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Is Toyota Next to Pare Back its Passenger Car Line?

US CEO “taking a hard look” at model mix in the era of the SUV.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.06, 2018

No longer #1; the Camry is just one of the Toyota passenger car models losing momentum.

With the exception of the Mustang, Ford is winding down production of passenger cars. Fiat Chrysler has eliminated almost all of its sedans and coupes, as well. In an era when SUVs have come to rule the roads, could Toyota be far behind?

While we’re not likely to see the Camry or Corolla nameplates vanish anytime soon, the Japanese giant is also rethinking its model mix and could toss some of its sedans, coupes and hatchbacks as it puts more of an emphasis on sport and crossover-utility vehicles, according to the head of its North American operations.

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“We are taking a hard look at all the segments we compete in, to make sure we are competing in profitable segments and that products that we sell have strategic value to the brand,” Jim Lentz told the Wall Street Journal.

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Now Badged Toyota, C-HR Crossover to Make Debut at LA Auto Show

Compact model to challenge the likes of Honda HR-V, Nissan Juke.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.03, 2016

The little C-HR will be back in LA wearing a different badge than it bore at the 2015 show.

We got a first look at the little C-HR concept vehicle at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, and it has bounced back and forth across the Atlantic a number of times. But the production version is finally set to make its debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show two weeks from today.

Expect to see a few key changes from the original show car. Some of the radical angles and edges are likely to be softened a bit. And it’s not clear whether there will be a hybrid drivetrain available, unlike the original concept which was said to share the familiar Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive.

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But the most significant change – at least for the U.S. market, might take a sharp eye to spot. When the C-HR concept landed at the 2015 L.A. Auto Show, it was wearing a Scion badge. With that youth-oriented brand now tossed onto the automotive scrapheap, the little crossover now will be wearing the Toyota logo all over the world.

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Toyota C-HR Moves Closer to Production

Concept crossover features new, advanced hybrid system.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.15, 2015

Toyota appears to be moving closer to entering the compact crossover segment with the latest C-HR.

Toyota is driving into Frankfurt with a new small crossover and a new design language.

A year after unveiling the original C-HR concept, the Japanese maker is back with an updated design that appears to be a step closer to production. The updated version of the Toyota C-HR also appears to help the Japanese maker pull together in a cohesive whole some of the design details it has been showing off in other recent offerings, including the new Camry and Corolla models.

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“This highly innovative design study for a stylish, lightweight and dynamic hybrid crossover is designed to stand out in an increasingly homogeneous marketplace,” Toyota declared in a release describing its plans for the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Toyota Killing Off Venza – but New Midsize CUV Likely to Follow

Camry-based Venza never clicked with U.S. buyers.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.05, 2015

A Venza at the new Toyota engineering center near Detroit.

On paper, at least, it was a great idea. Toyota’s Venza was designed, engineered and manufactured in the U.S. market, and was expected to connect with U.S. buyers in a special way.

But as the sales numbers reveal, that didn’t happen, and Toyota is now set to kill off the Camry-based crossover-utility vehicle. While production for overseas markets is expected to continue at the maker’s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant through September 2017, the last Venza will be shipped to U.S. dealers in June of this year.

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No jobs will be lost at (the Kentucky plant) as a result of this decision,” stressed Toyota spokesman Mike Kroll in an e-mail to TheDetroitBureau.com. “At this time, no specific plans are in place for a replacement vehicle.” (more…)

New Toyota RAV4 Grows Up

Big changes in a little package.

by Henny Hemmes on Nov.29, 2012

Toyota's new RAV4 adopts a more expressive design - and a number of other changes.

Toyota helped define the “cute-ute” segment with its original RAV4. And it is hoping that the all-new crossover making its debut at this year’s LA Auto Show will help redefine the increasingly popular compact CUV segment.

But there’s no question that competition is getting tougher – no surprise – as sales soar to record levels.  Americans have purchased 1.7 million compact crossovers since the 1994 RAV4 debut, and a flood of new models has been entering the market, including an all-new version of the Ford Escape that has been transformed from classic, truck-based design to a car-based crossover for 2013.

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The basic design is likely to catch eyes and reflects a new emphasis on styling at Toyota, which has long been faulted for its plain vanilla approach.

The new Toyota is roomier, sportier and offers more luxury than its predecessor. According to Bill Faye, Group vice president and general manager Toyota Motor Sales, the RAV4 also is at the forefront with respect to handling, equipment, ergonomics and cost of ownership.

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