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.
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:43:00 EST
Toyota has announced that it will be issuing a recall of 690,000 Tacoma pickups from model years 2005 through 2011. The affected vehicles include both the four-wheel-drive model and the two-wheel-drive PreRunner (but not the standard 4x2 pickups), which may have a rather serious problem with their rear suspensions.
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 09:01:00 EST
In some cases, corrosion and stress could cause one of the three or four leaves in the rear suspension's leaf springs to fracture. While the trucks can still be driven with a broken leaf, Toyota is concerned that it could move out of position and impact other components in the rear of the truck, with a particular focus on the fuel tank. Needless to say, but a piece of metal continuously impacting anything, let alone the fuel tank, is cause for concern.
As of this writing, there have been no reports of crashes, injuries, fires or deaths due to this problem, although that won't stop Toyota from informing all affected customers of the issue. Those 690,000 owners will need to report in to dealers for inspections and, if necessary, repairs.
Americans certainly have a fondness for pickup trucks with the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado frequently being among the top sellers each month, and that attachment is famously strong in the Lone Star State. We already saw Chevrolet unveil its Colorado Sport concept at the State Fair of Texas. Not to be outdone, Toyota debuted its new the 2015 Tundra Bass Pro Shops Off-Road Edition there, as well.
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:01:00 EST
All of the Tundras use a 4x4 CrewMax SR5 configuration with the Tow Package, and they all come with Toyota's 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower and a six-speed automatic gearbox. What actually sets these vehicles off as the Bass Pro Shops special edition is the 20-inch matte black wheels, tubular side steps, a spray-on bedliner, stainless steel exhaust tips and fender flares. To promote the connection with the store, there are Bass Pro Shops-branded floor mats and company decals on the bed. Of course, pickups are meant to get used, and to make sure of that, buyers also receive a package containing fishing, hunting, camping or marine gear worth about $1,000.
The special edition trucks will only be available in the Gulf States of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas beginning this October, and they'll carry a price of $43,975.
People tend to get very set in their ways when it comes to the pronunciation of words. Just look at the endless debates over whether or not to say the final 'e' in Porsche (which you should in terms of correct German enunciation). Or the argument about whether to follow the British convention and give the 'u' in Jaguar a special delivery or to say the 'ua' diphthong as more of a 'w' sound, as usually happens in the US.
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:58:00 EST
This short video doesn't answer either of those automotive questions, but it does allow a native Japanese speaker to demonstrate the accepted pronunciations for several, major automakers from the country. One benefit is that it clears up the occasional debate over whether Nissan should be said with a long or short 'i' sound. Also, listen closely to how the female host says Mazda as Matsuda, the way it's actually said in the language. Even if this doesn't change the way you enunciate these brands, at least now you know the accurate way in Japanese.
It's hard to love a minivan, but it's very, very easy to use one. More than any other kind of vehicle - save a panel van, perhaps - the minivan is the most appliance-like of four-wheeled transportation devices. And most minivan buyers don't need to love their purchases; they just need to use them. So when it comes to a minivan's driving dynamics, who cares?
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:57:00 EST
Well, we do. So we perked right up when Toyota talked about refinements it made to the 2015 Sienna, starting with some 142 added spot welds made to the body structure. Normally not stop-the-presses stuff, but Toyota says the added reinforcements prompted Sienna engineers to recalibrate the springs and shocks for improved handling, and our very limited wheel time along the (admittedly benign) roads on the Big Island of Hawaii revealed the 2015 Sienna SE model's handling to be tidier and more engaging than you'd expect for a porky, 4,560-pound, eight-passenger box on wheels.
Advertising firms have done an admirable job convincing consumers that the easiest way to find a best-in-segment car or truck is by looking at a few key metrics. In the most elementary terms, the vehicle with the highest horsepower, most gears in its transmission housing, lowest acceleration times and best fuel economy most certainly must be the class benchmark.
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:31:00 EST
Yet as the commercials and billboards continue to drive that deceitful message, Toyota is betting shoppers in the subcompact segment are a bit more discerning. The Japanese automaker has just launched its updated 2015 Yaris, a three- and five-door offering that bucks the innovation and performance trends by offering what Toyota feels that entry-level buyers actually desire - reliability, practicality and a low sticker price.
It's sweltering in the tropical Hawaiian sun as I check out the deeply refreshed 2015 Yaris SE. This five-door hatchback, a range-topping version of the company's subcompact "sporty hatch" (Toyota's words, not mine), builds on the new-in-2012 generation by wearing new front and rear fascias, redesigned headlights and some attractive new wheels for the upcoming model year.
While it's arguably been around the longest, the dominance of the four-door sedan has been under threat for many years. As a further sign of the hurtin' that SUVs and crossovers have put on today's four-doors, a new report from Automotive News points to the increasing use of incentives by brands reliant on cars and light on CUVs and pickups.
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST
Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and Kia have all been stung by double-digit increases in their incentives-to-transaction price ratio, according to AN, which cites data from TrueCar. Honda's ratio is up 14 percent, while Toyota, VW and Kia are up 18, 15 and 19 percent, respectively.
"Most of the incentive growth we have seen is in product segments with low demand - midsized or large sedans," TrueCar CEO John Krafcik told AN. "As this trend goes on, the brands with three-sedan strategies are going to be in worse shape on incentive spending than the crossover brands."
Ah, aluminum. The lightweight, strong material has long held a following within the premium ranks, but as Ford prepares to launch an aluminum F-150, the material is gaining acceptance among more mainstream automakers. Toyota is one such brand, with a new report indicating that the Japanese giant will add aluminum bits and bobs to some of its upcoming vehicles.
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:58:00 EST
These won't be full, aluminum-intensive treatments like the F-150, however. Automotive News reports that an aluminum hood and liftgate will be coming to the 2016 Lexus RX, and following that, the Camry will get a bonnet built from Element 13 for model year 2018.
As AN points out, Toyota is no stranger to aluminum, using it in Japanese-built models like the Prius and Scion FR-S. The RX and Camry, though, will mark the first time the company's North American factories will use the material, and they'll do so on a significantly larger scale, owing to the higher volumes that the Camry and RX represent.
Toyota offers many flavors of its refreshed 2015 Camry, but those who choose to lower their operating cost-per-mile, squeeze 500-plus miles out of each tank of fuel or run a very efficient and reliable sedan in their taxi fleets will only be interested in one: the Camry Hybrid.
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 11:57:00 EST
The exterior of the 2015 Camry Hybrid is nearly indistinguishable from its gasoline-only counterparts, with the same all-new sheetmetal and bumpers. The Hybrid is offered in LE, SE and XLE trims, meaning customers are offered base, sport or luxury configurations, respectively.
While Toyota expended quite a bit of effort resculpting and improving the 2015 Camry Hybrid, one area it didn't touch was the powertrain - it is virtually identical to last year's model (just like the gas version). Under the hood is a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine (156 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque) and an electric tractive motor (141 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque). Combined, and running through Toyota's unique Hybrid Synergy Drive electronic continuously variable transmission, the two produce 200 horsepower (Toyota does not list a combined torque figure, and we've asked for clarification). A 1.6 kilowatt-hour nickel-metal-hydride battery, packaged behind the rear seats, provides energy storage.
Every car has its definitive year. Whether it be the Chevrolet Corvette, the Ford Mustang, or yes, even the ubiquitous Toyota Camry, 10.2 million of which have been sold since 1983, every car has its year. For the Camry, that year was 1992. With son-of-Lexus styling, a clear sense of purpose and a parent company that had hit its stride as the purveyor of faultlessly reliable family transportation devices, the Camry got its legs in 1992. It's a car that even your mom is likely to remember, even if she never owned one herself.
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:43:00 EST
The Camry you see here represents the closest Toyota has come to emulating the magic formula that made the 1992 model the stuff of legends. Compared to the 2014 model, some 2000 of the car's 6,000 parts are new, most of them involving things you can see or touch (on the outside, for example, only the roof carries over from 2014).
It's not a full redesign, but nevertheless it's a stunning development considering the predecessor upon which it's based only survived two model years. That's a testament to both the hyper-competitive nature of the family sedan segment and the lukewarm critical response that the outgoing car garnered. But that's in the past now - after driving this 2015 model, we suspect the new car's changes will be thorough enough to continue pulling in new customers by the hundreds of thousands each year for the foreseeable future.
Last week, Toyota previewed an upcoming concept called the C-HR and promised it would debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. It didn't say much more or give us anything beyond a silhouette and the shape of the lights, but here we have the first images of the finalized form.
The C-HR envisions a hybrid crossover coupe with angular styling that looks ready to take on the Nissan Juke. It's far sportier than a RAV4, and looks closer to how we'd imagine the next-generation Scion FR-S would look like if it were riding on a jacked-up suspension - with some show car elements thrown in for good measure, like a gloating roof, radical lighting and the usual absence of door handles and usable wing mirrors.
Of course, this being a Toyota concept, it packs a hybrid powertrain, although specifications did not leak out along with the images. Overall the form looks pretty striking, if decidedly unsubtle. We'll look forward to bringing you more as the Paris show rapidly approaches.