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Toyota, VW Announce Major Ride-Sharing Partnerships

Japanese maker teaming up with Uber; German carmaker pumps $300 mil into Gett.

by on May.25, 2016

Toyota and Volkswagen are the latest makers to announce deals with ride-sharing companies. Toyota is teaming with Uber.

The number of major automakers entering the ride-sharing realm continues to grow, Toyota and Volkswagen just the two latest.

The Japanese maker has announced a broad alliance with Uber, the world’s largest ride-sharing service, with a $1 billion investment. Volkswagen, meanwhile, is investing $300 million in Gett, a global ride-hailing service. The two announcements come just months after General Motors said it would launch car-sharing service Maven and invest $500 million in Uber’s largest competitor, Lyft.

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“Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota and president of its new subsidiary, the Connected Company. “Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers.” (more…)

Toyota, FCA Recall About 2 Mil Vehicles for Faulty Airbags

Takata defect not the only problem.

by on May.24, 2016

The 2010 Lexus GX is part of the most recent airbag-related recall for Toyota.

Nearly 2 million more vehicles are being recalled by Toyota and Fiat Chrysler due to a series of airbag problems, the vast majority of them involving defective Takata airbag inflators.

Designed to enhance crash safety, airbags have become a major headache for automakers around the world due to design and manufacturing issues. The Takata problem alone has already become the largest recall in U.S. automotive history, impacting as many as 20 different automakers.

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The largest of the two new recalls involves 1.6 million Toyota vehicles equipped with Takata airbags. The service action affects both the driver and passenger front airbags on vehicles as much as a decade old and sold through the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. (more…)

Toyota Teams Up to Develop iBot Motorized Wheelchair

iBot capable of rising up on two wheels and climbing stairs.

by on May.23, 2016

iBot inventor Dean Kamen shows off the wheelchair's ability to ride on just two wheels.

Toyota is lending its support to DEKA Research to complete the development of the iBot motorized wheelchair.

The brainchild of Dean Kamen, the inventor of the two-wheeled Segway PT, the iBot is designed to overcome the traditional limits of the wheelchair. Among other things, it can climb up and down stairs, and even rise from a standard, seating position to about six feet in height.

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“Toyota and DEKA share the same vision of making mobility available to people of every kind of ability,” said DEKA founder Dean Kamen. “We are excited about this new relationship and excited about what it means for making that dream a reality.”

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Toyota Opens New Brazil Plant – Hopes to Prop up Latin American Sales

Fiat Chrysler also betting on Brazilian economic rebound.

by on May.11, 2016

Toyota's CEO Akio Toyoda announced a profitable quarter for the automaker, then the company announced its new $170 million engine plant in Brazil.

Toyota, which Wednesday announced yet another record annual profit, has opened a new engine manufacturing plant in Brazil that it hopes will bolster the automaker’s operations throughout Latin America.

But the debut of the new factory comes at an unusually tough time for the Japanese giant. Even while earning a record $21 billion for the fiscal year that ended March 31, Toyota warned it would see as much as a 35% decline in the coming fiscal year. And one reason is weak sales in Latin America.

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Things have gotten particularly dire in Brazil, a country in the midst of its worst recession in decades, as well as a political upheaval that is considered increasingly likely to result in the ouster of its embattled president. (more…)

Toyota Earnings Up – But Outlook Bleak Going Forward

Japanese giant forecasts 35% profit plunge for current fiscal year.

by on May.11, 2016

Toyota's record earnings were overshadowed by some serious concerns going forward.

Even while celebrating yet another record annual profit officials at Toyota Motor Corp. put a bleak face on, warning that profits for the current fiscal year are likely to fall by 35% or more.

The auto industry’s sales leader expects to be hit hard by the growing strength of the Japanese yen. And it also could feel the brunt of plant closures and cutbacks caused by the damaging earthquake that hit the southwestern part of the country last month.

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The automaker had been able to drive profits to record levels three years in a row largely due to the “tailwind” of a weak yen said Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda. “Since the start of the year, the tide has changed,” he added.

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Despite Diesel Dilemma, VW Snatches Global Sales Lead from Toyota

Toyota loses momentum due to production snags.

by on Apr.27, 2016

Despite some serious problems, VW could retain the sales lead during the second quarter.

It’s had to suspend sales of its popular diesels in the U.S. market, and it’s already taken an $18 billion hit in the wake of its ongoing diesel emissions scandal, but not all is doom-and-gloom for Volkswagen AG.

The embattled automaker can celebrate the fact that it surged into the global sales lead for the first quarter of 2016, narrowly squeaking by Japanese giant Toyota which has had its own problems in recent months. General Motors continued to hold down the third spot in the global sales sweepstakes.

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Whether VW can hold the lead for the rest of the year is far from certain. It was, in fact, the top-seller for the first half of 2016, only to slip behind Toyota once again as the diesel disaster began to take its toll. But wildcard factors have a way of upsetting the industry’s apple cart, and Toyota is currently dealing with problems that will likely scuttle its chances of regaining the sales crown for at least another quarter.

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GM to Close Four Plants in Wake of Japanese Quake

But Toyota expects to be nearly back to normal next week.

by on Apr.22, 2016

The new Cadillac XT5 sport-ute is among the vehicles impacted by the GM shutdowns.

The impact of last week’s devastating earthquake in Japan is now being felt in North America.

Even as some of Toyota’s Japanese operations begin to return to normal after shutdowns this past week, General Motors says it will idle four of its plants in the U.S. and Canada due to shortages of Japanese-made parts.

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That said, the closures are “not expected to have any material impact on GM’s full-year production plans in North America,” the maker said in a statement, nor should it have a major impact on earnings for the second quarter.

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Toyota Cutting Production in Wake of Major Japanese Quake

US production unaffected “at present.”

by on Apr.18, 2016

Toyota's operations in Japan have been impacted by the recent earthquake there. U.S. operations are unaffected for now.

In the wake of a devastating series of earthquakes in Southern Japan, automotive giant Toyota will suspend vehicle production across the country in the coming days due to an anticipated shortage of parts and components.

Production is tentatively scheduled to return to normal by next Friday, according to the maker, though Toyota said that could change if deliveries continue to be disrupted. For the moment, a senior U.S. official said Toyota’s American plants are “unaffected.”

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The major earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Northern Japan in 2011 also caused serious disruptions to the Japanese auto industry, Toyota and most of its domestic competitors, including Honda and Nissan, suffering extensive production delays through the end of the year. The latest tremblors, so far, do not appear to have caused nearly as extensive a problem. (more…)

Toyota, Acura Hold Highest Five-Year Residual Values

Toyota also has most models with best-in-class returns.

by on Apr.14, 2016

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is expected to retain 66% of its original value after five years, according to Edmunds.com.

New cars, trucks and sport-utes are flying off dealer lots in 2016. Pent-up demand and available credit are making it easier than it has been in some time to buy a vehicle.

While those are some of the factors in buying a car, what about buying the next new vehicle? It’s good to know how much one can expect today’s new car to be worth in the future when it comes time to trade it in. Edmunds.com released its Best Retained Value Awards today and if the new vehicle you bought is a Toyota or an Acura, the site thinks you’re going to be pretty happy in five years.

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Toyota products captured five market segments in the contest and also won the overall top prize for retaining 53.8% of its value after five years. and Acura won the luxury brand award for the fifth consecutive year for retaining 47.6% of its original value after five years. (more…)

Toyota Teams with Clemson Students for uBox Concept

Deep Orange collaboration produces vehicle aimed at Gen Z

by on Apr.12, 2016

Graduate students at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, worked with Toyota to develop UBox.

As the world wrings its hands over the fate of an automotive industry that will eventually be run by an allegedly apathetic generation of Millennials, Toyota and Clemson are showing that future appears to be pretty bright.

After a two-year partnership between the Japanese automaker and Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, a group of graduate students unveiled a concept called uBox.

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The concept, which was born out of collaboration of the two called Deep Orange, is designed to appeal to the next generation of car buyers: Gen Z. Deep Orange, named after the university’s well-known orange athletic uniforms, gives the students involved a hands-on experience in different aspects of automotive development. (more…)