Tag Archives: Toyota

Riyadh Motor Show Returns: First Since 2012

Riyadh Motor Show Returns: First Since 2012

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

The Gumout GT4586 is a fire-breathing Frankenstein’s monster of a drift car, half Toyota GT86, half Ferrari 458 Italia. In its global debut at the trade-only SEMA show, Ryan Tuerck’s insane mod has grabbed the attention of the world with its audacity.

Even an event as car crazy as SEMA – dominated as it is by tuners, moders and hackers – can still manage to deliver an automotive surprise and usually it is from the most unlikely source.

This year’s show has already given the world a 220mph Toyota SUV, dubbed the Land Speed Cruiser and a 775hp Hellcat-powered Dodge Ram pickup that promises to perform as well as a Dodge Challenger. And that’s before we get on to builders like the Ringbrothers and their Cadillac ATS-V phenomenally disguised as a classic 1948 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe.

But so far, none of them have anything on Tuerck’s Gumout GT4586. Tuerck is a Formula Drift driver and decided to create the ultimate Frankenstein drift machine.

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

Starting off with the Toyota GT86, a great tuners’ car thanks to its coupe form, low center of gravity, boxer engine and rear wheel drive, he decided to perform some open heart surgery.

Dropping a bigger engine in a Japanese car or bolting on turbochargers is nothing new. But taking one of the greatest engines in recent history – the normally aspirated 5-liter 570hp V8 found in the middle of a Ferrari 458 Italia – and squeezing it into a tiny Toyota is something else entirely.

And the results, along with the engineering knowhow and automotive hacking required to marry engine with car, are remarkable, as his videos show.

Ferrari’s V8s are mid-mounted, meaning that in order to put the motor in the Toyota where the engine bay is up front, Tuerck has had to run the exhausts through and out of the car’s front bumper so when he accelerates or decelerates the car breathes fire.

What’s more, the engine’s headers and valve covers are so big that Tuerck has had to jettison the car’s hood altogether, but that just adds to its aggressive appeal. And as to how well the car performs, as a demo clip shows, it literally runs rings around a standard Ferrari.

There is a long and less than illustrious history of Japanese and Italian car companies collaborating, a trend that hit its nadir with the Alfa Romeo Arna which married the worst aspects of an Alfa Romeo with the worst elements of a Nissan. But this collaboration, if purists can get past the sacrilege of using a V8 supercar as an organ donor, is a marriage worth celebrating.

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

classic cars Japanese models 1967 Toyota 2000GT

Classic Cars: Do Japanese Models Qualify?

The short answer is no, Japanese automakers didn’t produce anything noteworthy prior to WWII, which is what properly classic cars have to be but if we expand this to “modern” classics then the answer might be very different. Hold on, you might say. Who made these rules anyway, and isn’t modern classic a contradiction? Well, read on and find out for yourself.

The classic car establishment used to turn its nose up at things like Nissan Skylines and Datsun 240Z coupés but could the tide be turning for modern Japanese classics and will they soon sit in collections alongside 1970s Ferraris and 80s Porsches?

When the Beaulieu (the British National Motor Museum) opened its gates for a Simply Japanese rally on the last weekend of July, it attracted 1,248 cars, 35 different owners clubs and 2500 visitors.

Yet when it comes to events like the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, a pristine Japanese car will be a rare sight indeed on the impeccably manicured lawns among the Bugattis and Mercedes.

classic cars Japanese models 1973 Datsun 240Z Coupé

A 1973 Datsun 240Z Coupé © David Newhardt, Courtesy of Mecum Auctions

“There are no pre-war Japanese classics, as such,” explains Peter Haynes from the RM Sotheby’s auction house. The oldest concours events still adhere to the rule that only cars built before WWII are genuine classics.

However, even with the rise of the ‘modern classic’ – think 1950s and 60s Ferraris – Japanese cars have been unfairly overlooked, until now.

“There was a kind of snobbishness but there definitely is a change. Japanese cars of a sexy, sporty nature began to emerge in the 1960s and certainly really came into prominence in the 1970s and 80s,” says Haynes.

It started with the Toyota 2000GT, launched in 1967. “That car has been making $1 million or close to it for a number of years at US auctions,” Haynes points out. And now other cars are starting to find themselves in the same auction catalogues.

This is partly due to people finally accepting that a cool car is a cool car, but part of it is a new generation of collectors.

classic cars Japanese models 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

A 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R © Newspress

The lure of nostalgia

Pre-war cars are considered classics because when the classic market first started booming that’s what collectors were buying – the exotic cars of their childhood.

“Those people are no longer with us,” says Haynes. “If you look at buyers at an auction now they are in their 40s and 50s and 60s and they are people of a different era and so are the cars they covet.”

The 2000GT will remain the gold standard because of its rarity – 350 built – but a quick look through the Bonham’s, RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Co and Mecum catalogues (the four auction houses hosting Monterey auctions during Pebble Beach) will show a growing choice of 1960s, 70s and even 80s modern Japanese classics in amongst the 1960s Ferraris and 1970s Porsches.

“Early [Nissan] Skylines are becoming desirable and even some of the sort of more utilitarian stuff like the [Toyota] Land Cruiser. They’re highly regarded and go for pretty big money,” says Haynes. “Whatever snobbishness may have existed, I think that it’s going – look at the Datsun 240Z. People are finally looking at it as a car and saying that it is a really great looking car…They are finally being perceived as desirable and the values will continue to grow.”

classic cars Japanese models The Toyota Land Cruiser J40 1960-1984

Toyota Land Cruiser J40 1960-1984

Future Alternatives: What’s Next For Chinese Cars?

With the Beijing Auto Show ongoing this week, some of the important questions being talked about involve solving some huge problems attached to the idea of transport – such as the issue of pollution, or how to fix China’s road congestion. Electric cars and driverless cars may be the next big thing in the Chinese automobile scene but quite a lot of work is needed to get these measures off on the right track.

Electric Measures

Everyone has a general picture of Chinese smog and air pollution as a big problem but fixing it has always been quite rough. China’s government, though, is turning to electric cars as the key to solving the health crisis. Only one percent of the cars owned by the huge populace are actually electric cars, but that accounts for much. The country already took the number one spot for electric models last year with some 247,000 “zero emission” cars sold — quadruple the number in 2014 — according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. To incentivize drivers, the government is giving up to 55,000 yuan subsidies ($8,500) for each car, and electric cars are even exempt from traffic restrictions in China’s congested major cities.

Yet, while electric cars are more popular worldwide, particularly high-end brands like Tesla, the hefty price tags and restricted driving range means it’s still a niche market. Their evolution has been mainly state-subsidised, as in Norway, which has the world’s highest penetration at 17 percent of new sales in 2015. Still, the sizable market in China tantalizes many manufacturers.

Jean-Francois Belorgey, an expert with consultancy EY, predicted that by 2020, up to 750,000 electric cars will be sold in China every year. “China is perhaps the one place in the world where the automobile industry can achieve the economy of scale needed to bring down costs,” he said. In the meantime, the government is aiming for the loftier goal of at least five million rechargeable cars on the roads by 2020.

Both domestic manufacturers and foreign manufacturers are already planning their models and releases. One of these, on the domestic front, is market leader BYD, which also makes the Denza brand in a joint venture with Daimler. France’s Renault plans to release its Fluence ZE in China in 2017, and PSA group will be showing a unique C-Elysee electric sedan at the Beijing show that is due next year. Chinese companies have also provided funding for Western firms’ development projects, including Britain’s Aston Martin and the US’s Faraday Future, which sees itself as a possible competitor to Tesla.

Still, this isn’t the end of the problem. Ben Scott, an expert of electric cars with IHS, noted that it was merely “moving the CO2 from the exhaust pipe to a power plant somewhere” and, although it addresses the issue of “the concentration of particles”, it helps way less for the greenhouse effect. As long as power is still generated in carbon-intensive ways, the problem will still stick.

Drive Less

While many people would argue that the joy of the car comes from the control of the ride, the larger and more pragmatic Chinese populace are less particular about that. According to a survey by Roland Berger consultants in 2015, which found 96 percent of Chinese would consider an autonomous vehicle for almost all everyday driving, compared with 58 percent of Americans and Germans. We’ve heard, seen and perhaps experienced the horror stories of the accidents, often captured on Youtube and propagated on social media, and that probably accounts for the appeal – better safety through autonomous technology.

Still, the road has many flaws, especially because of large questions looming about the technology itself. “If you have someone jumping out in front of an autonomous car, does the car have to choose between killing that person, or swerving and crashing and killing the passenger?” asked Robin Zhu, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. Quite a paradox worthy of Isaac Asimov himself, if you ask me. Yet, Chinese businesses are ready to jump into the fray, taking the same path as companies like Google, BMW, Volvo, and Toyota.

Last week, ahead of the Beijing Auto Show opening on Monday, two self-driving Changan cars made a mountainous 2,000 kilometre (1,200 mile) journey from Chongqing in the southwest to the capital in the country’s first long-distance autonomous vehicle test. Another Chinese Internet giant, LeECO, is also venturing into autonomous technologies, unveiling Wednesday in Beijing an electric car that can park itself and be summoned to its owner’s location via smartphone. And late last year Baidu tested China’s first locally designed driverless vehicle, a modified BMW, with a 30 kilometre ride through the streets of Beijing.

The ready market is also bringing in interested parties from the outside, with top companies aiming to refine their driverless technologies. Swedish manufacturer Volvo, owned by China’s Geely since 2010, this month announced plans to test drive up to 100 of its vehicles on Chinese roads this year. Changan, a partner of Ford, is set to roll out commercial autonomous vehicles for motorways from 2018, while mass production of driverless city cars is projected to begin in 2025. The ultimate prize, notes the analysts, will be when mass transport firms such as taxi-hailing giant Uber, or its Chinese rival Didi, can deploy huge fleets of robot taxis.

On the logistical side of things, analysts are less optimistic. Production costs were still too high to make a robot taxi fleet viable, BCG’s Mosquet said. “There are still many questions to be resolved” before fully autonomous vehicles can be put into public use, said Jeremy Carlson, a senior analyst for HIS, pointing to an inadequate infrastructure and “chaotic traffic situations” on roads shared with cyclists and pedestrians.

In the push towards the future, though, it may be hard to stop moving. The only way to face the various hard-hitting issues within the country is an open mind, and a will for innovation.

SpongeBob Movie 2015 Toyota Sienna

Toyota reveals SpongeBob concept car

SpongeBob Movie 2015 Toyota Sienna

 and Nickelodeon have teamed up to create a one-off SpongeBob concept for the Los Angeles Auto Show.

SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the world’s few truly global and instantly recognizable cultural icons and Toyota has done everything it can to bring the character to life in vehicular form.

The windshield is adorned with his eyes and buck-toothed grin and the roof features his Superhero Incredibubble mask and blows real bubbles.

SpongeBob Movie 2015 Toyota Sienna interior

Inside, the car has a blue, wood-grain dashboard and a ship’s rather than a car’s steering wheel and each of the seats references one of SpongeBob’s friends.

Even the flooring mats get a sand-colored and textured finish.

Following its LA Auto Show global reveal, the one-of-a-kind car will be heading off on a US promotional tour to publicize the next SpongeBob SquarePants film, due out in February.

 

Kia K900 Morpheus Super Bowl commercial

Super Bowl 2014: Top car commercials

Here are the best car commercials from this year’s SuperBowl!

Kia K900 Morpheus Super Bowl commercial

Kia

Promoting Kia’s first rear-wheel drive luxury sedan in a Super Bowl commercial, Laurence Fishburne reprises his role in the Matrix trilogy.

An unsuspecting couple meets Morpheus at a valet stand. He presents them with two choices: a red key or a blue key. Should they choose wisely, they’ll never look at luxury—or Kia—the same again.

Audi

For 2014, Audi’s promotion of its anticipated A3 line has resulted in the conception of a “Doberhuahua” to illustrate how their car captures sport, luxury and design without compromise.

Maserati

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” star and Oscar-nominated child actor, Quvenzhane Wallis, takes the lead role in this commercial for the new, more affordable Maserati Ghibli sedan.

Jaguar

It pays to be mean, at least when you’re behind the wheel of the Jaguar F-Type sports car. Sir Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong, and Tom Hiddleston starred in this dramatic tribute to the charms of the British bad guy.

Honda

Bruce Willis asks people to hug someone that matters to them to illustrate that, for Honda, safety is very real and very important.

Chrysler

The Official Chrysler 200 Super Bowl Commercial featuring Bob Dylan.

Toyota

Room for a whole flock of chickens, Terry Crews, a grand piano and the Muppets, but no room for boring. Sing along and see the all-new Toyota Highlander in the roomiest Big Game Ad of all time!

Volkswagen

In the 2014 Game Day commercial from Volkswagen, watch as a father tells his daughter that every time a Volkswagen hits 100,000 miles, a German Engineer gets his wings.

Ford

Comedian Rob Riggle demonstrates what #NearlyDouble actually means in the Big Game commercial from Ford. But why does Rob look so much like… James Franco?

Chevrolet

This 2014 Chevy Super Bowl commercial is the story about the new bachelor in town.

A Silverado pick-up truck is the mode of transportation in this commercial. However, the truly moving part of this ad was its touching celebration of cancer survivors.

Hyundai

Jeep

This Jeep Super Bowl spot makes you want to go hiking, skydiving, or simply get away from it all – in a Jeep Cherokee sport-utility, of course. Jeep wants its customers to stay restless, as seen in this big game commercial.

60% of cars will be connected by 2017

Toyota in-car-connectivity

In five years the connected car will become a mainstream reality with more than 60 percent of the world’s cars offering features such as built-in internet, wireless connectivity and smart notifications.

By 2017 market researcher ABI expects the figure to exceed 80 percent in the US and Western Europe as new cars get pumped full of smarter technology.
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Toyota GT 86 sports car

Toyota GT 86 sports car unveiled

Toyota GT 86 sports car

Toyota has released the first images of its new sports car, confirming that it will go on sale next year as the GT 86.

Built on an all-new platform, the model is hoped to reestablish the Japanese brand as a sporty name following the dominance of best-selling but mainstream models such as the Camry sedan and Prius hybrid.

The GT 86 is a compact model boasting a 197 hp 2.0-liter engine which should give the car quick performance when combined with its light curb weight.
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Ponam boat Toyota Motor Corp

Toyota Ponam-35 Luxury Boat

Ponam boat Toyota Motor Corp

More renowned for its prowess with wheeled vehicles, Toyota Motor Corp. is increasing its seaborne fleet with the launch of a new leisure boat, the Ponam-35.

But the 11.95-meter cruiser is still related to the car manufacturer’s mainstream products as its two V8-cylinder engines are adapted versions of the 4.5-liter V8 diesel engine that can be found in the Toyota Land Cruiser.

And while elsewhere it might be considered unusual for a car firm to dabble in pleasure boats, several of Japan’s other major auto firms also have boat divisions.
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Toyota FT-86 II

New Toyota sports car concept at Geneva

Toyota FT-86 II

Toyota took another step towards a new sports model March 1 with the unveiling of the FT-86 II concept at the Geneva Motor Show.

The biggest hint yet of the styling expected from a new production sports model, the FT-86 II was described as a model that paid homage to Toyota’s previous sports cars of the past such as the 2000 GT of the 1960s.

The model features a long, low hood and rear-set cabin and measures 4,235 mm long and 1,270mm high.
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Aston Martin confirms it will build Cygnet

Aston Martin has today confirmed that the Cygnet will go into production in 2011 at the company’s Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire.

Initially shown as a concept earlier this year, the the Toyota iQ-based Cygnet is described by its manufacturer as an ‘Aston Martin tailor fit for the city’.

Aston Martin’s CEO Ulrich Bez said “The Cygnet is designed to support our sports cars by providing a greater degree of freedom in the urban context; it is a very special car, a premium but compact package with heart, soul and personality.”
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Murcielago Is the Least Green Car of the Year 2010

According to the Environmental Transport Association, Lamborghini Murcielago is the least ‘green-friendly’ car and sports car in the United Kingdom.

The Luxury car emits a CO2 amount equivalent to ‘a football pitch-sized forest of trees’, which brought it the Least Green Car of the Year 2010 title.

According to The Sun, the two-seat Murcielago produces five times more carbon dioxide per mile than the greenest car of the year – the Toyota iQ.
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cygnet ev

Aston Martin Cygnet

Luxury car-maker Aston Martin has unveiled its first luxury small city car, or what it calls its “luxury commuter concept” – the Cygnet.

The move represents a radical departure for the luxury car manufacturer, most celebrated for the super sleek sports cars driven by James Bond.

The concept car, developed in partnership with Toyota, is heavily based on Toyota’s much-lauded small car, the iQ.
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Lexus LFA

Lexus has officially reveiled its two-seat supercar — the LFA — at the Tokyo Motor Show which is expected to hit the road by early 2011.

The Lexus LFA is Lexus’s first true supercar and is built from scratch using no major parts sourced from other vehicles.

The LFA features a carbon fiber monocoque chassis with aluminum front and rear subframes providing perfect rigidity with little additional weight.
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Meet the Toyota’s new violin-playing robot

APTOPIX Japan Toyota Robot

If Honda is swollen with pride of their humanoid robot Asimo, it’s Toyota now to flaunt its new humanoid robot. The new personal robot is a part of Toyota’s Global Vision 2020.

The 152-centimeters (5-foot) tall two-legged robot is capable of playing violin. It makes use of its mechanical fingers to push the strings and plays the bow with its other arm.

It touts 17 movable joints that endow it with the capability to conduct domestic duties and assist in nursing.

Toyota violin-playing robot
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