By on August 29, 2013
toyotahybridpresser

Toyota’s Satoshi Ogiso and Bob Carter address the global media gathered in Ypsilanti for Toyota’s Hybrid World Tour press event

The chief engineer for Toyota’s Prius program, Satoshi Ogiso, who is also managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp, gave some hints about the next generation of Toyota’s highest profile hybrid car at a presentation held as part of Toyota’s Hybrid World Tour, a press event that gathered together all of Toyota’s hybrid cars sold around the world for the first time in one place, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, not far from Toyota’s large R&D center in Ann Arbor.

Ogiso, who oversees product planning and chassis engineering for Toyota, said that while the company continues to work on fuel cell cars and expects to be selling 10,000 or more fuel cell cars a year by the 2020s, Toyota is committed to the concept of hybrid cars that combine electric motors and combustion engines. Due to refinements in Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, the next Prius will get “”significantly better fuel economy in a more compact package that is lighter weight and lower cost, Ogiso said.

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By on July 22, 2013

2013 Chevrolet Volt Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The Chevrolet Volt may be the most maligned and least understood car on the market. After a week of strange questions and bipolar reactions to GM’s plug-in hybrid, I came to a conclusion. GM’s marketing of the Volt stinks. By calling the Volt an “Electric Vehicle (EV) with a range extender,” a huge segment of the population can’t get past “Electric” and immediately cross the Volt off their list. There is also [strangely] a segment of the population that says, “that’s great but I want a hybrid.”  Guess what? The Volt is a hybrid.

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By on February 19, 2013

What would you say to a hybrid B-segment car that weighed 1700 lbs, emitted half the carbon emissions of a Toyota Prius and still hit 62 mph in 8 seconds?

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By on February 15, 2013

Oddly enough, the presence of the roomy Prius V and less costly Prius C have done little to harm the popularity of Toyota’s primary hybrid, the Prius. More accurately, since Toyota introduced the V, C, and Plug-In versions, sales of the core model have done nothing but rise.

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By on January 8, 2013

NHTSA is proposing to make it mandatory that hybrid cars and EVs have the ability to emit a sound when traveling below 18 mph on electric power, as a means of warning pedestrians and cyclists. The system is said to add about $30 to the cost of each vehicle, and will no doubt tie up bureaucrats for months as they debate just what kind of tone will best protect the public from the horror of low-speed injuries. So why don’t we make life easier for them and decide ourselves?

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By on November 8, 2012
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15 years after the launch of the Prius, Toyota has sold 1 million hybrids annually for the first time, with hybrids making up 14 percent of the company’s sales so far in 2012.

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By on November 8, 2012

 

Six years ago I managed to make a $2000 profit on a car without it ever leaving the auction.

A few winks to the auctioneer. A few clicks on a digital camera. A few paragraphs on Ebay. Done. I had managed to purchase and remarket a 2001 Toyota Prius in mint condition with 113k miles. It was near factory clean inside and out. A spanking new hybrid battery. Brand new Michelin low resistance tires, and a maintenance history that showed it had been dealer maintained since day one.

In the car business we refer to these opportunities as an automatic slam dunk.

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By on November 2, 2012

The Ford C-Max’s first full month on sale was a fruitful one for the Blue Oval – the C-Max managed to beat its arch rival, the Toyota Prius V.

Toyota managed to move 2769 Prius V’s in October, compared to 3182 C-Max’s. According to AutoGuide, 25 percent of C-Max sales occurred in California.

 

By on September 11, 2012

 

There’s been a lot of discussion following our “The Volt Loses GM $49K/Car” article. Lost in all that hubbub was a little factoid at the tail end of the Reuters piece offered by GM VP Dave Parks, who now heads global product programs and formerly headed the development of the Volt. That factoid is at least a glimmer of hope for the Volt’s ultimate success. Parks said that the most common non-GM car traded in on the Volt has been the Toyota Prius. (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2012

Public beta tests are common in the computer world where a group of fanatics pound your beta to death and help you find the problems. In the automotive world this activity is not only rare, it runs contrary to the cash spent on dressing future cars in swirly vinyl. The Prius plug-in is different. Toyota built 600 demonstrators and sent them to large corporations, Zipcar fleets and, of course the press. Even TTAC was allowed to drive one for a week. What does that have to do with the final product? And how does it stack up against the Volt, Plug-in Fusion and the 2013 Accord Plug-in? Let’s find out.

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By on August 10, 2012

 

“Just because a car generates a lot of buzz or is a best seller doesn’t mean that it’s a good choice for you. The five models here may be on a lot of buyers’ shopping lists, but we suggest you steer clear…”

So says Consumer Reports with respect to their list of “Five popular cars to avoid”. CR says that the vehicles “…didn’t perform well in our testing or they suffer from subpar reliability,” and that’s reason enough to stay away. I’m not entirely convinced.

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By on July 5, 2012

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to take a look at our favorite automotive urination competition, the epic battle between the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius Plug-In.

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By on June 18, 2012

A rear-wheel-drive four-door hatchback with staggered wheels and a mere 2,579 pounds distributed 45/55. From the folks who gave us the Evo. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? But the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (conversationally referred to as either the “i” OR the “meev”) isn’t that sort of car. Its focus is just as narrow as the Evo’s but could hardly be more different: the cheapest, most energy-efficient electric car you can buy in the United States. How cheap? The i-MiEV’s low-20s price (after a $7,500 tax credit) isn’t much higher than that of a Toyota Prius c, the cheapest, most energy-efficient hybrid.

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By on June 13, 2012

 

Just recently we wrote a post on India’s highest selling car, which is the Maruti Suzuki Alto. Now its time to look at the other end of the scale. Which is India’s lowest selling car? The answer is quite shocking. India’s least selling car is indeed a global success, the Toyota Prius. The Maruti Suzuki Alto sells 99,000 times what the Prius sells. But how did the Prius become such a massive failure, in one of the largest car markets in the world? (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2012

Toyota’s sales forecast of 220,000 Prius models forecast looks like a lowball number now that Toyota has moved 86,000 examples of the hybrid from January to the end of April. Sales of the Prius V and Prius c have helped the nameplate see a 56 percent rise year over year, and now Toyota is clamoring for more units – but it may not get them.

(Read More…)

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