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Toyota Offers Wireless Cellphone Charging in Avalon

Avalon features global standard Qi charging mat.

by on Dec.20, 2012

Toyota's new Avalon will offer the first automotive application of Qi-enabled wireless cellphone charging.

After inventing alternating current electrical transmission, Nikolai Tesla became obsessed with wireless electric transmission. He even created the scary Tesla Coil to demonstrate the concept.

Tesla’s wireless electricity transmission was ahead of its time and we’ve been tethered to the electrical cord ever since.

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But wireless battery charging has become possible in recent years such as with the Powermat charging system for cellphones. Now Toyota plans is offering in-car wireless cellphone charging with the Qi-enabled wireless charging system. Qi is an global standard technology promoted by the Wireless Power Consortium.

Toyota will offer the system as an option on Limited models.


First Drive: 2013 Toyota Avalon

Toyota pumps some passion into its big sedan.

by on Oct.30, 2012

Toyota rethinks its design language with the new 2013 Avalon sedan.

This story has been updated to include pricing and other information.

For a brand long known for high quality but plain vanilla design, Toyota sent shock waves through the industry when it revealed an all-new version of the big Avalon sedan earlier this year.  The new, full-size sedan is perhaps the single best example yet that Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda was serious when he promised to put more “passion” into the brand.

The long-popular Avalon has been completely revamped for 2013 and is now the most “American” car the Japanese maker has ever developed, the striking new design emerging from Toyota’s styling center in Newport Beach, California, with the maker’s engineering center in Ann Arbor, Michigan taking lead on that end of the product.  Production will be U.S.-based, as well.

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Avalon is clearly part of Toyota’s quest for younger buyers, the 2013 remake boasting a fresh exterior design that moves away from the conservative and cautious approach that had characterized earlier versions of the big sedan. But looks aside, we set out to see if the 2013 Toyota Avalon really lives up to all the hype as we headed to California for our first test drive.


Toyota Moving More Production to North America

Maker will maintain small “core” in Japan.

by on Aug.08, 2012

Toyota Motor Sales USA's top gaijin, Jim Lentz, revealing the A-BAT concept car.

Toyota expects to increase its already vast North American production network, a senior U.S. official revealed, adding niche products on top of the core vehicle lines that currently roll off an assortment of assembly lines in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The move comes as Toyota struggles to adapt to a changing world in which exchange rates now – and for the foreseeable future – make it increasingly costly to import vehicles from the home market, said Toyota’s top American executive, Jim Lentz.  Complicating matters, Toyota, like its competitors, have come to recognize how vulnerable Japanese operations are to disasters like the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the island nation in March 2011.

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But Toyota officials stress they will not completely abandon the company’s home base.

During a speech at the annual Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, MI, Lentz declined to provide much detail, only noting that, “We’ll have additional announcements down the road as more of cars are designed, built, sold and serviced right here in North America.”


Avalon to Get First-Ever Hybrid

Full-size sedan will yield up to 40 mpg.

by on Jun.26, 2012

Toyota will add a new hybrid drivetrain option for the 2013 remake of its big Avalon sedan.

Toyota’s big new Avalon will be getting a hybrid drivetrain for the first time, the remake of the full-size sedan to share the powertrain line-up offered in the Japanese maker’s smaller Camry model.

The move underscores Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda’s goal of offering a gas-electric alternative in virtually all products sold for the Japanese giant.

Beyond the addition of a first-ever hybrid, the new Avalon is a significant departure for Toyota.  First shown at this year’s New York Auto Show, the 2013 Avalon was developed entirely in the U.S. and features a striking new shape that’s a distinctive new look that’s a striking shift away from Toyota’s traditionally plain vanilla approach to styling.

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Set to go on sale late this year, the Avalon will be one of six new models or variants to get a hybrid.  The maker earlier this year unveiled the compact Prius C, as well as a plug-in version of the original Prius hatchback.


Toyota Puts Emphasis on Striking Design with 2013 Avalon

New look for an old, familiar nameplate.

by on Apr.05, 2012

Toyota shifts design direction with the 2013 Avalon.

It was one of the big mysteries of the 2012 New York Auto Show: what would Toyota name the new full-size sedan it planned to unveil during the annual show’s press days?  Ultimately, it was no surprise at all.  The new car will stick with an old, familiar nameplate: Avalon.  But there all similarities end.

Toyota has long been known for quality, value and reliability — or QVR, in industry terms – but when it comes to design and driving dynamics, well, think plain vanilla.  But times are changing.  The original design for the 2012 Camry was panned by Toyota dealers and even after making some major changes the midsize model took plenty of critical hits.  So, when it came time to re-do the brand’s flagship, then-new Toyota Motor Co. CEO Akio Toyoda encouraged a dramatic change.

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He got it.  The 2013 Toyota Avalonhas an elegant yet edgy shape that will clearly surprise Toyota loyalists – as well as its critics.  Initial reaction following its unveiling at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center has been almost universally positive.

“This is the first vehicle in Toyota’s line-up to have Akio Toyoda’s thumbprint on it,” said Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter, following the maker’s news conference.