By on May 15, 2014
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Oh, California, the trend-setting coastal paradise that once sparked a revolution in the American car market. Fully half of cars sold in the Golden State are from Japanese brands, and for a couple of years, the top dog was the Toyota Prius – about as opposite as could be from the rest of the country, where the Ford F-Series reigns supreme. But there’s a new leader in the sales charts, and it’s a bit more mainstream (or “normcore” as the kids are saying these days).

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By on August 29, 2013
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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…)

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