You’ve probably seen one of its videos on YouTube. Its creations are nightmare fuel, mixed with a sense of wonder and intrigue. And for one particular automaker, its robotic inventions seem worthy enough to trigger the purchase of a whole company.
It is Boston Dynamics — a company born from the MIT leg lab that’s been developing quadrupedal and bipedal robots since 1992. And Toyota is heavily rumored to be purchasing the company from Google, according to Tech Insider.
Which begs the question: what does a car manufacturer want with a legged-robot company?
Not wanting to be left out of the mobility party, Toyota and Volkswagen recently invested in two ride-sharing companies, becoming the latest automakers to sink cash into the sharing economy.
Toyota invested a rumored $100 million in the ubiquitous ride-sharing company Uber, while Volkswagen, which has to meter out its dough carefully (thanks to a pesky little scandal), dropped $300 million on Uber’s taxi-hailing rival Gett. (Read More…)
It beats hooning your mom’s Honda Odyssey.
A teenager took the top spot in the first three races of the Toyota 86 Racing Series this past weekend, beating back the 38 entrants in the fledgling event.
Former kart champion Cameron Hill’s win is exactly what Toyota had in mind when it crafted the three-year series. Designed as an entry point for up-and-coming drivers, the series pits up to five professional drivers against a field of amateurs, with training being top of mind. (Though a $125,000 prize pool sweetens the deal). (Read More…)
These days, plenty of tuner kids want to get a E70 Corolla and turn it into a sick drift machine … but then reality sets in and they end up commuting to work in a 15-year-old Kia Rio instead. Meanwhile, the abandoned drift-project TE72 wagons become 24 Hours of LeMons cars, if they’re lucky, and the rusty SR-5s just get scrapped once something costing more than $19 breaks.
This ’81 Corolla two-door SR-5 liftback gave its all in the service of its owners, and now it awaits parts buyers in a Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)
It’s easy to understand Toyota’s enthusiasm for selling 9 million hybrids worldwide since 1997. (Well, 9.014 million, but who’s counting?)
After all, have you sold 9.014 million hybrids? Don’t lie. You haven’t.
Toyota’s announcement comes as the world’s largest automaker accepts a challenge (from itself) to bring the total number of hybrid models sold to 15 million by 2020. It will do that by introducing more hybrid versions of its vehicles, then selling — it hopes — 1.5 million of them each year. (Read More…)
Quick trivia: what’s the fastest-growing auto brand in America?
Jeep? Land Rover? GMC? Ram? Volvo?
Year-over-year, through the first four months of 2016, sales at Scion — Toyota’s 13-year-old youth-directed brand — are up 53 percent. It’s not just recovery after a poor start to 2015. Scion is on track for its best year since 2008.
Well, Scion would be on track for U.S. sales to rise to an eight-year high if, by the end of this year, Scion still existed. (Read More…)
Why should Nissan have all the stealthy sport crossover fun?
That’s the view of Toyota C-HR chief engineer Hiroyuki Koba, who is seeking approval for a hotter version of the upcoming crossover, Autocar reports.
First teased as a Scion concept, the 2017 C-HR bowed earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, adopting a new brand name after Toyota took its youth-oriented division behind the barn for a date with death. (Read More…)
Living in Colorado, I have become something of a connoisseur of low-sales volume, all/four-wheel-drive versions of otherwise commonplace vehicles. The rarest one so far has got to be this ’87 Ford Tempo AWD, but I also have managed to find some fairly unusual All-Trac-equipped Toyota vehicles.
There’s this ’90 Camry All-Trac, a car that’s a rarity even in this state and just about unheard of anywhere else, and a few examples of the Corolla All-Trac wagon. Now we have this gleaming gold Previa All-Trac. (Read More…)
It’s a bit like Scooby-Doo meets A Clockwork Orange.
Graduate students at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) spent two years working with Toyota to create the ideal vehicle for the next age demographic to leap into the car-buying fray: Generation Z.
No, we’re not talking about some stodgy Millennial born in 1985, with his cardigans and Dodge Journey. Generation Z refers to the cohort born in the late 1990s (at the earliest) onward, and these are the people automakers are going to start targeting right … about … now.
TTAC regular PrincipalDan writes:
With the price of gas dropping to levels not seen in many moons, a thought occurred to me: Many of us are driving around in an average vehicle that has an engine used by another vehicle advertised as having more horsepower and recommending premium fuel.
For example: Toyota’s 3.5-liter V6 powers the Camry and ES350, but the Toyota’s tests with 87 octane fuel while Lexus tests with 91 octane fuel.
Do the manufactures actually bother using different engine programing in these various vehicles? Or is greater horsepower just a premium fill-up away for those with lowlier vehicles with premium antecedents?