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For the ninth month in a row, the top-selling car in Japan is the Toyota Prius, helping hybrids make up more than 20-percent of all auto sales in Japan.
In February, Toyota sold 35,875 Prius hybrids, while the Honda Fit came in second place with 24,973 units sold. That’s quite the gap, especially considering third place was the new Toyota Aqua (Prius c in America – read our review here) that sold 21,951.
Hybrid models are now making up nearly half of Toyota total sales in Japan while Honda announced that 60-percent of their Fit sales are hybrid variants. Rounding off the top five was the Honda Freed in fourth place (13,293 sold) and the Toyota Vitz in fifth (11,288 sold). Over 40-percent of the Honda Freed sales are also hybrids.
The more interesting news is the fact that the Aqua hybrid production isn’t even keeping up with demand. The Japanese automaker originally planned to build 12,000 Aquas per month but now overwhelming demand has customers waiting almost six months for their vehicle if they placed their orders today.
10. Chevy Impala: 14M units sold
There are some surprises on the list, but for the most part it all makes sense. Whether they’ve been in production for a long time or they’re reasonably priced worldwide, the top 10 best-selling cars of all time might not be the most exciting, but are clearly the most popular throughout history.
The Chevrolet Impala is the only GM vehicle on the list and has quite the history since hitting the market 54 years ago. Starting its life as a large two-door performance coupe, the Impala evolved into a versatile sedan. Or as we like to call it, a rental car. Ironically, it isn’t actually offered as a coupe anymore, which seems like a distant memory after 10 generations of upgrades.
The Toyota Corolla has long been the best-selling car of all time, but now it holds an even more impressive title: the world’s best selling vehicle.
That may sound the same at first, but the “vehicle” list includes trucks, of which Ford has been selling plenty since it first introduced the F-Series line of trucks in 1948. Back in 2007 the Corolla surpassed the VW Beetle to become the world’s best selling car, and has since quietly moved ahead of the Ford truck line, with sales figures totaling 37.5 million. That’s 2.5 million ahead of the F-Series, an indication that the little Toyota has been in the lead for quite some time.
As for the Beetle, it’s slipped to fourth at 23.5 million units, being surpassed by its sibling, the Golf with 27.5 million units sold. In fifth place is the out-of-production Ford Escort, with 20 million units sold.
See below for a full list of the world’s best selling vehicles:
At the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota motorsports partner GRMN worked with the Japanese auto giant to introduce a turbocharged version of the popular Vitz (Yaris) compact. While the car on exhibit may be a one-off, Toyota is reportedly planning to shift its focus to downsized, turbocharged, direct-injection engines rather than focusing only on gas-electric hybrid technology.
While hybrids are capable of achieving greater urban fuel economy, small displacement turbocharged direct-injection engines deliver better day-to-day performance and are also a lot less expensive to develop than hybrid systems. Furthermore, Toyota’s dominance in the hybrid market merely makes it a big fish in a small pond as the collective hybrid market in the United States only accounted for 274,927 sales while Ford’s Ecoboost range attained that figure alone.
Although Toyota has used direct-injection and turbocharging in select models, other automakers have implemented these technologies across the line-up. Other drivetrain developments such as transmissions have been inconsistent as well. While the flagship Lexus LS luxury sedan offers an advanced 8-speed automatic, the RAV-4 makes do with an outdated 4-speed.
Toyota is hoping that its partnership with GRMN will help the Japanese automaker carry out a rapid development program that can potentially make its way into multiple small and midsize products within the next couple of years. A small Japanese business daily paper has already reported that direct-injection turbo engines could appear in domestic Toyota products as soon as 2013. These new power trains will be found in models sold in China and Europe as well. Even though the market in the United States wasn’t formally addressed, automotive analyst of Deutsche Bank Kurt Sanger told The Detroit Bureau, “We expect it to be a potential market for such technology to further increase the competitiveness of (Toyota) products.” In other words, it’s a good idea.
Other sources along with Sanger believe that the next-generation Toyota Corolla is likely the first all-new North American model to receive a direct-injection turbocharged engine. However, Sanger also believes that the current Toyota Camry is ready for a direct-injection turbo engine now, without a need for a model change.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Toyota has issued a recall for 2010-2011 Corollas and 2011 Siennas sold through Southeast Toyota Distributors (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina) that were installed with non-Toyota aftermarket entertainment, navigation and Bluetooth systems on the A-pillar.
The dealer-installed aftermarket equipment may not have been installed properly with the retention clip for the A-pillar trim panel being damaged in the process. As a result, the A-pillar trim could potentially come loose during an accident and cause additional harm to passengers.
A total of 518 vehicles are affected by the recall, but Southeast Toyota estimates that only 25-percent of those vehicles have damaged A-pillars. Nonetheless Toyota would rather play it safe and will be notifying customers this month and the dealers will replace the defective clips free of charge.
For 2012, Toyota’s Corolla will be getting slight upgrades to the L, LE and S models. The L model now gets color-matched side mirrors, power windows with driver’s auto-down, power door locks and remote keyless entry. The LE model will now get 16-inch wheels as standard, and steering wheel audio controls. The S model will get a double-stitch accent to its seats.
In addition, the LE and S grade models will get a new standard audio system featuring a USB port for iPod connectivity and an auxiliary input for any other multimedia players. The system will also include Bluetooth hands-free phone capability and audio streaming.
Toyota did not announce whether or not the 2012 Corolla’s pricing will change from the 2011 models.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Corolla
When it comes to family sedans and smaller cars and SUVs, for the last two decades, Honda and Toyota ranked as top choices for many Americans. Not any more. It seems that more and more U.S. motorists that once drove Corollas, Civics, Accords and Camrys exclusively are now looking at alternatives.
Although supply of certain Toyotas and Hondas is still proving problematic following the March 11 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, the decline in both automaker’s fortunes is being blamed on a lot more than just natural disasters.
According to Eric Nobel, of the Orange, California based consulting firm The Car Lab, both Honda and Toyota are losing ground, because their products haven’t been competitive in crucial market segments since the first half of the last decade. He particularly cites Toyota’s slipping quality control and the widespread recalls that have tarnished its reputation among American consumers, as well as Honda’s lack of innovation.
Although the Camry is still currently the best-selling car in America, it’s market share of the mid-size sedan segment has been dropping since 2008. Currently it’s around 9.6 percent, that contrasts sharply with 14.2 percent a couple of years ago.
Toyota’s Corolla and Honda’s Civic and Accord haven’t fared much better. Even Consumer Reports, which once championed these cars as the top of the list when it came to recommended buys, didn’t rate a single one of them as a top pick in it’s most recent findings, instead choosing cars such as the Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Altima over the former ‘favorites.’
Even domestic brands such as Ford and Chevrolet, once dismissed by many, are making a comeback. According to Edmunds.com, some 14.3 percent of people normally shopping for a Civic are looking at the new 2012 Focus as an alternative, while more than 10 percent are considering the Chevy Cruze.
Neverthless, Toyota says that it is “not going to stand still,” according to U.S. spokesman Joe Tetherow and will be “coming back with something significant.” That something will likely comprise a range of new or significantly updated models, including a next generation Camry.
Whether it will be enough to win back customers and turn the tide of flagging sales remains to be seen.
The May auto industry sales numbers are in and things continue to look down for Honda and Toyota. Both brands saw big drops in their May sales, with Honda down 23 percent and Toyota down 33 percent. While the earthquake and tsunami are to blame for supply issues, it’s hard to ignore the fact that both automakers are losing ground with core products.
According to data compiled by the Examiner, neither of the top two Japanese automakers have a car in the Top 10 best selling cars list for the month. While normally the Civic, Accord, Camry and Corolla all place highly, the best of the bunch for May was the Camry in 12th place with 18,830 units sold. The Civic placed 13th with 18,341 units sold, while the Accord (including the Accord Crosstour) was in 14th with 18,185 units and the Corolla (including the Matrix) sold 16,985 to wind up in 16th spot.
Topping the list was Ford’s F-Series trucks, followed by the Chevy Silverado, while the first car to place is the Chevy Malibu in third, followed by the Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion to round out the top 5. Even domestic compacts did well in May with the Cruze in 8th place and the Focus in 9th.
Year-to-date, Honda and Toyota aren’t doing as poorly with the Camry in 3rd, the Accord in 4th, the Corolla in 5th and the Civic in 8th, but if the May sales numbers for these cars continue, both automakers could look to slip considerably.
The U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed its investigation into the power steering system in the 2009-2010 Toyota Corolla with no defects found.
Furthermore, the NHTSA also said Toyota’s electronic throttles were not to blame for the 2009-2010 recall fiasco. However, Toyota is still dealing with major setbacks with the parts shortage caused by the Japanese earthquake disaster, which will undoubtedly hurt their efforts to rebound in the sales charts.
An investigation by NASA has cleared Toyota‘s electronics systems of causing the unintended acceleration phenomenon that was widely reported in 2010.
The Department of Transportation, who oversaw the investigation, released a statement claiming “NASA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles capable of producing the large throttle openings required to create dangerous high-speed unintended acceleration incidents.”
Although the report effectively vindicates Toyota’s claims that they were not at fault, the damage to the brand has been done, and is undoubtedly severe. Toyota recalled 8 million vehicles due to the scandal and paid nearly $50 million in regulatory fines.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal]
The Toyota Matrix has always been a bit of a non-starter in the marketplace, but that’s not stopping Toyota from launching an all new updated version at the Chicago Auto Show.
Just like the updated 2011 Corolla, the changes are essentially all cosmetic. The same 1.8L and 2.4L powerplants remain in place, as does the antiquated 4-speed automatic transmission. The Matrix, unlike its sedan counterpart, does get all-wheel-drive as an option.
Hit the jump to see the official press release
Toyota announced pricing for their updated 2011 Corolla and Matrix, with a base Corolla starting at $15,600. A base model Matrix will retail for $18,545, with both base trims coming equipped with a 5-speed manual.
The Corolla base trim with an automatic will retail for $16,400 while the mid-level LE will cost $17,300 while the top-of-the-line S will cost between $17,400 and $18,300.
The Matrix lineup remains slightly more expensive with a base automatic retailing for $19,385, an S 5-speed costing $19,265, an S Automatic going for $20,455 and an AWD equipped S automatic setting you back $21,415.
Back in 1984, General Motors and Toyota teamed up to open a joint manufacturing facility on the site of an old GM car plant in Freemont, California. New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) was conceived to help Toyota gain a manufacturing foothold in North America, while allowing GM to learn from Toyota’s manufacturing processes (in an effort to achieve greater levels of quality – this was the ’80s remember).
The plant, which mainly produced the Chevy Nova, Geo Prizm, Toyota Corolla and Pontiac Vibe (above), was shut down in 2010 when Toyota moved production of Corollas in North America to it’s plant in Cambridge, Ontario.
Now, Toyota is apparently suing the remnants of the ‘old’ GM (known as Motors Liquidation Company) for breach of contract, claiming $73 million in damages, namely to cover research and development costs, before GM pulled out of NUMMI last year as part of it’s bankruptcy and re-structuring program.
Toyota spokesman Keisuke Kirimoto said that the lawsuit is “part of the process of winding down the NUMMI venture.” The closure of the NUMMI plant resulted in the loss of some 4700 jobs, though unlike some other facilities, the Freemont factory isn’t going to be turned into tract housing or a shopping center. Far from it actually.
Back in May, Toyota sold the land to Tesla Motors (as part of a larger electric vehicle partnership), which includes some 207 acres (about 55 percent) of the land at the site. Tesla says it plans to build its new Model S sedan at the facility, eventually ramping up production to around 20,000 vehicles a month, which will result in the creation of around 1000 jobs.
[Source: Automotive News]
Toyota‘s venerable Corolla gets a mild refresh for 2011, and the updated compact will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Toyota claims it enlisted the help of stylists in Turin, Italy, and the result is still somehow Toyota-like in the front, with the back end looking pretty good for a Corolla.
Engine choices remain the same, but new features like stability control and traction control are standard. Toyota is also sticking with a Pleistocene-era 4-speed automatic, but a 5-speed manual will still be available.
Gallery: 2011 Toyota Corolla
Hit the jump for the official press release
Toyota is recalling 10,750 Corolla and Matrix models due to fault accessory belts, which drive the air conditioner, alternator and water pump.
The defect is only present in models with the 1.8L four-cylinder which were assembled in North America between February and March of 2010. The belt is at risk of deteriorating, which could lead to the engine overheating. Toyota will service the vehicles at no charge, and the repair should only take half an hour. Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by mail this month.
The early days of the Afghanistan conflict allowed the Toyota pickup entered public consciousness as the vehicle of choice for the Taliban. The images got Toyota some bad press, but it turns out that the Japanese auto maker is pretty much the only game in town.
Afghani car dealers estimate that up to 90% of vehicles on the road are Toyota Corollas. While Afghanistan’s sole Toyota distributor says business is up by 626% (selling 401 cars this year compared to 64 before that), the majority of customers flock to used Corollas from across the globe, with the “German” ( European) Corolla at the top of the pecking order.
While the dominance may be good for Toyota, the homogeneous nature of Afghani cars must be hell for intelligence officers trying to guard against suicide bombers. Broadcasting an alert for a “White Corolla” is pretty meaningless when everybody is driving one.
[Source: The Washington Post]
After receiving 1,100 complaints regarding the 2005-2007 Toyota Matrix and Corolla, NHTSA has decided to broaden their investigation into the vehicles, after launching a preliminary inquiry in November of 2009.
According to reports, Toyota told NHTSA that a problem with the car’s ECU (engine control unit) that causes stalling, rough shifting and stops the car from re-starting after these problems occur. While the company hasn’t recalled the vehicles, it has issued a number of service bulletins and replaced the defective part on an unspecified number of vehicles. Toyota also replaced the part under warranty provided the vehicles had fewer than 80,000 miles.
Toyota faces lawsuits over the issue in a number of states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Minnesota, Florida and California. The company was fined $16.4 million in March for delaying the recall of 2.3 million vehicles.
[Source: Detroit News]
Toyota‘s executive vice president for global manufacturing said that exporting the Corolla and Yaris to America was no longer profitable due to a strong yen, which is at a 15 year high relative to the U.S. dollar.
Given the current exchange-rate situation, it isn’t feasible, in terms of a business model, for us to produce Corolla or Yaris in Japan and export them,” said Niimi. “We’re working very hard to reduce costs to maintain the appeal of these cars.
Toyota is currently the largest exporter of vehicles to America. The Yaris, which sells for under $13,000 in the United States, would ostensibly be unable to maintain its current price point under current economic conditions.
[Source: Just Auto]
Toyota is looking to shift production of the Prius hybrid to its Mississippi assembly plant when the next variant of the car arrives – in 2016.
Toyota was planning on building the car at the site originally, until GM exited the NUMMI plant in California, forcing GM to move Corolla production to their Deep South facility.
“The main components for the Prius — such as the motor and battery — are not mature enough for local production,” Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi told Reuters. “We expect that they’ll be ready with the next remodelling.”
Technology issues aside, Toyota also feels that the U.S. economy has yet to fully recover, and that it won’t be prudent to launch a new vehicle any time soon.
“If you look at unemployment, housing, and other economic indicators there’s not much good news. I think it will take time for the market to recover,” Niimi said.
Despite Toyota‘s lack of results in Formula 1 racing, the Japanese automaker has had considerable success in rally racing. With their TTE performance division having significant ties to Europe, Toyota is planning to show off some of their important rally cars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.
The Celica ST185 and the Corolla WRC will be in attendance, in their famous Castrol livery that should be recognizable to anyone who has played Gran Turismo. Also in attendance will be the Celica TA63 Group B rally car, the Lexus LFA, the Toyota FT86 and a supercharged Toyota iQ microcar.
The news just adds to the rumors that Toyota is preparing to announce a return to the World Rally Championship in the near future.
Hit the jump to see the full press release.
TOYOTA AT THE 2010 GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED
* The greatest cars from Toyota’s World Rally Championship heritage in action
* Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA, class winner at this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours
* First Goodwood appearance of the Dakar rally-raid Land Cruiser
* UK debut of the new full hybrid Lexus CT 200h and the Toyota FT-86 sports concept
* 750bhp Toyota Sprint Series Celica targeting fast hillclimb time
Toyota celebrates the glory years of its World Rally Championship campaigns at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed from 2 to 4 July with a roll-call of some of its most celebrated and successful WRC cars.
Ready to burn up the Goodwood rally course, they represent 16 years of success at the pinnacle of the sport. They include: -
* Celica Twin Cam TA64, the 380bhp Group B machine (1983 – 1986) that was hailed as the “King of Africa” for its dominance of the Safari and Ivory Coast rallies
* Celica ST185, the Group A car that was driven to consecutive driver’s championships by Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol from 1992 to 1994, and Toyota’s first manufacturer’s championship with seven victories in 1993.
* Corolla WRC, which claimed 25 podium finishes between 1997 and 1999
Spectators will also be treated to the thrilling sight and sound of the Lexus LFA. Gazoo Racing will be setting the pace, fresh from scoring a maiden class victory for Lexus at the Nürburgring 24 hours. The competition car will be joined on the course by a road-going version of the ultra-exclusive supercar. At the other end of the scale, the tiny iQ will be in action, in a new prototype supercharged version created by Toyota Motorsport.
With an eye on setting one of the fastest hillclimb times of the festival, Jonny Milner and Adrian Smith will be charging up their 2010 Toyota Sprint Series Celica GT4. Not content with its 600bhp engine, the car also boasts a nitrous oxide system that can add an extra 150bhp when required.
There will also be Goodwood debuts for rally-raid specialist Ronan Chabot in his Dakar 2010 Land Cruiser, and for Latin America’s all-conquering 900bhp Supra GT, brought all the way to Sussex from Costa Rica by Javier Quiros .
The Lexus CT 200h will be seen for the first time in the UK in the Festival of Speed’s technology pavilion, ahead of its sales launch early next year. Marking Lexus’s entry into the premium C-segment, it represents the latest development of Lexus full hybrid technology, delivering lower emissions and improved fuel economy with hallmark Lexus luxury and reliability.
Toyota’s static display at Goodwood represents a complete spectrum of technical and design innovation, ranging from the mighty GT One that competed in the 1999 Le Mans 24 hours, to the Polar Hilux that became the first car to be driven to the Magnetic North Pole, courtesy of the BBC’s Top Gear team.
Visitors will also be the first in the UK to see the FT-86 concept, Toyota’s vision for a new, compact rear-wheel drive sports car. Aygo Crazy and Gazoo Racing’s eye-catching take on iQ demonstrate that being small is no barrier to performance, while the new Auris Hybrid will fly the flag for British manufacturing excellence.
After being kicked out of the WRC for cheating, and then coming back to win the championship in 1999, it’s safe to say that Toyota has had an interesting history with the World Rally Championship. Whatever you think of the team, their white and green Castrol livery is still one of the most iconic examples in all of motorsports.
Toyota representatives were spotted attending a rally event in Portugal, sparking rumors of a comeback for the Japanese automaker, but rally insiders were quick to quash these rumors.
Speaking to MaxRally, Malcolm Wilson of the Ford factory team said that there was nothing to substantiate rumors of a return for Toyota. “I spoke with them and they made it clear they are not just looking at rallying but all disciplines. It was purely a fact-finding mission from my understanding but it’s good to see they are showing an interest and even considering the WRC as an option.”
Toyota has won 43 rallies and 3 world championships, with famous drivers like Carlos Sainz and Didier Auriol behind the wheel.
The Automotive Leasing Guide is what the auto industry uses to determine residual values for leased vehicles. It’s a pretty important guideline, and when the ALG speaks, people listen. So the ALG’s prediction of gasoline at $4.13 a gallon by 2013 has some pretty big ramifications for consumers and their vehicle choices.
Naturally, the ALG is predicting an increase in residuals for compact and hybrid cars. While compacts and hybrids should see a residual jump of nearly 10%, the big losers will be full-size SUVs, which should take a 7.4% hit in residual value. The same price fluctuations apply to wholesale values as well, with compacts and hybrids expected to bring 30% more at auction, while the same big trucks will go for 20% less.
Before anyone panics, let’s not forget that Canada has endured prices very close to $4/gallon for a few years now, and their vehicle makeup, while similar to the United States, skews more towards compact cars. While the best selling cars in America in 2009 were the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, Canada’s favorites were the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 respectively. Bet that Civic Hybrid is looking like a good buy now, isn’t it?
[Source: Autoblog Green]
Nearly a day after it was first spied testing, the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta has finally been spotted completely undisguised, and if the car looks a little Toyota-esque, then that must be a good thing. Rather than occupying a quasi-premium spot in the U.S. market, VW is going for volume, so the Corolla resemblance is not a coincidence. VW is hoping to push 160,000 Jettas per year, and a lower price and more conservative styling should help, along with a simpler, torsion beam rear suspension rather than the independent unit seen in the previous car.
VW is undertaking an ambitious plan to sell 800,000 cars in North America within 10 years, and while aiming the Jetta at the volume players may help them achieve this, it may also alienate previous Jetta loyalists who wanted a premium, performance-oriented small car rather than a European made econobox.
[Source: Auto Express]
With the Cash-for-Clunkers program officially ending last night, the U.S. Department of Transportation has now released its top 10 list of the most purchased vehicles under the program, with the most popular car purchased being the Toyota Corolla.
Toyotas actually took three of the top 10 spots, with the Camry placing third and the new Prius ranking seventh. Honda did equally well, taking three of the top 10 spots, with the Civic coming in second, the Accord 8th and the Fit 9th.
Nissan and Hyundai each had one spot on the list with the Versa in 6th and the Elantra in 5th. Ford was the only U.S. automaker to break into the top 10, with the front-wheel drive Focus in 4th and the FWD Escape in 10th.
The “Top 10″ list doesn’t tell the whole story, however. While no General Motors products are listed in the top 10, collectively, GM products accounted for 17.6% of the total of new cars purchased under the program, second only to Toyota with 19.4%.
In total, the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) generated 690,114 transactions worth a total of $2.8 billion.
“American consumers and workers were the clear winners thanks to the cash for clunkers program,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Manufacturing plants have added shifts and recalled workers. Moribund showrooms were brought back to life and consumers bought fuel efficient cars that will save them money and improve the environment. This is one of the best economic news stories we’ve seen and I’m proud we were able to give consumers a helping hand.”
In total, 84 percent of consumers traded in trucks, while 59 percent purchased cars. The average fuel economy of a car traded in was 15.8 mpg, whereas the average fuel economy of a car purchased was 24.9 mpg – an improvement of 9.2 mpg or 58 percent.