Archive for the ‘Toyota’ Category

Freightliner Takes Aim at Tesla with Two Big EV Semis and a New E-Mobility Center

Daimler’s U.S. truck division will put first 30 into field tests this year.

by on Jun.07, 2018

The new Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 semis.

Freightliner, the U.S.-based truck subsidiary of Daimler AG, is taking direct aim at Tesla with the debut of two new battery-powered semis that it plans to begin fleet testing later this year.

The eCascadia and eM2 join a range of smaller delivery trucks that Freightliner and other Daimler truck brands have been rolling out over the last couple years. A number of major freight and delivery companies, ranging from UPS to PepsiCo, have expressed interest in the clean, fuel-efficient technology. That has drawn a number of vehicle manufacturers into the emerging field, including Volvo AB and Volkswagen AG, as well as Freightliner and Tesla.

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Daimler also plans to set up a new Automated Research and Development Center near Freightliner’s headquarters in Portland, as well as a new E-Mobility Group to help share technologies among its various truck brands.

“We are the undisputed global leader of the trucking industry and we intend to remain in that position with electric trucks and buses,” Daimler Trucks chief Martin Daum said in a statement.

That was echoed in a comment by Roger Nielsen, the president of Daimler Trucks North America, that took a clear shot at Tesla, a company that has not only never built a truck before but which has had major trouble meeting production targets and quality goals for its passenger vehicles. But it also underscored the fact that Daimler is taking Tesla’s imminent arrival in the truck market as seriously is it is the California company’s electric passenger car line-up.

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Subaru’s Crosstrek Will Become its First Plug-In Hybrid

Japanese maker's first PHEV will use modified Toyota driveline.

by on May.14, 2018

For 2019, Subaru will add a plug-in version of the Crosstrek likely to deliver over 20 miles per charge.

Little Subaru is about to get a helping hand from Japan’s biggest automaker, Toyota lending out its Prius Prime driveline for the smaller manufacturer’s first-ever plug-in hybrid.

Subaru has been teasing us with electrified concepts for quite a few years, mostly through its palindromic Viziv concept series. Now, finally, we’ll be getting the real think with the launch of the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

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“The new Crosstrek Hybrid maintains all the capability of the traditional Subaru Crosstrek with increased fuel efficiency,” the automaker revealed in a terse statement. “It can be driven as a normal Hybrid, using both gas and electric power and eliminating range anxiety, or driven on pure electric drive for local commuting.”

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Trump Meets With Automakers About CAFE, Blasts NAFTA Instead

President pushes companies to build more cars in U.S.

by on May.11, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett looks on as President Donald Trump makes a point during a meeting with automakers.

The much-anticipated meeting between a 10 automakers and Trump administration officials to discuss rolling back Obama-era fuel economy standards resulted in smoke, but no fire.

President Trump and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt met with the heads dozen automakers, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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A proposal from the U.S. Transportation Department would freeze Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE,requirements at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than allowing them to increase as previously planned. Trump’s administration is expected to formally unveil the proposal later this month or in June. (more…)

Mazda’s Head of N.American Ops Will Be its Next CEO

Promotion of Akira Marumoto comes at critical time of change for #5 Japanese automaker.

by on May.11, 2018

Akira Marumoto, a 38-year Mazda veteran, will become the company's new president and CEO.

Mazda Motor Corp.’s president and CEO will step down next month and will be replaced by the executive currently overseeing its biggest market, the Americas, and North America, in particular.

The transition, which will see current Vice President Akira Marumoto take the helm, comes at a critical time for Japan’s fifth-largest automaker. After having its long-time partner, Ford Motor Co., sever ties, Mazda has been searching for new allies and over the last 12 months has announced several projects with industry giant Toyota that will see it share in a new, U.S. assembly plant. Mazda is also pushing to develop costly new powertrain technologies at a time when most markets are demanding significant improvements in fuel economy and emissions.

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“Given the rapid changes occurring in the auto industry at the moment it’s often asked whether a small company like us will be OK,” the 60-year-old Marumoto told reporters in Japan on Friday, cautioning that, “before we even consider this we need to show our strengths, and what makes us different if we want to grow our brand.”

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10 Major Automakers Meet With Trump Over CAFE Today

Session could focus on opposition from California.

by on May.11, 2018

Former Ford CEO Mark Fields generated controversy last year when he warned Pres. Trump CAFE could cost 1 million U.S. jobs.

Senior executives from ten of the auto industry’s largest manufacturers will be meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House today to discuss the administration’s plans to roll back federal fuel economy standards.

A draft proposal developed by the Environmental Protection Agency would freeze requirements at 2020 levels rather than continuing a phase-in established by the Obama White House that was set to reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The new target would come in somewhere in the low 40 mpg range and hold through 2026.

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But the meeting could prove to be an anxious one. Consumer and environmental groups have been ramping up opposition and any announcement from the White House would come at a time when fuel prices are surging to levels not seen in years. Meanwhile, any rollback could pit the Trump Administration – and the auto industry – against California which is threatening to effectively stall the cuts by using authority given the state under the Clean Air Act of 1970.

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Audi Out: Follows Growing Group of Automakers Abandoning Detroit Auto Show

NAIAS still studying possible date change to revive flagging fortunes.

by on May.11, 2018

Audi has traditionally used the NAIAS for major intros, like the Q8 Concept it debuted in 2017.

Already hit by key defections, the organizers of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit learned Thursday that Audi will also be a no-show in January 2019 – though the luxury arm of Volkswagen Group said it will “continue to evaluate” a return at a later date.

A once-regional event, the NAIAS became the most significant auto show in the U.S., and one of the world’s most widely watched, when it added the “International” designation in 1989. At its peak around the start of the new millennium, Detroit could count on virtually every manufacturer to participate, with some years seeing more than 70 new cars, trucks, concepts and crossovers debut.

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As the industry plunged into recession, things began to change. Some manufacturers, such as Nissan, pulled out temporarily, but others decided to abandon the Motor City event entirely. That included some of the most exclusive marques, like Ferrari, as well as mainstream and luxury brands like Mazda, which was a hold out this past January. Volvo had no corporate presence, though its local dealers did roll a few vehicles into Detroit’s Cobo Hall convention center. Now, it seems, the exodus is turning into a rout. Audi follows Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche in planning to stay home next January. (more…)

Toyota Earnings Jump, Despite Rising U.S. Incentives

Record R&D spending could hurt operating profit.

by on May.09, 2018

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is not only pushing for automotive sales growth, but leading the company into the emerging mobility sector.

Toyota saw earnings jump 21% between January and March, the final quarter of its fiscal year, despite having to sharply ramp up incentives in a slowing U.S. automotive market.

The automaker reported a profit of 480.8 billion yen, or $4.4 billion, up from 398 billion yen the year before. Toyota’s sales also rose 2% to 7.58 trillion yen, or $69 billion. For the full fiscal year, it earned 2.49 trillion yen, or $23 billion, a 36% increase, with sales rising 6%, to 29.38 trillion yen, or $268 billion.

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The strong performance helped highlight the cost-cutting efforts initiated by CEO and President Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota’s founder declaring, “We’ve become a leaner, trimmer company … and in the past year we’ve developed our remaining fat into muscle, so that we’re in a strong position to be more competitive.”

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Toyota Investing $1 Billion into Canadian Facilities

Move will add 450 new jobs, automaker says.

by on May.08, 2018

Toyota is investing $1 billion into the plant in Canada that produces the company's top-selling RAV4.

Toyota Motor Corp. is planning to beef up its manufacturing footprint in Canada with a $1 billion investment its three assembly plants in Woodstock and Cambridge, Ontario, which are dedicated to building two of the Japanese automaker’s most popular vehicles in North America, the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX 350.

The investment will be used to retool the company’s Ontario operations to build vehicles using Toyota’s New Global Architecture, which will make dramatic improvements in the performance and competitiveness of the vehicle, as well as how it is engineered, Toyota officials said.

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It will also support the pursuit of future production for Ontario as well as research and development, and new automation technology in the paint and plastics shop. The investment represents a reversal of fortune for Canada’s auto industry, which has lost ground production in Mexico has steadily expanded. (more…)

Toyota Readying Its Own Autonomous Car Testing Site

New site allows TRI to conduct more "dangerous" testing.

by on May.03, 2018

The Toyota Research Institute plans to build an autonomous vehicle test site within the MITRP.

Toyota is looking to take its autonomous vehicle testing to a new level – a more dangerous one – without putting the public at risk so it’s going to construct a new closed-course testing facility near Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) filed construction permits this week to transform an approximately 60-acre site at Michigan Technical Resource Park (MITRP) in Ottawa Lake into a facility that takes testing to the edge.

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Expected to be operational this October, the new site will be used exclusively by TRI to safely replicate demanding “edge case” driving scenarios, too dangerous to perform on public roads. (more…)

Car of the Year? Even Honda Accord Falls into a Black Hole as Sedan Sales Continue to Wither

Slumping sedan sales putting a chill on spring sales.

by on May.02, 2018

It may be new for 2018, but U.S. buyers have had only a tepid response to the latest Honda Accord.

Few recent product launches generated more buzz than the debut of the 2018 Honda Accord. Long one of the U.S. market’s best-selling nameplates, the 10th-generation sedan quickly racked up a slew of awards, including North American Car of the Year.

But despite all the rave reviews, Honda is struggling to retain momentum for the Accord. American motorists purchased just 21,751 of the sedans in April, a 19.3% year-over-year decline. And even when adjusting for the fact that April 2018 had two fewer sales days than the year before, the dip was 12.5 percent. And Honda isn’t alone. The completely redesigned 2018 Toyota  Camry, a Car of the Year runner-up, suffered a 5.0% drop in volume in April.

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“They’re both brand new vehicles and award winners, but I’m not sure that has any impact now,” said Joe Phillippi, head of AutoTrends Consulting. “Consumer tastes are changing. Everybody wants SUVs and CUVs.”

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