Toyota May Expand Prius Into A Sub-Brand

By dancurranjr On November 3rd, 2009

toyota-phev-priusA top executive with the U.S. arm of Toyota Motor Corp said on Monday the automaker may expand the Prius nameplate into a marketing sub-brand for a broad family of low-emission, high-mileage hybrid vehicles.

Speaking at the Reuters Auto Summit in Detroit, Bob Carter, the group vice president and general manager of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc, said the proposal was controversial within the company and that a final decision on the idea was more than a year away.

But as long as Prius was expanded only into a sub-brand and not a separate franchise, Carter said the change “was one that I support.” He said he believed his boss, Jim Lentz, the president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales, supported the idea, too.

“Prius has become such an icon in the market that it is my desire, and the desire by many of us … that we nurture Prius beyond one vehicle and more into a family of vehicles,” Carter said.

Life beyond Prius’ current incarnation as a sedan comparable to the company’s Camry might include making it bigger “to meet the needs of larger families” and “smaller to meet the needs of people who do not need the space of a mid-sized sedan,” Carter said.

He said Toyota currently claimed about three-quarters of the hybrid market and that it expects to sell globally “in excess of 1 million hybrids per year in the relatively near future.” He said that by the 2020s, hybrids would be either optional or standard equipment on every vehicle Toyota sells.

Carter said consumer demand for clean, efficient vehicles remained high despite a dramatic retreat in fuel prices over the past year.

“It’s almost as if the consumer is saying, ‘Yes, I understand fuel prices are low today but I am buying this car with the intention of driving it five or six years and I don’t have confidence that fuel prices will stay low,'” he said

Carter said Toyota, which already offers seven hybrids in its Toyota and Lexus lines, planned to introduce 10 more globally in the coming years.

Source: Reuters

Toyota Camry Hybrid Test Drive With Review

By dancurranjr On June 16th, 2009

toyota-camry-hybrid-thailand-1Toyota Camry Hybrid ran smooth and quiet during our test drive and review.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid has been one of the top selling cars of all-time. The sedan is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine producing 147 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. The electric motor produces another 45 horsepower.

The Toyota Camry can operate on any combination of the two power sources. Its power is transferred to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The CVT was chosen for its ability to keep the gas engine in its most efficient power band.

Our Camry Hybrid test drive found that the combination of the gas and electric motor felt surprisingly robust. The acceleration seems much better than most four-cylinder vehicles and within the same limits of a six-cylinder. The automobile can go from 0-60 mph in just 8.3 seconds.

Camry offers various packages and some options include sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat, a navigation system, satellite radio and a JBL sound system with a six-CD changer and Bluetooth. We sat in one of the cars with the high-end package and fell in love with the leather seats. The seats felt very comfortable and were well fitted for any person.

Toyota built this vehicle to perfection as we could tell by the quality. The automobile can operate on electric power at speeds up to 30 mph. However, rapidly acceleration will automatically turn on the gasoline engine.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid has an advanced Technology Partial-Zero Emissions Vehicle rating. This is the cleanest possible rating for a gasoline-burning car in terms of air pollution. In some cases, a city’s air could actually be dirtier than what’s coming out of this vehicle’s tailpipe.

Toyota Camry features standard front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control. In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing, the car received five out of five stars in all front and side collision categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also awarded the vehicle its highest rating of “Good” for frontal-offset and side collision protection.

The Camry Hybrid provides plenty of headroom and leg room. The sedan provides a serenely quiet environment when running on its electric power. It is so quiet, that it’s difficult to tell if the vehicle is still running.

Overall, Toyota continues to build a great car while maintaining the Camry tradition. The automaker didn’t cut any corners with this vehicle, but provided quality and great fuel economy.


Toyota Camry Hybrid Offers Proven Reliability

By dancurranjr On June 10th, 2009

2009-toyota-camryThe 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid is still one of Toyota’s best selling cars. Camry Hybrid has a starting price of $26,150 and can deliver up to 34 miles per gallon. Camry is unique with its new green technology that can deliver better than average fuel economy, according to NADA’s Fast Facts.

Toyota Camry achieves over 10 mpg above its gas-powered automobiles and has a 0 percent emission rating. The Camry hybrid comes equipped with luxury features found in Toyota’s top-of-the-line XLE model. The vehicle has proven reliability and is still a best-seller.

Fuel economy should be the main reason to buy a hybrid vehicle. Some hybrids offer up to 40 mpg, but make sure you check the specs on what you’re buying. The Toyota Camry Hybrid is reliable and the price is worth the savings in gas.

If gas prices were to go up to $3.96, which most analysts predict, you will be saving $1,746 each year on fuel. If fuel prices rise again, as they did in 2008, Toyota Camry owners will be saving more each year. There are also government tax credits, although most have expired (check with your tax planner or the IRS for additional information).

New car owners are encouraged to adopt new driving habits, which will also increase mileage for the Camry hybrid. Some of these driving techniques include coasting to red lights or stop signs, instead of immediately braking, and slowly accelerating after completing a full stop. Camry drivers should also keep the windows rolled up while driving on highways in an effort to make use of the vehicle’s aerodynamic technology.

SOURCE: News Oxy

Used Toyota Camry

Toyota Prius Sales Boom in Japan Despite Slowdown

By dancurranjr On June 8th, 2009

toyota_priusOrders in Japan for Toyota’s new Prius hybrid have topped a booming 110,000, a major dealership chain said Saturday, in what is turning out to be a rare bright spot in the gloomy auto market.

The third-generation Prius officially rolled out in Japan just two weeks ago. But dealers are already flooded with orders, including some placed weeks in advance, according to the dealership.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker, said two weeks ago that it received 80,000 advance orders, and has not updated that number.

But the Toyota Tokyo Corolla dealer said Saturday that nationwide orders at Toyota dealerships in Japan, including those of rivals, have soared to 110,000. Dealers tally their customer orders differently from the way manufacturers do.

But any way you slice it, the Prius is a hit. Toyota has set its monthly sales target for Japan at 10,000 new Prius cars — a figure that should make it the top-selling car in the country.

As the orders stack up, the company looks on track to meet or even surpass its goal and take that crown — an astonishing accomplishment for a hybrid, although the Prius is fighting competition from another new hybrid, Honda Motor Co.’s Insight.

Hybrids are in demand partly because the Japanese government began offering tax exemptions for the cars to encourage their sales earlier this year.

Parliament gave consumers added incentive Friday when it approved a cash-back rebate for trading in cars 13 years or older for greener cars.

Hybrids also promise savings on gas. In Japan, where frequent stop-and-go traffic lowers the fuel efficiency of gas-engine cars but actually raises it in hybrids, the Prius is promising nearly 90 miles per gallon (38 kilometers per liter). In heavy traffic, hybrids rely on their electric motors and thus burn no gas.

The overall Japanese auto market has been languishing for years, with vehicle sales falling to their lowest level in more than three decades last year. Demand has worsened since the U.S. financial crisis sent this nation into a recession.

Toyota, which also makes Lexus luxury models and the Camry sedan, has said it is increasing Prius production to meet demand.

But it is still expecting a 550 billion yen ($5.7 billion) loss for the fiscal year through March 2010, its second straight year in the red, because of the global auto slump and the unfavorable exchange rate in a strong yen.

SOURCE: Associated Press

Thailand Assembled Toyota Camry Hybrid Unveiled

By dancurranjr On June 3rd, 2009

toyota-camry-hybrid-thailand-1Toyota have previewed the Toyota Camry Hybrid that will be assembled in Thailand. The Thai-assembled Camry Hybrid will be the first Camry Hybrid to be based on the Aurion-based Camry body. Currently the Camry Hybrid sold in countries such as the US are based on the JDM Camry, which to me looks more funky and sporty, somewhat like an overgrown Altis.

As the Camry sold in Thailand and the rest of the ASEAN region are based on the Australian Toyota Aurion, it only makes sense that Toyota bases the Thai Camry Hybrid on the Aurion body. The Thai assembled Toyota Camry Hybrid features its own front grille and rear tail lamp design as well as a front bumper that looks similiar to the one found on the facelifted Toyota Camry, but with some differences in the fog lamp area.

The Australian-assembled Camry Hybrid will likely continue to be based on the JDM Camry body, as indicated by the Toyota HC-CV Hybrid Camry Concept displayed at the 2009 Melbourne Auto Show.

Toyota Motor Thailand president Mitsuhiro Sonoda says the Camry Hybrid will be priced quite closely to exiting petrol-powered Camry models in Thailand, predicting a premium of not more than 100,000 Thai baht. This is because the Camry Hybrid is subject to an excise duty of only 10% instead of 35% in Thailand.

Since a top of the line Camry 2.4 can go for over 1.7 million Thai baht (it starts from about 1.5 million for the cheaper 2.4G), the Camry Hybrid would likely be priced at about 1.8 million Thai baht. I don’t think he was referring to the 3.5Q which retails for nearly 3 million Thai Baht.

The warranty for the Toyota Camry Hybrid will also be extended to 5 years or 150,000km, which is longer than the regular 3 year warranty that you get with Toyota cars there. This is to help ease public acceptance of the relatively new technology which many fear will be expensive to maintain once the warranty period ends. Toyota has also partnered with insurance firms there to offer the same premiums as the regular models despite the Camry hybrid having more expensive parts.

I am not sure whether the Thai Camry Hybrid will share the same hybrid powertrain as the US market Camry with different styling, but under the US car’s hood is the 2.4 liter Atkinson cycle 2AZ-FXE engine producing 147 horsepower at 6,000rpm and 187Nm of torque at 4,400rpm, paired to a 30kW (40 horses) electric motor with 270Nm of torque. These two are combined and send power to the front wheels via an E-CVT transmission. The Thai Camry Hybrid should use something similiar.