Recharge Wrap-up: Honda FCV Concept comes to Detroit, Toyota seeks young green energy fellows

December 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Green , Detroit Auto Show , Honda , Mercedes-Benz , Toyota , Electric , Hydrogen Honda will bring its FCV Concept to the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The hydrogen-powered concept made its Japanese debut in November, and will now make its way to North America for the first time. The FCV concept improves upon the design of the FCX Clarity with a more striking appearance and roomier interior. Its smaller powertrain packaging means more space for people, and the FCV Concept seats five passengers. Honda also expects the next-generation fuel-cell car, which is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in March 2016, to cost less and have a range of over 300 miles. Read more in the press release below . Continue reading Recharge Wrap-up: Honda FCV Concept comes to Detroit, Toyota seeks young green energy fellows Recharge Wrap-up: Honda FCV Concept comes to Detroit, Toyota seeks young green energy fellows originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota calling for independent, industry-wide Takata airbag testing

Toyota calling for independent, industry-wide Takata airbag testing

December 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Safety , Toyota The initiative is still very new, and there’s no set timeframe for this third-party testing to begin. With Takata’s airbag inflator recall expanding nationwide soon , the scope of this safety campaign is only growing, and is set to affect millions of additional vehicles. Toyota thinks that it can help, though. The Japanese automaker has announced an initiative to get all of the affected companies to band together to fund independent, third-party testing of the faulty components. The goal of this work is to “ensure the inflators that require replacement are accurately identified and promptly fixed,” according to Toyota. All of the data would be shared among the participating automakers to better understand the causes of these problems, which still aren’t entirely known , and come up with the best way to repair the affected vehicles. “By combining our collective efforts behind a coordinated, comprehensive testing program, we believe we can achieve greater results. Together we will be better equipped to address this issue more rapidly for all customers,” said Simon Nagata, President and CEO, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, in the company’s release. According to Toyota spokesperson Cindy Knight speaking to Autoblog , the initiative is still very new, and there’s no set timeframe for this third-party testing to begin. The automaker’s first step is simply getting the word out that it’s looking for partners.

Owner reflects on his $20.91 Toyota unintended acceleration settlement check

Owner reflects on his $20.91 Toyota unintended acceleration settlement check

November 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Government/Legal , Toyota , Ownership Where General Motors and Takata have grabbed many auto safety-related headlines this year with their problems with ignition switches and airbag inflators, a few years ago, a similar sort of scrutiny fell on Toyota for unintended acceleration. After multiple settlements with various parties totaling billions of dollars , the issues seem largely behind the Japanese automaker now. Owners are actually starting to receive their money, but it isn’t exactly breaking the bank. Payouts are expected to be between $37 and $125 per person. Computer science student Jonathan Sourbeer received a check for just $20.91, and he considers what that money actually means in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal . Sourbeer’s biggest gripe is that the roughly 85 lawyers in the case are receiving $227 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses, while the 25 primary plaintiffs and class representatives receive a total of just $395,270. According to the Frequently Asked Questions about the settlement, Toyota set up a $250 million fund to pay affected owners, as well . The money isn’t for injuries or damages but for alleged economic loss to the vehicles. However, Sourbeer says he feels no personal suffering and still has the same car. In addition to the settlement, the automaker obviously has its own legal fees to deal with, as well.

2015 Toyota Prius C is still colorful, still gets 53 mpg [UPDATE]

2015 Toyota Prius C is still colorful, still gets 53 mpg [UPDATE]

November 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: LA Auto Show , Budget , Hybrid , Hatchback , Toyota UPDATE: A previous version of this story said the Toyota Prius C returned 53 miles per gallon on the highway and 46 mpg in the city. This is incorrect. The Prius C actually returns 53 mpg in the city and 46 on the highway. The text has been edited to reflect this. Few vehicles can match the affordable fuel economy of the $19,000, 53-mile-per-gallon Toyota Prius C , and that fact isn’t likely to change for 2015, as the Japanese company has issued a moderate refresh of its sub-compact hybrid. As mid-cycle refreshes go, this is a pretty standard affair, with a larger grille and tweaked LED headlights at the front of the Prius C, and more expressive taillights at the back. Toyota made some minor changes in the cabin, updating materials throughout, but not fiddling too much with the overall level of equipment. Aside from those modest changes, this is the same fuel-efficient five-door, retaining its 1.5-liter, 73-horsepower, 82-pound-foot four-cylinder, while an electric motor tosses in an extra 26 ponies, for a total system output of 99 horsepower. Along with the 53-mpg city rating, the C will return 46 mpg on the highway. Take a look below for the full press release from Toyota, and then be sure to check out the full gallery of live images, straight from the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

2015 Toyota Prius C is still colorful, still gets 53 mpg

2015 Toyota Prius C is still colorful, still gets 53 mpg

November 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: LA Auto Show , Budget , Hybrid , Hatchback , Toyota Few vehicles can match the affordable fuel economy of the $19,000, 53-mile-per-gallon Toyota Prius C , and that fact isn’t likely to change for 2015, as the Japanese company has issued a moderate refresh of its sub-compact hybrid. As mid-cycle refreshes go, this is a pretty standard affair, with a larger grille and tweaked LED headlights at the front of the Prius C, and more expressive taillights at the back. Toyota made some minor changes in the cabin, updating materials throughout, but not fiddling too much with the overall level of equipment. Aside from those modest changes, this is the same fuel-efficient five-door, retaining its 1.5-liter, 73-horsepower, 82-pound-foot four-cylinder, while an electric motor tosses in an extra 26 ponies, for a total system output of 99 horsepower. Along with the 53-mpg highway rating, the C will return 46 mpg in the city. Take a look below for the full press release from Toyota, and then be sure to check out the full gallery of live images, straight from the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Continue reading 2015 Toyota Prius C is still colorful, still gets 53 mpg 2015 Toyota Prius C is still colorful, still gets 53 mpg originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell coming to US Northeast in 2016

Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell coming to US Northeast in 2016

November 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , Toyota , Electric Looks like someone was able to read the future back in July. That’s when rumors first circulated that Toyota ‘s upcoming fuel cell vehicle will be called the Mirai. Today, Toyota president Akio Toyoda confirmed the name alongside plans to build out a hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the US Northeast. In Japanese, mirai (未来) means “future,” which is a fitting name for a car that Toyota believes represents the direction the auto industry will go in the coming years. In a promotional video announcing the name, Toyoda said, “For [Toyota], this isn’t just another car. This is an opportunity – an opportunity to really make a difference. And making a difference is what Toyota is all about.” To help that future come into existence, Toyota CEO Jim Lentz also disclosed the vague outline of a fuel cell infrastructure investment that Toyota and partner Air Liquide will make in a five-state Northeastern corridor that consists of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. The Mirai will be available there in 2015 and Toyota is going to build 12 stations in and around New York and Boston to support the launch. More details will be available later. Toyota says the Mirai will be able to go “up to 300 miles” on a tank and refuel in less than five minutes.

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.

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