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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.


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.


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

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. 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…)

Toyota Adds 3rd Autonomous Vehicle Research Center

Carmaker’s TRI venture partnering with University of Michigan.

by on Apr.08, 2016

Toyota's Gill Pratt is leading the Japanese maker's efforts in the autonomous vehicle arena.

Ann Arbor, Michigan will become the third and latest research center for Toyota’s research into autonomous vehicles. The Japanese automaker will partner with the University of Michigan and share the 32-acre MCity self-driving research facility also used by domestic rivals Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.

Initially wary of autonomous driving, Toyota reversed itself last year and has plunged headlong into the development of the technology, announcing a $1 billion investment to set up the Toyota Research Institute, or TRI, which already has twin bases near Silicon Valley’s Stanford University and Boston’s MIT.

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“TRI was drawn to Ann Arbor because of the strength of the university,” explained Gill Pratt, the former DARPA scientist who now heads TRI, as well as “the utility of MCity and the Mobility Transformation Center, which we currently sponsor; (and) the promise of the future American Center for Mobility at Willow Run.”


Hyundai Blitzing Market with 26 Green Machines

Korean maker aims to rival Toyota in alternative powertrain technology.

by on Apr.05, 2016

The Hyundai Ioniq makes its debut at the NY Auto Show. Hybrid, plug-in and EV versions will be offered.

When Hyundai pulled the wraps off its new Ioniq model last month, it offered three different alternative flavors: a conventional hybrid, a plug-in and a pure battery-electric version. But that’s just the beginning of the Korean carmaker’s green car push.

Within the next four years, Hyundai Motor Group – including both the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands – intends to flood the market with 26 green machines, including both battery and hydrogen-powered models.

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The move is a risky one, especially in light of current, low gas prices that could stay depressed for several more years. But if Hyundai can pull it off, only Toyota would offer more models using alternative powertrain technology.


Toyota Launches Connected Car Venture with Microsoft

Freeing customers from “the tyranny of technology.”

by on Apr.04, 2016

Toyota expects to add lots more features to its EnTune system, while also reshaping the way technology fits into the interior.

Toyota has launched a new  partnership with software giant Microsoft meant to expand the use of technology both for the development and production of new vehicles, as well as to expand the range of features and services that can be delivered to customers while driving.

Dubbed Toyota Connected, the venture is the latest sign of the growing links between the automotive and consumer electronics worlds. Today’s cars are already loaded with advanced electronic safety and infotainment systems. And technology is expected to play an even greater role as automakers push towards the goal of delivering the first fully autonomous vehicles within the next decade.

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“Toyota Connected will help free our customers from the tyranny of technology,” said Zach Hicks, the newly named CEO of Toyota Connected. One of the goals of the venture is to make in-car technology simpler and easier to use, while integrating it with the devices we use elsewhere, such as smartphones.


New Study Finds Big Gaps in Headlights

“Most need improvement,” warns IIHS.

by on Mar.30, 2016

A BMW 3-Series is put through the IIHS headlight test process. The car ranked "poor."

They’re among the most basic safety devices found on every vehicle on the market, yet nearly 120 years after the invention of the electric headlight, most still fall short of effectively lighting the way, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

In its first-ever test of headlights, the insurance trade group found only one of the 31 midsize vehicles it tested – the Toyota Prius V, earned a “good” rating, with another 11 rated “acceptable.” The rest of the group were in need of serious improvement, according to the IIHS.


“If you’re having trouble seeing behind the wheel at night, it could very well be your headlights and not your eyes that are to blame,” said IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer David Zuby.


Mazda Claims Double Win at World Car Awards

by on Mar.24, 2016

Mazda NA CEO Masahiro Moro and WCoTY organizer Peter Lyons with the MX-5 Miata.

For such a little car, the Mazda MX-5 Miata was the big winner at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday morning, collecting not only the trophy for World Car of the Year, but also being honored as the globe’s top automotive design.

The twin win came hours before the first formal unveiling of a special auto show unveiling of the Miata RF. The retractable fastback version of the two-seat roadster generated rave reviews when it was shown to a smaller group of journalists on Tuesday night.

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“What a day for Mazda,” blurted out Masahiro Moro, who recently took over as CEO of Mazda’s North American operations. “This is a brand icon,” he declared, hoisting the hefty World Car of the Year trophy and inviting key members of the development team to join him on stage.