January, 2011

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10 YEAR OLD PRIUS HITTING 200,000 MILES

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
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You may have wondered how well hybrids will hold up for the long haul. It’s been 10 years since the number one seller-Toyota Prius-hit the roads, and some are now hitting 200,000 miles.2002 prius

Consumer Reports put one such Prius through its paces and the results are pretty impressive.

Kate Houlihan drives 700 miles a week, so after buying a 2002 Prius from her mom, she’s easily pushed the odometer past 207,000 miles.

Houlihan says, “Fuel economy is the exact same as it has ever been. There’s just been no changes as far as, you know, any driving differences.”

Consumer Reports tested the car to see how Kate’s observations hold up to scientific scrutiny.

“We did our standard fuel economy tests. We also did accelerations on the car,” said Consumer Reports. Kate’s Prius measured up surprisingly well with a similar Prius Consumer Reports tested new 10 years ago. Her Prius got 40.4 miles per gallon. The Prius tested in 2000 got 40.6 miles per gallon.

Consumer Reports added, “Acceleration was virtually the same, too. It was less than half a second difference getting to 60 miles per hour.”

When the Prius first came out, a concern was battery life-as the hybrid technology was brand new.

Toyota says the battery is designed to last the life of the car.

As it turns out, Ms Houlihan hasn’t had any trouble with hers.

Consumer Repors went on to say, “The good news is the cost of replacing the battery has come down several hundred dollars since the Prius first came out. But it still costs more than $2,000.”

Toyota says 900,000 Priuses have been sold in the US so far, and at today’s prices even moderate drivers can save an average of $750 a year in gas.

Add to that the satisfaction of lowering your carbon footprint, and you may come to the same conclusion as Ms. Houlihan… “I would buy another Prius in a heartbeat.”

Ms. Houlihan added that she has not babied her Prius particularly, but she has done regular maintenance, including oil changes.


TOYOTA PRIUS MORPHS INTO…A CHRYSLER 300?

Monday, January 24th, 2011
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Well this is for Fun! This from Tokyo, apparently someone felt that they had to have a Chrysler 300 with some “BAD” gas mileage if you know what we mean…This custom creationPRIUS 300 FRONT appears to be a second generation (judging by the interior door panels) Toyota Prius hybrid wearing a…Chrysler 300 front end. The show car also features sliding rear doors, lowered suspension, larger five-spoke alloy wheels, Chrysler 300-style tail lights and a high-end audio-visual system that replaces the rear seats. Chrysler 300, Eldorado, Lincoln Town Car front ends (rear-ends too), with gas prices heading upward, someone could start a cottage industry here…PRIUS 300 REAR

TOYOTA LIKE A BOOMERANG COMES BACK AROUND

Friday, January 21st, 2011
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Toyota is a world class Boomerang! For all the costs of litigation, investigations, fines and blows to its image, Toyota, still the No. 1-selling automaker worldwide emerged inboomerang remarkably stable condition, asserting that it’s poised to gain back at least some of the ground it lost in the U.S., its most important market.

“Once you go through something like this there’s a new energy,” said a Toyota spokesman. “It’s made us stronger. We’re not arrogant, we’re making sure we’re listening to all our customers.”

While U.S. light-vehicle sales grew by 11.1 percent, a year of recovery, Toyota’s sales slipped 0.4 percent for the year, resulting in a loss of 1.8 points of market share to 15.2 percent. The decline knocked the company to third place from second, behind a resurgent Ford Motor Co. and the market leader, General Motors.

Toyota’s poor results are mitigated by two facts: First, the automaker virtually stopped selling vehicles for four weeks early in the year, due to regulatory pressure and hyper-cautious worry that some of its cars might be unsafe. Allegations that an electronic glitch in Toyota’s acceleration system were causing a malfunction so far have proved unfounded.

Second, only about 8 percent of Toyota’s sales went to rental and other fleets last year, compared with roughly 30 percent for domestic competitors — implying that Toyota remains less willing than some of its competitors to discount vehicles to gain share.

Toyota’s long track record of top safety ratings created what the authors of the survey called “brand insulation effect” that shielded the company from hostility among owners of the company’s products. Toyota owners tended to believe more than owners of non-Toyota vehicles that the company handled the recall well and that the sudden unintended acceleration uproar was an outlier.

Consumer Reports Fall 2010 rankings of the most reliable vehicles included 17 Toyota models,  the most of any automaker. In December, the magazine put five Toyotas on its list of vehicles likely to last beyond 200,000 miles; no other manufacturer had more than one vehicle on the list.

In the last three months Toyota shares have gained 14.5 percent, compared with 12.5 percent for the Nikkei index.

Despite the safety uproar, Toyota’s midsize Camry sedan remained the No. 1-selling passenger car in the U.S., outpacing Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion.

Toyota has expansion plans for its Prius nameplate, which the company believes will surpass Camry as its biggest in the U.S. by the end of the decade. More and more of its vehicles will get Prius’s gas-electric hybrid powertrain, which tends to save gasoline. The company reveals its Prius initiative in more detail at the North American International Auto Show this week.

We’d say any competitor that suspects Toyota is a company in decline based on its performance last year could be in for a rude shock, especially if the U.S. economy continues to gain strength and shoppers buy more new vehicles in 2011 for a second straight year

2011 TOYOTA SPORTS CONCEPT

Friday, January 21st, 2011
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Well we’d certainly like to see the production version of the Toyota FT-86. It appears though Toyota may be laying some pipe for a younger sister – the TES T-Sport Concept. toyota sports conceptIf the Google Translator is to be believed, the car supposedly originated from an inner-company survey that asked what type of cars Toyota engineers would most like to see built. Apparently the overwhelming answer was a fun-to-drive, affordable sports car.

Who would think that…

From there, the Toyota Engineering Society set about crafting their vision of a low buck machine that could still slather a smile on your face. Power comes courtesy of a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine with around 110 horsepower, and this thing hits the scales at less than 2,000 pounds. That sounds like a winning combination. As these kinds of things are at car shows, we’ll have to wait and see…