Filed under: Hybrid , Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Hatchback , Toyota Automotive News reports Toyota is recalling a total of 2.77 million vehicles worldwide for faulty water pumps and steering system issues. A total of 670,000 of those are 2004-2009 Prius hybrids sold in the US. Those vehicles are headed back to the dealer, where technicians will inspect the intermediate shaft in the steering column for deformed splines and replace the shaft if necessary. Around 350,000 of those same models will also be inspected for a faulty electric water pump. In some cases, the motor driving the pump could stop, causing the electric motor to overheat and stop functioning while being driven. Toyota has not received any reports of accidents as a result of either problem, and says the inspections and replacement work should be completed in around one hour. The recalls also affect 496,000 vehicles in Europe and a further 1.5 million in Japan. All told, the steering shaft recall covers 10 models worldwide, including the Corolla and Wish models manufactured in Japan between 2000 and 2009. Five models are affected by the water pump recall, though we’re still waiting for confirmation from Toyota as to which they are. You can read the full Toyota press release below , covering the US-spec Prius issues, for more information.
Filed under: Hybrid , Hatchback , Toyota , Design/Style Love it or hate it, the Toyota Prius might be the most recognizable car on the road these days with its slippery, wedge-like design. Originally used to optimize aerodynamics, the unique shape of the second-generation Prius quickly made the car an icon, so Toyota kept the same basic look on the latest, third-gen model. According to an interview with Chris Hostetter, group vice president for strategic planning of Toyota Motor Sales USA, in Bloomberg , Toyota might be looking to alter the Prius’ signature shape in the name of increasing sales across the model’s lineup. It sounds like a replacement for the current model is still at least a year away, but the next design could be a stark departure from the Prius we know today. While there is no indication as to what direction Toyota could take, the report does rehash the Toyota NS4 Concept sedan that was displayed earlier this year in Detroit . Whatever it looks like, the next Prius will certainly be tasked with not only keeping existing hybrid customers interested but also drawing in new ones as well. Since growing the Prius to include the Plug-In , C and V , sales have almost doubled this year with 200,114 Prius-branded cars sold in the US through October. Bloomberg says that on a global scale, the four models accounted for almost 700,000 units through September eclipsing the previous Prius record of 509,399 units sold back in 2010. With Toyota expecting the Prius to be its top-selling car by the end of the decade, this recent trend could easily continue upward for the with a more mainstream design. Toyota looking to alter Prius styling originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 Nov 2012 14:30:00 EST.
Filed under: Hybrid , Safety , Technology , Toyota , Fisker , Electric , Luxury Can Hurricane Sandy’s flood waters be blamed for the fiery destruction of 16 Fisker Karmas and a Toyota Prius ? On Halloween we guessed saltwater had somehow led to a short circuit that overheated the cars’ batteries and fire, which may be exactly what happened. “We can’t be certain exactly what happened at the port,” Russell Datz, a Fisker spokesman, tells the New York Times Wheels blog. “But we think being submerged in 13 feet of saltwater had something to do with it.” Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight tells Wheels that the Prius likely went pyro because “saltwater got into the electrical system.” Saltwater, as you probably know, is highly conductive and when it comes into contact with something like an electric car’s battery, could cause a short circuit and a fire. Daniel Abraham, chemical scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, gave the blog a more technical explanation. Salts in the water break into positive and negative ions that act as conductors and could have connected the batteries’ positive and negative terminals. Next came a short circuit and then, possibly, a fire. No one so far thinks the Karma batteries’ lithium cores were to blame. Even though lithium will burn on contact with water, the metal used in hybrid batteries is pretty well protected and isn’t likely the source of the fires. So still no official cause of the fires, but an investigation is ongoing.
Filed under: Aftermarket , SEMA Show , Toyota From the same Dream Build Challenge that brought the DragQouia to the SEMA Show, NASCAR stars Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch also got involved with the competition hoping to win $50,000 for their respective charities. Instead of building trucks like their NHRA counterparts, Bowyer had a Prius built for the contest while Busch stuck with a car he’s very familiar with, the Camry . Bowyer’s Tekked-Out Prius is probably about as cool-looking as a Prius can get with its lowered stance, custom body kit, side cameras replacing the door mirrors and black-and-blue paint job matching the car’s techie persona. Inside is where most of the mods took place with a totally redone interior including new fabrics throughout (including leather and Alcantara) and plenty of cabin tech such as the 17-inch touchscreen computer built into the passenger side of the instrument panel. Bowyer’s charity of choice is the Emporia Community Foundation which goes to benefit Bowyer’s hometown of Emporia, Kansas. Named after Busch’s apparent alter-ego (Rowdy Burns from Days of Thunder ), the Rowdy Camry shows how mean a midsize Toyota can look with styling upgrades like a wide body kit, rear diffuser with integrated exhaust outlets and a ram air hood. The blacked-out Camry also has a lowered suspension and rides on staggered-width 18-inch wheels, and it was was built for the Kurt Busch Foundation. Scroll down for more information about both of these cars. Continue reading Tekked-Out Prius, Rowdy Camry round out Toyota’s SEMA offerings Tekked-Out Prius, Rowdy Camry round out Toyota’s SEMA offerings originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Nov 2012 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Hybrid , Government/Legal , Technology , Videos , Hatchback , Toyota It’s election time and auto bailouts are not the only thing politicians are talking about. Down in Florida, one group has connected a candidate’s support for automated car testing to, well, nothing. And that makes him evil. The Committee to Protect Florida has taken Rep. Jeff Brandes (R-Fla.) to task for proving automated cars did not operate by “witchcraft” instead of working on other things in the St. Petersburg area. The commercial attempts to instill fear in the program and make it sound like these machines are running amok on Florida’s streets. (Note the sound effects at the end of the video.) The attack ad features a Toyota Prius running a stop sign and nearly hitting an older woman using a walker as the narrator goes on about how silly these newfangled machines might be. Then the commercial flashes the question, “Will Driverless cars REALLY stop for pedestrians?” Maybe. And if they don’t, everyone should blame Jeff Brandes.
Filed under: Hybrid , Videos , Hatchback , Toyota , Humor Let’s make this clear from the get-go: we know this is satire, courtesy of The Onion . Of course, like all good comedy, the idea for the new, fictional Toyota Prius Solution model contains a grain of truth. After all, if you aren’t alive, you really can’t add to the world’s environmental problems any more. Any questions? Obviously a riff on the whole “Pious” side of the Prius-driver stereotype as well as taking blind environmentalism to its logical extreme, the Prius Solution manages to put a bloody twist on the Prius “family” branding that the automaker has been promoting since early 2010. It’s kind of gross, so you’ve been warned. That said, anyone who’s been punctured backbone-to-sternum also can’t work to solve world’s environmental problems, but that’s a discussion for another time. Enough talk. Check out the video below . Continue reading Toyota Prius Solution: When you’re dead, you can’t pollute Toyota Prius Solution: When you’re dead, you can’t pollute originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 03 Aug 2012 20:01:00 EST.
Filed under: Car Buying , BMW , Honda , Lexus , Mercedes-Benz , Toyota , Volkswagen , Luxury Perhaps the most frustrating thing about being mired in the 99% is that due to the prevalence of reality-distorting TV and the booming personal security business, we really have no idea what it’s like to be Mitt Romney , Donald Trump or one of the Koch brothers. At least in the olden days, we plebs could point and stare, mouths agape as the robber barons rode through city streets in their jewel-encrusted carriages. But today? Good luck catching a glimpse of Trump’s platinum-dipped Maybach or the plutonium-burning hovercrafts that the Koch’s use to fly to their secret Tea Party Illuminati meetings. What’s that? Rich people buy their cars at dealerships just like we do? Yep, and according to a new study from TrueCar , Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags don’t go in for luxury models nearly as completely as you’d think. TrueCar has released a list of the top 10 most popular cars in the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S.
Filed under: Budget , Hybrid , Videos , Hatchback , Toyota Cars.com has evidently taken issue with a Consumer Reports video review featured on Autoblog advising consumers that they would be better off buying a used “regular” Prius instead of a 2012 Prius C . Consumer Reports shouldn’t have passed on recommending the Prius C, Cars.com argues: “CR’s low testing scores for the Prius C stand in stark contrast to our impressions of the hybrid.” Indeed. Cars.com gushes over the tiny hybrid, saying it might even pick the C over the regular Prius . Furthermore, in attempt to poke CR just a little more, Cars.com notes that used Prius prices are the highest they’ve been in six months, so looking for a deal there might not make for smart consumer advice. In a final twist, Cars.com says it didn’t name the Yaris-based C as one of its Best Bets, in part, because it relies on Consumer Reports reliability surveys as one metric to qualify any vehicle as a Best Bet. The 2013 C doesn’t have enough data to say how reliable it will ultimately be. Cars.com calls out Consumer Reports over Toyota Prius C verdict originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Jun 2012 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Wagon , Hatchback , Toyota Think you’re seeing more Toyota Prius models on the road these days? Well, you are. Automotive News is reporting that all those increased Prius sales in the U.S. and Japan (see here and here and here and here etc.) have turned the Prius into the world’s third-best-selling car model for the first three months of 2012. During the first quarter, the Prius sold 247,230 copies around the world. The only cars that sold more during that time were the Toyota Corolla (300,800) and the Ford Focus (277,000). There’s an asterisk on the Prius’ figures: much of that new success is due to the fact that there are a brace of new Prius models, namely the C , V and Plug-in – that have expanded the line, with the C being the “car of the moment in Japan,” according to Automotive News . Sales in the U.S. were up 42 percent in the first quarter. The new models and the increased sales make up what AN calls a “Prius surge,” one that could be capacity constrained in the States.