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Posts Tagged ‘Prius’

Is 40 the New 30 – MPG, That is?

Searching the LA Auto Show for the newest 40 mpg offerings.

by on Dec.03, 2012

The new Honda Accord PHEV will get 115 MPGe, says the EPA, the highest mileage rating in the industry.

For years we’ve been hearing about the surprising vim and vigor of people who hit age milestones like 40 that once meant the downhill slide had begun.  Now 40 is being touted as the new 30.  Might this milestone hold true for cars, as well?

Is 40 miles per gallon the new 30?

Could this be the de facto standard for a new crop of vigorous, green machines that promise to cart our gracefully aging selves around while taking baby sips of fuel — or electrons?

Your Inside Source!

To get a sense, we kicked the tires and listened in on the news conferences and Q&A sessions during the two press preview days at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The second day started off with the Green Car of the Year award going to the promising new 2013 Ford Fusion that offers a hybrid version providing an average for city and highway driving of 47 mpg.  Not bad.

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Japanese Makers Hiring Thousands to Make up for Lost Production

Toyota, Honda alone will add up to 5,000 temporary jobs.

by on Jun.22, 2011

Toyota is struggling to make up production of the Prius lost due to Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

With operations at most of Japan’s automotive supplier and assembly plants starting to return to normal, manufacturers are putting out the Help Wanted signs as they race to make up for lost production.

Toyota and Honda alone expect to add up to 5,000 temporary workers in a bid to boost their output during the second half.  Other makers, including Nissan, plan to hire new workers, as well.

Insight!

Toyota now hopes that it can add an extra 350,000 vehicles to its assembly schedule during the second half of the fiscal year ending next March, said Senior Managing Director Takahiko Ijichi, which would reduce its overall production losses to about 450,000 cars, trucks and crossovers.

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Toyota Reports Dealers Down to 4 days of Prius Inventory

Though overall hybrid sales sliding, Toyota officials hope for strong launch of new Prius v.

by on Jun.21, 2011

The debut of the Prius v has been pushed back about two months because of the Japanese earthquake.

While its factories are rapidly getting back up to full speed following the devastating March earthquake in Japan, Toyota dealers are struggling to meet demand for the popular Prius with barely a “three to four-day supply” of the world’s best-selling hybrid model, a senior official said.

 

By comparison, makers consider a 50 to 60-day supply to be normal for most products.  The shortfall likely resulted in a 30 to 40% shortfall in sales of the Prius during May, said Toyota’s hybrid marketing manager Ed LaRoque.

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The crisis, which all but shut down Toyota production the first month after the March disaster—and continues to leave its plants running below capacity — has also forced the maker to delay the launch of its new Prius v, the first in a “family” of hybrids to share the same brand identity as the original Toyota model.  According to La Roque, the debut of the v, a larger, wagon-like take on the familiar hybrid sedan, will be “a few months behind,” and probably won’t reach U.S. showrooms until around October. The maker is meanwhile hoping to start rebuilding supplies of the original Prius over the next several months.

 

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First Look: Toyota Yaris HSD Concept

Japanese giant downsizes battery power.

by on Feb.28, 2011

Toyota will unveil the Yaris HSD Concept in Geneva.

Toyota officials have often suggested that they’d like to make their Hybrid Synergy Drive system available as an option on just about every product in their line-up.  They underscored that commitment at last month’s Detroit Auto Show, and even more battery news will be coming at this week’s Geneva Motor Show.

Making its world debut at the PALExpo conference center, the Yaris HSD Concept shows it’s possible to put a version of Toyota’s hybrid technology in one of the maker’s smallest models – which happens to compete in one of the biggest market niches in Europe.

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Specific details are being held for the Toyota news conference but sources say that the Yaris HSD Concept is just a thinly-disguised version of the production car we’ll be seeing in European showrooms in the very near future.

Toyota will have a variety of Synergy Drive-powered offerings on display, including the Prius+, the first model to compete in the 7-passenger multi-purpose vehicle, or MPV segment.

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Toyota To Reveal New Prius-Badged Hybrid At Detroit Auto Show

Maker plans an array of battery vehicles and even a hydrogen car – but still is betting big on hybrids.

by on Oct.14, 2010

The Prius FT-HC concept could soon morph into a production vehicle, Toyota planning to use the Prius badge on a "family" of hybrids.

Toyota will introduce an all-new hybrid-electric vehicle that will share the Prius badge with the maker’s existing 4-door hybrid, the first step in a strategy to turn the Prius name into a green-tinged brand-within-a-brand.

“It will be an all-new model,” said Don Esmond, the senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales USA, during an appearance before the Automotive Press Association.  And it will make its first appearance at the Detroit Auto Show, in January 2011.

While he hinted it will be “more stylish” and “more versatile,” Esmond shied away from offering any other hard details other than to say it will be part of a growing “family” that will share the Prius name with the original hybrid.  That Toyota model remains not only the most popular of Toyota’s gas-electric models but accounts for roughly half of all hybrids sold in the United States.

Esmond did suggest there are at least two key niches that Toyota would like to expand the new Prius family into.  The first would be a larger model, probably a crossover.  The other would be an even smaller and less expensive hybrid offering, which could mean something in the $15,000 range.

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The timing of the concept reveal would suggest the new Prius-badged hybrid could make it to market as early as the 2012 model-year.

Expanding the use of the Prius badge is potentially risky, especially if a new model falls short of expectations, but because it has an extremely high consumer awareness factor the approach also offers a potential kick-start for any new model.

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Toyota Resumes Hiring at Stalled Assembly Plant

New, non-union plant to build Corolla beginning in fall of 2011.

by on Aug.23, 2010

Toyota's tenth U.S. plant opens next fall.

Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi and officials from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc. (TMMMS) announced today that the company is resuming hiring at its Blue Springs plant where the next generation Corolla compact car will be built.

Toyota is now finished with the construction of the plant that was put on hold in late in 2008 when the reckless practices of Wall Street caused the collapse of the global economy.

Instead of building Prius hybrid models as previously announced, the $1.3 billion facility will make Corolla models instead, starting late next year. Initially the plant was going to produce Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicles when the project got underway in 2007. The collapse of the truck market and failure of the Tundra full-size pickup truck have forced the Japanese maker to rebalance its production in the U.S. while protecting Japanese jobs in Japan.

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Informed!

The decision to hire as many as 2,000 workers in anti-union Mississippi is the latest setback for the beleaguered United Auto Workers union since Corollas were previously built in a unionized plant – NUMMI – in Fremont, California that Toyota shut in March. Corollas for North America have been built in Japan since April.

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Toyota Begins Auris Hybrid Production in UK

Sales of 30,000 annually for first full hybrid made in Europe?

by on Jun.28, 2010

Auris HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) will be sold, eventually, in 32 countries.

The Toyota Plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire, is now making the new Auris hybrid, the first full-hybrid vehicle to be built in Europe, although some citizens of the UK might reject the “European” characterization.

Sales of 30,000 are targeted for the first year, with customer deliveries starting this July. Eventually, Auris HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) will be sold in 32 countries.

The Auris, not on sale in North America, comes in 3- and 5-door hatchback models derived from the Corolla platform. The hybrid will start it sales life as a 5-door hatch. (See Toyota Auris HSD Concept Appears at Frankfurt)

The design of Auris HSD has evolved from the Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. Prius  was launched in Japan in 1997 and in Europe and North America in 2000. Prius is now in its third generation. Auris is very close in size and performance to the Prius, creating a potential marketing problem. I assume Toyota will offer the Auris for fewer Euros, and keep the Prius the premium nameplate.

Auris is similar in size and performance to the Prius, creating a potential marketing problem.

Prius, of course, much to the astonishment of the European and American automotive establishments was a major technological breakthrough  – providing huge fuel economy benefits, as well as a “Green” marketing triumph for Toyota.

Toyota plans to introduce full hybrid drive technology across the company’s entire model range by the early 2020s.

“It is a proud day for Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK as we celebrate the official start of production of the Auris with Hybrid Synergy Drive, yet another premium quality model to be Built in Britain,” said Katsunori Kojima, Managing Director of TMUK.

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Toyota Restarts Work on Mississippi Plant

New, non-union plant to build Corolla beginning in fall of 2011.

by on Jun.17, 2010

Mississippi taxpayers provided almost $300 million in incentives to the Japanese company.

Toyota is resuming construction of its Blue Springs, Mississippi plant that was put on hold in late in 2008 as the reckless practices of Wall Street caused the collapse of the global economy.

Instead of building Prius hybrid models as previously announced, though, the $1.3 billion facility will make Corolla compact models instead. Initially the plant was going to produce the Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle when the project got underway in 2007.

The decision is the latest setback for the beleaguered United Auto Workers union since Corollas were previously built in a unionized plant – NUMMI – in Fremont, California that Toyota shut in March. Corollas for North America have been built in Japan since April.

The decision to close NUMMI was controversial, to put it mildly,  since California is Toyota’s largest market by far, and the home of Toyota’s U.S. headquarters.

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Informed!

Toyota said in a statement that it would hire 2,000 “team members” and build the Corolla sedan beginning in the fall of 2011. Through May of this year, Toyota has sold more than 118,000 Corollas in the U.S.   (more…)

Nissan Leaf Debuts in U.S. at $32,780 in December

Large Federal taxpayer subsidies reduce price to $25,280.

by on Mar.30, 2010

A question remains as to whether this is the beginning of a mass market for EVs?

Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today announced that the 2011 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, starts at $32,780 MSRP before a $7,500 federal tax credit, plus taxes, title and license fees. A Leaf lease starts at $349 per month.

The pure electric vehicle needs a charging dock, which Nissan says will cost another $2,200 on average, and require eight hours to fully recharge Leaf’s 48 lithium ion battery modules.

There are also other potential subsidies for the small car – 175 inches in length – with what is claimed to be a 100-mile range. There is $5,000 statewide tax rebate in California; a $5,000 tax credit in Georgia; a $1,500 tax credit in Oregon; and carpool-lane access in some states, including California. The charging dock and installation are eligible for a 50% federal tax credit up to $2,000.

Leaf will be at Nissan dealers in select markets this December, and roll-out nationwide in 2011. Nissan will begin taking consumer reservations for the Nissan Leaf on April 20 for a refundable $99 fee.

Leaf is powered by laminated lithium-ion batteries, which provide a power output of more than 90 kW with 24 kW hours of capacity – roughly $24,000 worth of batteries at current prices. Its electric motor delivers 80 kW/280 Nm.

Nissan hopes this pricing will make its EVs more than the limited volume technical curiosities that EVs are today. However, the small car faces stiff competition from larger and technically advanced hybrid vehicles, such as Toyota Prius and Honda Insight,  as well as simpler economy cars in the $10,000 to $17,000 range, including Nissan’s own Versa and Sentra models.

“Imagine the possibility of never needing to go to a gas station again, or of paying less than $3 for 100 miles behind the wheel, said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA.

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Toyota Throws Record Incentives at U.S. Market

After a 9% sales slump, Toyota goes on marketing offensive.

by on Mar.02, 2010

Under pressure to turn around a share and sales slump, Toyota is spending big.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. today announced plans to launch what it called its “most far-reaching sales program in its history.”

This latest development followed the  announcement that Toyota sales had declined 9% in February, moving far behind number two General Motors in the U.S. market.

Particularly worrisome was a drop in “first time buyers” during the month.

A “stop sale” of its most popular models  because of safety recalls at the beginning of the month cost Toyota an estimated 18,000 vehicle sales, according to Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division for Toyota Motor Sales.

Starting today, through April 5, 2010, the national marketing program includes financing, leasing and customer loyalty offers. Highlights of the program include:

  • 0% APR financing for up to 60 months on 2010 Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Tundra and Yaris, for qualifying buyers.
  • Low lease rates on 2010 Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, Prius, RAV4, Tundra and Venza, for qualifying buyers. Examples include a Corolla lease for $179 a month and a Camry lease for $199 a month, although offers may vary regionally.
  • Complimentary two-year premium maintenance program for customers who purchase or lease a new vehicle and provide proof of a Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicle already registered in household, with applicable conditions.

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