Between the Lines: Berkowitz Hits the [Toyota] Open Road

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
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between the lines berkowitz hits the toyota open road

As GM’s FastLane and GMNext blogs have demonstrated, the U.S. automobile industry has fully embraced the concept of blogging– as press release. Toyota, of course, has entered the e-fray. Their Open Road blog may do little (as in nothing) to stretch the boundaries of Web 2.0-itude, but it offers the usual insight into the corporate culture from which it sprang. ToMoCo’s plugging the new Venza crossover, designed to fill the gaping hole in their lineup between the Camry, RAV4, Highlander, FJ Cruiser, 4Runner and Sienna. Into the depths we descend…

As you might expect, we keep close track of the search terms and key words that people use to get onto the Open Road.

You're shitting me.

You may be interested to learn that the Number 1 search word is "Venza."

If "Venza" is the number one search word bringing people to the Open Road blog, then you're not managing your website correctly. When people search for Venza, you should be sending them directly to the Venza microsite, not to the lame "Open Road Blog."

You remember Venza, right?

Honestly, I try not to. There are already plenty of crossovers out there.

It's a stylish car

Uh, if you say so. I'd go with "vehicle-ish vehicle." But we've already discussed the weird styling.

that was designed

by a monkey?

to capture the best characteristics of both the roomy SUV and the efficient sedan.

Like a car, but with a hatch on the back. We could call it a "hatch back." Or maybe station wagon.

But the worst part about the Venza is that the exterior is bigger than it needed to be. A sedan, wagon, or hatch can be just as roomy as an SUV. It's the raised ride height that they have brought in from an SUV here, and they should be up front about it. There are benefits to it – SUVs can be easier to step into from the ground. But it also trades off a huge part of the efficiency, in size and weight.

Just sayin’…

We unveiled the Venza in January at the Detroit Auto Show, and we posted it here on Open Road on January 15.

Please come Monday for the next meeting of History 204: Recent Toyota Marketing

You can go to our Jan. 15 post by clicking here.

You're on the Internet. You probably love five month-old news.

Now the real deal is coming in a few months, and since there's been so much interest,

Bullshit. This isn't the Camaro or the new Camry or a new Evo.

we wanted to provide a way for you to see the vehicle, and to learn more about it.

It's a public service, really. Thank you notes can be sent to: Toyota HQ, Snorefest, Ohio. 11101.

It's the Venza minisite at, which you can access by clicking here.

We did a press release a week or so ago, but why not plug it again?

What you'll find when you get there include, naturally, photos of the car.

I'd post them here, but then you wouldn't visit the microsite. Go to the microsite. It's like a site, but micro. As opposed to this site, which is not micro. Big site here. Plenty of space for pictures, like of the Venza. Oh crap.

But there's also an interview with its designer,

Nobody cares. Consumers don't give a crap about this. But hey, Toyota needed content to put on the microsite. Did you hear they have a microsite?

a list of specifications and features,

But not the gas mileage, which is the only reason this vehicle is significant. The whole point of the Venza is "crossover space, Camry mileage." So what's the mileage estimated to be? And what's the horsepower output and 0 – 60 time of the four-cylinder engine?

and a couple of interesting videos that detail the design process

Nobody cares. Consumers still don't give a crap about this.

and tell us some interesting stuff about the car's optional V6 engine.

Interesting stuff? Wow, that sounds amazing. I better rush over to the microsite. Microsite!

Oh and by the way, unless it's gas mileage or horsepower numbers, most consumers don't care. They began this blog post talking about how they're getting people from search engine results. You think those people are interested in the optional V6's variable valve timing?

There's also a place for you to sign up for updates on the vehicle,

Really? I love marketing mail. I want to hear more "interesting stuff."

which is set to make its sales debut later this year.

I'm sweating with excitement.

So go ahead, take a look.

I have permission? NICE! I'm going right now. Screw work.

Then tell us what you think.

We care. We're people people, damn it. Can't you people understand that?

Justin Berkowitz
Justin Berkowitz

Immensely bored law student. I've also got 3 dogs.

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2 of 31 comments
  • YotaCarFan YotaCarFan on Jun 12, 2008

    Could the Venza be one of the new hybrid models Toyota is planning to introduce soon? That would explain why there is no info on the engine's fuel efficiency or horsepower - providing that info would give away the hybrid nature of the car. If this thing is a hybrid, it will be quite a hot item.

  • Marc Marc on Jun 12, 2008

    hmmmmm....interesting theory, Yota....hmmmm Let's see the projected timeline. Venza due in fall, only in V6, 4 cylinder to follow in subsequent months. Hybrid announcement in January. 2008 just announced to be the year of a new 2.5L engine, which will likely replacing all the ubiquitous 2.4L engines. Ergo, the 2.7L, not being the replacement for the 2.4, must be a new hybrid engine, finding its way into the Camry and Venza, while the Highlander eventually upgrades its 3.3L hybrid to a 3.5L hybrid, or maybe gets one of each. Why else would Toyota have two 4 cylinder engines so close? So what could it get...210 hp, 40 mpg? Would make a great Lexus hybrid engine. IS300h, anyone?

  • Tassos Unlike Tim, I don't use this space as a wastebasket for ANYTHING BUT a proper used car.If you seriously need a car AND you are as destitute as Tim's finds imply, HERE IS A PROPER ONE FOR YOUR NEEDS:You can probably get it for only $4k, WITH Leather, Factory Navigation, plenty of room and a V6. even considered getting it myself as an extra reliable car.
  • Jeff Of all the EV trucks I like the Rivian the best but I am still years away if ever from buying an EV.
  • Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
  • SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
  • Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.