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Posts Tagged ‘Toyota Prius’

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…)

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.

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Toyota Recalling 1m Hybrids Worldwide Over Fire Risk

Prius, Prius plug-in and C-HR models targeted.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.05, 2018

A problem with the Prius wiring harness could lead to a short-circuit and possible fire.

Toyota is issuing a worldwide recall for three of its hybrid models due to a potential fire risk.

The service action covers the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle, as well as the newer Prius plug-in hybrid and the C-HR hybrid SUV. According to the automaker, The problem involves a wiring harness that has been linked to at least one incident in which a short-circuit caused smoke to pour out of a vehicle in Japan.

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According to Toyota, the problem occurs the wiring harness can come into contact with the cover of the hybrid power control unit. If dust accumulates on either the cover or the wiring harness, the insulation on the wires can wear down over time and eventually result in a short-circuit.

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Toyota Set to Reveal Electrification Strategy at 2018 Detroit Auto Show

Hybrids expected to remain key, even with new EVs in the works.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.19, 2017

Akio Toyoda at the launch of the Toyota Prius V.

Toyota, the automaker credited with creating the world’s first mainstream gas-electric hybrid, plans to reveal its corporate electrification strategy at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned.

Though it set in motion the push to battery power with the 1997 debut of the original Prius hybrid, Toyota has been slow to embrace more advanced forms of electrification, with only one plug-in model, the Prius Prime, currently in its line-up. But with governments around the world tightening emissions and mileage mandates – and even considering outright bans on the internal combustion engine, Toyota is expected to outline plans to add dozens of new hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric, or BEV, models to its line-up over the next decade.

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But don’t expect to see the Japanese giant abandon the time-tested internal combustion engine, Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda cautioned during a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. “EVs are in focus at the moment,” he said, “but customers and the market will ultimately decide which powertrains will be successful.”

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Voters in Trump States Less Likely to Buy Green Cars

Western motorists most open to battery-based vehicles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on May.11, 2017

Buyers in Trump states are more likely to view vehicles like the Toyota Prius Prime as "toys."

It’s often said that you are what you drive. And that apparently translates into how you vote.

A new study reveals that demand for battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, and other “green” cars is strongest in states that voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election, while sales of environmentally friendly vehicles is generally far lower in states that backed Donald Trump.

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The Big Picture!

“In some parts of the country buyers look at the Toyota Prius as a toy, something real men don’t drive,” said Peter Levy, CEO of the data-based car buying site Carjojo.com. “In other parts of the country, a Tesla and the Chevrolet Bolt are status symbols.”

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Green Car Award Nominees Include Familiar Nameplates

Five finalists cross vehicle segments.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.09, 2016

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica could be named the greenest vehicle in America next week.

The list of five finalists for Green Car Journal’s 2017 respected Green Car of the Year award includes the BMW 330e, Chevrolet Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Optima and the Toyota Prius Prime.

The winner will be announced next week at the Los Angeles International Auto Show and the nominees reflect the industry’s ongoing shift towards hybrid vehicles and the still tentative embrace of EVs and the ongoing shift in battery technology.

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“This year’s Green Car of the Year finalists clearly represent the momentum that electrification is experiencing in the auto industry,” said Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher of Green Car Journal and GreenCarJournal.com. (more…)

Toyota Tumbles; Operating Profits Plunge 43%

Weakness in North America, currency shifts hammer Japanese giant.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.08, 2016

The new C-HR could be a critical addition for Toyota.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s operating profit earnings took a 43% plunge during the July to September quarter, the world’s largest automaker struggling in the face of numerous headwinds. Net income, meanwhile, slid 36% for the quarter.

The growing strength of the yen was one problem for the Japanese giant. But the automaker also faced challenges in North America where the overall automotive market is slipping after the strongest recovery in history. Complicating matters, Toyota has been overly dependent on lower-profit passenger cars, such as the Camry and Corolla, as higher-margin trucks have been gaining momentum.

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“Supply has not kept up with demand” for more profitable models like the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander utility vehicles, acknowledged Executive Vice President Takahiko Ijichi, something that has led Toyota to trim its outlook for North America for the rest of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.

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Toyota Earnings Slip; Company Cuts Forecast

Strong yen, production problems, sliding margins take a toll.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.04, 2016

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda faces pressure to cut costs even as the maker invests in new products.

Snagged by a strong yen, tepid sales and supplier problems, Toyota Motor Corp. delivered a weak profit for the latest quarter, the Japanese giant also warning that the current fiscal year could be its weakest in nearly half a decade.

Toyota, whose global sales slipped behind rival Volkswagen AG for the first half of this year, said it earned $5.1 billion for the April-June quarter, the first in its new fiscal year. That was a decline of 14.5%. Operating earnings, meanwhile, were off 15%, to $5.9 billion.

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By the Numbers!

Net revenues also declined 5.7%, to $60.9 billion, despite a modest 1% increase in global vehicle sales. The maker sold 2.53 million cars, trucks and crossovers for the quarter, but that number was short of expectations due to a series of natural and man-made disasters that impacted production in Toyota’s home market plants.

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Hyundai Aiming for #2 in Green Vehicle Market

Korean maker and partner Kia will launch 26 “eco” models by 2020.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on May.25, 2016

The Hyundai Ioniq will be offered with hybrid, plug-in and EV versions.

Hyundai has big plans for the “eco” market, with the maker planning to introduce 26 new hybrid, plug-in, battery-electric and fuel-cell  vehicles between now and 2020, a blitz that begins with this year’s launch of the new Ioniq model.

The challenge, said the head of the Korean carmaker’s green car program, will be winning over motorists who’ve so far shown a reluctance to buy battery and hydrogen cars in large numbers. But, facing increasingly stringent emissions and mileage mandates, Hyundai – and its rivals – have no choice but to bring cleaner, more energy-efficient products to market, said executive Byung Ki Ahn.

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“We’re making a serious effort to be the number two producer of EVs and fuel-cell vehicles,” said Ahn, the director of the Eco-Vehicle Performance Development Group for Hyundai and partner Kia. “I don’t think we can beat Toyota right away.”

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Carmakers Beating Fuel Economy Mandates, Study Finds

Some models nearly meet goals set for 2025.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Apr.25, 2016

The new Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid already meets the fuel economy target for 2021.

Low fuel prices have been driving a surge in demand for big pickups and SUVs. That’s a seeming recipe for poor fuel economy, but a new report reveals that the auto industry is not only managing to meet federal fuel economy standards but, in many cases, handily exceeding the current mandate.

A total of 56% of the newest models in dealer showrooms match or exceed today’s federal target, according to the survey by the Consumer Federation of America. And a number of vehicles already come close to meeting the tough, 54.5 mile-per-gallon target that’s not supposed to take effect until 2025.

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“Fuel efficiency increasingly comes standard with new cars, trucks, and SUVs” said Jack Gillis, Director of Public Affairs for the CFA and author of The Car Book. “Even if you’re in the market for a large pickup or SUV, you’d have to go out of your way to find a true gas guzzler.”

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