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Toyota Prius Is Sold Out, Kind Of

2011 Toyota Prius

If you are in the market for a brand new 2011MY Toyota Prius hybrid, you’ll have a tough time finding one. It seems that the supply level is down to only 3,000 units which are enough for less than 10 days of sales. This situation in the automotive industry is called “sold out” and as a consequence, the dealers are now charging more money for the few Priuses that they have left in stock.

It was only last week when the Japanese automaker said that 75,000 units will reach the United States by the end of 2011. Toyota already promised to its dealers 36,000 Priuses over the course of this summer. In regular months, the company sells about 15,000 cars, but they managed to sell even 25,000 cars when the gas prices were high (May) and for this reason the inventory is very low at the moment. Another reason for the current situation is due to the severe impact of the March 11 earthquake, which lead to a terrible tsunami that caused a lot of issues to Japan’s industrial infrastructure, among other problems.

At the moment, Toyota is rolling out Priuses as fast as the factories that make components can deliver the necessary parts and it takes a long time before they reach stateside as the cars are shipped by sea and by long time we mean a couple of months of travel between the factory in Japan and the dealers in the United States.

Our recommendation would be to wait until this fall to buy a Toyota Prius hybrid, unless you want to pay a lot for getting one of the few ones available now.

Source: Green Car Reports

Toyota Avensis Tourer Will Be Exported To Japan

Toyota Avensis Tourer


Toyota is exporting the Avensis model to 47 countries and they are about to add another one to that list, its own home market, Japan. The car is built in Burnaston, Derbyshire, United Kingdom and this decision was taken after increasing demand from Japanese customers who like the European engineering and styling of the Avensis.

They will export only the station wagon version, named Tourer. The car will be available only with a 2.0-liter engine mated to a Multidrive S CVT gearbox. The exports will commence next month and Toyota said that they’ll ship 750 cars / month.

Source: Toyota via Carscoop

Toyota GRMN SPORTS HYBRID Concept II Revealed

Toyota GRMN SPORTS HYBRID Concept II


During the 2012 edition of the Tokyo Auto Salon, the Japanese automaker Toyota revealed an interesting concept study that was based on the MR2 roadster. It was a front-wheel drive hybrid sports car that was developed in partnership with GAZOO Racing. A year after that and now we see the successor of that concept.

Toyota GRMN SPORTS HYBRID Concept II


Dubbed GRMN SPORTS HYBRID Concept II, the second iteration of the model will make its first public appearance this weekend during the 39 edition of the famous 24h endurance race at Nurburgring, Germany. If you are curious what “GRMN” means, you should know that it comes from GAZOO Racing tuned by Meister of Nurburgring, honoring the late Hiromu Naruse who passed away last year, Toyota’s chief test driver and the head of the GAZOO Racing Team, who died in 2010 while driving in Germany a prototype of the Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition.

Toyota GRMN SPORTS HYBRID Concept II


The new concept benefits from an entirely new design and features an upgraded AWD hybrid system. The car is powered by a V6 3.5-liter engine that produces 249 hp, along with the electric motors that drive the rear wheels. The gearbox of the concept is mounted in the middle while in the front there is another electric motor which is responsible for driving the wheels.

Source: Toyota via Carscoop

2012 Toyota Yaris Goes Official

2012 Toyota Yaris


I’ve always been a fan of the Toyota Yaris, although I had my doubts about the dashboard of the previous generations. The 2012 model was officially unveiled by the Japanese automaker this week and what we see that the European-spec model is essentially a rebadged Vitz, the one on sale in Japan. The car will be manufactured in France and it will hit the dealerships later on this summer.

2012 Toyota Yaris


There isn’t any more info at the moment, but we do know that it will be available with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display and customers will be able to choose from one of the three different power units: a 1.0-liter VVTi, a 1.33-liter dual VVTi, along with a 1.4-liter D-4D diesel power plant.

Source: Toyota via WCF

Private Social Network for Drivers – from Toyota

In partnership with Salesforce.com, a cloud computing company, Toyota intends to launch its own social network, dedicated to Toyota owners and drivers. The role of this network is to keep them connected to Toyota brand, to its dealers and also to other drivers.

According to The Atlantic Wire, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com has recently declared that “The car is the true mobile device”; and this could have actually been the starting point for the idea of Toyota’s social network.

In this case, we could say we deal with a system of internet-connected cars, which provides information and communication resources between drivers. Toyota has practically announced that it plans to create this private social network for its car owners and named it Toyota Friend. The network will be launched in 2012.

What is your opinion: do you think that such a network would work? Would it last over time?

[Source: Marketing Conversation, Photo]

Production-ready Toyota FT-86 Spied

Toyota FT-86

The highly anticipated production version of the Toyota FT-86 has been spied in Germany by our colleagues from WCF. Despite the fact that it is wearing a lot of camouflage, we can guess that it will feature a design that mixes what we’ve seen in the first FT-86 concept and the more aggressive FT-86 II concept.

Toyota FT-86

This rear-wheel drive car will feature a 2.0-liter boxer power unit that will generate about 200 hp (203 PS / 149 kW). This engine will be mated to either a standard 6-speed manual gearbox or the optional 6-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota FT-86

The production version of the Toyota FT-86 will make its official debut later on this year and will be followed by the Scion FR-S as well as a Subaru variant.

Toyota FT-86

Source: WCF

Top 10 Cheapest Cars Of This Year

If you live in North America and you are in the market for a very cheap car, here are the least expensive models that you can buy this year. All the prices are MSRP + destination charge:

01. Hyundai Accent GL – Starting From $10,705

Hyundai Accent GL

A little bit more expensive than the previous generation, but still the most affordable car you can buy, the Accent GL (formerly known as the Accent GS Base and Accent Blue) is what you would call a standard car. For the base model, you can forget about the AC system (another $1,000), power windows, automatic gearbox, radio, etc. If you want all of these, prepare to pay $13,415 for the Accent GS, but in this price range, you’ll find better cars. The Accent GL features a 110-hp engine and power steering. You need to know that in crash tests, it didn’t score so well and the safety equipment is quite limited.

02. Nissan Versa 1.6 – Starting From $10,740

Nissan Versa 1.6

If the Accent isn’t your cup of tea, maybe this Nissan Versa will do the trick. You get two more doors, more space inside the cabin and better resale value. The 2011MY comes as standard with door locks and power windows, but you don’t get a stereo or many options for the paintwork: only black, silver and blue. If you add AC, automatic gearbox and antilock brakes, the price tag jumps to less than $13,000. For $15,780, you can get the Versa 1.8 that comes with AC, stereo, cruise control and ESP.

03. Chevrolet Aveo LS Sedan – Starting From $12,685

Chevrolet Aveo LS Sedan

For the entry-level Aveo you’ll get AM/FM radio with MP3 player input jack, OnStar and AC. There are lots of colors to choose from and for $200 more, you can get the hatchback model. On the down side, the Aveo is not a very good car to drive, lacks safety equipment and if you add power windows and a CD player, the price jumps past the $15,000 mark and for that money, there are lots of cars to choose from.

04. Kia Rio Base Sedan – Starting From $12,990

Kia Rio Base Sedan

Just like the aforementioned Hyundai Accent GL and the Nissan Versa 1.6, it comes with a very short list of standard equipment. The engine is quite eager but the car’s non-power-assisted steering feels awful in the curves and you’ll have to work a lot while parking the car. The more expensive Rio LX ($15,690) comes with AC, ABS and a CD player. It does look better than the Accent and the Versa though, but not a very good car to drive.

05. Smart ForTwo Pure – Starting From $13,240

Smart ForTwo Pure

No AC, no power windows or mirrors, not even a stereo for the cheapest ForTwo. You do get automatic gearbox, ABS, ESC and side airbags. If you want the comfort features, prepare to pay another $2,000 for the ForTwo Passion.

06. Toyota Yaris 3-door Liftback – Starting From $13,615

Toyota Yaris 3-door Liftback

It offers a pretty good standard package that includes AC, ABS, ESP, along with an $800 optional automatic transmission. For $300 more, the 5-door version of the Yaris can be yours. It looks really good, it is easy to drive and thanks to its small size, you can squeeze it into small parking spaces.

07. Kia Soul Base – Starting From $13,995

Kia Soul Base

If you are in the market for a funky mini-wagon, the Kia Soul Base might be the solution for you. You’ll get as standard: power windows and locks, ABS, ESP and CD stereo with USB. You can choose from only three colors: black, white and silver. Under the hood there is a 1.6-liter engine that produces 122 hp and it can be mated only to a manual transmission. The car is pretty comfortable, safe and practical.

08. Ford Fiesta S Sedan – Starting From $13,995

Ford Fiesta S Sedan

Same price as the Kia Soul Base, and the latest model in this top. You get four doors, a pretty capable 120-hp engine, ESP, power steering, AM/FM + auxiliary input jack. The Fiesta is known as one of those cars that are very fun to drive and this S Sedan version is no exception. We recommend paying extra for the 6-speed dual-clutch transmission.

09. Suzuki SX4 Sedan – Starting From $14,244

Suzuki SX4 Sedan

The entry-level SX4 Sedan is a pretty basic car as you don’t get an automatic gearbox, AC, stereo and the only color available is white. However, you do get ABS, power windows and locks and a pretty potent 2.0-liter engine that cranks out 150 hp. It features a pretty big back seat and is very fun to drive. The styling is also quite nice.

10. Nissan Cube 1.8 – Starting From $14,740

Nissan Cube 1.8

The Nissan Cube 1.8 comes with a lot of standard equipment: AC, CD player, ABS, ESP and power windows and locks. The design is pretty cool and you get a lot of space inside the cabin. While some of you will like its cutting-edge style, others will disapprove.

Outside of this top 10 we find the Mazda2 Sport, with an entry-level model that will set you back $14,795; Hyundai Elantra GLS ($15,625); Kia Forte LX ($15,690); Scion xD ($15,765); the Mitsubishi Lancer DE ($15,755); Honda Fit ($15,850); Mazda 3i SV ($16,595); Nissan Sentra 2.0 ($16,270); Honda Civic DX Coupe ($16,355) and the Volkswagen Jetta S ($16,765).

As you can see, there are a lot of cars to choose from if you are looking for something very affordable that will get you from point A to point B. If we were to choose a car from this top 10, it would have to be the recently introduced Ford Fiesta S Sedan as it offers plenty of standard equipment and it looks pretty good. Plus, it probably is the most fun to drive car in this price range.

Source: cars.about.com

BrandZ Top 100 Places Toyota On No.1 Spot

Despite a long and agonizing recall campaign, the Japanese automaker Toyota has managed to regain its position as the most valuable auto brand in the world, jumping 11% to $24.2 billion in the BrandZ Top 100 annual ranking, overtaking BMW, last year’s number one brand. These results have been compiled by the Millward Brown research company. From 2006 to 2009, Toyota was the most valuable auto brand in the world.

Mercedes-Benz managed to grab the 3rd spot this year, with a 12% increase, overtaking Honda, which was followed by Porsche. Nissan achieved a 17% increase, mostly by its highly-acclaimed Leaf model, finishing the top on the 6th place.

Millward Brown measures brand equity, based on interviewing more than one million consumers globally and analyzing business and finance performance of each automaker by using data from Bloomberg and Datamonitor.

Here is the top 10 of the world’s most valuable car brands in $ billion; rank in top 100; % change

1. Toyota $24.2 — 27 –11%
2. BMW $22.4 — 30 — 3%
3. Mercedes $15.3 — 50 — 12%
4. Honda $14.2 — 56 — -1%
5. Porsche $12.4 –66 — -3%
6. Nissan $10.1 — 88 — 17%
7 VW $7.4 — * — 6%
8. Ford $7.4 — * –5%
9. Audi $3.8 — * — 5%
10. Lexus $3.7 — * –new

* Did not qualify for the top 100

This year’s top 100 ranking is led by Apple, with a brand value of $153 billion, followed by last year’s Google, with $111 billion.

Source: Millward Brown via AutoNews

Rumor – Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid In The Works

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid (prototype)

It seems that next year Toyota will launch the highly-anticipated plug-in hybrid version of its popular Prius model, which will be sold alongside with the standard model. If we were to believe Japan’s Nikkei business daily, this will become a standard option for the model in 2014.

Until then, the cost of this technology will most likely go down and thanks to the superior gas mileage that it offers, these plug-in hybrids will eventually eliminate the need for the conventional hybrid cars.

When it will hit the dealerships next year, the plug-in hybrid Prius will probably feature a price premium of at least $5,000 over the existing $35,000 price tag for the top-spec version. The first 60,000 units that will be sold will attract a considerable $2,500 federal tax credit.

The electric drive range of the car is expected to be about 14 miles and will be Toyota’s second model that will get a lithium-ion battery pack, replacing the nickel-metal hydride chemistry. The first one is the European-spec 7-seater 2012 Prius V station wagon. The U.S.-spec version has a 5-seat configuration and the old technology.

Source: Nikkei via Reuters via GreenCarReports

Top 10 Pickup Trucks

Today’s pickup trucks have evolved greatly from the heavy-duty workhorses of the 50s and now they offer car-like comfort and features that you would normally find in premium cars, like heated seats or powerful audio systems. Here is our top 10 of the best pickup trucks at the moment:

10. Toyota Tundra


The Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup truck and is available in the following configurations: Regular Cab, Double Cab and CrewMax. Measuring more than 19 ft. long, it is the biggest truck Toyota ever made. Under that hood, customers can choose from one of the three engines available, including a V8 381-hp unit that allows the Tundra to tow more than 10,000 pounds. The V8 5.7-liter engine is now E85 flex-fuel compatible (in certain regions).

09. Toyota Tacoma


The first generation of the Toyota Tacoma was launched back in 1964 and now it has reached its 8th generation. The new model comes with the Star Safety System that features ABS, stability and traction control, along with brake assist – all standard equipment. In addition, it is offered with updated LED taillights, argent painted grille and as an optional feature, a backup monitor for the Access and Double Cabs models. Also as standard (for the Access Cab and Double Cab versions), the Tacoma sports front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags, active front head restraints and an automatic limited-slip differential.

08. Nissan Frontier


It is a midsize pickup truck from Nissan that has borrowed some design ideas from its bigger brother, the Titan, which is a full-size truck. In addition, it also got the Titan’s suspension layout, along with many components. Customers can opt for one of the two engines available, including here a V6 4.0-liter that cranks out 261 hp. The new model comes with an updated front fascia with a brand new grille, headlights, along with 16- and 18-inch rims. Another model has been added to the Frontier lineup, the off-road version PRO-4X, along with the Frontier Crew Cab LE/PRO-4X Value Truck Packages.

07. GMC Sierra 1500


This truck is available in the following configurations: Regular Cab, Extended Cab and Crew Cab. Customers can pick out one of the three box sizes: 5 ft. 8 in.; 6 ft. 6 in. and 8 ft. For the new model, it got a 6-speed automatic gearbox, mated to a 5.3-, 6.0- or a 6.2-liter engine. The SLT Crew Cab comes with a V8 6.2-liter engine that is E85 compatible.

06. Chevrolet Colorado


This is a midsize pickup truck that comes in a Regular Cab, Extended Cab or Crew Cab version. Chevrolet launched the model in 2004, retiring the S-10 pickup. Some of the engines available include the 4-cylinder 2.9-liter or the more powerful 5-cylinder 3.7-liter. The latest addition in the engine lineup is a V8 5.3-liter that produces 300 hp. Some of the latest upgrades brought to the model include the 18-inch split-spoke rims, color-keyed bumpers, performance tires and the ZQ8 sport suspension that comes with a lower ride height.

05. Dodge Dakota


Available in both Extended Cab and Quad Cab configurations, the Dodge Dakota now features a new V8 4.7-liter power unit that delivers 302 hp and has a peak torque of 329 lb.-ft, while at the same time being 5% more fuel efficient. Recent goodies added to the model include the Crate ‘N Go system (offered as standard) and the updated instrument panel and center console.

04. Ford Ranger


Ford introduced the Ranger in 1982 and redesigned it 11 years later. In 1998 it received a new exterior look and the latest model looks just about the same, but comes with a few minor updates, like the new front bumper that improves fuel efficiency. In addition, it comes as standard with more equipment. You can choose from a selection of engines, including a 4-cylinder 143 hp unit or a more agile V6 207 hp power plant. New side airbags, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control have also been added.

03. Chevrolet Silverado


You can choose from one of the 40 different variants available, with a starting price of under the $20,000 mark, for the 2-door RWD Regular Cab, up to the top-spec LTZ Crew Cab (4WD) that costs $41,000. The engines available include an entry-level 5.3-liter or the high-end 6.2-liter unit. Optional features available include the XM Satellite Radio with NavTraffic, Bluetooth connectivity and OnStar.

02. Dodge Ram 1500


Featuring a more aerodynamic design, a brand new HEMI V8 5.7-liter that produces 390 hp and has a peak torque of 407 lb.-ft, along with a rear coil-spring suspension, the Dodge Ram 1500 is a breath of fresh air, packing lots of new equipment, like the RamBox cargo management system along with drainable storage components integrated into the cargo box.

01. Ford F-150


The first place is reserved for the best-selling truck in North America – the Ford F-150. Over the last three decades, the F-150 has been the primary choice for those looking for a truck. The latest generation is offered with a brand new look, both inside and out, with more power under the hood, more space inside, more towing and payload capacity and better fuel economy. Ford teamed up with SIRIUS, Sony and Microsoft, and they’ve managed to improve the entertainment and communication features.

GM Might Regain No. 1 Spot

General Motors will most likely regain the number one spot as far as production figures are concerned, taking into consideration the problems that Toyota has these days. As a quick reminder, GM held the throne for the largest car manufacturer in the world as far as sales are concerned from 1932 until 2008. The Detroit-based company had a lot of financial problems after 2008 when they had to file for bankruptcy.

These problems allowed Toyota to gain the first position, but they will probably have to give it back to General Motors this year due to their production problems in homeland Japan, caused by the earthquake / tsunami that affected the country last month. What this means is that Toyota will probably not be able to manufacture enough cars in order to maintain their number one ranking.

Aside from supply issues, the Japanese automaker is also facing a lot of recalls which have affected the sales over the last few years, having a negative impact on the company’s image of reliability and quality. Over these last few years, Toyota was forced to recall about 14 million cars.

As far as General Motors is concerned, they got back into shape very fast after solving their bankruptcy problems. In 2010, it was a very close race between Toyota and GM, the latter managing to sell only 30,000 units less than the Japanese company. Taking into consideration that the Detroit-based automaker is getting more and more involved in China, selling three times more cars than Toyota, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if at the end of this year they will regain leadership.

Source: Detroit Free Press via WCF

Toyota FT-86 Details Emerge

Toyota FT-86 II Concept

We have new information about what seems to be Toyota’s most important model in the last couple of years, the FT-86. Akio Toyoda, who is the great grandson of Toyota’s founder, revealed last week that the car will enter its production phase sometime next year. This European-developed 2+2 coupe will be manufactured in a large volume in order to satisfy the demand from the company’s many markets around the world, including the United States, Europe and its homeland, Japan.
(more…)

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Toyota Aygo Ice Goes On Sale

Toyota Aygo Ice

Toyota has launched the top-spec version of its tiny Aygo model, dubbed “Ice”. It comes as standard with air conditioning, electric windows, leather and Alcantara seats, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Customers can choose from one of the three exterior colors available: “crystal silver”, “vermillion red” and “dark forest” (what happened to the regular colors? Like red, blue, green, etc…)

Under that tiny hood there is a small 1.0-liter VVT-I gasoline engine. The 3-door model with a manual transmission has a base price of 9,750 pounds, while the 5-door version with the company’s multimode gearbox is available from 10,615 pounds.

Source: Toyota via AutoCar

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NHTSA Gives A 5-star Crash Rating To The 2011 Scion tC

2011 Scion tC

The updated version of the 2011MY Scion tC coupe has managed to grab a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This shouldn’t come as a surprise when we take into consideration that the car packs eight airbags: driver & passenger, seat-mounted, along with driver & passenger knee and side-curtain airbags.

Add to this bountiful of airbags the ABS, stability control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, along with the Smart Stop technology that helps prevent the car’s airbags from ever having to deploy.

Of course, these 5 stars can’t make it look good…

Source: Toyota via Page 1 of 181234510...Last »