the highest in 6 years. The pay boost comes as Toyota forecasts a record 1.9-trillion yen ($18.5 billion) profit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, according to Bloomberg . It has been helped by the Japanese government’s efforts to weaken the yen on international markets and expand inflation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been asking businesses to increase compensation to end years of deflation and offset upcoming higher sales taxes. Honda and Nissan have also raised their wages there in recent months. Toyota raises Japanese base wages for first time since 2008 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:29:00 EST.
Filed under: Motorsports , Performance , Videos , Lexus , Toyota , Racing We all know that street racing is dangerous, and that motorsports are best left on the track or drag strip. However, that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t some outlaw allure among enthusiasts of racing on public roads. In this video, Vice Japan profiles Eikichi Nagayoshi of Japan’s island of Okinawa. He is a used car dealer by day and an illegal racer by night. Nagayoshi has a deep love for his highly customized Toyota Aristo (better known to us as a first-generation Lexus GS ) that he claims produces over 1,000 horsepower and has hit 205 miles per hour. He races his car both on drag strips and in drifting competitions, but says that he often has to ship the car to mainland Japan to compete. In the absence of those opportunities, he sometimes gathers friends and takes the racing to the public roads. While we’re not down with street racing, this Vice video is an intriguing personality piece, as well as a look into Japan’s fabled underground racing scene. Scroll down to check out the video, but make sure you have the “CC” button clicked, because several portions are subtitled. Continue reading Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:45:00 EST.
Filed under: China , Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Earnings/Financials With the April 15 tax deadline just a few months away, our US readers will be faced with a decision should they get a refund: save or spend? It seems this issue is one many of us face whenever there’s a windfall, trying to decide whether we should set the money aside in an account of some sort or use it as a down payment on a new car or a trip to the Apple store. Unsurprisingly, major corporations face a similar, albeit more complex, issue. Take Toyota , for example. With President Akio Toyoda at the helm, the Japanese manufacturer has gracefully weathered recalls and natural disasters, all while turning beaucoup profits. Last quarter, profits quintupled to 434.4-billion yen ($4.3-billion USD), according to Bloomberg . Toyota also upped its forecast for the end of fiscal year 2013 (which ends on March 31 for Japan), to a record 1.9-trillion yen (about $18.8 billion). Now, the Japanese brand is reportedly sitting on a cash pile of nearly $40 billion, leaving Toyoda-san in an envious predicament – what should the company do with all that money? Some think Toyota should be doing something, anything with that big stack of cash. Some think Toyota (and Toyoda) should be doing something, anything with that big stack of cash.
Toyota City, Japan, February 4, 2014 – Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) today announces financial results for the nine-month period ended December 31, 2013.
Filed under: Hybrid , Minivan/Van , Japan , Toyota We know the feeling: you’ve got what seems like your whole bloodline to transport, and maybe not quite two of every living kind, but a household pet or two. So you’re going to need something big to fit them all. Something like a Toyota Sienna ought to do the trick. But if you live on an Asian island that, we’re sorry to say, has been known to flood in what can only be referred to as an Act of God but whose vehicles fall short of such biblical proportions, at least you can get one with a suitably biblical name. (And an awesome one at that, if this writer may say so.) That would be Noah, the name Toyota gives to its JDM minivan. It’s also known as the Voxy, and Toyota has just revealed new versions of both. Previewed in concept form at the recent Tokyo Motor Show , the production Noah and Voxy have been completely redesigned. The boxy form allows for as many as eight seats and a low, flat-folding cargo floor to accommodate your whole clan and all the stuff you could buy from Uniqlo and Muji with the roomiest interior in its class. Toyota is offering both with a variety of gasoline and hybrid powertrain configurations driving the front wheels or all four through a continuously variable transmission in a range of trim levels starting from 2.18 million yen (equivalent to $20,952 at today’s rates) to 3.4 million yen ($32,694). The Voxy is sold through Toyota’s network of Netz dealerships across Japan, and the Noah through its parallel Corolla dealers.
Toyota City, Japan, January 15, 2014—Toyota Motor Corporation announces that cumulative global sales of its hybrid vehicles topped the 6 million unit mark as of December 31, 2013, reaching 6.072 million units 1 . The latest million-unit milestone was achieved in the fastest time yet for Toyota, taking just nine months.
Filed under: Classics , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Toyota Was there a better time for Japanese performance than the 1980s and 1990s? It seems like looking back, Japan was on a roll, producing cars that were affordable, economical, reliable, fast and lightweight. And while all the attention is – thanks to a certain film series – focused on cars like Toyota Supra and Mazda RX-7 , there is a lesser-known model that’s establishing its own enduring legacy without the help of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel . The MR2 , affectionately known as the “Mister Two” to fanboys, first arrived in 1984 as a lightweight, mid-engined sports car that proceeded to eat the lunch of the Pontiac Fiero in terms of performance. That car was replaced in 1989 with the more familiar, rounded-out MR2, which is the subject of this latest video from the team at Petrolicious . The video takes a look at a group of MR2 drivers, and attempts to explain what it is about the car that is destined to make it a future classic. Scroll down to see Petrolicious examine the MR2 Connection. Continue reading Toyota MR2 shows why we still love the 1990s Toyota MR2 shows why we still love the 1990s originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Nov 2013 20:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Hybrid , Toyota , Quick Spins We don’t often come into contact with the Toyota Crown Hybrid , especially in colors other than pink . But when Toyota offered us the keys and a half-hour window to test out the Japanese version of the Lexus GS on US soil not long ago, we had to accept. Driving Notes: We’ll start with the start. The Crown Hybrid makes the friendliest, Japanese-iest sound when you turn it on. It’s like a high-fructose THX movie is starting. Considering this is a premium car, we were surprised the first time we turned it on, but then had to do it again and again. Purely for journalistic video-capturing reasons, of course, so you can watch and hear it below . We wish we had better-than-cellphone microphones to capture it. Compared to the Lexus GS 300h , which we drove immediately afterword along with the exact same route, it is clear the Crown is an executive’s car. The seats and suspension somehow made us feel privileged, not a feeling we’re used to in most hybrid cars.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Hybrid , Performance , Japan , Tokyo Motor Show , Toyota , Specialty , Design/Style , Electric Toyota is getting ready for the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, and to tease us, the Japanese automaker has released photos and information about the concept vehicles it’ll be bringing to the show. In all, there’ll be four world premieres from Toyota (five if you split the Voxy and Noah minivan concepts), including some vehicles that’ll be released in the near future, and others that need more time to incubate. Let’s get the world premieres out first. Toyota is a pioneer of gasoline-electric hybrids, but it’s also pursuing hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles. The clearest indication of this is the FCV concept , a hydrogen-powered sedan in the same vein as the the FCV-R that will bow at the auto show. (Read more about the FCV, here .) Other world debuts include the FV2 concept (pictured), a unique, one-seat future vehicle that emphasizes the “Fun to Drive” philosophy; the JPN TAXI concept , a next-generation taxi concept designed with Japanese hospitality in mind; and the Voxy and Noah concepts, next-generation minivans that differ most in exterior design cues and are scheduled to launch in the Japanese market in early 2014. The Aqua G Sports concept , based on the Prius C , will debut at the show and is a hybrid sports car that’s scheduled to launch in the Japanese market later this month. The i-Road , an electric trike that’s already been confirmed for production (check out our recent test, here ) will also be on display. We’ve been waiting for this next concept since the Toyota GT-86/Scion FR-S was launched, and we’ve already seen it in person , but Toyota will debut the FT-86 Open Concept again as a Japan premiere. Toyota says it “was created to explore future sports car variations,” and while it hasn’t changed since our last viewing, the car now wears a new paint color, Flash Red, which was created specifically for the auto show.