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?
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.
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 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%.
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.
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.
Tokyo, Japan, March 20, 2014 –Toyota Motor Corporation announces the start of consumer trials of the “i-Road” personal mobility vehicle in the Greater Tokyo Area. The limited trials, which aim to gauge the effectiveness of the electric vehicle in everyday situations in urban areas, will run from March 24 through early June.
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.