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Archive for the ‘Toyota’ Category

Automakers Still Looking for Top Price on Full-Size Pickups

Trucks continue growing bottom line for automakers.

by on May.21, 2019

The Sierra HD 3500 makes an audacious debut pulling 225,000 pounds of yacht and trailer. It also gets an audacious price tag.

Truck sales are booming, which is good news for automakers since they result in big profits. Only adding to their bottom-line delight is that the fastest growing area are the highly profitable “luxury” trucks with price tags zipping past $60,000.

New full-size trucks in 2018 were 16% more expensive than those in 2015, and midsize trucks were 3% more expensive, according to CarGurus.com. In fact, the top end of the market has trucks passed the $80,000 mark, and the good news is that there is probably room for even more expensive pickups, according to one truck executive.

Product News!

“I think there’s still an opportunity (in vehicles) for traditional luxury items, like more materials, audio systems, things like that,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC, recently during a meeting with journalists. (more…)

EU Auto Tariffs Deadline Fast Approaching

European and American automakers alike hope for delay.

by on May.15, 2019

President Donald Trump has until May to either enact new tariffs on EU autos or order a delay.

With one trade war already underway, the White House could kick off another battle this weekend as the May 18 deadline nears for Pres. Donald Trump to decide whether to impose tariffs on European auto imports.

Any move would follow the completion of a Commerce Department study completed last February that concluded auto imports pose a threat to America’s national security. The president has not given a clear indication of how – or whether – he will respond as a 90-day deadline approaches, though he has had harsh words about European automakers in the past, at one point threatening to banish all Mercedes products from the streets of his home city, New York.

Breaking News!

Auto imports from Europe totaled $56.4 billion last year, according to Commerce figures, Germany responsible for the bulk of that. The risk of new tariffs sent shares of German manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen reeling in recent days. But even U.S. automakers, as well as suppliers and dealers, have been pressing the Trump Administration to hold back on launching a new front in the trade war.

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Behind the Scenes: How Toyota and BMW Teamed up to Develop New Z4, Supra

You can't cost-cut your way to a world-class sports car.

by on May.13, 2019

Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer for the 2020 Toyota GR Supra flashes a thumbs-up during the sports car's first media drive.

(This story has been corrected to reflect the proper spelling of Supra Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada.)

The call came as a surprise. The chief engineer overseeing Toyota’s joint venture with Subaru that resulted in the 86 sports car, Tetsuya Tada was attending a media event in Barcelona when he was asked to jump on a flight for Munich seven years ago this month.

“Don’t tell anybody,” his boss said, and didn’t give Tada himself much to go on, beyond advising him there would be a car waiting at the airport. Once he arrived, the Toyota veteran learned he was being driven over to BMW headquarters, putting into motion one of the most unusual alliances in the history of either manufacturer.

Beyond the Headlines!

Almost seven years to the day after that first meeting, Tada is sharing a dinner in suburban Washington, D.C. and, for the first time, revealing the back story of what eventually became the 2020 Toyota GR Supra – as well as the new BMW Z4.

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China Car Sales Tumble for 10th Consecutive Month

Downturn comes as US trade war escalates, domestic economy slips.

by on May.13, 2019

Klaus Bischoff, VW design chief, shows off the SMV Concept at Auto Shanghai last month.

For much of the past two decades, China’s new vehicle market was the envy of the world, with routine double-digit annual growth approaching triple-digit gains on several occasions – but the numbers were down 14.6% in April, marking the 10th consecutive monthly decline.

At 1.98 million vehicles, China remains solidly in the lead as the world’s largest automotive market, but the downturn raises troubling issues for both foreign and domestically owned brands, such as General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Geely and Great Wall, impacting industry earnings around the globe.

Global News!

With China locked in an escalating trade war with the United States and the country’s overall economy showing signs of weakness, industry analysts question how soon the car market will show a recovery. The downturn could force automakers to look for ways to export products from increasingly underutilized Chinese plants, according to observers.

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First Drive: 2020 Toyota Supra

Are sports car fines likely to debate its merits? Probably, but the new Supra was well worth the wait.

by on May.12, 2019

The 2020 Supra was born of an unusual collaboration between Toyota and BMW.

It’s easy to feel intimidated at Summit Point Motorsports Park. The Shenandoah Circuit is an undulating, 2-mile course that sends you ping-ponging from one blind corner to another, rising and falling over the rocky West Virginia landscape. But it was as close to perfect a place to get my first ride in the all-new 2020 Toyota Supra as I could imagine.

It’s been 21-years since the last Toyota to wear that badge appeared in U.S. showrooms. Rumors of Supra’s revival have been circulating ever since. We got a hint that something really might be in the works five years ago when the Japanese automaker revealed the striking FT-1 concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Reviews You Can Trust!

The show car was anything but the sort of plain vanilla product Toyota has become known for, it’s long nose and sweeping roofline embodying the “passion” that Akio Toyoda has been crying out for since being named Toyota president and CEO in 2009. But the question was whether the Japanese automaker would actually ever put the FT-1 into production. Coming up with an answer became even more iffy in the years that followed, as new car buyers around the world began to migrate from sedans, coupes and sports car to SUVs, CUVs and pickups.

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Is Mazda Planning to Bring Vision Coupe Concept – and New Engine Line — to Life?

I-6 engine to power new product line off “Large Architecture” platform.

by on May.10, 2019

Mazda is finishing up a "Large Architecture," like the one that underpinned the 2017 Vision Coupe Concept.

For such a small company, Mazda has had a history of coming up with lots of creative powertrain technology, from its original rotaries to the latest Skyactiv-X that manages to combine some of the best attributes of a diesel and a gas engine. Now, it appears, the Hiroshima-based manufacturer is busy working on an inline-six design that could be powered both by gas and diesel.

Considering the size and design of Mazda’s current line-up, that might seem an odd choice, however. With the exception of the MX-5 Miata, the automaker’s products have been designed to use shorter powertrains that work in a transverse, or east-west, configuration, rather than the longitudinal, or north-south, layout that would be required with a longer inline-six engine.

Insider News!

That would suggest that Mazda has another surprise coming, and it appears to be a production car based on what is being referred to as the “Large Architecture,” a platform that could be used for a bigger product than any in the current portfolio. And that immediately brings to mind Mazda’s recent Vision Coupe Concept.

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Barely One in Six Americans “Likely” to Buy an EV Next Time They’re in the Market

New AAA study finds millions more might enter market – if gas prices top $5/gallon.

by on May.09, 2019

The Jaguar I-Pace is one of the winners of AAA's annual Top Green Vehicle Award.

Less than one in six Americans say they’d give serious consideration to buying an all-electric vehicle next time they’re in the market for a new car, truck or crossover, according to a new AAA study, a finding that could spell trouble for the automakers ready to launch dozens of new battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, over the next several years.

The good news for the industry is that as many as 40 million Americans say they’d at least consider the merits of an all-electric model. But, according to the study released today, U.S. motorists remain confused about both the benefits and limitations of battery-cars.

Green Car News!

“Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “But, like other new vehicle technologies, Americans don’t have the full story and that could be causing the gap between interest and action.”

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Toyota Earnings Fall as U.S. Market Softens

Executives say more cost cuts coming.

by on May.08, 2019

Akio Toyota, Toyota's chairman, said the company needed to implement changes more quickly to restore profits to acceptable levels.

Toyota’s full-year financial results were a mixed bag for 2019 with operating profit inching up 2.8% due to improved sales, tighter cost controls and lower incentives in the U.S. market.

Operating profit increased to $21.66 billion, or 2.40 trillion yen, in the automaker’s fiscal full year ended March 31, Toyota said on Wednesday. However, the money hitting the Japanese automaker’s bottom line fell 25% to $16.96 billion, or 1.88 trillion yen.

News Now!

The hits to the bottom line were driven lower by special losses on equity securities that compared against robust results the year before that were artificially inflated by a windfall U.S. income tax gain. Toyota’s revenue increased 2.9% to $272.78 billion, or 30.23 trillion yen. (more…)

Electrifying America

Volkswagen-funded start-up is rolling out a nationwide network of quick-chargers -- and cutting prices 20%.

by on May.06, 2019

A Chevrolet Bolt is plugged into an Electrify America charger at EA's suburban DC tech center.

Volkswagen plans to spend $50 billion on battery-electric vehicles while General Motors’ CEO says the automaker is on a “path” to go fully electric. Volvo, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and, of course, Tesla, by mid-decade, these and other manufacturers expect to have more than 200 electric vehicles on the market.

But just because you build them doesn’t mean buyers will come, industry analysts warn, pointing to a variety of obstacles to mass acceptance of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, including range and cost. But one of the biggest concerns is the lack of a viable charging infrastructure that would allow electric vehicle owners to travel as freely as do owners of conventional gas and diesel-powered vehicles.

Electrification News!

That is beginning to change as charging stations, especially “Level 3” fast chargers begin to pop up across the countryside. And, ironically, that roll-out owes a fair share of credit to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. Out of the roughly $30 billion the automaker has so far paid out in terms of fines and settlements, $2 billion is funding Electrify America, a start-up helping promote the adoption of plug-based vehicles, in large part by setting up the fastest-growing public charging network in the U.S.

EA is taking another step to increase the appeal of running on battery-power, on Monday announcing plans to cut the cost of charging at one of its stations by 20 percent.

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You Probably Won’t Be Able to Pronounce Its Name, But Zotye is Betting You’ll Want to Buy One of its SUVs

Stealing a page from the Koreans – and undercutting them, in the process.

by on May.03, 2019

The Zotye T600 shown making its debut at Auto Shanghai last month.

At 69, Duke Hale has been selling cars, either at a dealership or working for an automaker, for 50 years, but he’s betting he can become a sort of automotive Pied Piper to Millennials and Gen-Z.

He and a team of aging Baby Boom industry veterans are getting ready to start selling what may become the first cars imported from a local Chinese carmaker. It’s no easy task, his California-based start-up, known as HAAH, is still pitching its idea to the dealers who will have to bet on a brand that’s not only unknown to American car buyers but which is saddled with the ungainly name, Zotye.

Beyond the Headlines!

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time U.S. motorists were won over by a brand whose name they’ve had to struggle with. Think Hyundai, which Americanized its name to “Hun-day.” The Chinese brand, pronounced “Zoh-tee,” hopes it can lift some other pages from the Korean carmaker’s playbook, starting with a price low enough to make it an appealing alternative to a used vehicle.

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