Filed under: Performance , Lexus , Scion , Toyota , Luxury It has been said before, but this time we hope we’re joining Toyota in saying it again: the brand should build proper performance cars like it did over a decade ago. Apparently, at least one person at the Japanese automaker agrees. Auto Express recently spoke with Toyota Europe Executive Vice President Karl Schlicht, who said: “We are currently discussing sport lines for Toyota models. There is an appetite for Toyota to do credible performance cars.” And there’s evidence that the Japanese automaker is taking performance seriously. First there’s the excellent Scion FR-S (known as the Toyota GT86 overseas), a joint-development with Subaru . And then there are other less-subtle projects and concepts like the Lexus LS Sports 650 shown above, a 650-horsepower super-sedan developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH , and the more recent Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R , a 420-hp super capacitor-equipped hybrid hatchback, which also was developed by TMG. All of this leads us to ask two questions: is TMG gearing up to be Toyota’s next official performance brand? Will it have a hand in the development of a successor to the revered but long-dead Supra? We’re not sure, but let’s assume Toyota rules out another established sub-brand to produce performance cars, Toyota Racing Development. TRD has produced performance parts and accessories for awhile, and has even produced sport-oriented vehicles in some markets, but there’s little evidence it will be part of a serious performance initiative at Toyota.
Filed under: Car Buying , Sedan , Toyota The guy who bought the 50-millionth Toyota in the US got a free Camry and RAV4 , but whoever in the world bought the 40-millionth Corolla in August gets a hearty “thank you” from the Japanese automaker. On sale since 1966, the Corolla is the best-selling nameplate in the world by a goodly margin ( more than the Volkswagen Beetle and Ford Model T combined ). So while you’d think that vehicle number 40 million would be sitting in a museum somewhere, Toyota can’t even say in which country this milestone Corolla was sold, let alone to which customer. One reason that Toyota is unsure where this Corolla was sold is the fact that the Corolla name itself is more than just the compact sedan sold in the US. On our shores alone, sales of the Matrix are lumped in with the Corolla, but around the world, numerous vehicles wear the Corolla name or share its platform. Scroll down for Toyota’s press release, and it has also put together a website celebrating 47 years and 40 million sales for the Corolla… and counting. Continue reading Toyota says you might have the 40-millionth Corolla ever built Toyota says you might have the 40-millionth Corolla ever built originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 07 Sep 2013 09:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Concept Cars , Frankfurt Motor Show , Hybrid , Performance , Hatchback , Toyota Toyota has been known to make some exciting cars over the years, but its hybrids, well… let’s just say a Prius appeals to a different kind of buyer. The TS030 Hybrid LMP1 , on the other hand, now that’s more our speed. And at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, the Japanese industrial giant will bridge the gap with the concept car you see here. Previewed in bits and pieces along the way, Toyota has now revealed the full details and array of photos of its new Yaris Hybrid-R concept. And what the full picture reveals is a Prius C that’s gone to the gym – or more appropriately, the track. Powering this little pocket rocket is TMG’s Global Racing Engine: a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder with direct injection and a Garett turbocharger to drive 300 horsepower to the front wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. A pair of electric motors provide an extra 60 hp to each of the rear wheels for a combined output of 420 hp and through-the-road all-wheel drive. A third 60-hp electric motor serves as traction control under acceleration and acts as a generator under braking to feed the TS030-derived super capacitor that boasts a higher power density and faster charge/discharge speed than a traditional battery. The system can provide a 40-horse boost for 10 seconds in Road mode, or the full 120 hp for five seconds in Track mode.
Filed under: Hybrid , Truck , Toyota , Diesel When Bloomberg spoke to Toyota USA Sales CEO Kazua Ohara recently, we highlighted his comments on the possible return of the Toyota Supra . However, the interview started with Ohara discussing the Tundra , and how it would take time to pinpoint and hone the pickup truck’s brand image in the minds of consumers. That effort could get a boost, with a report in Edmunds saying that Toyota is “evaluating” the addition of a Cummins turbodiesel to the Tundra’s engine options. The Cummins powerplant is one of two options for the moment, the other being a hybrid powertrain. If the oil-burner got the thumbs-up, Toyota would follow the recent example of Nissan , which announced it would put a Cummins turbodiesel into its 2015 Titan . While the two Japanese companies make a closer comparison since they’re both talking about Cummins applications in light-duty trucks, if it happens, it could be seen as further diluting the once-exclusive tie-up that Ram trucks has had with Cummins even though Ram has used Cummins in its heavy-duty truck. Toyota hasn’t said when it will decide on which direction to take, but either will be a move for the better in the view of segment watchers; PickupTrucks.com said the first of its top-five fixes for the Tundra would be a better engine, perhaps a diesel-electric hybrid from Toyota’s Hino unit. Cummins told Edmunds it can supply a second manufacturer with the 5.0-liter diesel that Nissan will be using, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see it end up in a Toyota or somewhere else. Toyota mulling Cummins diesel for Tundra? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Sep 2013 14:45:00 EST.
Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Earnings/Financials , South America With uncertainty in the US and Chinese markets, automakers are scrambling to rev up their efforts in what were traditionally secondary markets. Take Toyota’s efforts in Latin America. A recent story from The Wall Street Journal highlights the Japanese brand’s push in the southern hemisphere, particularly in Brazil, where it has expanded its operations and installed new executives with a greater range of powers, all in a bid to grab a bigger slice of the ever-growing South American pie. South America is dominated by General Motors , Fiat and Volkswagen , which maintain a combined 60 percent of the market share – Toyota holds a mere 4.5 percent. The WSJ spoke with Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s boss in Latin America, who said, “We are playing catch up, but we’re catching up fast. We now have the resources to give the region the attention it really needs and deserves.” That attention includes an all-new, locally produced small car called the Etios. As bewildering as it seems, Toyota wasn’t competing in the low-cost economy car market in South America. With the Etios , which arrived in September of 2012, its sales in the first seven months of 2013 are up 75 percent. Toyota is also expanding on its local infrastructure, which includes the $600 million Sorocabo factory, located near S
Filed under: Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota isn’t just the world’s largest automaker – so far its the biggest winner for quarterly profits. With an enormous $5.5 billion take during Q2, Toyota took advantage of the weak Japanese yen and strong US demand to record a 94-percent improvement in profit over the same period from last year. So far, Toyota brought in larger profits than Ford and General Motors combined. Toyota is showing no signs of slowing down either, as it has bumped up its forecast for full-year global production, going from 9.94 million to 10.12 million vehicles, on the back of a 13-percent drop in the buying power of the Japanese yen versus the US dollar. That strong exchange rate is largely responsible for Toyota’s big jump in profits, although it also managed to shift 1.3 million vehicles in the US market this year. Strong Camry sales have also helped. But while Toyota is raking in the cash, it actually saw a small drop in market share, down 0.1 percent to 14.3 percent of the US market. As is the case with most automakers, Toyota seems flummoxed by Europe, where it recorded less than one percent of its revenue. Still, as Automotive News points out, Toyota only maintains a 4.5-percent market share in Europe and is far less dependent on the continent than other manufacturers. Toyota also struggled at home, much like Honda .
Filed under: SUV , Toyota , Off-Road , Quick Spins I recently took the redesigned 2014 Toyota 4Runner for a muddy romp in Pennsylvania. While the mechanical bits and pieces beneath the body-on-frame SUV trudge forward into the new model year with very few tweaks, the truck “receives a rugged new exterior design and interior refinements that add comfort and convenience without sacrificing its hallmark performance capability and excellent value,” says the automaker. A quick visual scan of the 4Runner reveals a new front end with a more “aggressive” and “muscular” appearance (yes, I’m quoting Toyota ) that includes new headlights, grille and hood scoop. A roof rack is now standard across all trims, too. While the SR5 has a bland color-keyed grille insert that gives the face a monochromatic appearance, the Trail (shown above and in our gallery ) and range-topping Limited have brightwork on the front that provides a bit more character. New soft-touch surfaces within the cabin provide a more upscale environment and a bright new Optitron instrument panel improves readability and functionality. As before, the SR5 and Trail models arrive with fabric upholstery or optional Softex seats (synthetic leather). Genuine hides are reserved for the Limited trim, which is also fitted with Toyota’s unique X-REAS (X-Relative Absorber System) automatic suspension system as standard equipment. Driving Notes Despite (or arguably, because of) its 2014 facelift, the 4Runner is challenged in the appearance department. The styling, inside and out, is confusing to us, with odd angles and shapes that don’t appear cohesive with any overall sense of design.
Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Ford , Toyota In an apparent shot back at Ford’s increasing market share of electrified vehicles and claim that it accepts more Prius trade-ins for its own hybrids than any other car, Toyota has flexed a muscle and played the numbers game to put the Blue Oval in its place. Leaning on its hybrid market dominance in California, the Japanese automaker stated that six out of 10 hybrids sold in the Golden State are Toyota models. And it keeps coming: Year-to-date through May 2013, Toyota sold five times more hybrids than Ford . One of every two hybrids in California is a Prius model. In addition, Toyota notes that it has sold 1.5 million Prius vehicles in the US, 90-percent of which are still on the road today. Want more? We’ll let Bill Fay, Toyota’s group vice president and general manager of sales lay the smack down: “The hybrid industry has become competitive, but our wide range of hybrid vehicles continue to deliver high value and strong attributes to both new and loyal customers. With sales of 5.3 million hybrids globally and over two million in the US, we are the undisputed leader in hybrid vehicle technology and remain committed to building on our momentum and growing the acceptance of hybrid technology throughout the US.” And to think Toyota and Ford just ended their collaboration to make hybrid trucks together. On one hand, those are indeed very impressive statistics, but there’s a flip side, as well. Hybrids still aren’t a factor for most American new car buyers , and, as of 2012, only about 3.3 percent of new cars sold in the US were hybrids , of which California sales would clearly represent an inordinately large percentage.
Filed under: Car Buying , Truck , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Toyota With July 4th just around the corner, what better time could there be for Cars.com to announce that the Ford F-150 is the Most American car of 2013? This may be especially true since it was the Toyota Camry , a car produced by a company based in Japan, that had held the top spot from 2009 to 2012. Cars.com compiles its Most American list by considering the amount of parts each vehicle uses that come from America, where it’s final assembly takes place and how many units per year are sold. “While the assembly point and domestic parts content of the F-150 didn’t change from 2012-2013, vehicle sales are responsible for bumping the F-150 to the top spot,” according to Patrick Olsen, Editor-in-Chief of Cars.com . As far as automakers go (as opposed to individual models), Toyota retains the top spot it held in 2012, with General Motors , Chrysler , Ford and Honda (in that order) rounding out the list. The motivation behind this list each year, according to Olsen, is “to help car shoppers understand that ‘American-Made’ extends beyond just the Detroit three” and because “a study we conducted in 2012 indicated that 25 percent of shoppers surveyed preferred to buy American.” It should be noted, however, that Cars.com isn’t the only group with an American-made study, and not everyone agrees on the methodology used. In fact, a highly detailed study earlier this year by American University’s Kogod School of Business found that the Lambda CUV triplets from GM are the most American-made nameplates, and there isn’t a single vehicle from a Japanese automaker anywhere near its top ten. Feel free to browse the press release below to see how the full top-10 list breaks down. Continue reading Ford F-150 bumps Camry from top of Cars.com American Made Index Ford F-150 bumps Camry from top of Cars.com American Made Index originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Jun 2013 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .