Toyota SEMA cars include Tundra for Baja and wacky DUB Edition Yaris

Toyota SEMA cars include Tundra for Baja and wacky DUB Edition Yaris

October 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Aftermarket , SEMA Show , Minivan/Van , SUV , Truck , Hatchback , Toyota , Off-Road Toyota has released the first images of its brigade of concepts for the 2014 SEMA Show , introducing a trio of TRD-fettled off-roaders, a pair of DUB-inspired models, a race-ready pickup and a Sienna minivan with 48 inches worth of subwoofers. Four of the vehicles being shown by Toyota will take part in the grueling Baja 1000 off-road race. The star of that effort will be a race-prepared Tundra , which will actually be competing from November 12 to 16 in the 47th running of the desert race. It’ll be supported by a trio of vehicles, which mimics Toyota’s TRD Pro Series production vehicles, with the 4Runner , Tacoma and Tundra all acting as support vehicles. Each of these vehicles has been fabricated by the off-road specialists at N-Fab and comes loaded down with communications and guidance equipment, additional lights and off-road body modifications. For softer trails, Toyota will introduce modified examples of its refreshed Sienna minivan and Yaris subcompact. Styled by DUB, the Yaris’ headlines include 20-inch Dropstars wheels on a custom, lowered suspension. A big-brake kit from TRD complete with StopTech rotors rounds out the chassis changes. Aesthetic tweaks include Sparco racing seats, carbon-fiber interior bits matte white pearl paint and a custom widebody kit. A similar treatment has been applied to the Sienna, which is home to an eye-catching quartet of 22-inch wheels.

Does Scion’s LA concept presage a US Auris?

Does Scion’s LA concept presage a US Auris?

October 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Wagon , Hatchback , Scion , Toyota When the doors open at the LA Auto Show in a few weeks, Scion will be on hand to showcase its new iM Concept . But considering what little Toyota’s youthful brand has revealed about the concept so far, it’s led to rampant speculation. And the prevailing wisdom seems to point towards a production iM arriving as a Scion-badged version of the Toyota Auris . For those unfamiliar, the Auris is to European (and other) markets essentially what the Matrix is ( was? ) to ours: a hatchback version of the Corolla . The model line was first introduced in 2006, looking in its first iteration like an overgrown version of the contemporary second-gen Yaris , and was replaced with the current model in 2012. It’s available as a five-door hatch or wagon, with a range of gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrains available. If the rumors – spurred by the similarity of the iM concept’s nose depicted in the teasers – prove accurate, and public reception to the idea ends up spurring Toyota to put it into action, it wouldn’t be the first overseas Toyota brought over as a Scion. The Scion iQ was sold as the Toyota iQ overseas years before it arrived here. Toyota and Scion are not, of course, the only automakers using such an arrangement to bring overseas models to the North American market in parallel to its US ones.

Aging Prius, dropping gas prices putting hurt on hybrid, EV sales

Aging Prius, dropping gas prices putting hurt on hybrid, EV sales

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Toyota , Electric “As Prius represents by far the biggest chunk of the hybrid marketplace, where Prius goes, the segment goes,” – Ed Kim, Autopacific Fuel prices in the US have been tumbling for the last several weeks, with the average price of a gallon of gas at $3.120 as of October 20, according to the US Energy Information Administration. That price reflects a serious recent drop from $3.299 on October 6. Reports have even suggested that those low numbers might not change for a little while , perhaps as long as years. While drivers certainly love paying less at the pump, the change may be hurting the market for more fuel-efficient models, including the Toyota Prius . According to a report from National Public Radio, sales of hybrids, plug-ins and EVs are down around 5 percent for the year , but trucks and SUVs have seen a 17 and 20 percent improvement, respectively. Autoblog Green’s By the Numbers reports indicate similar figures of around a 5.4 percent drop so far in 2014. In fact, as of September, green-car sales have endured their fourth straight month of declines . That segment of the market fell 11 percent year-over-year in August and 9.6 percent in September. “As Prius represents by far the biggest chunk of the hybrid marketplace, where Prius goes, the segment goes,” Ed Kim, Vice President of Industry Analysis at AutoPacific tells Autoblog . That paints a bleak picture for hybrids, because at the moment, the Prius is doing pretty poorly.

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: BMW , Toyota , Tesla The incredible rise of Tesla’s stock price has done little to now stop two major shareholders from ditching their stake in the American EV manufacturer. First, Daimler , parent company of Mercedes-Benz , ditched its four-percent stake , and less than a week later, Toyota is doing the same thing, selling off an undisclosed bit of its Tesla investment. The move comes as Toyota winds down sales of the RAV4 EV , which gets its batteries and electric motor from Tesla at the company’s Fremont, CA factory. “We have a good relationship with Tesla, and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects ,” Toyota spokesperson Kayo Doi told Bloomberg via email. According to Bloomberg , Toyota maintained a 2.4-percent stake as recently as March 31, making it the tenth-largest of Tesla’s investors. As the Japanese shed an undisclosed percentage of its shares, though, another automaker might be eyeing the California company. Value Walk has a speculative story that claims BMW could be looking at tying up with Tesla, based on a reported meeting between execs from the two companies. The fact that the Munich-based company’s carbon-fiber expertise fits nicely with the Palo Alto company’s EV knowhow is apparently the driving force behind this speculation. But as usual, take this with a grain of salt. Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST.

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too

October 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: BMW , Toyota , Tesla The incredible rise of Tesla’s stock price has done little to now stop two major shareholders from ditching their stake in the American EV manufacturer. First, Daimler , parent company of Mercedes-Benz , ditched its four-percent stake , and less than a week later, Toyota is doing the same thing, selling off an undisclosed bit of its Tesla investment. The move comes as Toyota winds down sales of the RAV4 EV , which gets its batteries and electric motor from Tesla at the company’s Fremont, CA factory. “We have a good relationship with Tesla, and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects ,” Toyota spokesperson Kayo Doi told Bloomberg via email. According to Bloomberg , Toyota maintained a 2.4-percent stake as recently as March 31, making it the tenth-largest of Tesla’s investors. As the Japanese shed an undisclosed percentage of its shares, though, another automaker might be eyeing the California company. Value Walk has a speculative story that claims BMW could be looking at tying up with Tesla, based on a reported meeting between execs from the two companies. The fact that the Munich-based company’s carbon-fiber expertise fits nicely with the Palo Alto company’s EV knowhow is apparently the driving force behind this speculation. But as usual, take this with a grain of salt. Toyota sells off Tesla shares, too originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST.

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

October 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Truck , Toyota , Off-Road Despite the earnest efforts of Japanese automakers like Toyota and Nissan , the American pickup truck scene remains wholly dominated by the likes of Ford , General Motors and Chrysler . This is not news. Part of the reason is because of the sheer number of variants offered by US automakers – everything from work-spec base trucks to house-leveling heavy duty models can be had, with a seemingly endless combination of engines, cab sizes, bed lengths and trim levels. It’s a hugely profitable business, and though the Japanese automakers still offer competitive fullsize trucks, in terms of sheer volume, they simply don’t compete. But American pickups aren’t just about work; there’s a huge play aspect involved, too. Look at the desert-storming Ford F-150 SVT Raptor or the Ram Power Wagon – these butch trucks are built with superb off-road prowess in mind, and Detroit’s Japanese rivals have once again largely been silent in this segment. Until now. Introduced at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show , Toyota now offers the TRD Pro series of models that, in addition to the crazy-orange Tundra seen here, includes the smaller Tacoma pickup and 4Runner SUV. And this isn’t just some pretty appearance package, either – there’s honest-to-goodness capability baked into all of the TRD Pro models. Intriguing, for sure, so I recently spent a weekend with the big boy Tundra to see what’s what.

What you missed on 10.23.14

What you missed on 10.23.14

October 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Coupe , Sedan , Truck , Chevrolet , Hyundai , Toyota Quick Spin: 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Toyota might not be able to keep up with American pickup manufacturers in terms of sales, but that doesn’t mean its fullsize Tundra isn’t a wholly baked, tough truck. In an effort to attract new buyers, Toyota has released this off-road-ready TRD Pro variant for 2015. Senior Editor Steven Ewing takes one for a quick spin to see what’s what. Is Hyundai’s new Sonata in a sales slump? The 2011 Sonata was a massive step forward for Hyundai, and the car was really quite successful. But some insiders suggest that, since the redesigned Sonata launched this year, Hyundai’s midsize sedan might be losing some steam. Of course, officials at Hyundai are quick to point out that this isn’t necessarily the case. Read both sides of the story, here. Chevy spied testing… ’80s Camaros?

Toyota explains what names like Camry and Yaris mean

Toyota explains what names like Camry and Yaris mean

October 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Etc. , Marketing/Advertising , Toyota Ever wonder where automakers get the names for their cars? You’re not alone. The sitcom Seinfeld opened Episode 94 – the one where George Costanza buys a Chrysler LeBaron instead of a Volvo – with a bit about nameplates like Integra, Supra and Impreza. Toyota , clearly, is not exempt from choosing evocative but enigmatic names for its models, and now the Japanese automaker is taking us through the etymology of some of its nameplates. Names like Supra may require no clarification, but what about Camry ? That comes from the Japanese word kanmuri for Crown (which is, incidentally, the name of another Toyota sedan). Yaris ? According to the company, it’s “an amalgamation of words from Greek mythology and German. In Greek mythology, ‘Charis’ was a symbol of beauty and elegance.

Toyota, Lexus expanding Takata airbag recall, re-notifying customers

Toyota, Lexus expanding Takata airbag recall, re-notifying customers

October 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Lexus , Toyota Toyota is re-notifying owners and expanding its Takata airbag inflator recall for some regions. The renewed campaign covers 247,000 examples of the Toyota Corolla , Matrix , Sequoia , Tundra and Lexus SC430 that are located in southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. All of the models come from the 2001-2004 model years and have potentially faulty Takata-made inflators on the front passenger side. According to the company, testing shows the problem warrants “immediate action,” and its press release says, “this action intensifies Toyota’s efforts to reach customers and remedy previously recalled vehicles, and a small number of newly included vehicles.” According to Toyota, it submitted some recalled inflators to Takata for testing, and it found a high probability of rupturing in high humidity areas. The automaker said it had no reports yet of injuries or fatalities related to the problem. This is Toyota’s third inflator recall this year. In June, it called in for repair the same vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years in high-humidity areas , and it conducted a separate campaign nationwide for the parts in additional models. In April 2013, it also announced a fix campaign for 1.73-million vehicles worldwide for the same issue. To fix the problem, Toyota will send a letter to owners this week, and dealers will replace the inflator. If the part isn’t ready, dealers will deactivate the passenger side airbag and will advise owners that no one should sit there until repaired.

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

October 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Acura , BMW , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GM , GMC , Honda , Infiniti , Lexus , Mazda , Nissan , Pontiac , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles “to act immediately” to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota , Lexus , Honda , Acura , Mazda , BMW , Nissan , Infiniti , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GMC , Oldsmobile and Pontiac . While NHSTA doesn’t specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota’s own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven’t already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there. We don’t need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be – even in a stationary vehicle – but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to s hrapnel being sprayed into the cabin . If you’re unsure whether your vehicle is covered under this campaign, NHTSA has a new VIN lookup tool for all recalls recently that could be handy in this situation. Scroll down for the full list of potentially affected models and the agency’s statement – there are upwards of nearly five million vehicles that could be affected. Continue reading NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST.

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