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: Spy Photos , Budget , Truck , Toyota With the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon set to arrive in dealers in the near future, it’s high time Toyota got to work on a replacement for the Tacoma , a vehicle whose present generation debuted in the middle of the Bush Administration. Now, we have images of that new pickup undergoing testing. Our spy photographers picked up this heavily modified mule undergoing tow tests in the desert. It rides on a modified version of the current Taco’s frame, as evidenced by shots of its undercarriage, although our spies cite the lack of riveted sections as indications that the current truck’s footprint should remain unchanged. Aside from underbody changes, this particular Tacoma featured a six-speed manual transmission, which we’re expecting to be joined by a six-speed automatic. The current four- and five-speed autos found on the current truck will almost certainly be killed off. Marching to the grave with those slushboxes will be the two-door Regular Cab body style. Our spies are expecting Toyota to focus its efforts on the larger, more accessible Double Cab. Take a look up top for the heavily detailed gallery of images of the new Tacoma in action. Expect the next-gen Tacoma to arrive later in 2015, likely as a 2016 model.
Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Rumormill The Toyota Prius is undeniably the king of the hybrid market in the United States, with a 39.4 percent market share in 2013. With the next-generation Prius likely to go on sale in 2015, Toyota is trying to build an even more efficient hybrid to keep its control of the market. Keeping cost down will be one of the major concerns of the new Prius. The next generation will ride on the new, modular Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The lighter underpinnings will improve efficiency and will reduce production costs by allowing for more shared components among vehicles. Toyota will not reveal how many vehicles will use the new platform. But even with the cheaper platform, price will remain a concern. Toyota is still deciding whether all versions of the next Prius will use lithium-ion batteries or whether some models will stick with the heavier nickel-metal hydride batteries to keep cost down. Of course, the reason most people buy the Prius is because of its great fuel efficiency. Toyota will aim for at least an 8 percent improvement in fuel economy in the next Prius, which would increase it to 58 miles per gallon city and 52 mpg highway.