Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC) unveiled 7 concept cars at the 39th Tokyo Motor Show, which was opened to public from October 22 to November 6 at the International Convention Complex (Makuhari Messe) in Makuhari, Chiba.
The automaker views Tokyo Motor Show as a great opportunity to introduce new vehicle possibilities. Through the years, Toyota has unraveled several cars and groundbreaking and futuristic technologies in said auto show. Among the concept cars presented are the Fine-X and i-swing. The latter is a brand new fuel cell hybrid vehicle while the former is a personal mobility vehicle.
The theme Ecology & Emotion was again used by Toyota in this year’s exhibit. Said exhibit pursued both environmental vehicle concerns as well as the essential emotional appeal of a car.
Toyota Fine-X concept vehicle is a revolutionary car that introduces a glimpse of what is to come in the future. It uses a fuel cell hybrid system that creates an environment-friendly performance. Fine-X also features a 4-wheel independent drive control and a huge steering angle mechanism.
The i-swing concept, on the other hand, is a personal mobility car that lets drivers express their individuality while driving. The car is designed with single-person vehicle package, which boasts its ‘wearable’ design. To soften impact, i-swing is equipped with a urethane body.
What is most exciting about this concept car is that it can shift from a two-wheeled mode to a -wheeled mode depending on the driver’s discretion. In crowded streets, the driver can opt for the two-wheeled mode. Nonetheless, if desires to have a care-free ride he can choose the three-wheeled mode.
Another marvelous concept car is the Estima Hybrid. Said car is a sophisticated hybrid minivan with electric 4WD and THS II, for an environment-friendly and high-performance drive. Subsequently, enhanced Toyota RAV4 parts are incorporated in the new RAV4 concept car. The latter is a small SUV that features a modern and rugged theme for ultimate yet refined performance. It also employs S-VSC* + Active Control 4WD Integrated Control, which combines the electric 4WD system with electric power steering, ABS and VSC.
Toyota also created a concept car for the new-category vehicle, which is called FSC. Said concept combines the qualities of sedan and utility minivan. Its bB concept car, on the other hand, with ’sensually edgy attitude’ is especially designed for young urbanites. Finally, the TF105 concept car is a F1 championship racing car, which is noted for its reliable engine and powerful performance.
A diesel car has beaten the world’s hot-selling hybrid – Toyota Prius – to the top spot in a new government guide to greener motoring, reported Alastair Dalton, a transport correspondent at Scotsman.
The new Volkswagen Polo, which will be rolled out in Britain this October, emits just 99 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, five grams fewer than the petrol-electric hybrid, Prius. The Prius has become synonymous with environmentally minded celebrities, such as Jennifer Aniston and Leonardo DiCaprio. But the new Polo Blue Motion could prove even greener.
The Prius, the first hybrid to be mass-produced, has won a number of awards including the Year Japan from 1997 to 1998, the North American Car of the Year in 2004, and the European Car of the Year in 2005. EPA has rated the hybrid at 48 mpg in city driving and 45 mpg on the highway. By far, it is the most economical car sold in the United States.
The Toyota Motor Corp.’s third generation Hybrid Synergy Drive is expected to slash costs and weight. Additionally, a plug-in version of the hybrid will be engineered to tout increased gas mileage with larger engine. It has also been suggested that a range of different sized models are planned, rather than a single model. The first of these new models is set to be introduced in 2009. This new Prius may carry the Lexus brand.
Diesel cars top the government’s new ‘Act on’ list, with officials advising motorists who drive predominantly outside towns and cities to choose them over gasoline cars. The number of diesel cars on Britain’s roads has nearly tripled over the last ten years to 6.1 million in 2006. Now they account for 22 percent of cars.
“The Polo Blue Motion 1.4 TDI 80PS, which includes a diesel particulate filter system, is among the first conventional-engine cars to be exempt from road tax because of its low emissions,” Dalton reported. “The Prius is joint runner-up in the tables with the diesel Mini Cooper D hatchback, which also has a particulate filter and will be available next month.” There must be something about the Volkswagen Radiator Hose? Or is it the package?
The government rankings, compiled with What Car? magazine, feature the ten lowest emission vehicles in 14 categories – from superminis to luxury cars. The rankings use the government’s Vehicle Certification Agency’s emissions data. The agency is responsible for conducting the official tests to determine the emissions from cars.
Stuart Hay, the head of policy at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Unfortunately, no account is taken of other local air pollutants that come from diesel cars, so the public might not necessarily be buying the most environmentally friendly car overall.”
“If most of your driving is in cities, diesel cars might not be as good for the environment as you might think. Particulates and NOX increase lung cancer and cardiac diseases, and make existing conditions, like asthma, worse,” said Ed Dearnley, a policy officer with the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection.
Jim Fitzpatrick, a UK transport minister who is due to launch the list today, said: “By choosing the car with the most fuel-efficient engine in its class, drivers could reduce their engine emissions by 24 per cent and potentially save a quarter on fuel costs. The car you choose can help reduce your impact on the environment, and save money.”
Steve Fowler, editor of What Car?, has this to say: “These rankings are exactly what consumers need to make an informed choice about the car to buy to minimize fuel consumption, save money and help tackle climate change.”
By: Anthony Fontanelle
About the Author:
Toyota announced sprawling manufacturing changes in the US and shutting down truck and SUV production, to respond to changing consumer demand.
Even with the lower number announced yesterday, Toyota Motor Corp plans to sell more vehicles than it did last year.
The pace of Toyota’s growth has been slowing. Under the new target it would inch up 1 percent this year, in contrast to a 6-percent climb in 2007, when it sold 9.37 million vehicles.
“The main reason for the change came from the faltering United States economy, and how rising oil prices and material costs are dampening the market there overall,” said Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi. The Japanese and west European markets were also sluggish, but Toyota’s solid sales in China, the Middle East and other markets were enough to maintain its worldwide growth, she said.
Toyota now plans to sell 2.44 million vehicles in the US, far less upbeat than the earlier plan to sell 2.64 million vehicles. It also slashed the sales plan for North America to 2.67 million vehicles from 2.84 million vehicles.
The new plan marks a nearly 7-percent drop from Toyota’s 2007 sales results of 2.62 million vehicles for the US, and a 5-percent slip from 2.82 million vehicles for North America. Prior to yesterday’s revision, Toyota had expected sales to grow in North America, including the US. The manufacturer of the Camry sedan, Corolla subcompact and Prius hybrid also lowered its production plan for this year to 9.5 million vehicles – unchanged from the previous year.
Earlier, it had set the manufacturing target at 9.95 million vehicles, which would have represented 5-percent growth from 2007. Tatsuo Yoshida, auto analyst with UBS Securities Japan in Tokyo, said woes over US auto sales weren’t likely to ease until next year.
“I think Toyota is giving rather cautious targets,” he said. “GM is in a worse state in reliance on trucks, but Toyota also has the same problem.”
Toyota, the world’s second-largest auto maker in annual vehicles sales after General Motors Corp, has averted the battering its American rivals have taken from soaring gas prices.
Toyota has long boasted a reputation for models with good mileage.
And its sales are still expected to be strong in emerging markets such as Russia, China and India, offsetting some of the losses in North America.
How the full-year tallies will add up is still uncertain as Detroit-based GM is also reporting growth in new markets. GM, the world’s top auto maker for 77 years straight, doesn’t release full-year sales forecasts.
Toyota outsold GM by 277,532 vehicles in the first six months of this year, selling 4.82 million vehicles worldwide. The call was close in 2007. GM eked out a win at 9.37 million to Toyota’s 9.366 million vehicles.
Also hurting Toyota is the sluggish Japanese auto market, where Toyota is the top-seller. Toyota said it now ex pects to sell 2.23 million vehicles in its domestic market this year, rather than the initial 2.27 million. It sold 2.26 million vehicles in Japan in 2007.
With auto sales ailing in the key North American market, speculation had been growing that Toyota would lower its sales targets. Toyota reviews such plans every half-year or so. But even Toyota is struggling to shift production from gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and trucks to smaller models.
Earlier, Toyota Motor Corp.(TMC) celebrated the opening of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX) valued at $1.28 billion. It is the newest plant of the automaker situated in San Antonio. During the opening of the new plant, two Tundras were manufactured. The production of the pickup truck was witnessed by Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda TMC’s honorary chairman, and Katsuaki Watanabe, TMC president. They are joined by Rick Perry, Texas governor, and other local officials. According to the automaker, the new Tundra plant has 21 on-site suppliers that invest nearly $1.6 billion. Toyota also announced that it will employ over 4,000 workers for said plant.
“As Toyota moves forward into a new era, this new plant is a dynamic symbol of our bright future,” said Watanabe. “Here in Texas, we have assembled a great team of people, a great plant, and a great truck. Along with great people, this is one of the most advanced automotive plants on the earth. It has the latest in technology and is using the best production and environmental techniques learned from 60 plants we operate around the world.”
Toyota’s San Antonio plant was announced in 2003 and its construction started later that year. Said Tundra plant will start full operations next spring and it will employ 2,000 team members to work on accessories Toyota Tundra truck parts.
“When Toyota announced it would build a plant in Texas, it was the shot in the arm we needed to transform our economy and begin creating jobs in Texas again,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry. “Today employment is at an all-time high, we have a record state surplus and the Texas economy is leading the nation. Toyota is an important part of the Texas economic revival because their investment means thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in wages for Texas families.”
The automaker’s investment in said plant was initially estimated at $800 million. In time the estimate grew to about $1.28 billion due to the expansion in capacity for 50,000 more trucks. The change greatly affected the cost of materials for Toyota truck parts. The steel and the additional infrastructure needed are the significant factors that increased the estimate.
“The full-size pickup truck market is, by far, the single-largest opportunity for Toyota’s future growth plans in the U.S.,” said Don Esmond, senior vice president of automotive operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “Thanks to this highly-efficient plant, the in-house suppliers and all the team members, we plan to take full advantage of that opportunity. The new Tundra will arrive in showrooms in February. Our production and sales goals are ambitious, yet realistic, and reflect our confidence in the product.”
Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s top seller of gasoline-electric autos and the second top automaker worldwide, may turn its mighty Prius into a full line of vehicles. This move is intended to triple its hybrid sales in the United States.
US will account for more than half a million hybrid cars and light trucks. According to Jim Lentz, executive vice president of Toyota U.S. sales unit, “The automaker plans to sell worldwide each year by early next decade. Prius-based models might include a wagon and a smaller car.”
“For us to do 600,000, there will probably have to be Prius and derivatives of Prius that are selling in the neighborhood of 300,000 to 400,000. We don’t have any plans to do that right now, but that’s the direction that nameplate can go, because it is that strong,” Lentz said at the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas.
So far, among auto giants, Toyota is making the most aggressive promotion of gasoline-electric vehicles as the best obtainable option to control fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. In 2005, the automaker sold 235,000 hybrids globally. The number is four times more than the sales of Honda Motor Co. The latter is the second ranking automaker in said segment.
One of Toyota’s prides in terms of hybrid technology is Prius. The vehicle is the world’s first hybrid that is commercially mass-produced. It went on sale internationally in 1997. In the US, Prius is linked with environmentalist and liberal politics. It is famed by celebrities who want to pursue environmental cause.
The 2004 model of Prius is a redesigned version. Said car is based on Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD). Two years after, Prius is given minor cosmetic changes to boost safety and ergonomics. Finally, the 2007 version of the vehicle is given new features and enhanced Toyota car parts to make it more sophisticated, high-performing and safe.
Moreover, the Touring edition of Prius is given bigger and sharper-pointed 7-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels with plastic hub cab cover, elongated larger rear spoiler, firmer suspension, integrated foglights and advanced headlights for added protection and power.
Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker and the biggest overseas car maker in China has started selling Magotan sedans in the country and in the process challenging Toyota Motor Corp.’s Camry which is equipped with high quality Toyota thermostat.
The Magotan sedans are equipped with 1.8-liter or 2-liter engine and have a base price starting 192,800 yuan or $25,000 basing in an email coming from Volkswagen. On the other hand Toyota’s China-made Camry has a price that starts at 197,800 yuan more expensive than the Magotan by 5,000 yuan.
The Wolfsburg-based automaker plans to add as many as 14 new models in China by the end of 2009 in an effort to maintain its market lead. Likewise, the automaker’s Santana and Jetta sedans has claimed the top two spots in the first-half sales rankings in the country and comparing that with Camry which went on sale last year and was only able to obtain the fourth rank.
According to Tiecheng, President of FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co. one of Volkswagen’s China ventures, “The Magotan helps to diversify FAW-Volkswagen’s product structure, allowing us to be more competitive in the market.”
Europe’s largest automaker, Volkswagen has about 19 percent of China’s car market accomplished in the first half of the year after boosting sales by a quarter to 431,369. The FAW-Volkswagen which is a venture with China FAW Group Corp. will make the Magotan which is offered as the Passat in Europe. Volkswagen also has a venture with Shanghai Automotive Co. the listed unit of SAIC Motor Corp.
In other news, Jim Press, the President of Toyota North America has made a rather bold statement saying that “eventually, everything will be a hybrid.” And aside from that he has shown his confidence in Toyota’s ability and so proud of their product line that he goes as far as saying that the ground-breaking Toyota Prius hybrid is just like Ford’s Model T.
It should be noted that the Ford Model T has often been considered as the first of its kind and a car which was made accessible to the masses. It was somewhat advance for its time and has helped in shaping the automotive industry into what it is today. Mr. Press is also saying that the Prius just like the Model T is equally revolutionary.
The everything-will-become-hybrid speech of Mr. Jim Press has aroused various reactions and of course there are those that contradict Mr. Press’ statement saying that not everything will be hybrid. But with the present trend in the auto industry maybe who knows we might all end up driving hybrids.