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Posts Tagged ‘toyota news’

EVs Aren’t Ready to “Take Over the World,” Says Toyota’s Lentz

North American CEO warns “It’s going to be a battle” are models flood market but sales lag.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.16, 2019

Toyota's Jim Lentz believes the auto industry is putting too much stock – and money – into electric vehicles.

By various estimates, there should be as many as 100 all-electric vehicles on the market by the end of 2020, with scores more plug-ins and conventional hybrids already available. And that could pose a major challenge for automakers who are investing billions into the market to build battery-based vehicles. That includes Toyota which is investing about $1 billion to open up a new plant in U.S. in a partnership with Mazda that will, among other products, produce a new line-up of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

The question is whether all that money could be going down a rathole. For the moment, at least, Tesla appears to be the only automaker making any money on battery vehicles, as a number of industry leaders pointed out during a series of events in Detroit this week.

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That included Jim Lentz, the CEO of Toyota North America, who warned that, “It’s going to be a battle,” as manufacturers struggle to grab customers in a market where “There’s not much growth.” (more…)

Long-Awaited Toyota Supra Finally Set to Break Cover at NAIAS

The icon is back after nearly two decades away.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Toyota chief Akio Toyota welcomed back an "old friend," the new Toyota Supra at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

At a generally quiet 2019 North American International Auto Show one thing seems certain: there’ll be plenty of buzz as Toyota lifts the covers off the reborn Supra.

Though the automaker did tease us last year with a track version of the sports car, as well as a heavily disguised version of the street model during the summer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, this is the first time most of the world will see it, sans camouflage, as the Toyota Supra makes its return after a 17-year global absence and a 21-year deficit in the U.S. market.

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(We did get a sneak peek over the weekend, however, thanks to Toyota Mexico which issued a tweet declaring, “Our new #Supra arrived in Japan!, and this is the story that #AkioToyoda tells us about its return”, with an accompanying video profiling the sports car.) (more…)

Toyota Teaming Up With Paccar to Build a Test Fleet of Clean Hydrogen Semis

Project will focus on heavily polluted Port of Los Angeles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.09, 2019

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar to develop a next-generation fuel-cell powered semi-truck to be used at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar, one of the world’s largest producers of heavy-duty trucks, to build 10 hydrogen-powered Class 8 prototypes.

The rigs will go into operation at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, where the thousands of diesel trucks currently in use catch blame for a disproportionate share of the region’s air pollution. The project comes as environmental regulators are putting into place plans to completely eliminate conventional diesel trucks at the two ports by 2035.

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“This is not just a science experiment,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president, Toyota Motor North America. “The goal is to make a difference in society, to remove pollution and improve the air quality in and around the Port of Los Angeles.” (more…)

Toyota Wants to Share Potentially Breakthrough Safety Technology

Guardian system designed to catch, correct mistakes made by human drivers.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.08, 2019

Toyota's tech chief Gil Pratt is talking with other automakers about using the company's Guardian technology.

While tires may blow out and steering systems might fail, drivers are responsible for at least 90% of all motor vehicle accidents, according to federal data. But what if a vehicle can be equipped with a digital safety system that is constantly watching what the human driver does, ready to step in to correct a potentially dangerous mistake?

That’s the idea behind the Guardian technology Toyota aims to have ready for production by early in the coming decade. Unlike autonomous, or even semi-autonomous driving systems, Guardian isn’t meant to replace the driver but simply wait on vigilant standby, ready to step in and reduce the risk of a crash.

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Toyota is so confident about the strategy it has been meeting with competitors to see if they might be interested in using Guardian on their own vehicles, Gil Pratt, head of the Toyota Research Institute, announced during an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (more…)

Toyota Introducing New Automated Test Vehicle in Las Vegas

New vehicle based on fifth-gen Lexus LS flagship.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.04, 2019

Toyota's new automated vehicle, the TRI-P4, is based off the Lexus LS sedan and debuts at CES.

Toyota has offered a glimpse of an automated driving test vehicle it plans to show off next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Toyota Research Institute plans to reveal the TRI-P4, which is based on the fifth-generation Lexus LS flagship sedan and which Toyota plans to use TRI’s development of the two-track Guardian and Chauffeur automated driving system.

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“Our Chauffeur development is focused on full autonomy, where the human is essentially removed from the driving equation, either completely in all environments, or within a restricted driving domain,” said Ryan Eustice, senior vice president of automated driving at TRI.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Toyota Prius AWD

Less quirkiness, more practicality.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.13, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Prius comes in an all-wheel drive model that should stimulate sales in cold-weather environs.

When the original Toyota Prius first rolled into U.S. showrooms nearly 20 years ago it promised to transform the auto industry, delivering the sort of fuel economy numbers that seemed all but impossible at the time. Never mind the hatchback’s quirky styling – or perhaps because of it – the Prius quickly developed a broad and loyal following, at its peak becoming the best-selling nameplate in the huge California market.

Sales have been in a slump for several years, however, and a variety of factors, including cheap gas and some odd design choices on the fourth-generation Prius deserve much of the blame, along with the fact that the Toyota hybrid now has lots more competition.

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Yet, even as some of its key competitors are walking away from the passenger car market, Toyota is doubling down and betting it can breathe new life back into Prius. The 2019 model-year brings some modest, if much-needed design tweaks, as well as the introduction of a new electric all-wheel-drive system that, the automaker expects will account for about a quarter of the nameplate’s sales going forward by enhancing the hatchback’s appeal in Snowbelt climes. (more…)

Toyota Announces Takata Recall a Year in Advance

Next repair should solve problem permanently.

by Michael Strong on Dec.12, 2018

Toyota is recalling 2002-2005 model year Sequoias to replace faulty Takata airbags.

Toyota cannot seem to shake free of former airbag supplier, Takata; however, the news related to the now-defunct supplier responsible for the largest automotive recall in history is good.

The Japanese automaker is announcing its plans to replace airbags in 65,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the U.S. one year ahead of time. These are vehicles that have already had the airbags replaced, but need a second replacement to ultimately solve the problem.

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The second time around the replacements will made with non-Takata airbags at no cost, the company noted.   (more…)

Sales Sliding, Toyota Rethinking Plans for Prius

As sales slip, “We need to find a new direction,” says senior Prius exec.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.12, 2018

For 2019, Toyota is launching the first AWD version of the familiar Prius hatchback.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and one name is almost certainly going to pop into your mind: Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan in 1997 and brought to the U.S. three years later, it has been the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle, or HEV, ever since. For several years, earlier this decade, it was the best-selling vehicle in the huge California market and number one in Japan, as well.

But, as the cliché goes, times have changed. Whether due to increased competition, cheap gasoline, or other issues, sales of the original Prius hatchback have been tumbling. Though still the best-selling hybrid in the U.S., the first 11 months of this year saw demand dip 23.2%. And, at just 3,180 vehicles in November, sales are now running barely a quarter of their peak pace earlier in the decade.

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Toyota is trying to address some of the issues that came up with the launch of the fourth-generation Prius hatchback for the 2016 model-year, among other things tweaking its design and introducing a new electric all-wheel-drive system that could enhance the car’s appeal in Snowbelt regions. But during a series of interviews at a media drive of the 2019 Prius, Toyota officials acknowledged they are looking at even more radical options for the fifth-generation hybrid hatchback due out early in the coming decade.

(more…)

Toyota Staying in Car Market for the Long Haul

Cars account for 4 million unit sales.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.10, 2018

Toyota EVP Bob Carter noted that despite the popularity of trucks and SUVs, cars still about for 4 million sales.

Toyota officials recently reiterated the company has no intention of leaving the passenger car business.

Speaking at an event in Detroit last week, Bob Carter, executive vice president – sales for Toyota Motor North America, said the Japanese automaker has every intention of remaining in the passenger car business.

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Carter noted even as trucks and utility vehicles grow in popularity, consumers in the U.S. are expected to buy 4 million passenger cars this year. “At 4 million units, the passenger car market is bigger than the market in most countries,” said Carter. “Cars are very important.” (more…)

Toyota’s U.S. Chief Says More Tariffs Will Hurt Auto Sales

Lentz has reservations about NAFTA replacement as well.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.06, 2018

Toyota's Jim Lentz expressed concern about the imposition of new tariffs and the impact they'll have on the auto industry.

The imposition of a new round of tariffs by the Trump administration could raises the price of new cars and trucks and cripple the U.S. auto industry, Toyota’s top executive in the United States said this week.

Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota North America, said during an appearance at the Detroit Economic Club, like at Ford and General Motors, Toyota operating costs for steel and aluminum have increased by because of the increase in tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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“We use American-made steel, but the cost has gone up 40%,” Lentz said. (more…)