The Truth About Cars » Toyota http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 12 Sep 2014 23:54:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Toyota http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Toyota Next To Join Mexican Assembly Fiesta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-next-join-mexican-assembly-fiesta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-next-join-mexican-assembly-fiesta/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:01:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910737 Although Toyota has previously looked to maximize capacity at its existing North American plants, a report by Bloomberg suggests that the company will depart from this policy and look to establish a manufacturing facility in Mexico, following the lead of Honda, Mazda and Nissan in the Japanese auto industry’s drive to localize production. Currently, Toyota […]

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Although Toyota has previously looked to maximize capacity at its existing North American plants, a report by Bloomberg suggests that the company will depart from this policy and look to establish a manufacturing facility in Mexico, following the lead of Honda, Mazda and Nissan in the Japanese auto industry’s drive to localize production.

Currently, Toyota has a small facility in Tijuana that produces the Tacoma pickup from CKD kits, and has signed an agreement with Mazda for the automaker to build a subcompact car that will likely be branded as a Scion. But they are without a full-scale factory of their own, at a time when virtually every other auto maker is expanding into Mexico.

The Mexican expansion is seen as a necessary move for many auto makers, allowing them to expand capacity in the NAFTA zone while taking advantage of far lower labor costs and generous tax incentives. This has led to a boom in auto manufacturing in Mexico, with relatively little investment in traditional locations like the Midwest and Canada.

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Toyota’s Utility Van Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyotas-utility-van-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyotas-utility-van-concept/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:55:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910130 Toyota quietly announced a new concept that would conceivably compete with the latest crop of small vans like the Nissan NV200 and Ford Transit Connect. Dubbed the Urban Utility concept vehicle or U², the concept was designed at Toyota’s California design studio. Although it’s the size of a compact car, the intention is for a […]

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Toyota quietly announced a new concept that would conceivably compete with the latest crop of small vans like the Nissan NV200 and Ford Transit Connect. Dubbed the Urban Utility concept vehicle or U², the concept was designed at Toyota’s California design studio.

Although it’s the size of a compact car, the intention is for a vehicle that maintains the functionality of a truck or van. A folding front passenger seat and a tailgate that also functions as a ramp, along with a rail system for accessories (like bike racks) are just some of the features employed.

The styling of the Urban Utility might be a bit outlandish, but such a concept would likely be able to find a market, given the growth in small, car-based utility vans. Or, if Toyota was really feeling adventurous, it might find a home at Scion.

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Piston Slap: Why So Uncool Minivan? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:07:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908561   Josh writes: What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not […]

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1972 Ford Carousel (photo courtesy: forum.chryslerminivan.net)

Josh writes:

What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not cool. I could get a wagon though. Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?

Will minivans ever be cool to own?

Sajeev answers:

What’s the deal with minivans? From public perception, CUV popularity, fleet usage, etc. the “uncool minivan” is indeed a sad reality.  But there is plenty to love here on TTAC, from the Farago era to something brilliantly Baruthian.  My second favorite rental vehicle was the 3.6L Pentastar Caravan: it was quick and comfortable with chassis/suspension/steering components ready to play. No surprise, my fav rental was a white 2011 Crown Vic. But I digress…

Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?  Not really, even if they (kinda) ended the station wagon era. Uncool minivans are a radical rethink: eschewing the traditional notions of the family wagon and the creepster’s van with the adoption of a modern front-wheel drive layout (Aerostar and Astro notwithstanding) for maximum utilization of a traditional two box design, while adding the styling of a family sedan/wagon for curb appeal. Supposedly the Chrysler minivan’s early concepts were lifted from Ford’s work in the early 1970s: possible since Lee Iacocca famously left FoMoCo after butting heads with Henry II far too many times, and took some design staffers with him…though that’s the subject of some controversy.

Will minivans ever be cool to own? Keep in mind the Minivan was and remains an enlightened design: that will attract people. Just like so many Pistonheads go nuts over vintage wagons these days (especially with wheels you’d expect on a restomod ’69 Camaro), the uncool minivan will come back to win our hearts.

Until then, who gives a crap what people think? Go buy one and brush off the haters, no matter what they say!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Volkswagen: Hydrogen Will Struggle Outside of Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909146 While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere. According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for […]

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While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere.

According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for other governments to match. He adds that issues surrounding refueling infrastructure and the handling of hydrogen itself will add to the roadblocks awaiting the technology outside of Japan.

Those comments — echoing sentiments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other hydrogen skeptics — aren’t lost on either Toyota or the Abe administration. Company representative Dion Corbett says the subsidies are needed to help get hydrogen off the ground, citing the high cost of developing fuel-cell technology. That said, Dion believes demand will not only be the highest in Japan — where Abe envisions a “hydrogen society” of fuel-cells for homes and businesses as well as cars — but in Germany, California and the U.S. East Coast.

Though Volkswagen has its doubts, VW Japan representative Yasuo Maruta says the company is keeping its eye on Toyota’s efforts, planning to be no more than three years’ behind R&D work in relation to Toyota.

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Tesla, Toyota May Develop New Project Within Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909122 Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time. Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S […]

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Tesla Toyota RAV4 EV

Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time.

Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S sedans delivered in Japan Monday, stating the project “would probably be something significant, maybe on a much higher volume level.” He added that Tesla loved working with Toyota, and held great respect for the automaker.

When the gesture was brought up with Toyota, however, representative Dion Corbett said the automaker had “nothing to say.” This is likely in part due to recent comments between the two companies over their respective paths toward a greener future; Toyota sees EVs as impractical, Tesla believes FCVs are for fools.

The RAV4 EV joint venture is expected to end once the last of the 2,500 crossovers are sold by the end of the year; Toyota has sold 2,130 RAV4 EVs through August 2014.

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Record Sales Position Toyota’s RAV4 Atop All SUVs In August http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/record-sales-position-toyotas-rav4-atop-suvs-august/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/record-sales-position-toyotas-rav4-atop-suvs-august/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:21:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908713 During a month in which the Toyota Camry took a rare break from leading America’s passenger car sales results, the Toyota RAV4 soared to the top of the SUV/crossover leaderboard. RAV4 sales hit record levels in July 2014, when 26,779 were sold, enough to make the RAV4 America’s second-ranked utility vehicle. That record was smashed […]

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2013-Toyota-RAV4. Photo courtesy ToyotaDuring a month in which the Toyota Camry took a rare break from leading America’s passenger car sales results, the Toyota RAV4 soared to the top of the SUV/crossover leaderboard.

RAV4 sales hit record levels in July 2014, when 26,779 were sold, enough to make the RAV4 America’s second-ranked utility vehicle.

That record was smashed one month later, however, as Toyota reported 35,614 RAV4 sales in August 2014, enough to finish the month 1535 sales ahead of the Honda CR-V, which declined 2%, and 6618 sales ahead of the Ford Escape.

Through the first eight months of 2014, the RAV4 trails the CR-V by nearly 38,000 units; the Escape by more than 29,000. The fourth-ranked Chevrolet Equinox (which ranked fifth in August, as sales fell 15%) is 11,806 sales back of the RAV4, having led the RAV4 by more than 25,000 units at this stage a year ago.

Toyota’s 35,614-unit RAV4 sales performance in August equals a 52% improvement, year-over-year. This follows gains in May, June, and July, as well as improvements in January, February, and March, and in the final nine months of 2013.

Annually, RAV4 sales have increased in each of the last two years, rising to a record-high 218,249 units in 2013, the same year Chevrolet Equinox volume climbed to record levels, the same year Ford reported record-high sales of the Escape, and the same year the best-selling CR-V reached its highest U.S. yearly sales total ever, as well. The CR-V, Escape, and RAV4 are also all on pace for record-setting sales results in calendar year 2014.

August 2014 YTD U.S. SUV sales chartThe RAV4, of course, isn’t the only representative of Toyota’s utility vehicle strength. Toyota sold 57,623 SUVs and crossovers in August 2014 (plus 2793 Venzas) and 14,316 Lexus LX570s, GX460s, and RXs. The RX is consistently America’s top-selling premium brand utility vehicle. Over the last eight months the RX has sold 58% more often than the Acura MDX, 81% more often than the Cadillac SRX, and 140% more often than the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

The still-fresh Toyota Highlander, sales of which fell 12% in August but are up 11% so far this year, is America’s second-best-selling three-row utility vehicle, and third-best-selling three-row vehicle overall, behind the Ford Explorer and Chrysler Town & Country. (Nissan has sold more Rogues, but the Rogue does not come equipped as standard with three-row seating. In fact, it’s only available on two of the Rogue’s three trim levels.)

The Toyota 4Runner is also returning to old form with sales rising 46% in 2014. Toyota USA has sold more 4Runners in the last eight months than in the full calendar years between 2008 and 2012, and before September is half way over, they’ll have sold more than in all of 2013, too.

But August was the RAV4’s month to shine, particularly as Camry sales, not unexpectedly, slid ever-so-slightly and as the Honda Accord stole the passenger car limelight.

The last time a Toyota was America’s best-selling utility vehicle was March 2010, when sales of the RAV4 surged 117% to 25,781, 6599 units clear of the second-ranked Ford Escape.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Super Piston Slap: Thrifty Texans Trump Tailgate Theft? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 12:39:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907985   Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote: “Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.” Yeah, not quite… Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose […]

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(photo courtesy: hardworkingtrucks.com)

Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote:

“Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.”

Yeah, not quite…

photo 1

Just a little trip to my local Home Depot.

Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose clamp, but that’s for later.

Thanks to TTAC commentator, Editor in Chief of another blog and all around nice guy, Mr. Lyndon Johnson (yes, really) for planting this seed in my mind. He posted a photo on Facebook of a rusty hose clamp around the tailgate hinge of his Ranger. It instantly made sense: even if you don’t have a few of these rattling around, why the hell wouldn’t you spend $3 for these?

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Hose Clamp PROS: Cheap, easy to install, readily available and slows down a would-be thief to the point they’ll look for another tailgate to swipe. And its an extra measure of protection, even if you have a lock in your tailgate release handle. (As they aren’t too hard to punch out with a screwdriver, too.)

(photo courtesy: pickupspecialities.com)

Hose Clamp CONS: The expensive-ish aftermarket alternatives are more theft resistant. And the clamps are kinda ghetto-trashy ugly, if you care about those Vellum Venom type of design hang ups.

Here’s how to narrow the gap between the clamp and the lock: level the playing field with a bit of silicone adhesive.  You know, the stuff you already have in your garage.

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It’s not rocket science: coat the screw head and clamp’s threads in the stuff. It’s an extra level of complication, and as the night photo shows, a bit more complicated to comprehend. It’ll certainly drive a thief nuts trying to scrape that crap off.

Only to then need to unscrew the clamp. And finally lather-rinse-repeat on the other side. Or just leave my rig alone, find another Texan not wise to the hose clamp + silicone trick.

Now you know what I know: what say you Best and Brightest? Should all truckers spend $3-4 on this anti-theft modification?

 

 

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Toyota Focused More On Safety Over Vehicle Autonomy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906993 Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors. Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, […]

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Google Toyota Prius Autonomous Vehicle

Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors.

Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, Seigo Kuzumaki. He adds that he and Toyota’s top brass don’t believe such vehicles will have much marketability outside of the technocratic state of Silcon Valley, nor are they certain the technology is ready for primetime.

At the present, Toyota is working on 34 projects with 17 partners, including those involving V2V and V2I communication systems. That said, it believes the human behind the wheel is just as important as the computers running most of the show. Thus, the driver will not become a passenger in the near-term.

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Artificial Leaves Key To Lowering Hydrogen Fuel Production Costs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899658 For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE. CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the […]

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2015 Toyota Mirai

For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE.

CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the Mirai would cost $50, according to Toyota North America senior vice president Bob Caster, who took his information from the U.S. Department of Energy. Caster added that the price could come down to as low as $30 per tank, a goal the DOE aims to deliver as soon as possible with an R&D investment of $20 million.

In the meantime, researchers in Japan, and at MIT and the Australian National University Research School of Biology are developing hydrogen processing techniques involving photosynthesis in so-called artificial leaves. MIT’s approach uses solar energy in a photoelectrochemical process to extract hydrogen, while the Australians swap iron with manganese in a naturally occurring protein named ferritin along with light-sensitive zinc chlorin to do the same. Japan, on the other hand, uses cyanobacteria.

All artificial-leaf projects are currently focused on providing cheap energy in developing countries, but do have the potential to scale to meet the needs of a burgeoning hydrogen industry.

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Ford’s Also Readying A Prius Fighter, But Don’t They Already Have One? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/fords-also-readying-prius-fighter-dont-already-one/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/fords-also-readying-prius-fighter-dont-already-one/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:31:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897482 Our Ford sources have confirmed a Reuters report that claims Ford is readying a new lineup of dedicated hybrids to take on the Toyota Prius. The new range, set to debut in late 2018, will ride on the next-generation C-platform that underpins the current Ford Escape and Focus. Dubbed “C240″, volume has been pegged at 120,000 […]

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Our Ford sources have confirmed a Reuters report that claims Ford is readying a new lineup of dedicated hybrids to take on the Toyota Prius.

The new range, set to debut in late 2018, will ride on the next-generation C-platform that underpins the current Ford Escape and Focus. Dubbed “C240″, volume has been pegged at 120,000 units annually, with production taking place at the Wayne, Michigan assembly plant.

In addition to a range of bodystyles, both regular hybrid and plug-in versions are set to be offered. Although much talk has been made of the distinct nature of these new vehicles, Ford already offers the C-Max as a hybrid-only vehicle – though the C-Max was originally set to be offered as a gasoline-powered minivan in varying lengths, with 5 or 7 seats.

The C-Max was originally offered with the 1.6L Ecoboost and 2.5L I4 engines, but in between its 2011 debut and its 2012 on sale date, Ford pivoted to a hybrid-only strategy. TTAC sources claim that Ford’s $5.9 billon loan from the government’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program was used to convert the C-Max (and its assembly facilities) into a hybrid-only offering that would ostensibly offer Ford numerous regulatory benefits (in the form of an increased CAFE rating and regulatory credits) as well as a unique marketing edge.

Although look is more akin to the larger Prius V, the C-Max is Ford’s de facto Prius competitor, by nature of its hybrid-only powertrain and odd (for North America) shape and footprint. But sales have been modest, with 35,000 units sold in 2013, and questions regarding its fuel economy figures, coupled with disgruntled owners, have hurt its image. Perhaps Ford is looking to launch a clean sheet Prius competitor backed by a clean-sheet design and marketing effort.

 

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Chart Of The Day: At Least Toyota Has Toyotas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chart-day-scions-flagging/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chart-day-scions-flagging/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 12:30:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893482 Having reached a four-year peak in 2012, the year in which the FR-S first arrived, sales at Toyota USA’s Scion division slid 7.1% in 2013. Through the first seven months of 2014, every Scion model except the tC is selling less often than they did one year ago. The iQ’s 47% drop equals 1244 fewer […]

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Scion U.S. sales chart July 2014Having reached a four-year peak in 2012, the year in which the FR-S first arrived, sales at Toyota USA’s Scion division slid 7.1% in 2013.

Through the first seven months of 2014, every Scion model except the tC is selling less often than they did one year ago. The iQ’s 47% drop equals 1244 fewer sales through seven months. The FR-S’s 24% decrease translates to 2802 fewer sales.

Scion sold 173,000 new vehicles in 2006, the brand’s best year on record. With likely no more than 65,000 sales in 2014, Scion will have declined 62% from that point. (It was, not surprisingly, worse between 2009 and 2011.)

Scion’s Toyota parent company, however, sells a rather large number of vehicles in America. With just 2.6% of U.S. Toyota volume coming from Scion – 12% from Lexus – it’s not as though this has to be a long-term headache. Twelve different nameplates, on their own, outsell the Scion brand as a whole.

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Toyota Putting The Brakes On Further Capacity In America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/toyota-putting-brakes-capacity-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/toyota-putting-brakes-capacity-america/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:57:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884729 Toyota is not going to be expanding any plants in the United States, even as they are forced to absorb further production of the Toyota Camry as their assembly deal with Subaru winds down. According to Just-Auto, Subaru’s Indiana facility built just under 100,000 Camrys in 2013, and the Georgetown, Kentucky plant that current builds the […]

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Toyota is not going to be expanding any plants in the United States, even as they are forced to absorb further production of the Toyota Camry as their assembly deal with Subaru winds down.

According to Just-Auto, Subaru’s Indiana facility built just under 100,000 Camrys in 2013, and the Georgetown, Kentucky plant that current builds the bulk of North American Camrys, is the busiest in the United States, turning out over 504,000 vehicles last year, with the Camry accounting for nearly 350,000 units.

With Avalon sales declining and the Venza reportedly being axed, there should be an additional 50-60,000 units of capacity. Even so, that leaves a shortfall, and Toyota is unlikely to increase imports of the Camry – which is built in Japan as well – increase beyond the handful it currently brings in.

The solution for Toyota will be to make better use of their current manufacturing footprint, through increased efficiencies. If Toyota wants to hang on to their “best-selling car” bragging rights, they’ll need to find some solution to the production deficit that appears to be looming.

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Tesla-Toyota Relationship On Hold After Rocky RAV4 EV Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-toyota-relationship-hold-rocky-rav4-ev-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-toyota-relationship-hold-rocky-rav4-ev-program/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884409 Just four years ago, Tesla and Toyota entered into a relationship where the former would supply battery packs for the latter’s RAV4 EV. In turn, Toyota invested $50 million in Tesla, and sold the NUMMI facility — which Toyota once shared with General Motors — for $42 million. Things have changed, in the sage words […]

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Elon Musk + Akio Toyoda

Just four years ago, Tesla and Toyota entered into a relationship where the former would supply battery packs for the latter’s RAV4 EV. In turn, Toyota invested $50 million in Tesla, and sold the NUMMI facility — which Toyota once shared with General Motors — for $42 million. Things have changed, in the sage words of Bob Dylan.

Bloomberg reports the relationship — coming to a close with the end with the RAV4 EV program and Toyota’s new focus on hydrogen — was marred early on when engineers for both automakers fought over the EV crossover’s parking brake and an enclosure that would protect its battery from the road. Further, proprietary issues between Tesla and Toyota regarding energy-capture systems strained development of the crossover’s own system.

With most of the 2,600 RAV4 EVs delivered, Toyota changed its focus on hydrogen, a technology Tesla CEO Elon Musk mockingly refers to as “fool cells” due to their complexity and high costs hindering any success hydrogen may have. In response, Toyota Motor Sales senior vice president Bob Carter proclaimed “competitors who dismiss fuel cells out of hand do so at their own peril,” and personally doesn’t care what Musk or other detractors think about the parent company’s new path.

While the partnership may be “on hold” for the time being, both companies are working with other automakers in separate projects, such as Toyota and BMW co-developing a sports car, and Tesla providing batteries for Daimler’s Mercedes B-Class EV.

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Junkyard Find: 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1966-toyota-crown-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1966-toyota-crown-station-wagon/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883074 I spent a week in Sweden back in June, and I’m only now getting caught up on the photos I shot of interesting machinery at the Bloms Bilskrot yard, located in Söråker. We saw this ’63 Ford Taunus 17M a while back, there was this straight-outta-1978-San Diego customized ’69 Econoline van, and now we’re going […]

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07 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the JunkyardI spent a week in Sweden back in June, and I’m only now getting caught up on the photos I shot of interesting machinery at the Bloms Bilskrot yard, located in Söråker. We saw this ’63 Ford Taunus 17M a while back, there was this straight-outta-1978-San Diego customized ’69 Econoline van, and now we’re going to admire one of the earliest Toyotas sold in Europe.
03 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the JunkyardThe S40 Toyota Crown was built from 1962 through 1967. I’m not sure of the exact year of this one, but it appears that the earlier European Crowns were badged as Toyopets. Since this one has Toyota badging, I’m assuming it’s a 1966 or 1967.
06 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the JunkyardWith a pushrod 3R and well under 100 horses under the hood, this big (for Europe) wagon must have required a lot of patience on the part of the driver.
05 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the JunkyardLichens and moss have colonized the interior, and the missing windshield provides access for birch leaves and pine needles to create rich mulch. Anything soft in this car’s interior is a complete write-off.
01 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the JunkyardThese cars were sold in the United States as well, but they were extremely rare in the 1960s and close to nonexistent now.

01 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard 02 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard 03 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard 04 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard 05 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard 06 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard 07 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard 08 - 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard

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Japanese Officials Pushing Hard With Subsidies For New Hydrogen Mirai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883545 The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free. Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will […]

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2015 Toyota Mirai

The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free.

Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will receive a ¥2 million (~$20,000) subsidy from the Japanese government when the first models go on sale next year, with residents of Aichi prefecture — the home of Toyota — taking an extra ¥1 million (~$10,000) from the local government.

However, paying only as much as ¥4 million ($39,175) for the honor of being one of the new pioneers of the silver hydrogen future might not be enough to bring the Mirai out of the showroom, as fueling infrastructure is nearly non-existent. The Japanese government aims to bring 100 stations online by March 2015 at the earliest, for what it’s worth.

So, where does the “free car” offer come in? Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai reported on a few suggestions made by a government panel on how to spur FCV adoption rates, including offering free FCVs, free hydrogen refueling and toll exemptions. The daily explained that the government’s hydrogen vision “must contain more radical ideas” in order to generate excitement from the public and “catalyze a revolutionary socioeconomic change.” A hell of a way to push the Mirai for Summerslam, one would suppose.

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Corolla Getting Set To Retake Small Car Sales Crown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/corolla-solidifying-small-car-sales-lead/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/corolla-solidifying-small-car-sales-lead/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=882210 During a nine-year stretch between 2003 and 2011, the Toyota Corolla was consistently America’s best-selling small car. For eight of those years, consecutively between 2003 and 2010, the Honda Civic was America’s second-best-selling small car. Designs, architectures, and rivals changed, but the Corolla stayed on top. Yet while sales of the Corolla jumped 21% in […]

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2014_Toyota_Corolla_S, Picture Courtesy of Toyota

During a nine-year stretch between 2003 and 2011, the Toyota Corolla was consistently America’s best-selling small car.

For eight of those years, consecutively between 2003 and 2010, the Honda Civic was America’s second-best-selling small car.

Designs, architectures, and rivals changed, but the Corolla stayed on top.

Yet while sales of the Corolla jumped 21% in calendar year 2012 and sales of 2011′s second-ranked small car, the Chevrolet Cruze, increased 3%, sales of the Honda Civic shot up 44%. After this 2012 performance in which Civic sales rose above 300,000 units, Honda reported a further 6% increase in Civic volume in 2013. Even as the aging Corolla was replaced by a far less conservative car, the Corolla’s 4% increase to 302,180 units wasn’t nearly enough to catch the Civic.

After a two-year hiatus, however, Toyota USA appears poised to take back the small car sales crown. Through seven months, the Corolla has outsold the Civic by 7987 units. On a monthly basis, the Corolla has outsold the Civic in six of the last seven months, losing out only in June. Moreover, Corolla volume is increasing at a much sharper rate of late, climbing 24% over the last four months, a period in which Civic sales have grown only 6%, year-over-year.

Toyota won’t celebrate this victory too early. (The Camry’s consistent position atop the overall car category is of greater consequence, regardless.) The Corolla was 2013′s early small car sales leader, as well. At the halfway mark last year, the Corolla was a few hundred sales ahead of the Honda. One month later, the Civic was nearly 7700 units ahead of the Corolla.

U.S. small car sales chart July 2014 YTDTaken together, the Civic and Corolla, with steady assistance from the Nissan Sentra, have been the force powering the otherwise stagnant compact sector forward this year. Year-to-date sales of the Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Volkswagen Golf, and Volkswagen Jetta have declined. Chevrolet Cruze sales, though healthy at the beginning of the year, have tumbled in each of the last two months. Kia Forte sales are up 5% in 2014, but that equals fewer than 2000 extra sales for the segment, and the Forte’s gains are more than offset by the loss of 15,492 sales by its Hyundai Elantra partner. WRX/STi aside, sales of the regular Subaru Impreza are up by only 1300 units.

Compact sales are up just 1% overall this year, yet Corolla/Civic/Sentra sales have risen 14%. Excluding the trio from the equation results in a decline of 6% for the compact class.

Mazda, meanwhile, sells but one 3 for every 3.3 Corollas. No, Mazda doesn’t have the same capacity for massive U.S. success, nor do Mazda dealers possess the kinds of inventory to challenge the dominant players. But if that isn’t a sign of what the market wants, what is? (The ratio was 2.4-to-1 just two years ago.)

Improvements aside, the latest Corolla is still far from the enthusiast’s favourite. Becoming more like the Corolla (and less appealing to enthusiast drivers) hasn’t hurt the Civic and Sentra, either. Nissan has already sold more Sentras in 2014 than in all of 2012. Unless the trend reverses itself, 2014 could end as the Civic’s first ever year above 340,000 units.

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Utilities, Automakers Collaborate On Smart PHEV Charging Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/utilities-automakers-collaborate-smart-phev-charging-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/utilities-automakers-collaborate-smart-phev-charging-platform/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877810 A combination of one research institute, eight automakers and 15 utilities are working together to create a smart grid charging platform for PHEVs. Autoblog Green reports General Motors, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota, as well as utilities like Con Edison, Manitoba Hydro and the TVA, are working with the Electric […]

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2015 Chevrolet Spark EV

A combination of one research institute, eight automakers and 15 utilities are working together to create a smart grid charging platform for PHEVs.

Autoblog Green reports General Motors, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota, as well as utilities like Con Edison, Manitoba Hydro and the TVA, are working with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop a demand charging platform where the PHEV and the utility exchange information that would reduce the former’s charging during peak hours, then boost it back up during off-peak.

In turn, such a system would allow for increased service reliability for all customers “by helping to mitigate the impact of strain on the grid during peak periods and could contribute to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.” Further, utilities would better be able to manage usage without needing to upgrade their infrastructure, with the savings passed on to their customer base.

As for when this project would get off the ground, no timeline was given as of this time.

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Return Of The Rear-Drive Rally Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/return-rear-drive-rally-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/return-rear-drive-rally-car/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:21:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877289 Motorsports fans, I have a question for you: when was the last competitive rear-drive rally car? Having grown up in an era of WRC homogeneity (the biggest departure from the pack was the front-drive Citroens of the Sebastian Loeb era), it’s always a bit of a surprise to see any rally car that isn’t all-wheel drive and […]

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Motorsports fans, I have a question for you: when was the last competitive rear-drive rally car?

Having grown up in an era of WRC homogeneity (the biggest departure from the pack was the front-drive Citroens of the Sebastian Loeb era), it’s always a bit of a surprise to see any rally car that isn’t all-wheel drive and turbocharged, let alone one that sends power to the rear wheels.

The GT86 rally car, shown above, is being developed by Toyota for competition in WRC. Power is boosted to between 237 and 246 horsepower, with a rally-style sequential box sending power to the rear wheels. For now, the GT86 will serve as a “recce” vehicle, with WRC competition serving as the end goal.

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Piston Slap: 4Runner to A New Life? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-4runner-to-a-new-life-one-last-trip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-4runner-to-a-new-life-one-last-trip/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:49:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873921   TTAC Commentator Ralph Schpoilschport writes: Hi Sajeev, Got a quick one for you and only asking because you begged!  But.  I am preparing to make a 3000 mile one-way trip from beautiful Vermontto, well, not so beautiful southern CA.  My rig is a 1997 Toyota 4Runner (V6, 5 speed manual).  Known problems: leaking rear diff (rust cracks) […]

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Driveway Smudge

TTAC Commentator Ralph Schpoilschport writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Got a quick one for you and only asking because you begged!  But.  I am preparing to make a 3000 mile one-way trip from beautiful Vermontto, well, not so beautiful southern CA.  My rig is a 1997 Toyota 4Runner (V6, 5 speed manual).  Known problems: leaking rear diff (rust cracks) and a muffler on its last leg.  Spark plugs, starter, timing belt and water pump are recent repairs/maintenance.  As I type, an attempt is being made to seal the rear diff.  If that is successful I am having the mechanic give the chassis a once-over.

If the inspection is clear or things are easily fixed I am planning on making the trip with this car.  I figure the car is worth approx $2500 – 3000 as it sits.  Am I nuts?

Other options:

  • Rent a car one way.  Haven’t looked but figure this to be well over $1000.
  • Trade the rig in.  Nice leases for Rav 4’s going on right now.  Not sure how the bank would feel about my plan esp. considering I am leaving my job of 9 years for a new one in SoCA.
  • Buy a newer used vehicle.  This doesn’t seem like a good idea.  If I were to do this I’d rather do it in CA than here (rust).

Sajeev answers:

You aren’t exactly taking a trip:  moving to California, needing something to move your stuff is more of a life-changing moment.

  • Renting is out of the question: sell the 4Runner instead, then take a plane and ship all your stuff instead.
  • You are averse to getting a new car, which is acceptable in your position.
  • Getting another used vehicle is both buying someone else’s problems and asking to lose more money on two trade-ins in the near future instead of one.

Honestly, you need this thing to make one last road trip. Sounds like the motor is fine, and hopefully there’s a decent band-aid fix for the axle. If not, just swap the axle with a junkyard unit to give peace of mind and increase resale value.

My biggest concern is the tires: if they are worn and/or 5+ years old, they might not survive that much highway cruising.  And odds are the spare isn’t in better shape!  So get new tires for the same reasons you’d replace the axle. Ditto other rubber items you’ve overlooked (belts, hoses, vacuum lines, etc) but could explode on the trip.  Because your 4Runner (or any Toyota from that era, for that matter)  is a hot commodity in any market, especially California.  New rubber and a non-rusty axle speeds up the sale and adds value. You’re not gonna waste your money here.

Best of luck in your new career AND your new digs. Do the basics and the 4Runner will do just fine.

Who knows, you might just keep it!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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Toyota FCV To Get “Mirai” Moniker, Hefty Rebates In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/toyota-fcv-to-get-mirai-moniker-hefty-rebates-in-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/toyota-fcv-to-get-mirai-moniker-hefty-rebates-in-japan/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:40:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875241 Toyota’s upcoming fuel-cell vehicle will reportedly get the name “Mirai” when it launches in 2015, along with a hefty rebate program in its home market of Japan. Bloomberg reports that the Mirai name has been trademarked in the United States, but the actual name won’t be revealed until closer to its 2015 on sale date. […]

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Toyota’s upcoming fuel-cell vehicle will reportedly get the name “Mirai” when it launches in 2015, along with a hefty rebate program in its home market of Japan.

Bloomberg reports that the Mirai name has been trademarked in the United States, but the actual name won’t be revealed until closer to its 2015 on sale date. The word Mirai is said to mean “future” in Japanese.

Just-Auto is reporting that Japan’s government could offer rebates as high as 2 million yen (about $20,000 at current exchange rates), bringing the Toyota FCV’s pricetag down from 7 million yen ($70,000) to about 50,000 yen ($50,000). The government is also piloting an infrastructure project to bring 100 hydrogen fuel stations to the country by March 31, 2015, in an effort to help spur demand.

Plans are afoot to use the first hydrogen cars as taxis and other service vehicles, as a means of creating broader acceptance and reducing petroleum usage.

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Lexus GX Sales Double, Profits Pile Up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/lexus-gx-sales-double-profits-pile-up/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/lexus-gx-sales-double-profits-pile-up/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:53:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874489 The Lexus GX seems to truck along in the American marketplace with little fanfare. Aside from a brief rollover scare, the GX’s most notable achievement appears to be as the ride of choice for family members of Lexus dealer principals and Central Asian warlords. But Ward’s Auto reports that a bit of magic by Lexus product […]

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The Lexus GX seems to truck along in the American marketplace with little fanfare. Aside from a brief rollover scare, the GX’s most notable achievement appears to be as the ride of choice for family members of Lexus dealer principals and Central Asian warlords. But Ward’s Auto reports that a bit of magic by Lexus product planners has helped double sales in just over a year.

According to Ward’s

Adding a lower-priced base grade for the GX’s ’14 refresh, by substituting fake leather for real leather and deleting some content, was key to this year’s sales jump, putting the SUV’s starting price on par with 3-row midsize CUVs.

Keep in mind that this is an SUV that starts at a hair under $50,000 – and only 20 percent of buyers are even opting for the base model. Most customers go for the $53,795 GX Premium, which ostensibly offers real leather and other stuff that one would expect on a pricey SUV.

Brian Smith, VP of Marketing for Lexus, told Ward’s that

“I think there’s a need for towing capability, without having to go all the way to a (fullsize) LX…So we’re doing everything we can to continue to keep Toyota focused on the need for GX.”

Sure, there is a need for towing capacity with these vehicles, but there’s another, unspoken reason why Lexus keeps the GX around: profit. The GX is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, a body-on-frame SUV related to the Toyota 4Runner, and sold in world markets as a family vehicle.

Taking an inexpensive vehicle that has had most of its costs amortized already (and is relatively simple to design, engineer and manufacture) and marketing it as a luxury item is a tried-and-true recipe for enormous gross margins that other players like GM, Ford and Nissan have all been exploiting for years now. It even works on unibody designs too (think Honda Pilot/Acura MDX or even Toyota Camry/Lexus RX). The body-on-frame design used by the GX just happens to be very simple technology that doesn’t cost a whole lot. When it’s sold as a silk purse, it becomes a very, very lucrative sow’s ear.

No wonder Smith speaks of his desire to “keep Toyota focused on the need for GX”. The SUV might as well be a printing press for the Lexus division, not just in America, but also in markets like China and Russia, where Lexus can charge whatever they please. And doubling sales of a product like this sure doesn’t hurt either.

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Japanese Government To Push FCVs Via $20k Subsidy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872802 With Toyota ready to make big moves with its 2015 FCV, the Japanese government is ready with their own big move: $20,000 USD in incentives. Autoblog Green reports the government will offer buyers of the hydrogen-powered sedan $20,000 in subsidies, which may bring down the reported $69,000 MSRP down to $49,000; EV subsidies in Japan […]

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With Toyota ready to make big moves with its 2015 FCV, the Japanese government is ready with their own big move: $20,000 USD in incentives.

Autoblog Green reports the government will offer buyers of the hydrogen-powered sedan $20,000 in subsidies, which may bring down the reported $69,000 MSRP down to $49,000; EV subsidies in Japan max out at $8,500 per vehicle for comparison.

Meanwhile, the FCV will likely sell for $50,000 in the United States when it leaves the container ships next summer, and will be joined by Honda’s own FCV — name to be determined later — sometime in 2015.

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2015 Toyota Yaris Has “European Flavor”, We’re Afraid To Ask… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/872122/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/872122/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872122   Toyota is touting a new “European flavor” for the 2015 Yaris. I’m not sure what that means, but it does evoke bad memories of the chevre I left in my suitcase after coming home from the Paris Auto Show. All jokes aside (and that was bahhhhh-d), our Yaris will likely be built in France, but Toyota […]

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Toyota is touting a new “European flavor” for the 2015 Yaris. I’m not sure what that means, but it does evoke bad memories of the chevre I left in my suitcase after coming home from the Paris Auto Show. All jokes aside (and that was bahhhhh-d), our Yaris will likely be built in France, but Toyota is looking for a way to both incorporate that into their messaging, and avoid telling everyone that their new subcompact is built by a bunch of socialist surrender monkeys. It’s not easy to explain the poor economics of building a subcompact car in Japan, but telling American consumers that its made in France is likely even more difficult. Not much has changed mechanically, and the 4-speed automatic still remains. C’est la.

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Now You Don’t Have To Yell At Your Kids Anymore http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/now-you-dont-have-to-yell-at-your-kids-anymore/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/now-you-dont-have-to-yell-at-your-kids-anymore/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:46:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=867338   Toyota’s updated Sienna isn’t going to set any hearts ablaze -or convince TTAC readers of its supremacy vis a vis our beloved Chrysler minivans – but it does have one feature so compelling that I am going to get one from the press fleet just to sample it. The available Driver Easy Speak feature […]

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Toyota’s updated Sienna isn’t going to set any hearts ablaze -or convince TTAC readers of its supremacy vis a vis our beloved Chrysler minivans – but it does have one feature so compelling that I am going to get one from the press fleet just to sample it.

The available Driver Easy Speak feature uses the vehicle’s built-in microphone to amplify the driver’s voice through the rear speakers so parents don’t have to shout to passengers in the back. 

I’m curious to see how this works. Will it amplify conversations or music as well? Is there some kind of push-to-talk feature available? Oh, the fun I could have with this on a road trip with 6 of my closest friends…

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Toyota May Kill V6 Camry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/toyota-may-kill-v6-camry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/toyota-may-kill-v6-camry/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:19:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866426 Fans of the Toyota Camry have insisted that unlike lesser American and Korean rivals, their beloved mid-size sedan would never forsake the legendary V6 engine for a puny, profligate two-point-oh-tee. They may need to be ready for a plate full of crow. Automotive News is reporting that the next generation Camry, which will be built […]

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Fans of the Toyota Camry have insisted that unlike lesser American and Korean rivals, their beloved mid-size sedan would never forsake the legendary V6 engine for a puny, profligate two-point-oh-tee. They may need to be ready for a plate full of crow.

Automotive News is reporting that the next generation Camry, which will be built off of Toyota’s all-new flexible architecture, may get a downsized engine as part of the massive overhaul. Quoting Toyota powertrain boss Koei Saga, AN writes

“It might be able to replace a six-cylinder with a four-cylinder plus turbo plus direct injection,” he said. “Compared to a V-6, we think this solution will be less costly.”

But marketers are evaluating whether Americans will accept the idea.

“Eventually we think this is where the technology is going, but right now we don’t know what the reaction of U.S. customers will be,” he said. “So probably right up until the last moment, we will have to be ready with both and watch customer feedback.”

Toyota has a perfectly good 2.0L turbo four-cylinder in the form of their new powertrain in the Lexus NX. But at 237 horsepower, it has a long way to go before it can put down the same kind of power as the 3.5L V6 currently powering the Camry, to say nothing of potential fuel economy losses that some of these engines are known for.

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