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, 29 Aug 2014 10:59:00 EST
Just a few weeks after announcing pricing for the first two members of its TRD Pro Series, Toyota has finally dropped the final pricing details on its new Tundra TRD Pro. Like the Tacoma TRD Pro, the Tundra will be available in two different body styles, with a more affordable Double Cab and a roomier Crew Cab.
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:00:00 EST
Prices start at $41,285 for the former and $43,900 for the latter - not counting a hefty $1,100 destination charge - effectively slotting Toyota's off-road-ready model between the $41,730, Double Cab Limited and $46,465, Crew Cab-only 1794 Edition trucks.
As we've covered previously, the TRD Pro models come with a raft of off-road gear that should help combat just about any terrain a driver may stumble across. TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks and TRD-tuned front springs add two inches to the big truck's ride height while the black, 18-inch TRD wheels and available Inferno Orange paint add a bit of visual sass. A new TRD dual exhaust system is also standard, which can confirm sounds great (review coming soon!).
It's a common refrain among auto enthusiasts to bemoan the current models being sold for being overly complex and expensive and to wish that automakers would just make vehicles like the old days. Sure, they might not have been as safe or efficient, but there was often a certain rugged simplicity that's gone today. Well, Toyota is actually doing it and thinks there's enough demand to put the Land Cruiser 70 back into production in Japan for its 30th anniversary. Sadly, it's only for one year.
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:31:00 EST
The original Land Cruiser 70 served a long life in Japan from 1984 to 2004. Even today, the proven model remains in production in some regions abroad. People in its home country still love the vehicle though, and Toyota is brushing off the mothballs to give customers what they want. For the first time ever there, it's also offering the double-cab pickup version in addition to the traditional enclosed body. The company thinks that it can move about 200 of these classic trucks this year, which isn't too shabby for a vehicle that's three decades old.
Looking at the pictures above, these look like the same old Land Cruisers, but Toyota is updating them slightly to meet modern safety rules. The grille, hood and headlights are all tweaked, and they now come with airbags and anti-lock brakes. A 4.0-liter V6 is under the hood making 228 horsepower (170 kilowatts) and 266 lb-ft of torque (360 Newton-meters), and the only available gearbox is a five-speed manual. Part-time four-wheel drive is standard. If you're really afraid of getting stuck in the wilderness, locking front and rear differentials and a winch are available as options.
Toyota has announced that it will be making a $100 million investment in its Princeton, IN factory in a bid to increase production of its popular Highlander CUV. The move will create 300 new jobs by 2016 and increase the total number of crossovers the plant can produce by 30,000.
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:00:00 EST
Toyota currently builds the Highlander, alongside the fullsize Sequoia, at Toyota Indiana's West Plant. The additional capacity, though, will be sent to the East Plant, which is currently responsible for production of the recently refreshed Sienna minivan.
"The Highlander has been a great product for our plant," Toyota Indiana President Norm Bafunno said in a statement. "Establishing Highlander as the 'bridge vehicle,' as we call it, between the East and West plants increases our ability to meet customer needs for our outstanding products. This exciting news is a true testament to the capability of our hard-working and dedicated team members."
No one wants to have their car stolen, but a new study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau has some bad news for older Honda owners and pickup drivers. Fortunately, it has better news for drivers overall. The group is reporting that according to preliminary data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, thefts were down 3.2 percent in 2013 (versus 2012) to fewer than 700,000 cars. That's the lowest figure since 1967. That's also less than half of the peak of over 1.66 million thefts in 1991. "The drop in thefts is good news for all of us," says NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "But it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year."
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:00:00 EST
Honda drivers might not find it such good news with older Accord and Civic models topping this year's theft study. Toyota and Dodge can't really celebrate, either, with two models each on the list, as well. Overall, this year's list was split evenly between foreign and domestic models, which were mostly pickups.
The 10 most likely vehicles to be stolen in 2013 were:
The ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice into price fixing in the automotive industry has nabbed one more company breaking the law. Japanese parts giant NGK Spark Plug Company agreed to plead guilty to a felony count of pricing fixing and bid rigging in the in the US District Court in Detroit. Its punishment is a $52.1 million criminal fine and to continue to cooperate with the DOJ's sleuthing into the problem.
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 12:01:00 EST
According to the DOJ, NGK conspired to fix prices on spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors, and air fuel ratio sensors on vehicles from major automakers in the US, including the former DaimlerChrysler, Honda and Toyota, in a scheme that ran from at least January 2000 to July 2011. The charge claimed that the company and its co-conspirators held meetings where they agreed on bids and price quotes that were submitted to the automakers.
With the latest plea, the DOJ has caught 28 companies and 26 executives for price-fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry, and they have collected $2.4 billion in criminal fines. In 2013, the feds brought nine Japanese suppliers down at once, to collect $740 million. Scroll down to read the DOJ's complete announcement of the case.
If you're an enthusiast, and you don't know that Dodge spawned another Hellcat this week, you really must have been living in cave. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is probably the biggest news for enthusiasts since the reveal of, well the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 02:10:00 EST
But, there are some things you might not know or might have missed about the new Charger and Challenger Hellcats. For starters, reports that the Hellcat production would be limited to a low volume are not true.
"We have not capped the Hellcat on either the Challenger or the Charger," Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said.
Toyota certainly caught our attention when it unveiled the FT-1 concept at the Detroit Auto Show last January. Coming from the same people who gave us the Lexus LFA, Scion FR-S and Toyota Supra, the FT-1 concept looked striking in its bright red livery. But the Japanese automaker isn't quite done with it yet.
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:29:00 EST
No, we're afraid we don't have a production announcement to share at the moment, but Toyota has revealed two new versions of the FT-1 concept that cast it in different light. Most notable is the graphite version pictured above. Replacing the bright red paintjob and two-tone red and black interior of the original concept, this second iteration - presented in the metal at McCall's Motorworks Revival in Monterey, California - goes for a more upscale and refined graphite exterior and a tan leather interior with exposed metal elements.
Both versions of the virtually road-going FT-1 concept will be playable in GT6, but at the same time Toyota also revealed (in digital form, at least) a virtual racing version of the concept called the FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo. Looking like the original concept was prepared for Japan's Super GT series, the FT-1 Vision GT is retuned for racing, with wider fenders, more extreme aero, competition-spec alloys on slicks and the like.
With the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon set to arrive in dealers in the near future, it's high time Toyota got to work on a replacement for the Tacoma, a vehicle whose present generation debuted in the middle of the Bush Administration. Now, we have images of that new pickup undergoing testing.
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 16:03:00 EST
Our spy photographers picked up this heavily modified mule undergoing tow tests in the desert. It rides on a modified version of the current Taco's frame, as evidenced by shots of its undercarriage, although our spies cite the lack of riveted sections as indications that the current truck's footprint should remain unchanged.
Aside from underbody changes, this particular Tacoma featured a six-speed manual transmission, which we're expecting to be joined by a six-speed automatic. The current four- and five-speed autos found on the current truck will almost certainly be killed off. Marching to the grave with those slushboxes will be the two-door Regular Cab body style. Our spies are expecting Toyota to focus its efforts on the larger, more accessible Double Cab.
It looks like Consumer Reports might be getting part of what it wants regarding the Toyota Camry Hybrid and its braking system. Toyota is issuing what it calls a limited service campaign, rather than a full recall, covering about 177,500 of the hybrid sedans from the 2007 through 2011 model years because of an issue with the cars' brake fluid reservoirs.
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:45:00 EST
The models have a filter separating two chambers of the brake fluid reservoir, and the part can get clogged over time. If this happens, the fluid level in one of the chambers can get too low and eventually cause the power assist to fail. There are multiple warning lights on the dashboard that illuminate over time if the filter gets obstructed, though. The company is replacing the entire reservoir with an improved unit, and the fix takes about two hours to perform.
Consumer Reports recently began asking for a recall on these models for the potentially clogged filters. The magazine also reported a second issue with the ABS brake actuator that could lead to a difficult to depress brake, but Toyota has increased the warranty on the part to 10 years or 150,000 miles.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is a treasure trove for auto enthusiasts, especially those who double as conspiracy theorists.
Why has Toyota applied to trademark "Supra," the name of one of its legendary sports cars, even though it hasn't sold one in the United States in 16 years? Why would General Motors continue to register "Chevelle" long after one of the most famous American muscle cars hit the end of the road? And what could Chrysler possibly do with the rights to "313," the area code for Detroit?