October 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Toyota has been the front runner in hybrid-powered passenger vehicles for many years and is now setting its sights on hybrid race car domination. The company’s racing division, Toyota Motorsport, announced today that it will enter the 2012 World Endurance Championship with a new hybrid weapon.
The last time Toyota competed in Le Mans racing was in 1999, before the Japanese automaker abandoned its GT-One program to focus on Formula One.
Now, Toyota is busy developing a brand-new, gasoline-electric hybrid racer that will compete in the top LMP1 class. The chassis is in development with Toyota Motorsport at its Cologne, Germany headquarters, which previously served as the Formula 1 base. The prototype race car’s hybrid powertrain will be engineered in Japan. Continue reading “Toyota building hybrid LMP1 racer for Le Mans assault” »
October 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The Toyota Corolla has taken back the number one sales spot on the NZ national sales charts, both for the month of September and year to date. The Corolla has faced stiff competition this year from the new 2011 Suzuki Swift and the pair have dueled it out for total sales supremacy.
Official data for the month of September shows Corolla outsold all other passenger and commercial vehicles, and Toyota’s Hilux ute took a strong second place. It was a very strong month for Toyota with four vehicles in the sales top 10 – the others being the Highlander SUV and the Hiace van.
Steve Prangnell, general manager Sales and Operations, said the sales figures reflect the full recovery of Toyota’s international supply chain, which slowed for several months after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. “To have Hilux at the top of the overall year to date table, and Corolla a strong second, is incredibly pleasing. It shows Kiwis trust the Toyota brand and keep turning to the vehicles they know and love.” Continue reading “Toyota Corolla takes back No.1 sales spot in NZ” »
October 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
For 2011, Toyota’s Land Cruiser is celebrating 60 years of production in various rugged forms. This anniversary year has seen the introduction of the brawny FJ Cruiser, it’s seen special events and even journeys across NZ. But more importantly for Cruiser buyers are the extras you get when purchasing any new Land Cruiser before the end of the year. To mark this landmark occasion Car and SUV got reacquainted with the 2011 Land Cruiser Prado to check out the latest deals and rediscover exactly what makes this model line off roading royalty.
The special anniversary deals on the Land Cruiser range don’t include extra equipment or larger alloy wheels but concentrate on extended warranty and free servicing plans. If you buy a Land Cruiser in 2011, you’ll receive a 60-month warranty, a 60 month/75,000km service plan, 60 months worth of WOF checks and AA Roadservice for, you guessed it 60 months. So what you simply get is 5 years of guaranteed trouble-free motoring, and that’s certainly worth a lot. The offer is available on any model in the Land Cruiser range including our tested petrol-powered Prado VX Limited. Continue reading “Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX Ltd 2011 Review” »
October 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The updated Toyota Hilux has just been launched in New Zealand with a brand-new variant, new features, styling updates and a colourful new ad campaign.
Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell said “This is a significant change for Hilux. The improvements we have made now will further strengthen Hilux’s reign as New Zealand’s most popular light truck.”
Since the seventh-generation Hilux was released in 2005 it has been continually tweaked and updated to improve its practicality as a workhorse/family-friendly vehicle with the latest updates continuing this trend.
Mr Prangnell said “Toyota engineers have travelled around the world to learn about how Hilux is used, in order to develop ways to address the changing demands of our customers. While in New Zealand, they drove our farm tracks, spoke to customers, and then formulated ways to make Hilux even better suited to our unique conditions.”
The new model has been added to the Hilux range is a standard grade 4WD extra cab ute with a 3.0 litre turbo diesel engine and a five-speed manual transmission. Continue reading “Updated 2012 Toyota Hilux goes on sale in NZ” »
September 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Toyota will make its first entry into Japan’s popular minicar or “kei” car segment with its new Pixi Space. The diminutive vehicle has been supplied Toyota’s Daihatsu subsidiary under an OEM agreement reached last year.
The Pixi Space will be offered in two trim levels, base model “L” and higher-spec “X” trims, and a sportier variants named the “Custom X”, “Custom G” and “Custom RS”.
The Pixi Space is powered by a 660cc petrol engine which adheres to Japan’s kei car regulations. The Custom RS sports model is offered with a 660cc turbocharged engine. All models use a CVT transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive.
Until now, Toyota was the only large domestic carmaker in the Japanese market to not have a kei car in its ranks. This had previously been left up to Daihatsu.
Under Japanese regulations, to belong in the “kei” car segment, a vehicle be must be powered by an engine with a displacement of less than 660cc and measure up to 3.4 meters long, 1.48 meters wide and 2 meters tall.
The advantages of owning a Kei car include lower taxes and insurance costs and also parking benefits.
September 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The Prius family of vehicles has grown recently and what was once a single model now includes a plug-in hybrid model and the Prius V minivan. The new models are set to go on sale in the States from next month and Toyota has revealed a new ad campaign to sell the range. The only problem is that the first TV commercial is really bizzare.
Aptly named “People Person” this new campaign was created by ‘hit and miss’ advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi
The ad follows a bunch of people who are linked together to from a gigantic but correctly proportioned man. This people-man goes about his regular day like brushing his teeth and reading the newspaper. Then the giant leaves the house and uncovers four Prius models, including the regular Prius, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the Prius V and the upcoming compact Prius (still in concept form), all parked on his driveway. Then the people who make up this giant man begin to disengage from their formation and drive off in the cars. Continue reading “Toyota shows new Prius range with weird commercial (+video)” »
September 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Toyota NZ has revealed initial information of the facelifted 2012 Hilux which will be available in Toyota showrooms later this month.
Toyota NZ General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell said “Hilux has built its reputation around being unbreakable. We’re taking the tough and reliable truck that so many New Zealanders love and making it even better with a fresh line-up, improved safety and bold new looks. These latest changes will substantially improve the value of Hilux for our customers and further strengthen Hilux’s position as New Zealand’s favourite truck.”
A new model has been added to the Hilux range – a standard grade 4WD extra cab ute with a 3.0 litre turbo diesel engine and a five-speed manual transmission.
Cosmetic changes include a completely new Landcruiser-inspired front end, this means new guards, headlights, bumper, bonnet and grille. At the rear, there’s new tailights and a replaced rear bumper. There’s also new mirrors and alloy wheel designs. Continue reading “Facelifted 2012 Toyota Hilux on sale in NZ this month” »
August 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
It was only a few years ago that the electric vehicle lap record at the Nürburgring didn’t mean much to anyone, but the title is now hotly contested. The latest developer of electric propulsion to throw their hat into the ring, at the ‘Ring, is Toyota with its TMG EV P001.
The oddly named but beautifully curved electric Toyota set a new record recently with a run of seven minutes, 47.79 seconds. This new record has smashed the previous time, held by Peugeot’s EX1 by more than a minute. The EX1 clocked a lap time of 9.01:33 and prior to that the Mini E held the record with a time of 9 minutes 51 seconds. To achieve the feat the TMG EV P001 uses a 100% electric powertrain with a top speed of 260km/h and a huge 800Nm of torque.
Toyota’s electric racer record puts it in line with the lap times recorded by petrol-powered hero vehicles like the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Nissan GT-R. But what’s the point of it all? Turns out that Toyota wants to sell the powertrain used in the EV P001 from next year. Expect to see the components in passenger vehicles from 2012 which should mean a welcome improvement in performance of Toyota’s electric/hybrid offerings. Electric cars might just become exciting after all. Continue reading “Toyota breaks electric vehicle lap record at the ‘Ring (+video)” »