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.
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?
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.
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?
Filed under: Concept Cars , Hybrid , Paris Motor Show , Crossover , Toyota We’re now just a few weeks away from the start of the Paris Motor Show , and when the doors open at the Porte de Versailles, Toyota will be among the many automakers with new wares to show – including the new concept car pictured in this latest teaser image. Called the C-HR, the concept is designed to represent an “innovative vision for a compact crossover model”, incorporating “a new design language with an engaging driving experience and a hybrid powertrain.” The Japanese industrial giant isn’t saying much else, but the C-HR is set to debut alongside the finalized exterior design for its upcoming new fuel cell sedan. Toyota, of course, became a pioneer in the compact crossover segment when it introduced the first-generation RAV4 way back in 1994. If the silhouette is anything to go by, however, the C-HR concept appears to adopt a far more streamlined form. Watch this space for more. Continue reading Toyota previews new C-HR crossover concept bound for Paris Toyota previews new C-HR crossover concept bound for Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Hybrid , Toyota , Tesla , Electric Four months have passed since Toyota ended its relationship with Tesla Motors , in which the electric-vehicle specialist supplied full lithium-ion battery packs to the Japanese behemoth for its RAV4 EV rollout, of which 2,500 vehicles will be completed. Now, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has been heard suggesting that a future collaboration is likely within the next two to three years, and that it will probably be much larger than the last one. Both Tesla and Toyota have sung each other’s praises in the not-too-distant past, Toyota telling Autoblog back in May, “We have a good relationship with Tesla and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects.” According to Automotive News , Musk said of the Japanese giant , “We love working with Toyota… We have a huge amount of respect for them as a company and certainly much to learn.” Interestingly, though, the two automakers have rather divergent strategies for eco-friendly automobiles. Toyota, as you’re surely aware, is the clear-cut leader in hybrids and has thrown its massive support in the direction of hydrogen fuel cells, while Tesla has invested heavily in battery-electric technology and high-speed charging stations. Still, both hybrids and fuel cell vehicles still require battery packs, albeit ones smaller than pure EVs, so it’s not an off-the-wall suggestion that Toyota could work with Tesla in the coming years on such diverse products. For the time being, Toyota has responded that it has “nothing to say” about Musk’s suggestions of future collaboration. Tesla expects another higher-volume deal with Toyota in next few years originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Maintenance , Government/Legal , Chrysler , Honda , Toyota The ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice into price fixing in the automotive industry has nabbed one more company breaking the law. Japanese parts giant NGK Spark Plug Company agreed to plead guilty to a felony count of pricing fixing and bid rigging in the in the US District Court in Detroit. Its punishment is a $52.1 million criminal fine and to continue to cooperate with the DOJ’s sleuthing into the problem. According to the DOJ, NGK conspired to fix prices on spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors, and air fuel ratio sensors on vehicles from major automakers in the US, including the former DaimlerChrysler , Honda and Toyota , in a scheme that ran from at least January 2000 to July 2011. The charge claimed that the company and its co-conspirators held meetings where they agreed on bids and price quotes that were submitted to the automakers. With the latest plea, the DOJ has caught 28 companies and 26 executives for price-fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry, and they have collected $2.4 billion in criminal fines. In 2013, the feds brought nine Japanese suppliers down at once, to collect $740 million. Scroll down to read the DOJ’s complete announcement of the case. Continue reading Japanese spark plug giant NGK pleads guilty to price fixing, to pay $52M fine Japanese spark plug giant NGK pleads guilty to price fixing, to pay $52M fine originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Hybrid , Etc. , Crossover , Porsche , Toyota Our controversial automotive beliefs Everyone’s got an opinion, and some of ours are more unfavorable than others. Whether its one staffer’s pro-vote for the Smart Fortwo, or another’s dislike of a certain Hellcat-powered Challenger, these not-so-popular beliefs are often kept off the pages of Autoblog . Until now. Read our confessions, here. Quick Spin: 2015 Porsche Macan S We already gave Porsche’s Macan Turbo a proper shakedown over in Europe, but back at home, west coast editor Michael Harley was able to take the less-powerful, less-expensive Macan out for a proper drive, on- and off-road. Yes, we hit both track and trail in the new baby Porsche. Have a read in our Quick Spin. CR pushes for Camry recall There’s a potential problem with certain Camry Hybrid models from the 2007 to 2011 model years, but Toyota hasn’t issued a recall – yet. The folks at Consumer Reports are urging the Japanese automaker to call back some of these sedans due to problems with the brakes.
Filed under: Sedan , Technology , Toyota , Electric Toyota is requesting an exemption from federal safety regulations that govern electric cars as it prepares to launch a small-scale hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle fleet. The Japanese automaker is targeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 305 , which covers the packaging of high-voltage parts in electric cars. According to Uncle Sam, these systems need to be isolated so that passengers and first responders aren’t electrocuted in the event of a crash. That seems pretty smart, but it’s become a problem for Toyota’s upcoming production fuel cell vehicle, as the mechanism that prevents electric shocks in low-speed crashes will apparently simply keep Toyota’s car from even functioning. Instead of the federally approved system, Bloomberg reports that Toyota plans to insulate the high-voltage wires and cables in the car, along with shielding electrical components like the fuel cells, electric motor and batteries with (presumably non-conductive) metal barriers. It’s unclear if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will bow to Toyota’s request, but the government safety watchdog might be swayed in light of the fact that the company is targeting a very small number of sales – 2,500 per year – and it still has a plan in place to protect first responders and vehicle occupants. Toyota asking NHTSA for fuel cell car safety exemption regarding electric shocks originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 30 Jun 2014 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Sedan , Technology , Toyota Toyota has finally unveiled its FCV hydrogen fuel cell sedan and its Japanese price. We won’t have to wait too long to see the first of these revolutionary vehicles on the roads. It will go on sale in Japan in April 2015 and will come to the US and Europe later that summer. In Japan, the FCV will be priced at roughly 7 million yen before taxes ($68,810 at current exchange rates). However, Toyota makes it clear in the press release that we shouldn’t try to extrapolate US MSRP from that figure, saying that official pricing for the US and Europe has not yet been determined. As will be the case in the US, sales in Japan will be limited to parts of the country that already have a hydrogen refueling infrastructure (that means you, California). The production version of the FCV looks almost identical to the concept from last year’s Tokyo Motor Show . There is a new vertical strip of LEDs at each corner of the front air intake and real sideview windows, instead of the nubs on the prototype. The weird squiggles from the rear trim are also gone in favor of a more production-ready look, but the taillights survive the changes mostly intact. The automaker is keeping most of the specs about the FCV a secret for now as well, but it is confirmed a few key details.