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The Future of Toyota - Autoweek

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Toyota's Future Gameplan
Still more segments to conquer
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By MARK RECHTIN | Link to Original Article @ AutoWeek


Much of Toyota's volume growth over the past decade has come from vehicles that enter new segments, such as the Prius, FJ Cruiser and the trio of Scion nameplates.

Toyota executives say there are no new segments to enter that will deliver continued volume spurts. But they are crying crocodile tears. Their segment-busting ACE crossover arrives in the fall of 2008, and a return to sports cars is in the works as well.

Also, Toyota wants to make hybrid power available for nearly all its vehicles, simplifying the process so that a shopper merely makes a choice among a four-banger, V-6 and hybrid. That likely will take hybrids further into the mainstream.

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Prius: The redesigned hybrid won't arrive until spring 2009 as a 2010 model because of delays in delivering a reliable lithium ion battery system. Instead, Toyota will offer a next-generation nickel-metal hydride battery pack.

But Toyota engineers are working on packaging so that when lithium ion technology is ready, it will be merely a matter of substituting the battery. The company also is studying plug-in hybrid technology, but it has legal and infrastructure worries about doing it for a mass market.

Yaris: A redesign is planned for the 2012 model year.

Corolla: A redesigned Corolla will arrive this fall. The platform is identical to what Europe has seen as the Auris, except the U.S. version is a sedan, not a hatchback. The car is still on a 102.4-inch wheelbase but grows slightly in overall length.

A new 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, making about 130 hp, comes this fall. The upmarket Corolla has the Camry's 158-hp, 2.4-liter four-banger. That one also gets a five-speed automatic. A hybrid model could come in mid-2010 as a 2011 model.

Matrix: The five-door hatchback is redesigned for the 2008 model year and adopts more macho styling. The 2008 Matrix and Corolla share the same platform and engine family. Sheet metal will be specific to North America; production will continue at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, Calif.

It is unclear whether Toyota will keep the Matrix name. The company has taken out a trademark for the name "Blade," which the vehicle is called in Japan.

Camry: A redesign is expected for the 2012 model year. But there is talk of going to a six-year cycle with a possible reskin for the 2009 model year. If on a six-year schedule, the new Camry would debut in spring 2012.

Avalon: A redesign is scheduled for the 2011 model year, but Toyota may add an extra year to the vehicle cycle. A hybrid comes six to 12 months after the redesign.

Solara: Dead after the 2007 model year; no replacement is expected.

Supra: The FT-HS hybrid sports car concept from the 2007 Detroit show is the spiritual successor to the Supra, which arrives in summer 2009. The 3.5-liter V-6 will be teamed with a hybrid-electric motor, producing a combined 400 hp.

Toyota's union with Subaru may provide the budget-conscious all-wheel-drive platform the Supra needs.

ACE: The crossover arrives as a 2009 model, drawing on crossover and minivan characteristics. Toyota says ACE stands for "advanced concept for empty-nesters" and is derived from the FT-SX concept.

ACE is merely the project code; the vehicle will be renamed before it reaches the market. Styling highlights are expected to include a low roofline with a high beltline and narrow greenhouse.

Expect much component sharing with the Camry. A 3.5-liter V-6 will be the only engine, paired with a six-speed automatic. Awd will be optional.

Highlander: The crossover is redesigned for the 2008 model year sharing the Avalon platform. Compared with the current model, the new one adds nearly 3 inches of wheelbase and is 4 inches longer and 3 inches wider and taller. A hybrid version will be offered.

Tacoma: A redesign is scheduled for the 2012 model year. A hybrid may be offered in 2012.

Tundra: The redesigned 2007 Tundra pickup arrived in February. Toyota is working with subsidiary Hino on a diesel version so that a promised heavy-duty model can arrive as a 2011 model. A hybrid version comes in mid-2011 as a 2012 model.

FJ Cruiser: A redesign is likely for the 2012 model year, with lots of special editions and a reskin for the 2010 model year. It may be a one-generation boutique vehicle.

4Runner: A redesign is scheduled for the 2010 model year.

Land Cruiser: Some thought Toyota would drop the Land Cruiser in the United States, but the redesigned 2008 model will debut this fall. Although smaller than the Sequoia, it will carry a 5.7-liter V-8 engine made in Japan. Hard-core off-roaders will mourn the lack of front and rear locking differentials, although the overall platform has been beefed up.

Sequoia: A redesign off the new Tundra platform arrives this fall. Like the Tundra, the Sequoia grows considerably larger than its predecessor, making some within Toyota worry that it might be too big. Engine choices will be a 4.7-liter or 5.7-liter V-8. A hybrid comes in the 2010 model year.

Sienna: A redesign is planned for the 2010 model year, but it could be pushed back a year. A hybrid will be available at launch.

Toyota is walking a tightrope between the Sienna minivan and ACE in terms of positioning. In the eyes of some consumers, the vehicles will be similar in terms of purpose.
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Supra: The FT-HS hybrid sports car concept from the 2007 Detroit show is the spiritual successor to the Supra, which arrives in summer 2009. The 3.5-liter V-6 will be teamed with a hybrid-electric motor, producing a combined 400 hp.

Toyota's union with Subaru may provide the budget-conscious all-wheel-drive platform the Supra needs.

Sorry but that ain't going to happen. The Subaru platforms use a flat 6 and weren't designed to use V6 engines. And I think we all know the Supra will use a Lexus derrived platform rather than a Subbie. Also I expect the 5.0 V8 they are developing to be the powerplant of choice.
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Toyota cares way too much about people's perception of them as a "green" automaker. They will use the 3.5 + electric motor so that they can say, "Look, we made a car that performs better than a Corvette and gets 35 mpg!"

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No locking diffs on the Land Cruiser? So it's a p*ssy mobile now. That's what the damn Sequoia is for....the Land Cruiser is for offroad performance...way ruin any credibility the name had left Toyota.

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Toyota cares way too much about people's perception of them as a "green" automaker. They will use the 3.5 + electric motor so that they can say, "Look, we made a car that performs better than a Corvette and gets 35 mpg!"

We will see I guess.
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Where's the outrage?

Where's the furor?

Where's the spleen dumping?

This is far more egregious than any center-console that has graced a mid-size sedan.

Look at those numbers.

Just look at those release dates.

I say, run and cower in fear of the bright silver mushroom.

GM has absolutely no chance to deliver a hybrid full-size vehicle before Toyota.

Looks like GM is standing still yet again with the full-size hybrids.

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No locking diffs on the Land Cruiser? So it's a p*ssy mobile now. That's what the damn Sequoia is for....the Land Cruiser is for offroad performance...way ruin any credibility the name had left Toyota.

Probably only 1% of the buyers took 'em off road anyway, though. I've seen quite a few 4Runners on the trails in Colorado, though.

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Where's the outrage?

Where's the furor?

Where's the spleen dumping?

This is far more egregious than any center-console that has graced a mid-size sedan.

Look at those numbers.

Just look at those release dates.

I say, run and cower in fear of the bright silver mushroom.

GM has absolutely no chance to deliver a hybrid full-size vehicle before Toyota.

Looks like GM is standing still yet again with the full-size hybrids.

yukon hybrid is FULL SIZE

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