Archive for the ‘Toyota’ Category

Mazda NAO CEO Denies Toyota Merger Speculation

Toyota deal is just a deal, CEO says. Despite EV growth, gas engines to stay.

by on Jan.22, 2018

Masahiro Moro, Mazda NAO president and CEO, told a crowd in Detroit that the factory deal with Toyota was not a prelude to a merger.

Mazda’s recent partnership with Toyota to produce EVs at a new plant in Alabama is just that — a partnership. Masahiro Moro, Mazda North America Operations president and CEO, told a crowd that Mazda plans to remain an independent automaker for foreseeable future.

Moro, the company’s top executive discussed Mazda’s future during the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. He also noted that while electric vehicles and fuel cells are important, Mazda believes it can squeeze substantially more fuel savings from its internal combustion engine during the next decade.

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The automaker does not have an EV or even a hybrid in its U.S. line-up, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named Mazda as the most fuel-efficient brand in the industry five years in a row, Moro noted.  (more…)

Toyota’s Flagship Avalon Gets Makeover for 2019

Exterior update matched by interior improvements.

by on Jan.15, 2018

Toyota's flagship, Avalon, gets a refresh for the 2019 model year and comes in a hybrid model as well.

The North American International Auto Show is being dominated by trucks this year with some notable exceptions, such as the fifth generation Toyota Avalon.

The 2019 Avalon unveiled in Detroit, with its 113-inch wheel base, sits on Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform, and is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 or Toyota Hybrid System powertrain, which is coming to market right along with the V6 to give consumers more choices when it arrives in showrooms.

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The new Avalon also has several new features, such as standard Apple CarPlay and Dynamic Auxiliary Turn Signals, available authentic Yamaha wood and aluminum cabin accents, and Engine Sound Enhancement that are used in a Toyota product for the first time. (more…)

China Posts Meager Auto Sales Gain in 2017

Sport-ute led the way to small 1.4% increase last year.

by on Jan.12, 2018

Auto sales in China increased marginally for 2017, but they were led by sport-utilites.

China’s auto sales stalled in December and ended 2017 up a meager 1.4% compared with a year ago results as the popularity of SUVs helped to offset falling demand for sedans, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

With global car makers such as General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen AG, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Nissan all reporting solid, but not spectacular, gains during 2017, smaller local brands common to almost every province and international brands such Ford and Hyundai, appeared to suffer the most for the slowdown, which was due in part to the end of special tax credits.

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The growth rate was barely one-tenth the previous year’s 15% rate, which was boosted by a temporary tax cut. (more…)

Tide Keeps Rolling as Toyota, Mazda Pick Alabama for New Plant

State beats North Carolina to secure 4,000-employee plant.

by on Jan.10, 2018

Toyota President Akio Toyota and his Mazda counterpart Kogai announce their alliance.

Toyota and Mazda are expected to announce that Huntsville, Alabama will be the site for a $1.6 billion auto plant after a search that stretched out for several months and nearly a dozen states.

In recent years, Asian and European manufacturers have made Alabama a center of automotive manufacturing and in 2017, the state churned out more than 1 million vehicles at plants operated by Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai.

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The Toyota-Mazda assembly plant will be built in the Huntsville area in Limestone County, according to news services that have been briefed on the impending announcement. The exact site hasn’t been officially announced yet. (more…)

Toyota Connects With Alexa Voice Assistant

Goal is to seamlessly integrate technology into all aspects of life.

by on Jan.10, 2018

Toyota's Zack Hicks explains how Toyota Connected will use Amazon's Alexa to supplement its system already in place.

Amazon’s personal voice assistant, Alexa, is showing up in a lot of places at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, including the Toyota stand, the Japanese automaker the latest to integrate the virtual reality technology into its vehicles.

In the coming months, the automaker announced Monday, it will begin offering access to Alexa on “select” Toyota and Lexus models, and the plan is to expand the line-up over the coming years.

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“Voice services are rapidly becoming more popular and through our integration with Amazon Alexa, Toyota and Lexus customers will soon be able to easily speak to Alexa in their cars while on-the-go,” said Zack Hicks, the head of Toyota Connect, the Japanese automaker’s data and digital services subsidiary. (more…)

Toyota Paints the Future of Mobility With e-Palette Concept

“A multi-purpose moving space.”

by on Jan.08, 2018

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda introduces the company's new e-Palette battery-electric van at CES 2018.

Think of the concept vehicle Toyota unveiled at CES Monday as something of a blank canvas. The e-Palette can serve as anything from a driverless ride-sharing vehicle to an automated delivery van – even a mobile store where commuters can shop on their way to work.

The battery-drive prototype will make the transition from concept to reality two years from now when Toyota puts several versions of the e-Palette into service during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And the giant automaker has already signed up several e-commerce partners, including Amazon, Pizza Hut and the ride-sharing service Uber.

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Think of e-Palette as a “multi-purpose moving space,” said Akio Toyoda, the CEO of Toyota Motor Corp. and grandson of its founder. “Every e-Palette can be reconfigured for different purposes within a single day.” (more…)

VW Topples Toyota, Likely Led Global Sales Chart for 2017

But Volkswagen’s top U.S. sales exec resigns over weak N.A. performance.

by on Jan.08, 2018

Volkswagen captured the top global sales slot by replacing its lost diesel sales with new SUVs.

Volkswagen appears to have narrowly retained its sales crown for 2017, fending off assaults by both Toyota and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, based on preliminary sales numbers.

The German automaker sold 10.7 million vehicles worldwide, according to in-house estimates, ahead of Toyota’s 10.35 million. If the VW numbers hold up when a final tally is reported it would mark the second year in a row that it nudged past its Japanese rival. But the Renault-Nissan Alliance also closed the gap last year and could be poised to challenge both VW and Toyota in 2018.

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Despite VW’s strong global performance, a senior U.S. sales executive has tendered his resignation due to weak demand in that critical market last month. (more…)

CES Focus Shifts From Smartphones, Smart TVs to Smart Cars

“The potential applications of...technology are incredible."

by on Jan.08, 2018

A Nissan engineer monitors a volunteer's brain activity while testing new brain-to-vehicle software.

Anyone who has driven a relatively recent-vintage vehicle has probably experienced the benefits – and occasional snags – of using voice control to plug in a destination, dial a call or change the radio station. But Nissan’s IMx concept vehicle aims to take things a step further. It uses brain-to-vehicle technology to respond to what the driver is thinking.

“The potential applications of the technology are incredible,” helping motorists relax more while driving, while also improving vehicle safety, said Dr. Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Center in Japan.

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While you’re not likely to see Nissan’s B2V technology wind up in showrooms for at least five to 10 more years, the automaker plans to demonstrate its potential during the CES show in Las Vegas next week. And Nissan won’t be alone. Formerly known as the Consumer Electronic Show, the annual gathering traditionally focused on gizmos and gadgets, smartphones, TVs, computers and drones. But over the last few years, it has become a showcase for the auto industry, as well.

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Buh-Bye Camry; Pickups, SUVs Now Own Top Sales Spots

Toyota's mainstay sedan didn't even crack the Top 5.

by on Jan.05, 2018

Despite giving the Camry a stylish makeover the sedan continued to lose momentum last year.

If anyone still questions the way light trucks have come to dominate the U.S. automotive market you only need look at the 2017 sales charts to see how passenger cars are on virtual life support these days.

Perhaps the most significant development finds that the Toyota RAV4 last year outsold the Camry for the first time ever. And so did the Nissan Rogue.

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The overall numbers for 2017 weren’t good, the U.S. market posting its first decline since the end of the Great Recession. And demand likely would have dipped more than the modest 5% if it weren’t for the strong, late-year surge as motorists in Florida and Texas raced to replace vehicles destroyed during the summer’s devastating hurricanes.

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Toyota Rolling Out New Version of Autonomous Car at CES

Platform 3.0 uses 360-degree Lidar system.

by on Jan.04, 2018

Toyota plans to debut its updated autonomous vehicle, Platform 3.0, at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Toyota Research Institute will unveil the latest iteration of its automated driving research vehicle, Platform 3.0, at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.

The Japanese automaker has concentrated much of its work on autonomous vehicles within the institute, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is west of Detroit. The most substantial improvement in the new model is the Lidar usage.

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Prior to this, the vehicle’s Luminar Lidar system only scanned 200 yards in front of the car, but now it offers 360-degree coverage, a critical upgrade to move closer to Level 5 autonomy. (more…)