By on March 19, 2019

Now that the hype train has pulled into the station and unloaded the Toyota Supra, we can finally begin to examine what all the fuss was about. Still, Toyota has one more minor announcement left up its sleeve. While we’ve frequently seen the coupe in black, white and red (or camouflage combination of the three), we didn’t actually know what shades the manufacturer would offer for its introductory year.

Launch Edition vehicles will continue to be relegated to the established trio of hues, adding red mirror caps, black 19-inch wheels, unique upholstery, carbon-fiber accenting, and commemorative plaques for $55,250. But other colors are coming — most of them silver.  (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2019

While the Trump administration is carefully considering whether or not imported vehicles qualify as a threat to national security, and prepares for trade negotiations with Japan, Toyota is being very careful about how it comes across in America. Last week, the automaker announced plans to add about 600 jobs across the Southern United States — raising its proposed American expansion by another $749 million. In total, the company is expected to expend $13 billion inside the U.S. by 2022.

“In a time when others are scaling back, we believe in the strength of America and we’re excited about the future of mobility in America,” Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, said of the decision.

Throwing some casual shade at other automakers who are cutting down their domestic workforce is a sound PR strategy but, according to Toyota, its increased investment has nothing to do with global or industrial politics.  (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2019

While the closing day of the 2019 National Automobile Dealers Association meetup revolved around charitable opportunities, engineering equality in the workplace, and a talk from author, pro golfer, and USAF veteran Major Dan Rooney on the merits of personal accountability, the rest of the event focused more directly on the auto industry.

One of the larger announcements came from Jack Hollis, general manager of Toyota North America’s Toyota division, who told dealers that his company intends to introduce 19 entirely new, redesigned, or refreshed vehicles over the next three years — focusing on utility models, but not ignoring cars. Toyota and Hollis are adamant that the brand can take advantage of other manufacturers abandoning sedan sales by both keeping them in its roster and continuing to improve them. Still, they acknowledge that SUVs and crossovers are essential in wrangling today’s buyers.

The secret, according to Toyota, is having a diverse lineup. However, pure electrics (and maybe minivans) don’t make the list, at least until sales data makes a better case for them.  (Read More…)

By on November 4, 2018

Toyota will be unveiling blackened versions of the Camry and Highlander at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, indicating that we’re one step closer to the trend ending. Factories started adopting the “murdered-out” look a few years ago after the movement gained steam in the aftermarket. Now it’s cropping up on the most mainstream of models.

Officially, the Japanese automaker claimed its newest Nightshade Editions are “preempting the earlier sunset associated with the end of Daylight Savings Time.” But we know they’re primarily an opportunity to markup existing models by adding a few darkened bits of trim. However, you’re unlikely to mind if you’re interested in conveying a more-sinister image on the road.  (Read More…)

By on September 21, 2018

Shrouded in secrecy and driven by hype, the next Toyota Supra has been a tough nut to crack. However, its co-development with the BMW Z4 left us thinking we’d soon have a situation akin to the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.

In this case, it possible that calling the cars “jointly developed” might not be entirely fair. While they share a lot of the same hardware and will be assembled at the same Magna Steyr factory in Graz, Austria, development teams severed their ties in 2014 after establishing the necessary hardpoints. Since then, they’ve adding their own secret spices to ensure a unique flavor.

Think chicken à la king and chicken korma in a best-case scenario, or chicken parmesan and chicken parmesan with a little more sauce in the worst.  (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2018

2016_Toyota_Prius_v, Image: Toyota

Toyota is recalling over one million Prius and C-HR crossovers due to engine wires that pose a potential fire risk. Involved in the call-back are roughly 192,000 vehicles in the United States, according to estimates made by the automaker on Wednesday. However, the vast majority of the 554,000 affected vehicles reside in Japan.

While no injuries have been reported, an alleged incident occurred in February 2018 where a wire harness connected to the vehicle’s hybrid power control unit shorted out.  (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2018

Lexus sales slipped in the United States over the last two years. While overall deliveries remain relatively strong, the Japanese luxury brand saw its annual volume surpassed by Mercedes-Benz in 2013. BMW followed suit in 2017 and the gap only looks to be widening this year. So, what does a high-end nameplate do to lure back customers?

The answer is an obvious one: it starts building boats. It might shock you to learn this, but boats have actually been around since prehistoric times and physical examples have been discovered that are at least 10,000 years old. Meanwhile, most cars aren’t even 100 years old. Basic math proves boats to be the more sustainable product and a sounder investment. Cars had a good run, but autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing services are about to convert driving into a passive and homogeneous experience in a totally hypothetical and undetermined amount of time. Boats will be where it’s at very soon and every automaker will eventually become a sloop manufacturer.

Alright, I’ll stop being a prick (for now). What Lexus is really attempting to do is gussy up its image, endearing itself to the growing legions of super-rich people by providing contemporary yachts — something Mercedes-Benz has done in the past. (Read More…)

By on January 19, 2018

Lexus LFA

Lexus’ LFA was a car nobody could have anticipated. Limited to just 500 production models, the $350,000 status symbol was as prestigious as it was rare. Strange, considering Lexus is known as a luxury brand that’s still big on value. However, there weren’t many people griping about the LFA’s price once they experienced its performance firsthand. Its high-revving, 553 horsepower V10 has been universally praised by almost everyone who’s gained access to it, and even those who haven’t.

The Toyota Motor Corporation is aware that the model’s absence has been noticed and, despite Lexus’ current focus on improving sales via sport utility vehicles, it thinks there could still be room for another flagship halo car.  (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2018

toyota emblem c-hr interior

Toyota Motor Corp. has announced the passing of Tatsuro Toyoda, the automaker’s seventh president and second son of the company’s founder. Instrumental in establishing the firm’s joint-venture with U.S. rival General Motors in 1984, referred to as the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI), Tatsuro was known for his drive toward global expansion and international collaboration efforts.

Continuing on the path set out by his elder brother Shoichiro by taking the corporate helm in 1992, Tatsuro stepped down from the position in 1995 after being hospitalized for reported hypertension. However he continued on as an adviser for the automaker; a title he held until his death on December 30th. Toyota attributed Mr. Toyoda’s passing to pneumonia over the weekend.  (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma 4Runner Tundra TRD - Image: ToyotaEarlier this month, Toyota board chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada told CNBC that the company was “skeptical there would be a rapid shift to pure electric vehicles, given questions over user convenience.”

It shouldn’t be perceived as a revolutionary thought. But with automakers increasingly touting their plans for “electrification” — a word too many observers have interpreted incorrectly — and regulators increasingly promoting their plans to do away with internal combustion engines, Uchiyamada’s honesty regarding the limitations of electric vehicles flew in the face of advanced automotive thought.

It did not, however, fly in the face of conventional Toyota thought. According to Reuters, the president of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda, says, “EVs are in focus at the moment but customers and the market will ultimately decide which powertrains will be successful.”

You’d almost think Akio Toyoda was — crazy as this may sound — running a business. (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2017

2017 Toyota C-HR Turkey assembly plant

Toyota has been the brand par excellence in terms of quality and reliability for as far back as many of us can remember. But, as value became its hallmark, someone decided to turn the excitement volume down to a faint whisper — breaking the knob off entirely in the mid-2000s, when the MR-2 and Celica were discontinued. Even with the company’s introduction of the 86 in 2013, its mainstream designs were about as safe a play as one could make.

If you haven’t noticed (let’s face it, you have) Toyota’s styling has changed immensely of late. The automaker has a new attitude and affixed angry gaping maws onto the core brand and added folds to the bodywork we never would have anticipated.

This wasn’t an accident. Toyota is intentionally trying to push the envelope in terms of design and rattle a few cages along the way. Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Co., decreed that boring cars would be a thing of past and has given designers the means in which to accomplish that goal.  (Read More…)

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