Toyota Motor Corporation, abbreviated TMC, is a Japanese multinational automaker headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. In 2010, Toyota employed 300,734 people worldwide, and was the third-largest automobile manufacturer in 2011 by production behind General Motors and Volkswagen Group. Toyota is the eleventh-largest company in the world by revenue. In July 2012, the company reported it had manufactured its 200-millionth vehicle.
The company was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937 as a spinoff from his father's company Toyota Industries to create automobiles. Three years earlier, in 1934, while still a department of Toyota Industries, it created its first product, the Type A engine, and, in 1936, its first passenger car, the Toyota AA. Toyota Motor Corporation group companies are Toyota (including the Scion brand), Lexus, Daihatsu, and Hino Motors, along with several "nonautomotive" companies. TMC is part of the Toyota Group, one of the largest conglomerates in the world.
Hybrid electric vehicles
Main articles: Hybrid Synergy Drive, Hybrid electric vehicle, and Toyota Prius
Toyota is one of the largest companies to push hybrid electric vehicles in the market and the first to commercially mass-produce and sell such vehicles, with the introduction of the Toyota Prius in 1997. The company eventually began providing this option on the main smaller cars such as Camry and later with the Lexus divisions, producing some hybrid luxury vehicles. It labeled such technology in Toyota cars as "Hybrid Synergy Drive" and in Lexus versions as "Lexus Hybrid Drive."
As of October 2012, the Prius is the top selling hybrid car in world, with cumulative sales of 2.8 million units since its introduction in 1997. The United States is the world's largest hybrid market, and the Prius liftback is the top selling hybrid car in the U.S. market, surpassing the 1 million milestone in April 2011. Cumulative sales of the Prius in Japan reached the 1 million mark in August 2011. Worldwide sales of hybrid vehicles produced by Toyota reached 1.0 million vehicles by May 31, 2007, and the 2.0 million mark was reached by August 31, 2009, with hybrids sold in 50 countries. Cumulative sales of TMC hybrids in Japan reached the 2 million mark in October 2012. As of 31 October 2012, cumulative sales of TMC-produced hybrid vehicles worldwide reached 4.60 million units.
The Toyota Prius c the second spin off of the Prius family.
As of October 2012, there are 19 TMC-produced hybrid passenger car models and one plug-in hybrid vehicle model available in approximately 80 countries and regions around the world, and the carmaker plans to launch 20 new hybrid models by the end of 2015. Besides the three generations of Prius liftback, Toyota's hybrid lineup includes the Camry Hybrid (1st and 2nd generation), Toyota Highlander Hybrid (Kluger Hybrid in Japan), the Toyota Auris Hybrid, Toyota Yaris Hybrid (Europe only), and the following models sold only in Japan: Alphard Hybrid/Vellfire Hybrid, Estima Hybrid, Toyota Sai, Toyota Harrier, and Toyota Crown Hybrid.
The Lexus RX 450h is the top selling hybrid of the Lexus brand.
Beginning in 2011, TMC introduced three new members to the Prius family, the Prius v (Prius ? in Japan and Prius + in Europe), the Prius c (Toyota Aqua in Japan), and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, released in 2012 in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. With a total of 247,230 vehicles sold during the first quarter of 2012, the Toyota Prius family became the third top selling nameplate in the world in terms of total global sales, after the Toyota Corolla (300,800 units) and the Ford Focus (277,000 units). Until September 2012, The Prius liftback was the top selling new car in Japan for 16 months in a row, until it was surpassed by the Toyota Aqua (Prius c) in October 2012.
Lexus also has their own hybrid lineup, consisting of the GS 450h, RX 400h/RX 450h, the LS 600h/LS 600h L, Lexus HS 250h, Lexus CT 200h, and Lexus ES 300h. Cumulative sales of Lexus brand hybrid vehicles worldwide reached the 500 thousand mark in November 2012, with the Lexus RX 400h/RX 450h as the top selling Lexus hybrid with 259 thousand units, followed by the Lexus CT 200h with 122 thousand units.
Production version of the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
Toyota's plug-in hybrid electric vehicle project began in 2007, with road trials of a prototype vehicle in France and the UK in 2008. Toyota made available a total of 600 Prius plug-in demonstration vehicles for lease to fleet and government customers, 230 were delivered in Japan beginning in late December 2009, 125 models released in the U.S. by early 2010, and 200 units in 18 European countries in 2010, with France, the UK and Germany with the largest fleets with 150 PHEVs. Canada, China, Australia, and New Zealand also participated in the global demonstration program.
The production version of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid was released in Japan in January 2012, followed by the United States in late February, and deliveries in Europe began in late June 2012. A total of 21,600 Prius PHVs have been sold worldwide through October 2012, led by the United States with 9,623 units followed by Japan with 9,500 units sold through October 2012. As of October 2012, the Prius PHV is the second best selling plug-in hybrid in the world after the Chevrolet Volt.
First generation Toyota RAV4 EV
Second generation Toyota RAV4 EV
The first generation Toyota RAV4 EV was leased in the United States from 1997 to 2003, and at the lessees' request, many units were sold after the vehicle was discontinued. A total of 1,484 were leased and/or sold in California to meet the state’s CARB mandate for Zero-emissions vehicle. As of mid 2012, there were almost 500 units still in use.
In May 2010, Toyota launched a collaboration with Tesla Motors to create electric vehicles. Toyota agreed to purchase US$50 million of Tesla common stock subsequent to the closing of Tesla's planned initial public offering. Toyota, with the assistance of Tesla, built 35 converted RAV4s (Phase Zero vehicles) for a demonstration and evaluation program that ran through 2011. The lithium metal-oxide battery and other power train components were supplied by Tesla Motors.
The second generation Toyota RAV4 EV was released in September 2012. The RAV4 EV is assembled at Toyota's facility in Woodstock, Ontario along with the regular gasoline version. Tesla is building the electric powertrain at its plant at Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, and then ship them to Canada. The RAV4 EV is sold only in California, beginning with the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles/Orange County and San Diego. Production will be limited to 2,600 during the first three years. As of 31 October 2012, a total of 108 RAV4 EVs have been sold.
The Toyota eQ/Scion iQ EV is based on Toyota's three generations of FT-EV concept. Shown the Toyota FT-EV III concept car at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
A prototype of the Toyota iQ EV (Scion iQ EV in the US) was exhibited at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The Scion iQ EV is the successor to the FT-EV II as an electric vehicle based on the Toyota iQ chassis. Toyota produced three generations of FT-EV concept cars, and the iQ EV is a production version of those concepts, incorporating the technological and design strengths of all three models. The exterior of the production version is based on the FT-EV III concept shown at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
The U.S. launch of the Scion iQ EV was announced for 2012, and according to Toyota, for the initial roll-out the iQ EV would not be available to individual consumers, instead the carmaker decided to focus on fleet customers and car sharing programs. The iQ EV was scheduled to be produced at Toyota’s Takaoka Plant in Toyota City beginning in August 2012 and the initial production was planned to be limited to 600 units, with 400 staying in Japan, 100 units destined to the U.S. and the other 100 for Europe. In September 2012 Toyota announced that due to customers' concerns about range and charging time, the production of the Scion iQ (Toyota eQ in Japan) will be limited to about 100 units for special fleet use in Japan and the U.S. only. The iQ EV/eQ is scheduled to be released in both countries in December 2012.
In addition, Toyota announced that is backing away from fully electric vehicles. The company's vice chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada, said "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge." Toyota's emphasis would be re-focused on the hybrid concept, and 21 new hybrid gas-electric models scheduled to be on the market by 2015.
Further information: List of Toyota vehicles
As of 2009, Toyota officially lists approximately 70 different models sold under its namesake brand, including sedans, coupes, vans, trucks, hybrids, and crossovers. Many of these models are produced as passenger sedans, which range from the subcompact Toyota Yaris, to compact Corolla, to mid-size Camry, and full-size Avalon. Vans include the Previa/Estima, Sienna, and others. Several small cars, such as the xB and tC, are sold under the Scion brand.
SUVs and crossovers
Toyota crossovers range from the compact Matrix and RAV4, to midsize Venza and Kluger/Highlander. Toyota SUVs range from the midsize 4Runner to full-size Land Cruiser. Other SUVs include the Land Cruiser Prado, FJ Cruiser and Fortuner.
Toyota first entered the pickup truck market in 1947 with the SB that was only sold in Japan and limited Asian markets. It was followed in 1954 by the RK (renamed in 1959 as the Stout) and in 1968 by the compact Hilux. With continued refinement, the Hilux (simply known as the Pickup in some markets) became famous for being extremely durable and reliable, and many of these trucks from as early as the late 1970s are still on the road today, some with over 300,000 miles. Extended and crew cab versions of these small haulers would eventually be added, and Toyota continues to produce them today under various names depending on the market.
Riding on the success of the compact pickups in the US, Toyota decided to attempt to enter the traditionally domestic-dominated full-size pickup market, introducing the T100 for the 1993 US model year, with production ending in 1998. While having a bed at the traditional full-size length of 8 feet, the suspension and engine characteristics were still similar to that of a compact pickup. It proved to be as economical and reliable as any typical Toyota pickup, but sales never became what Toyota brass had hoped for. It was criticized as being too small to appeal to the traditional American full-size pickup buyer. Another popular full-size truck essential, a V8 engine, was never available. Additionally, the truck was at first only available as a regular cab, though Toyota addressed this shortcoming and added the Xtracab version in mid-1995.
In 1999 for the 2000 model year, Toyota replaced the T100 with the larger Tundra. The Tundra addressed criticisms that the T100 did not have the look and feel of a legitimate American-style full-size pickup. It also added the V8 engine that the T100 was criticized for not having. However, the Tundra still came up short in towing capacity as well as still feeling slightly carlike. These concerns were addressed with an even larger 2007 redesign. A stronger V6 and a second V8 engine among other things were added to the option list. As of early 2010, the Tundra has captured 16 percent of the full-size half-ton market in the US. The all-new Tundra was assembled in San Antonio, Texas, US. Toyota assembled around 150,000 Standard and Double Cabs, and only 70,000 Crew Max's in 2007. The smaller Tacoma (which traces its roots back to the original Hilux) was also produced at the company's San Antonio facility.
Outside the United States, Toyota produced the Hilux in Standard and Double Cab, gasoline and diesel engine, 2WD and 4WD versions. The BBC's Top Gear TV show featured two episodes of a Hilux that was deemed "virtually indestructible".
Further information: List of Lexus vehicles
As of 2009, the company sold nine luxury-branded models under its Lexus division, ranging from the LS sedan to RX crossover and LX SUV. Luxury-type sedans produced under the Toyota brand included the Century, Toyota Crown, and Toyota Crown Majesta. A limited-edition model produced for the Emperor of Japan was the Century Royal.
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST
The incredible rise of Tesla's stock price has done little to now stop two major shareholders from ditching their stake in the American EV manufacturer. First, Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, ditched its four-percent stake, and less than a week later, Toyota is doing the same thing, selling off an undisclosed bit of its Tesla investment.
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:32:00 EST
The move comes as Toyota winds down sales of the RAV4 EV, which gets its batteries and electric motor from Tesla at the company's Fremont, CA factory.
"We have a good relationship with Tesla, and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects," Toyota spokesperson Kayo Doi told Bloomberg via email.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST
"As Prius represents by far the biggest chunk of the hybrid marketplace, where Prius goes, the segment goes," - Ed Kim, Autopacific
Fuel prices in the US have been tumbling for the last several weeks, with the average price of a gallon of gas at $3.120 as of October 20, according to the US Energy Information Administration. That price reflects a serious recent drop from $3.299 on October 6. Reports have even suggested that those low numbers might not change for a little while, perhaps as long as years. While drivers certainly love paying less at the pump, the change may be hurting the market for more fuel-efficient models, including the Toyota Prius.
Despite the earnest efforts of Japanese automakers like Toyota and Nissan, the American pickup truck scene remains wholly dominated by the likes of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. This is not news. Part of the reason is because of the sheer number of variants offered by US automakers - everything from work-spec base trucks to house-leveling heavy duty models can be had, with a seemingly endless combination of engines, cab sizes, bed lengths and trim levels. It's a hugely profitable business, and though the Japanese automakers still offer competitive fullsize trucks, in terms of sheer volume, they simply don't compete.
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:31:00 EST
But American pickups aren't just about work; there's a huge play aspect involved, too. Look at the desert-storming Ford F-150 SVT Raptor or the Ram Power Wagon - these butch trucks are built with superb off-road prowess in mind, and Detroit's Japanese rivals have once again largely been silent in this segment. Until now.
Introduced at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, Toyota now offers the TRD Pro series of models that, in addition to the crazy-orange Tundra seen here, includes the smaller Tacoma pickup and 4Runner SUV. And this isn't just some pretty appearance package, either - there's honest-to-goodness capability baked into all of the TRD Pro models. Intriguing, for sure, so I recently spent a weekend with the big boy Tundra to see what's what.
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:30:00 EST
Unfortunately, the government's list still contains errors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it's urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.
Ever wonder where automakers get the names for their cars? You're not alone. The sitcom Seinfeld opened Episode 94 - the one where George Costanza buys a Chrysler LeBaron instead of a Volvo - with a bit about nameplates like Integra, Supra and Impreza. Toyota, clearly, is not exempt from choosing evocative but enigmatic names for its models, and now the Japanese automaker is taking us through the etymology of some of its nameplates.
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST
Names like Supra may require no clarification, but what about Camry? That comes from the Japanese word kanmuri for Crown (which is, incidentally, the name of another Toyota sedan).
Yaris? According to the company, it's "an amalgamation of words from Greek mythology and German. In Greek mythology, 'Charis' was a symbol of beauty and elegance. Toyota swapped the 'Ch' with 'Ya' - German for 'yes' - to symbolize the perceived reaction of European markets to the car's styling."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles "to act immediately" to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Infiniti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:57:00 EST
While NHSTA doesn't specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota's own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven't already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there.
We don't need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be - even in a stationary vehicle - but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to shrapnel being sprayed into the cabin.
Toyota is re-notifying owners and expanding its Takata airbag inflator recall for some regions. The renewed campaign covers 247,000 examples of the Toyota Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia, Tundra and Lexus SC430 that are located in southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. All of the models come from the 2001-2004 model years and have potentially faulty Takata-made inflators on the front passenger side. According to the company, testing shows the problem warrants "immediate action," and its press release says, "this action intensifies Toyota's efforts to reach customers and remedy previously recalled vehicles, and a small number of newly included vehicles."
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:58:00 EST
According to Toyota, it submitted some recalled inflators to Takata for testing, and it found a high probability of rupturing in high humidity areas. The automaker said it had no reports yet of injuries or fatalities related to the problem.
This is Toyota's third inflator recall this year. In June, it called in for repair the same vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years in high-humidity areas, and it conducted a separate campaign nationwide for the parts in additional models. In April 2013, it also announced a fix campaign for 1.73-million vehicles worldwide for the same issue.
It's easy to poke a joke here and there about John Davis, the long-time host of MotorWeek. His voice is so monotonous that, from time to time, if you closed your eyes, you may think it's generated via a computer. But you have to give him and the rest of the show a lot of credit. The program has been on the air for decades, giving people direct, straight-down-the middle automotive reviews.
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 08:58:00 EST
MotorWeek's massive back catalog of reviews are slowly making their way onto YouTube, and they provide a fascinating chance to look back on how performance cars rank against their contemporaries from back in the day. Two recent additions include the show's old looks at the 1986 Toyota Supra, the dawn of the third-generation model, and the now-iconic 1991 Acura NSX.
Both reviews are interesting in their own way. These days you hear nary a negative word about the original NSX, but MotorWeek isn't afraid to point out a few flaws. And the Supra really shows the progress of suspension tuning in the intervening decades because it has some serious body roll in the corners. Scroll down to check out both videos and get a blast from the automotive past.
Toyota is issuing three separate recalls covering 1.67 million vehicles worldwide with most of those models in Japan. It looks like the campaigns' impact on the US may be smaller, though. According to Reuters, Toyota isn't aware of any accidents, injuries or fatalities affecting the models. Some yet-unnamed Lexus models might also be affected.
Mon, 13 Oct 2014 08:44:00 EST
The largest of the campaigns does not currently affect any US-market vehicles. About 802,000 units of the Toyota Crown Majesta, Crown, Noah and Voxy in Japan are being repaired to replace a seal that could leak in the brake master cylinder. Those already leaking get a new brake booster, as well, according to Reuters.
The only recall currently believed to affect the US is due to a problem covering approximately 759,000 vehicles with 423,000 of them here. The repair is to fix a faulty fuel delivery pipe that could cause a fire if the fuel leaks out. Unfortunately, we don't know which models it covers. Autoblog spoke to Toyota spokesperson Mona Richard and was told the information was still "under embargo." When exactly that embargo will lift isn't yet known, but we're on the case.
Toyota recently introduced the all-new 2015 Camry for the street, so it follows that it should want to promote its new bread-and-butter sedan by putting it out on the racetrack as well. And that's just what it's done here with the release of the new Toyota Camry for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
The new Camry represents the first reskin of the standard stock car chassis since the Gen-6 model was introduced in 2012. Toyota's Calty Design studio worked closely with series organizers to determine which parts could be redesigned to more closely resemble the new production model, and what you see here is the result. Since it is based on the same control chassis as all the others, the Camry's skin is applied over a steel tube frame and powered by an old-school 5.86-liter pushrod V8 mated to a four-speed manual gearbox.
Although the idea of a Japanese automaker in American stock car racing didn't initially get the warmest reception from some of the good ol' boys when it first entered the series back in 2007, it has by now become a staple of the NASCAR circuit. After all, it's hard for even the most patriotic of racing fans to argue with the US-built Camry's ranking as one of the most American cars by content on the market.