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 sells off Tesla shares, too

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: BMW , Toyota , Tesla The incredible rise of Tesla’s stock price has done little to now stop two major shareholders from ditching their stake in the American EV manufacturer. First, Daimler , parent company of Mercedes-Benz , ditched its four-percent stake , and less than a week later, Toyota is doing the same thing, selling off an undisclosed bit of its Tesla investment. The move comes as Toyota winds down sales of the RAV4 EV , which gets its batteries and electric motor from Tesla at the company’s Fremont, CA factory. “We have a good relationship with Tesla, and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects ,” Toyota spokesperson Kayo Doi told Bloomberg via email. According to Bloomberg , Toyota maintained a 2.4-percent stake as recently as March 31, making it the tenth-largest of Tesla’s investors. As the Japanese shed an undisclosed percentage of its shares, though, another automaker might be eyeing the California company. Value Walk has a speculative story that claims BMW could be looking at tying up with Tesla, based on a reported meeting between execs from the two companies. The fact that the Munich-based company’s carbon-fiber expertise fits nicely with the Palo Alto company’s EV knowhow is apparently the driving force behind this speculation. But as usual, take this with a grain of salt. Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST.

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: BMW , Toyota , Tesla The incredible rise of Tesla’s stock price has done little to now stop two major shareholders from ditching their stake in the American EV manufacturer. First, Daimler , parent company of Mercedes-Benz , ditched its four-percent stake , and less than a week later, Toyota is doing the same thing, selling off an undisclosed bit of its Tesla investment. The move comes as Toyota winds down sales of the RAV4 EV , which gets its batteries and electric motor from Tesla at the company’s Fremont, CA factory. “We have a good relationship with Tesla, and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects ,” Toyota spokesperson Kayo Doi told Bloomberg via email. According to Bloomberg , Toyota maintained a 2.4-percent stake as recently as March 31, making it the tenth-largest of Tesla’s investors. As the Japanese shed an undisclosed percentage of its shares, though, another automaker might be eyeing the California company. Value Walk has a speculative story that claims BMW could be looking at tying up with Tesla, based on a reported meeting between execs from the two companies. The fact that the Munich-based company’s carbon-fiber expertise fits nicely with the Palo Alto company’s EV knowhow is apparently the driving force behind this speculation. But as usual, take this with a grain of salt. Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST.

Toyota explains what names like Camry and Yaris mean

Toyota explains what names like Camry and Yaris mean

October 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Etc. , Marketing/Advertising , Toyota Ever wonder where automakers get the names for their cars? You’re not alone. The sitcom Seinfeld opened Episode 94 – the one where George Costanza buys a Chrysler LeBaron instead of a Volvo – with a bit about nameplates like Integra, Supra and Impreza. Toyota , clearly, is not exempt from choosing evocative but enigmatic names for its models, and now the Japanese automaker is taking us through the etymology of some of its nameplates. Names like Supra may require no clarification, but what about Camry ? That comes from the Japanese word kanmuri for Crown (which is, incidentally, the name of another Toyota sedan). Yaris ? According to the company, it’s “an amalgamation of words from Greek mythology and German. In Greek mythology, ‘Charis’ was a symbol of beauty and elegance.

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

October 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Acura , BMW , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GM , GMC , Honda , Infiniti , Lexus , Mazda , Nissan , Pontiac , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles “to act immediately” to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota , Lexus , Honda , Acura , Mazda , BMW , Nissan , Infiniti , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GMC , Oldsmobile and Pontiac . While NHSTA doesn’t specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota’s own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven’t already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there. We don’t need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be – even in a stationary vehicle – but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to s hrapnel being sprayed into the cabin . If you’re unsure whether your vehicle is covered under this campaign, NHTSA has a new VIN lookup tool for all recalls recently that could be handy in this situation. Scroll down for the full list of potentially affected models and the agency’s statement – there are upwards of nearly five million vehicles that could be affected. Continue reading NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST.

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.

2015 Toyota Yaris

2015 Toyota Yaris

September 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Budget , Hatchback , Toyota , First Drives Advertising firms have done an admirable job convincing consumers that the easiest way to find a best-in-segment car or truck is by looking at a few key metrics. In the most elementary terms, the vehicle with the highest horsepower, most gears in its transmission housing, lowest acceleration times and best fuel economy most certainly must be the class benchmark. Yet as the commercials and billboards continue to drive that deceitful message, Toyota is betting shoppers in the subcompact segment are a bit more discerning. The Japanese automaker has just launched its updated 2015 Yaris , a three- and five-door offering that bucks the innovation and performance trends by offering what Toyota feels that entry-level buyers actually desire – reliability, practicality and a low sticker price. It’s sweltering in the tropical Hawaiian sun as I check out the deeply refreshed 2015 Yaris SE. This five-door hatchback, a range-topping version of the company’s subcompact “sporty hatch” (Toyota’s words, not mine), builds on the new-in-2012 generation by wearing new front and rear fascias, redesigned headlights and some attractive new wheels for the upcoming model year. Overall, I like what I see. The front clip, with new LED daytime running lights, projector-beam headlight lenses and an oversized piano-black grille adds some character and aggression to a formerly nondescript vehicle. The wheel designs are big improvement, too, as their twisted spokes suggest motion even when standing still. The rear treatment, basically a new urethane bumper cap and redesigned taillamps, isn’t as exciting as the front, almost appearing less sporty overall with the deletion of the chrome exhaust outlet, but it ties the package together.

Ever wonder how to really pronounce Japanese automaker names?

Ever wonder how to really pronounce Japanese automaker names?

September 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Etc. , Japan , Videos , Honda , Lexus , Mazda , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Subaru , Suzuki , Toyota , Daihatsu People tend to get very set in their ways when it comes to the pronunciation of words. Just look at the endless debates over whether or not to say the final ‘e’ in Porsche (which you should in terms of correct German enunciation). Or the argument about whether to follow the British convention and give the ‘u’ in Jaguar a special delivery or to say the ‘ua’ diphthong as more of a ‘w’ sound, as usually happens in the US. This short video doesn’t answer either of those automotive questions, but it does allow a native Japanese speaker to demonstrate the accepted pronunciations for several, major automakers from the country. One benefit is that it clears up the occasional debate over whether Nissan should be said with a long or short ‘i’ sound. Also, listen closely to how the female host says Mazda as Matsuda, the way it’s actually said in the language. Even if this doesn’t change the way you enunciate these brands, at least now you know the accurate way in Japanese. Continue reading Ever wonder how to really pronounce Japanese automaker names? Ever wonder how to really pronounce Japanese automaker names?

Toyota Camry, Lexus RX to get aluminum parts

Toyota Camry, Lexus RX to get aluminum parts

September 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing , Lexus , Toyota Ah, aluminum. The lightweight, strong material has long held a following within the premium ranks, but as Ford prepares to launch an aluminum F-150 , the material is gaining acceptance among more mainstream automakers. Toyota is one such brand, with a new report indicating that the Japanese giant will add aluminum bits and bobs to some of its upcoming vehicles. These won’t be full, aluminum-intensive treatments like the F-150, however. Automotive News reports that an aluminum hood and liftgate will be coming to the 2016 Lexus RX , and following that, the Camry will get a bonnet built from Element 13 for model year 2018. As AN points out, Toyota is no stranger to aluminum, using it in Japanese-built models like the Prius and Scion FR-S . The RX and Camry, though, will mark the first time the company’s North American factories will use the material, and they’ll do so on a significantly larger scale, owing to the higher volumes that the Camry and RX represent. “Toyota has plans to use aluminum on future vehicles for hood, closures and parts for lightweighting,” Toyota’s Jana Hartline told AN. “Also, we will increase usage of mix metals and resin materials to enhance lightweighting efforts.” The aluminum for the Camry and RX would likely come from a new joint venture between Toyota Motor’s affiliate Toyota Tsusho and Kobe Steel, with an operation that could produce 100,000 tons of aluminum sheet (like what’s shown above at an Alcoa factory in Indiana) each year. Toyota Camry, Lexus RX to get aluminum parts originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST.

Toyota to ramp up Tacoma production in Mexico by 41%

Toyota to ramp up Tacoma production in Mexico by 41%

September 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Truck , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota The Toyota Tacoma may be getting on in age, but that isn’t stopping the Japanese manufacturer from ramping up production at the pickup’s Baja California factory. The Mexican plant will soon be home to another 300 jobs as it increases total capacity by 41 percent. The increase is slated for April 2015. The move is a curious one, considering the Tacoma’s age and the fact that General Motors is preparing what, on the surface, appear to be two very competent challengers. The factory increase could be in preparation for the 2016 Taco ( spy photos shown above), which is expected to represent a significant overhaul of the long-serving truck. Toyota’s decision to increase capacity could also be due to the factory building freeze implemented by President Akio Toyoda , according to Automotive News . Toyoda put a hold on new factories until 2016, asking executives to squeeze as much production as possible out of remaining factories before bringing any additional facilities online. What do you think Toyota is up to? Is this just preparation for next-gen Tacoma production? Might a different vehicle altogether take up the additional capacity?

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