AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
With Toyota having recently undergone the worst period in its history, the grandson’s founder and man at the helm of the Japanese auto giant looks to be ready to make big changes in order to get the company back on track. More than just an executive, Akio Toyoda is a well-known car buff who loves to get out on the race track, so its no surprise that he wants to instill some passion into Toyota’s lineup of models.
In an interview with Automotive News, Toyoda admitted that its most important model, the Camry, is now facing serious market pressure from competitors such as General Motors, Ford and Hyundai. “Look at the Ford Taurus. It may be making a comeback. GM also has Camry fighters. And they’ve been done with a fun-to-drive touch. And Hyundai is coming up, and they’re looking good,” said Toyoda. “So we have to start asking, ‘Can we just keep doing the Camry like this?’”
Fortunately for Toyota it has survived the recession and is back to profitability after recording its first ever loss. The recall crisis seems to have subsided as well, with sales signifying that current and past Toyota owners weren’t overly phased by the fiasco. The problem, however, will be getting new buyers from other brands. To do this Toyota will need a more exciting Camry. It will also need more exciting entry-level models to bring in first-time buyers.
To solve that problem, Toyoda said he wants to focus more on the “neglected” Scion brand – which will receive two new models in the next 12 months, including the second generation tC and all-new iQ mini car. Originally the Scion brand was exciting, but Toyoda admits that recently the Scion lineup has become “more like the regular Toyota vehicles.”
Also on the burner is the much-touted FT-86 entry-level sports car, which Toyoda did not comment on.
He does have high hopes for the future, however, commenting that lessons have been learned and that, “if we can apply those lessons one at a time, it won’t be long until we’re back where we were.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Titan Motorsports has long been paving the way in the sport compact drag racing segment, setting records in their Street Tire Supra in the early 2000s, before moving onto the NHRA Sport Compact Pro RWD class with their Toyota Celicas. They then powered their way to 6-second passes on the quarter-mile before Scion jumped on board on contributed to two new chassis. Once the NHRA Sport Compact Drag Racing Series merged with NOPI, and NOPI disappeared, Titan Motorsports looked for a new challenge to please its sponsors and continue drag racing while setting records and raising eyebrows.
In what was an interesting move on their part, Titan Motorsports decided to campaign their Scion tC drag car at the ADRL series which is mostly dominated by American muscle. In fact, they are probably the only import-powered vehicle there at most events. With a Toyota 2JZ Supra Turbo engine with only 186 cubic inches, most ADRL competitors were skeptical that Titan could even come close to competing with the 800+ cubic inch motors that were all forced induced. Needless to say they attracted a lot of attention once they became very competitive in the 10.5-inch tire field.
But a new goal was on the horizon for 2010. After making numerous low 4-second passes in the 1/8th-mile, Titan Motorsports knew they had it in their car to go into the mystical 3-second mark. A 3.999 or faster pass would not only make Titan’s car the fastest sport compact/import in the world but they would also become part of an exclusive Mickey Thompson 3 Second Club. Entering this club rewards the team with a custom ring, custom leather jacket and $3000.00 bounty to the first five members.
At the ADRL Georgia Drags VI, Titan Motorsports finally achieved their goal with a record-setting 3.996 @ 182.45 mph. They have made their way into the coveted Mickey Thompson 3 Second Club as one of the first five cars into the 3′s and guaranteed themselves as the fastest import in the world for many years to come. Watch the record setting pass after the jump!
[Source: Titan Motorsports Blog]
GALLERY: Titan Motorsports 3-second Scion tC
Consumer watchdog, Consumer Reports has released its list of 2010 cars, which includes the Hyundai Accent and the Chevrolet Aveo, that do not come with the electronic stability control (ESC) safety feature.
A computerized technology that improves the safety of a vehicle’s stability by detecting and minimizing skids in a turn, electronic stability control will become a standard feature in all light-passenger vehicles come 2012. This category includes cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. According to Consumer Reports, the majority of manufacturers have already equipped their vehicles ahead of the mandate.
The list was a short one – only nine other cars managed to make the cut. Others on the list include the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Dodge Dakota, Dodge Viper, Kia Rio, Lotus Elise, Tesla Roadster and Scion tC.
But don’t worry if you’re in the market for a Hyundai Accent – it will have electronic stability control upgrade shortly. According to Hyundai spokesman Dan Bedore, “The Accent is our only non-ESC vehicle. It is also the oldest in our lineup. We continue to roll out new technologies as vehicles are freshened and replaced.” At this time, the Accent is the only current vehicle made by Hyundai that does not come with ESC.
[Source: Inside Line]
Despite a dearth of sporty cars in its lineup, Toyota has always managed to have at least one convertible, from boulevard cruisers like the short-lived Celica convertible and the recently departed Camry Solara convertible, to more serious sports cars like the MR2 and Supra. With the Camry Solara gone, Toyota is looking for another open top vehicle, and Scion‘s popular tC is likely to be next in line.
The tC accounts for 30 percent of Scion’s sales already, but its long-in-the-tooth styling has seen it slowly grow out of favor with the fickle youth market. A new 180-horsepower four-cylinder and revised styling for 2011 should help restore the tC to its former glory, and provide an affordable alternative to the Ford Mustang, Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder and Mini Cooper Convertibles. The tC’s four-seater configuration, usable trunk and Scion’s excellent customization program are icing on the cake for those who would rather shuttle their friends to the mall than carve corners.
While the tC convertible hasn’t been officially announced, expect it to arrive for the 2012 model year. The tC, along with the upcoming iQ city car should help Scion boost their slumping sales. There’s no word on if Scion plans to deliver a convertible version of the new iQ.
[Source: Inside Line]
We’re not even sure why we’re writing any copy. The video and the headline say it all. Below you’ll find some incredibly entertaining video of the amazingly talented rally and drift racer Tanner Foust piloting his Rockstar Energy Drink Scion tC drift car along California’s famous Mulholland Drive.
For those who don’t know, Foust’s tC makes 600 horsepower courtesy of a Toyota NASCAR V8, giving it plenty of torque to light up those rear tires.
Foust and the Rockstar Scion tC kick off their drifting season in Long Beach, CA, April 9-10.
See after the jump for the tire-shredding video:
All-wheel drive likely for future Scions
Toyota’s hybrid technology is too expensive to be used in Scion models says brand VP Jack Hollis. In an interview with Ward’s Auto, Hollis explained that a hybrid Scion model would essentially be out of the price range of the brand’s target demographic. Scion works to keep all its cars at, or starting at, under the $20,000 mark.
This news comes just days after Honda said a hybrid version of the Fit might not be in the works after all, due to prohibitive cost.
Hollis admits that not having hybrid Scions is particularly unfortunate as the typical Scion buyer is more likely to be open to hybrid technology and want to drive a vehicle that has a reduced impact on the environment. “Youth seem to be very, very cognizant of their environment and the footprint they’re leaving,” says Hollis, who went on to dismiss claims that the Toyota FT-CH hybrid concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show could one day be a Scion.
Toyota previewed the FT-CH and said that it would most likely debut as a smaller Prius model, expanding the Prius name into a family of vehicles. Scion is expected to deliver two new models in the near future, with the iQ concept one possibility, and a new version of the tC reportedly in the works.
Hollis did says that hybrid models are in Scion’s long-term future and even dropped another bomb – stating that all-wheel drive Scion models could be possible. In fact, Scion has already engaged in talks with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the parent company for Subaru, about using its AWD technology. Hollis said that with AWD he believes a sub-$20,000 model could be offered and even commented that the partnership between the two companies has, “just begun.”
Could an AWD FT-86 model perhaps be the future of Scion?
Along with three xB Tuner Challenge Cars, Scion will be bringing a trio of additional custom creations to the 2009 SEMA Show. The three cars include a tC, xB and xD, created by Cartel Customs, Five Axis Design and 0-60 Magazine.
First up is the Cartel Customs tC,which promises to follow in the tread patterns of the open-top 2007 Ruthless Cartel xD and 2008 Drag Cartel Rockstar xB. Cartel Customs (aka Drag Cartel) owner Jeremy Lookofsky says the tC will complete his company’s Cartel Open Air Collection.
Next up is Troy Sumitomo and his Five Axis crew, which aim to recreate the xB DJ with this second generation of the Scion box. The last xB DJ used a first generation with speakers and a DJ booth that emerged from the back of the car. We’ll have to wait for SEMA to see what Five Axis has in store for 2009.
Completing the trio is an xD by 0-60 Magazine, which built a Lexus IS-F for SEMA in 2008. Working with Sparco, this xD will get a rally car makeover that is sure to impress.
We’ll be sure to bring you photos of all three cars with our live coverage of the 2009 SEMA Show staring November 3rd.
GALLERY: SEMA Show 2009 Scion Cars
Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, the 2009 Scion tC Release Series 5.0 is all “murdered-out” thanks to some sleek black paint and matte-black 18-inch wheels. Those rims do, however, have a little color and feature a red trim around the outside.
This special edition tC (of which only 2,000 will be built) has a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) theme and comes with a long list of TRD performance parts. Red TRD lowering springs help give the tC RS 5.0 a more aggressive stance, and when combined with a red TRD rear sway bar give the sport compact better cornering abilities.
A TRD sport muffler gives the car a sound all its own.
Other exterior highlights include an optional rear lip spoiler (a $285 option) and TRD badging.
Inside, the tC RS 5.0 gets black seats with red accents, a black leather steering wheel with red stitching and TRD floor mats. The car will also feature an individually numbered badge.
The tC RS 5.0 will go on sale in March for 19,300 for the manual transmission and $20,100 fr the automatic – $2,300 over the standard tC.
Official release after the jump: