Filed under: Car Buying , Crossover , Toyota , Electric Announced almost two years ago , Toyota finally gave us some more details about the was the all-electric RAV4 EV will be sold to the general public during the 26th Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles today. The important number? The MSRP for what Toyota calls a “fully equipped” RAV4 EV is $49,800 and will be available before the end of the year. Toyota says the RAV4 EV’s range is 100 miles and that the car will charge from empty in approximately six hours on a 240V/40A charger. The new RAV4 EV has LED and halogen headlights and it has special “environmental blue” color emblems on the outside. The vehicle will be made at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc., plant in Woodstock, Ontario. The first generation of the new RAV4 EV was unveiled back at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show . Our First Drive report is here . With a battery and powertrain designed by Tesla , the new RAV4 EV certainly appears to be one of the new breed of compliance EVs . We had heard that the RAV4 EV will be lease only, but the official press release says the car “will go on sale in late summer 2012 through select dealers, initially in four major California metropolitan markets.” Those markets are Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles/Orange County and San Diego and the news matches the rumor we heard last year, that sales about be limited to California.
Filed under: Car Buying , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota can attribute much of its uptick in sales last month to fleets . While the automaker saw its sales leap by 7.5 percent compared to a year earlier, Newsday.com reports Toyota sold 47 percent more cars and trucks to fleet customers in the U.S. than in January 2011. Without the fleet sales, the improvement would have been less than one percent. All told, rental companies accounted for 93 percent of the automaker’s fleet sales in January, with the remainder going to other organizations. Toyota and other Japanese automakers have always been reticent to embrace fleet sales. Doing so is not only generally less profitable than individual consumer sales, but can also lead to degraded brand image and resale value. Last month, Ford was cited for having 45 percent of the company’s Focus going toward fleets. Toyota, meanwhile, says the news isn’t the start of a trend. When Toyota factories were hobbled by earthquake and tsunami activity in Japan last year, the automaker put a stop to fleet sales altogether to keep its dealerships fed.
Filed under: Motorsports , Truck , Toyota , Racing Arguably more than any other driver, Kimi Raikkonen has a penchant for breaking with convention and forging his own path. The Finnish driver started out in F1 amid protests over his relative lack of experience – having contested fewer than a dozen professional lower-level races in his career – and finished 10th in his debut championship. The next season, he was driving for McLaren , the season after that he won his first grand prix, and within just a few years was crowned world champion for Ferrari . And when that got boring, he made an unprecedented moved to the World Rally Championship . But that’s apparently wearing thin on a driver not known for sitting still, so off he goes to NASCAR . We first broke the news of Kimi’s plans back in March, and a few days later already had confirmation of his contract with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) to debut in the Camping World Truck Series – the entry point into NASCAR racing. Now he’s set to make his oval-track debut this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and this is the truck he’ll be driving. The No. 15 Toyota Tundra is being fielded by KBM for Kimi’s ICE1RACING team, and features sponsorship from – wait for it – Perky Jerky. The dried meat snack packs guarana (a plant with twice the caffeine of coffee) and was apparently invented when some guys spilled energy drink on their beef jerky while trapped on a ski lift.
WORSHAM PUTS TOYOTA IN TOP FUEL WINNER’S CIRCLE FOR SECOND STRAIGHT RACE AT GATORNATIONALS GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 13, 2011) – Del Worsham edged Tony Schumacher by .004 seconds on Sunday to win the prestigious NHRA Gatornationals in just his second race since returning to the Top Fuel ranks after campaigning Funny Cars for the past 16 years. The win comes in Worsham’s first-ever Top Fuel final and catapults him into the Top Fuel points lead after registering a runner-up finish at the season opener at Pomona in February. He defeated Brandon Bernstein, Antron Brown and Spencer Massey before defeating Schumacher in the first-ever on-track meeting between the two veteran racers. Cruz Pedgregon’s Snap-On Tools Toyota Camry Solara fell just short of making it a Toyota sweep for the weekend after he advanced to the finals in Funny Car for the third time in the last seven races. The finals appearance pushed Pedregon into fourth-place overall in the championship hunt, just 14 points out of second. It continues a resurgence that has seen him earn the top qualifier position at the season-opening Winternationals, as well as win two of the final five Countdown races to close out last season. In addition to Worsham’s victory, Al-Anabi Racing teammate Larry Dixon also had a strong weekend advancing to the semi-finals where he eventually fell to Schumacher. Antron Brown and Shawn Langdon each won their opening rounds before being eliminated in the second round, while Morgan Lucas – winner at Pomona – fell in the first round. Toyota-sponsored Top Fuel drivers will occupy five of the top-six positions in the point standings entering the third round of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, April 1-3.