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Archive for the ‘Toyota’ Category

Toyota CEO “Sad” About Being Declared “National Security Threat,” But Plans $3B More in U.S. Investments

Tariffs actually could backfire and see investment plan cut back, warns top Toyota official.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.15, 2019

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda called the prospect of his company being called a "national security threat" by the Trump administration "sad."

Toyota plans to boost by $3 billion its investment in the U.S. market, a decision that comes as the automaker – and other foreign-based brands – are facing the possibility of huge new tariffs from an American president who has labeled them a “national security threat.”

That designation is something that “makes feel sad,” Akio Toyoda, the Japanese giant’s CEO, said during an appearance at the Economic Club of Washington. “I hope that this kind of conversation can go away,” the grandson of Toyota’s founder said through an interpreter.

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Separately, the head of Toyota’s North American operations cautioned that those planned investments, which include $749 million to upgrade existing plants in five states, could be cut back if the Trump administration moves ahead with tariffs, something experts have warned could actually result in lower U.S. car sales and a sharp loss of automotive jobs. (more…)

Infiniti Set to Abandon Western European Market

Weak demand leading Nissan’s luxury brand to focus on Europe, China.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.12, 2019

The concept version of the Infiniti Q30 debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show as part of the brand's push to become an EU presence.

Infiniti has come to recognize there are limits to its global growth plans, the Nissan luxury brand announcing it will pull out of Western Europe by early next year.

Going forward, the brand will limit its scope to just two markets: the U.S. and China. Along with ending sales in Europe, Infiniti also will halt production of the Q30 and QX30 models at Nissan’s assembly plant in Sunderland, England. The parent company has raised questions about the broader viability of that plant as Britain struggles to manage its planned exit from the European Union later this month.

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A broader restructuring by Infiniti will see the luxury marque pair back on its overall product line-up, the brand’s new global CEO told TheDetroitBureau.com during an interview earlier this year.

(more…)

Toyota Warns Brexit Could Lead to Exit from Great Britain

One more automaker concerned about looming deadline.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.08, 2019

Toyota officials warned British officials that the company would leave if Brexit goes poorly.

Toyota has joined the list carmakers, warning the government of Great Britain that it is prepared to phase out its operations in the United Kingdom without any kind of back-up plan that would protect the country’s vital links to the European Union.

“If the business environment becomes very difficult to operate, of course those types of decisions should be on the agenda,” Johan van Zyl, the Japanese company’s head of Europe, told reporters at the Geneva Motor Show. “But hopefully we will be able to avoid” a withdrawal.

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The carmaker remains hopeful the U.K. and EU will reach an agreement on Brexit terms, van Zyl said. (more…)

Green Car Finalists Revealed

Focusing in on connected and Earth-friendly powertrain technologies.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.07, 2019

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the vehicles up for the Connected Car award this year.

With automakers facing increasingly stringent mileage and emissions standards, automakers are rapidly ramping up production of more and more environmentally friendly products, from breakthrough gas engines like Mazda’s new SkyActiv-X to all-electric offerings such as the new Audi e-tron SUV.

Sorting out which products and technologies deserve notice can be challenging, but Green Car Journal has been honoring the best of the best with its decade-old Green Car Awards, recently adding several new categories to the list. And it announced today finalists in two of those categories, with winners to be revealed early next month at the annual auto show in Washington, D.C.

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The two awards focus on the technological side of the green car market, both in terms of connectivity and powertrains. Here’s a look at the finalists.

(Live from Geneva! Click Here for our complete auto show coverage.)

Finalists for 2019 Connected Green Car of the Year include: (more…)

Toyota Building Lunar Rover for Japan’s 2030 Moon Landing

Japan's lunar mission targeting 2030.

by Michael Strong on Mar.06, 2019

Toyota will follow in GM's tire tracks and build a lunar rover, although it's likely it will look a bit different than the original shown here.

Toyota appears set to do something only General Motors has done before: Put a car on the moon.

The Japanese automaker is working with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a new lunar rover for the agency’s new moon mission, which is targeted for 2030. However, more details are set to be announced next week.

Out of this World!

“We are planning to cooperate with Toyota in an exploration mission to the moon,” a JAXA spokesperson told SkyNews. (more…)

First Drive: 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan

More than just the car car for first-time buyers.

by Ron Sessions on Feb.26, 2019

The 2020 Toyota Corolla XSE reflects the company's commitment to car production in the near term. (Photo credit: Ron Sessions)

By now, you’ve heard that some automakers are dropping small sedans and hatchbacks from their line-ups. These automakers are buoyed by the heady sales and big profits of luxed-out full-size pickups and every conceivable micro-slice of SUV and crossover.

The Big Three in particular are moving passenger cars to the exit doors. Especially small ones. FCA nixed the Dart and Chrysler 200 a couple years ago, Chevrolet is giving the Cruze, Volt and Impala the heave-ho and Ford is saying adios to all of passenger cars save the Mustang.

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In a mindset that laser-focuses on stock price and quarterly profits, culling the low- or no-profit passenger cars and cranking up production of high-dollar trucks sort of makes sense. Except that line of thinking leaves first-time car buyers kind of out in the cold.  (more…)

First Drive: 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Borrowing best from Prius Hybrid, new model sets new standard.

by Joseph Szczesny on Feb.26, 2019

The new 2020 Toyota Corolla hybrid is the automaker's way of protecting its hybrid franchise started by the Prius. (Photo credit: Ron Sessions)

Virtually single-handed, Toyota has made “hybrid” into a household word while piling up points helping protect the environment with vehicles such as the fuel-efficient Prius.

However, with Prius sales fading, Toyota is also protecting its hybrid franchise, which faces some serious challenges from rival automakers such as Honda and Hyundai, by deploying the hybrid powertrain in vehicles such as 2019 RAV4 and now the 2020 Toyota Corolla.

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The 12th-generation Toyota Corolla Hybrid is an integral part of the distinctive family of compact cars the Japanese automaker has sold continuously since 1966, becoming the best-selling passenger vehicles of all time. (more…)

Toyota Focusing on Multi-Cultural Buyers of New Corolla

Automaker again reconfirms plans to sell cars in the U.S.

by Joseph Szczesny on Feb.25, 2019

Toyota plans to use a multi-cultural ad campaign to attract more minority buyers to the 2020 Corolla.

As the new 2020 Toyota Corolla begins arriving in dealerships this week, the auto giant is planning to reinforce its position in the passenger car market with focus on the changing demographics across the U.S.

Ed Laukes, Toyota vice president of marketing, noted during a briefing at the press launch of new 12th generation Corolla in Savannah, Georgia, that the popular compact sedan already has a very diverse customer base. Not only does the Corolla attract the youngest buyers, but also more than 57% of the customers come minority communities. In fact, more than one third of Corolla buyers are Hispanic.

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As the U.S. moves towards becoming a country where the “multi-cultural” population is in the majority, Laukes noted in his presentation that by 2020, roughly 50% of the school-age population under the age of 18 will be “multicutural,” including African-American, Hispanic or multi-racial. (more…)

Honda Shutting Down Lone UK Auto Plant

Maker says Brexit not the reason, but move highlights problems.

by Michael Strong on Feb.19, 2019

Honda announced plans to close its manufacturing plant in Swindon. It means the loss of 3,500 jobs.

Honda will close its only auto plant in Great Britain in 2021 becoming the latest automaker to say it was leaving and turning what was once a trickle into a torrent of closures due to Brexit. The facility makes the Civic.

The Swindon plant closure means the loss of 3,500 jobs and a tenth of all vehicles produced in Britain. However, despite early reports, Honda officials claim Brexit had little to do with the move. Honda officials said the company was focusing manufacturing in the areas where it has the largest sales, and Europe isn’t one of those.

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“We had to consider the rise of electrified vehicles, and the different speeds at which electric vehicles will be taken up in North America and Europe,” said Honda Chief Executive Takahiro Hachigo. “This decision was not informed by Brexit.”  (more…)

Toyota, Lexus May Still Rule, But Japanese No Longer Dominate Vehicle Reliability

Chevy delivers a surprise in J.D. Power 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Feb.13, 2019

The Prius is one of the vehicles that helped Toyota lead the latest J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study.

Toyota and its luxury arm Lexus captured the top spots among mainstream and premium brands in the latest J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, but the 2019 VDS also delivered more than a few surprises when it comes to how three-year-old vehicles are holding up.

The study placed Lexus at the top of the charts, followed by Porsche and then Toyota, but Chevrolet nabbed the fourth spot, a significant turnaround for a brand struggling to convince potential buyers it has overcome the quality and reliability issues of the past.

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The new Power VDS shows that Japanese automakers no longer have a lock on vehicle dependability. Tellingly, only Toyota and Lexus landed in the top 10 this year, while the list also included two American brands, four from Germany and both of the South Korean carmakers operating in the U.S.: Hyundai and Kia. (more…)