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Auto blogWed, 13 Mar 2013 19:58:00 EST
According to the Toyota UK blog, engineers for the automaker were so excited developing the GT86 coupe that they investigated producing a whole family of models based on the rear-wheel drive sports car. And at least one engineer - product chief Tetsuya Tada - still hopes it can happen, even if not everyone at Toyota is onboard. Tada: "Actually we tried to do this secretly but the executives found us out. They said: 'What are you doing? Will you please focus on the coupe.'"
Those mooted variants included both a four-door sedan and a shooting brake. Why? Aside from the pure excellence of a lightweight, brilliantly handling hatchback, Toyota was keenly aware of the fact that it may need to spread the cost of development out across several models. Tada says that's part of the reason why it was so easy to create the convertible. The company knew from the outset that a softtop version was in the cards, and built the machine's structure to accommodate having the roof sliced off.
Tada also made mention of the already-announced collaboration between Toyota and BMW. The engineer said that the GT86 was particularly helpful because it demonstrated just how successful a product conceived and designed by two different companies can be. While he didn't say exactly what Toyota and BMW are up to, it's clear the two are looking into a number of possibilities. It's an interesting read with a lot of
Toyota introduced a pair of brand-new engines in Japan today, that it says will eventually spawn 14 different variants by 2015. Where these two engines stand out in today's world, is that neither mill boasts direct injection, and both are naturally aspirated.
The larger of the two is a 1.3-liter, while the smaller engine, a 1.0-liter, was developed in collaboration with Daihatsu. What makes these two unique is that they both use the Atkinson cycle. Now, we aren't going to bore you by explaining just what this is - there's Google for that. Suffice it to say, Atkinson engines are highly efficient, but that efficiency comes by sacrificing power. That's why they're so popular in hybrids, which can offset the power losses.
This focus on fuel efficiency extends throughout the new engines, which also benefit from tweaks like a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system and a trick intake port, while the 1.3 employs Toyota's iE variant of variable valve timing. Both engines can be fitted with stop-start tech. According to Toyota, when fitted with stop-start the 1.3 should provide around a 15-percent bump while the 1.0-liter will increase economy around 30 percent, when they arrive on the road.
Toyota isn't convinced the Ford Focus was the best-selling nameplate globally last year. Bloomberg reports that for the second time in seven months, both Toyota and Ford are laying claim to the title. Ford cites R.L. Polk & Co. data that says the automaker moved some 1.02 million Focus models in 2012 compared to just 872,774 Toyota Corolla units. But Toyota says the actual figure is closer to 1.16 million Corolla models.
Last year, Ford said it took the sales crown through the fist half of 2012 based on information from IHS Automotive, but Toyota pointed out those numbers left out models like the Corolla-based Matrix and Auris, as well as the Corolla Fielder and Scion xB-based Corolla Rumion. Whether or not Toyota's belief that all these cars should be counted in the Corolla bucket is accurate or not is seemingly up for debate... as is the question of why it matters so much to both parties.
This time around, Ford is holding the line that the Focus is the "best-selling nameplate," with Erich Merkle, a US sales analyst with Ford saying the company's figure is, "a pure number that is verified by a third party." Toyota, meanwhile, has requested clarification from Polk.