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Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride Concept Could Deliver 620 Miles on a Tank of Hydrogen

Barely longer than Prius, fuel-cell vehicle boasts Mercedes S-Class-sized interior.

by on Oct.18, 2017

Toyota's Fine-Comfort Ride concept coming to the Tokyo Motor Show demonstrates the maker hasn't given up on fuel cells.

Though Toyota appears to be shifting some of its considerable resources into the development of battery-electric vehicles, the automaker isn’t walking away from its commitment to hydrogen power – as it plans to demonstrate at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show with the debut of the Fine-Comfort Ride concept vehicle.

The prototype is barely a foot longer than the familiar Toyota Prius but because of the distinctive powertrain, the layout offers about as much interior space as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Meanwhile, with an estimate range of 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles between fill-ups, the Fine-Comfort Ride would deliver about twice the range of Toyota’s current production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the Mirai.

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Toyota is billing the Tokyo Motor Show concept vehicle as “a new form of premium saloon,” and says it wants passenger to feel like they are “being wrapped in comfort,” rather than simply go along for a ride. (more…)

Toyota to Highlight Cars that Can Read Motorists Emotions at Upcoming Tokyo Motor Show

Japanese giant to begin testing autonomous EVs by 2020.

by on Oct.16, 2017

The next iteration of Toyota's Concept-i can determine if a driver is sleepy or hungry and adapt accordingly.

Hungry? Tired? Frustrated? Toyota plans to reveal a concept vehicle that will be able to not only tell if you are too tired to drive but also read more subtle emotions and adjust the way it drives – or even take over driving duties entirely. It will also be able to converse with a motorist using artificial intelligence.

The Japanese giant gave a hint of what it has in mind at last January’s Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas. A more advanced version of the Concept-I prototype will make its debut at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, and Toyota said Monday that it plans to begin testing autonomous electric vehicles by 2020 that will share many of the features found in the concept car.

Auto Show News!

“By using AI technology, we want to expand and enhance the driving experience, making cars an object of affection again,” said Makoto Okabe, general manager of Toyota’s EV business planning division, during a preview in Tokyo. (more…)

Fraud by Japanese Steelmaker Raises Major Safety Concerns for Automakers

Most key Japanese carmakers used products from Kobe Steel.

by on Oct.10, 2017

Toyota is one of 200 companies potentially impacted by Kobe Steel's fraudulent practices; however, its U.S. built vehicle appear to be unaffected.

Toyota is just one of about 200 companies that used steel, aluminum and other metal products from Japan’s third-largest steel manufacturer, and that is raising serious concerns in the wake of revelations by Kobe Steel Ltd that it had falsified data on many of the products it sells for as long as a decade.

The news comes as the latest in a series of scandals and embarrassments for Japanese companies that long were seen as putting quality and safety above all else. The list includes Takata Corp., the Japanese supplier blamed for producing tens of millions of defective airbags linked to over a dozen deaths, as well as Mitsubishi Motors, which falsified mileage data. That carmaker was taken over last year by Nissan which is now embroiled in its own flap over safety testing.

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For now, it is unclear just how serious the problem involving Kobe just might be, and how many of its customers – and how many of their customers – might be impacted. For its part, Toyota said the news is a “grave issue.” (more…)

Toyota Gives Century a New Look for a New … Century?

Uber-luxury ride gets first makeover in two decades.

by on Oct.05, 2017

The new 2018 Toyota Century gets its first makeover in two decades in time for the Tokyo Motor Show.

Automakers tend to update or change the exterior designs of vehicles every three or four years; however, there are some exceptions to the rule. Chevrolet dragged its heels on a major update of the C4 Corvette, but Toyota takes top prize with its Century luxury car.

Until this year’s refresh, the Japanese maker hadn’t made any changes in two decades. The car was originally introduced the vehicle at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1967 and the third-generation model will be unveiled at the same show later this month.

Product News!

“The intricately glamorous and chic exterior is highlighted by traditional Japanese design elements used throughout the car including the grille and black trim on the rear combination lamps,” the company notes. (more…)

Toyota, Mazda, Denso Join Forces for EV Development

New joint venture designed to produce new technologies.

by on Sep.28, 2017

Toyota, Mazda and Denso created a new joint venture to develop electric vehicle technology.

Toyota Motor Corp is setting up a new venture with Mazda Motor Corp. and Denso to develop electric vehicle technology for what has become a worldwide race to develop electric vehicles to meet demands for cleaner air.

Toyota is putting up 90% of the capital for the new venture, EV C.A. Spirit Co. Ltd. Denso and Mazda will put 5% each. The new venture will be based in Nagoya, Toyota’s home base in Japan. Denso is one of Toyota’s most trusted suppliers of sophisticated components, including electronics.

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The venture will be staffed by selected engineers from the three companies to ensure the efficient implementation of the joint technological development projects, according to a statement released by Toyota. (more…)

Toyota Set to Build First Hybrid Model in U.S.

New $374 mil investment will support broader electrification strategy.

by on Sep.26, 2017

Toyota is ready to build its first hybrid, the Highlander hybrid, in the U.S. at its plant in Indiana.

Toyota, the world’s largest producer of gas-electric vehicles, plans to launch U.S. production of the hybrid version of its Highlander SUV at its Indiana assembly plant by 2020.

It will mark the first time a Toyota hybrid will be assembled in the U.S., though the Japanese manufacturer had previously considered building an American version of the Prius, the world’s most popular gas-electric model.

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The announcement comes as Toyota gets ready to announce a broad electrification strategy that, among other things, will see it set up a new assembly plant in the U.S. to produce an all-new battery-electric vehicle. That project is part of a joint venture with Mazda, the smaller Japanese maker expected to sell its own versions of the new BEV. (more…)

When it Comes to Jobs, Automakers Give – and Take Away

Industry announces plans for 12,000 jobs long-term, but cutbacks costing thousands now.

by on Sep.25, 2017

Mercedes is one of the automakers getting set to expand U.S. operations and create new jobs.

If you’re looking for a job at an auto assembly plant, hang tight, there will be thousands of new openings over the next several years. But for now, you might want to look elsewhere.

The auto industry was one of the sparks that helped set fire to the U.S. economy after the Great Recession, and since just the beginning of the year, manufacturers ranging BMW to Volvo have announced plans to add at least 12,000 new jobs as they add new U.S. assembly plants or expand existing ones.

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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 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.

Electrifying News!

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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Toyota Turns Up the Heat With New GR Line of Performance Models

Gazoo Racing takes on seven models, including Prius Prime plug-in.

by on Sep.19, 2017

Toyota unveils the new GR performance line-up.

Hoping to pump a little more “passion” into the brand, Toyota is pushing for more extreme designs and, now, adding a series of new performance models.

The Japanese automaker’s Gazoo Racing unit is starting out with seven models in its new GR series, with even the Prius Prime plug-in getting a performance boost. But one model was notably absent during a Tokyo debut: the reborn Toyota Supra that is expected to make its return debut during next month’s Tokyo Motor Show.

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The debut of the new line-up comes as President Akio Toyoda continues his push to improve the “passion” quotient for both the Toyota and Lexus brands, the luxury division recently adding the new LC500 sports coupe to its line-up while also adopting a much more aggressive design for the flagship LS sedan. The Toyota brand recently adopted a much more sporty look for its top-selling Camry model.

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Automakers Moving to Help Hard-Hit Houston

Companies offering donations, payment flexibility.

by on Aug.29, 2017

Texas dealerships are being devastated by Hurricane Harvey and automakers are rallying to help.

Automakers are mobilizing to provide assistance to customers and dealers in Texas caught in the devastating rain and flooding from Hurricane Harvey by offering payment relief as well as cash for the recovery efforts going forward.

“On behalf of Ford Motor Co., our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by this devastating storm. We know for certain that many dealers in the area have sustained significant damage. We are gathering information from local authorities and dealers so we can offer our assistance in the most effective way possible,” Ford said in a statement.

News You Can Trust!

The Ford Motor Company Fund is contributing $100,000 to disaster relief efforts in Texas, as well as matching up to $50,000 in contributions to the American Red Cross, raising potential assistance from Ford to $200,000. (more…)