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William Maley

Toyota News: Toyota Talks About The New Avalon's Power

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

June 26, 2012

Toyota has revealed the powertrain details on the new 2013 Avalon.

As expected, the new Avalon will still use the 3.5L V6 from the previous Avalon. The V6 is rated at 268 HP and 248 lb-ft. of torque and will go through a six-speed automatic. EPA rates the V6 at 21 City/31 Highway/25 Combined.

Toyota has equipped the Avalon V6 with three different power modes (Eco, Normal, Sport) and certain models get paddle-shifters for a more “sporty” experience.

The new Avalon will also come in a hybrid model. The hybrid comes equipped with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and electric motor producing a combined 200 HP. EPA rates the Avalon Hybrid at 40 City/39 Highway/40 Combined.

The new Avalon goes on sale later this year.

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

Press Release is on Page 2


All-New 2013 Toyota Avalon Features Both Gasoline and Hybrid Powertrains

TORRANCE, Calif. (June 26, 2012) – When the all-new, North American designed and engineered 2013 Avalon goes on sale later this year, consumers can choose between a powerful V6 gasoline powertrain and Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive. The efficiency offered by the new hybrid model will help the all-new premium mid-size sedan achieve excellent fuel economy with an EPA-rating of 40 mpg combined.

In addition to offering a hybrid powertrain, the new Avalon features a stunning design, improved dynamic performance, a greater degree of refinement, and a highly spacious, comfortable interior experience with an abundance of outstanding convenience technologies.

Powerful, Efficient V6 Engine

The 2013 Avalon will feature a proven 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transaxle, which has been enhanced to offer more responsive and efficient performance. The all-aluminum six-cylinder engine will produce 268 horsepower and 248 lbs. ft. of torque, which will propel the new sedan to 60 mph in under seven seconds. Compared to the previous-generation Avalon, this 2013 powertrain combination offers improved fuel economy, performance, superior shift feel and response, with upgraded drivability and quietness.

This enhanced powertrain’s programming has been updated to offer ECO, NORMAL, and SPORT Modes. The ECO mode prioritizes fuel efficiency by reducing power application at lower speeds and reducing energy consumed by the air-conditioning system. The SPORT Mode provides increased acceleration responses though altered engine control unit (ECU) programming, and it offers a more direct and responsive EPS programming to enhance steering feel.

In addition, the new transaxle is equipped with a numerically lower differential gear drive ratio (3.23), designed to help improve fuel economy. The V6-powered 2013 Avalon achieves an EPA-rated 25 mpg combined (21 city/ 31 hwy).

The transmission operation has been made more efficient and responsive with the adoption of a flex-start control feature lock-up clutch. With lock-up control, the transmission’s torque converter fully engages at a lower RPM during standing starts to improve acceleration response and help suppress unnecessary engine revolutions. The new transmission is also kept at an optimal temperature with an automatic-transmission fluid warmer, helping enhance efficiency.

The multi-mode automatic transmission console shifter offers a D range and can be moved into an S-mode gate, which allows manually operated sequential shifting using the console shifter or available (Touring and Limited models) steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The gear can be selected by moving the shifter up to (+) position or lower using the (-) position to experience highly responsive shifts. By using the paddles or in S-range, the transmission uses a quick responding shift-logic that includes throttle blipping for downshifts. The gear changes and range-of-gear selections are displayed in the color multi-information display.

Avalon Adds Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive

For consumers seeking a premium mid-size sedan with excellent fuel economy ratings and an environmental message, the new Avalon features a full power-split hybrid system. Coupled with reductions in vehicle weight and improvements in aerodynamics, the Avalon Hybrid is expects to achieve impressive fuel economy ratings. The 2013 Avalon incorporates the latest advances in Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, building upon Toyota’s 14 years of hybrid-development experience. The Avalon Hybrid features a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine, a 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack, and a pair of electric motor/generators within the transaxle. A power-control unit located in the engine compartment houses an inverter, a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter (raises voltage to a maximum of 650 volts) and the hybrid-drive ECU, which governs the seamless operation of electric-motor power application and regenerative braking. The power control unit relies on liquid cooling to maintain an efficient temperature.

The Avalon Hybrid achieves a total system output of 200 horsepower and offers three unique modes of operation: EV, ECO and SPORT. The Avalon Hybrid models achieve an EPA-rated 40 mpg in the city, and a 39 mpg on the highway for a combined 40 mpg EPA-rating.

The 2013 Avalon Hybrid offers an EV mode that, under certain conditions, allows the vehicle to operate solely on electric propulsion. EV mode can be engaged, provided other conditions are correct, for up to one mile at speeds up to 25 mph, providing an all-electric option that is convenient in residential areas or parking garages.

The ECO drive mode engages the gasoline motor, but reduces throttle response and HVAC output to help improve overall efficiency. The SPORT Mode takes full advantage of the new Avalon’s dynamic character, improved chassis, and enhanced suspension by altering the engine’s throttle response and enhancing steering feel.

The Avalon’s hybrid’s battery pack is comprised of 204 cells and is located in the vehicle trunk behind the rear seats, while still providing ample trunk space. The scroll casing for the battery cooling system’s blower fan has been designed to produce extremely quiet and efficient airflow, helping reduce interior noise and elevating refinement. The power-control unit, located in the engine bay, houses the inverter, DC-DC converter.

The efficient hybrid transaxle in the new Avalon contains two high-output electric motor/generators, a power-split device, an open differential and the final drive ratio. Motor/Generator 1 (MG1) is used to start the gasoline engine and generate the energy that is returned to the battery to power the system. Motor/Generator 2 (MG2) is primarily responsible for electric drivetrain propulsion and regenerative braking. The hybrid vehicle transaxle also incorporates a flywheel-damper design that helps reduce noise and vibration during engine engagement.

Captivating Styling with a Spacious, Luxurious Interior Experience

The new 2013 Avalon is the product of a North American-focused design and engineering effort. The new sedan’s striking exterior and luxurious interior design was conceived by a youthful, talented team at the Calty Design Research Inc., facilities in Southern California and Michigan.

The car’s engineering development was led by a passionate and dedicated group based at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Continuing a North American focus, the 2013 Avalon will be assembled at the award-winning Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) facility in Georgetown, Ky.

True to the future product mission set forth by Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda, the new Avalon’s more stylish, bold, sporty exterior design and luxurious interior styling are matched by an enhanced dynamic package, a combination that foreshadows the more compelling and passionate nature of future Toyota products.

Powertrain Specs

Avalon V6

Avalon Hybrid

Gasoline

Engine

Type/Displacement

2GR-FE / 3.5L

2AR-FXE / 2.5L

Max Horsepower

268 hp

154 hp

Max Torque

248 lbs.-ft.

153 lbs.-ft.

Transaxle

Type

6-speed AT

E-CVT

Electric Motor

Max Output

-

140 hp

Max Torque

-

200 ft. lbs.

Battery

Type

-

Nickel-Metal Hydride

Nominal Voltage

-

245 volts

Number of Cells

-

204 Cells

Max Output

-

34 kw or 45.6 hp

Total System Output

-

149 kw 200hp

Key Dimensional Comparison

2013 Avalon

2012 Avalon

Overall Length

195.3 in.

197.6 in.

Overall Width

72.2 in.

72.8 in.

Overall Height

57.5 in.

58.5 in.

Wheelbase

111 in.

111 in.

Front Tread

62.6 in.

62.2 in.

Rear Tread

62.2 in.

61.6 in.

Front Overhang

38.8 in.

39.4 in.

Rear Overhang

45.5 in.

47.2 in.

Curb Weight

3,497 lbs. (V6),

3594 lbs. (Hybrid XLE)

3,616 lbs.

Click here to view the article

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Reminds me of a discount A7, and I like the A7. Not sure how this will play in Boca Raton.

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Ugh, can it get any uglier? That big old open Animation type Mouth that makes it look like it is going through multiple G Force pulling it's mouth open.

I am sure the Toyota loyal will love it, but to me a bit to Animation Ugly!

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Sadly Ford is becoming victim of the gaping hole grille too. I was watching TV and I thought it was a Hyundai commercial and it was a Ford - the Focus Hybrid (gaping maw) and the very Hyundai-like Escape is not winning me over on the Ford side. This thing is a Camry with a Sonata Hybrid hole in the front.

Toyota and Hyundai - bringing the ugly to main st america

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So...Avalon, Azera, Maxima, Taurus, Impala, LaCrosse...the FWD full size mainstream sedans..new Impala and LaCrosse are the best looking of them, IMO.

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So...Avalon, Azera, Maxima, Taurus, Impala, LaCrosse...the FWD full size mainstream sedans..new Impala and LaCrosse are the best looking of them, IMO.

I agree Chevy/GM needs to stay away from the Animation Gapping Mouth as it is just freakin Ugly!

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The V6 may not be the most powerful but 31 mpg is a solid number. That is 2 better than the Azera and 4 better than the LaCrosse. The 40 mpg hybrid is going to stand out because only the LaCrosse has an electric assist in some way, and that gives up about 15 mpg on the city rating. And the Maxima and Taurus don't offer anything.

One thing that is impressive is the Avalon V6 is only 36 lbs more than an ATS V6. They kept that car under 3500 lbs while a V6 LaCrosse is over 4,000.

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ok for a toyota, not a lot of style but its not a camry turd either.

i like the dash.

still the Impala, Taurus, Azera, LaCrosse, all nicer.

gaping mouth grille is hideous.

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Can't be any worse than 172 lb-ft pulling a 3800+ lb car with a 6-speed that wants to hunt for 6th gear. Bottom line is most of these LaCrosse or Avalon hybrid buyers like a numb car. The Avalon hybrid does have that 40/39 mpg rating going for it, they will get sales just on that. The MKZ is a good example, they sell almost half hybrid, Lincoln buyers don't care about speed either.

The Taurus ecoboost gets 32 mpg so that is pretty good, and the V6 Taurus has 288 hp and 29 mpg but that is still a heavy car. Not that I'd ever even bother with test driving an Avalon, I will say it is a very mass efficient car. The domestic full sizers have a lot of weight in them, maybe you can give Chrysler a pass on the 300 since it is wider and rear drive, but the Taurus is practically SUV weight.

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Ugh, can it get any uglier? That big old open Animation type Mouth that makes it look like it is going through multiple G Force pulling it's mouth open.

I am sure the Toyota loyal will love it, but to me a bit to Animation Ugly!

Yeah, while I like the BRz/FR-S okay, this thing is butt ugly.

200 ft/lbs total, running through a CVT in a soft 3,500+ car..... how much more numb can you get?

Not much...

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Can't be any worse than 172 lb-ft pulling a 3800+ lb car with a 6-speed that wants to hunt for 6th gear. Bottom line is most of these LaCrosse or Avalon hybrid buyers like a numb car. The Avalon hybrid does have that 40/39 mpg rating going for it, they will get sales just on that. The MKZ is a good example, they sell almost half hybrid, Lincoln buyers don't care about speed either.

The Taurus ecoboost gets 32 mpg so that is pretty good, and the V6 Taurus has 288 hp and 29 mpg but that is still a heavy car. Not that I'd ever even bother with test driving an Avalon, I will say it is a very mass efficient car. The domestic full sizers have a lot of weight in them, maybe you can give Chrysler a pass on the 300 since it is wider and rear drive, but the Taurus is practically SUV weight.

Well, you've got a few things wrong here. The 172 ft-lb is from the gas engine alone, the electric part rounds it up to 200 ft-lb total and it isn't a standard automatic. Toyota hybrid drive is a CVT, so no hunting at all.

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i think when ford readies the 2.3 ecoboost 4 for the mustang, we might see that in the edge, taurus, and explorer.

as it is, the ecoboost taurus does have more torque than the standard 6 cylinder. the taurus is too heavy yes but it's built like a tank. an ecoboost taurus with more torque and an 8 speed auto should get past 32 mpg. full size cars topping 30 mpg is a good thing. EPA combined on the Taurus is 26 i think. That is a tipping point, the 25 combined mark i believe.

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Can't be any worse than 172 lb-ft pulling a 3800+ lb car with a 6-speed that wants to hunt for 6th gear. Bottom line is most of these LaCrosse or Avalon hybrid buyers like a numb car. The Avalon hybrid does have that 40/39 mpg rating going for it, they will get sales just on that. The MKZ is a good example, they sell almost half hybrid, Lincoln buyers don't care about speed either.

The Taurus ecoboost gets 32 mpg so that is pretty good, and the V6 Taurus has 288 hp and 29 mpg but that is still a heavy car. Not that I'd ever even bother with test driving an Avalon, I will say it is a very mass efficient car. The domestic full sizers have a lot of weight in them, maybe you can give Chrysler a pass on the 300 since it is wider and rear drive, but the Taurus is practically SUV weight.

Well, you've got a few things wrong here. The 172 ft-lb is from the gas engine alone, the electric part rounds it up to 200 ft-lb total and it isn't a standard automatic. Toyota hybrid drive is a CVT, so no hunting at all.

I meant in the LaCrosse eAssist. That has less power than the Avalon and even more weight. Both are snooze mobiles to me.

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      wheel New available safety features include Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist Steering and suspension refined for improved ride and handling CHICAGO, Feb. 8, 2018 – Hyundai today unveiled its redesigned 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models at the Chicago Auto Show, the largest in the U.S.
      2018 Sonata Hybrid/Plug-in Hybrid Highlights
      New front/rear fascia design, grille, hood, front fenders, rear deck lid, headlights/taillights New 16-inch and 17-inch eco-spoke wheel designs New LED headlights with cornering Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) function New instrument panel center stack, steering wheel and available heated steering wheel New, stiffer front anti-roll bar and recalibrated steering assistance feel New, more rigid rear-trailing-arm design with retuned bushings for responsiveness Standard Blind-spot detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist Newly available Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keep Assist New, upgraded audio/video navigation system with new Bird’s Eye View map perspective New HERE HD Traffic (Real-time Traffic Service – non-paid subscription) Qi wireless phone charging on navigation-equipped models New rear USB charging port New three-year complimentary Blue Link Connected Car, Remote and Guidance on Blue Link-equipped models (Guidance requires navigation) Repackaged standard and available content for outstanding customer value The new Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid feature a comprehensive exterior and interior redesign, safety, suspension and new and improved infotainment and connectivity features. The 2018 Hybrid and Plug-in will be produced in Asan, Korea, with Hybrid availability in the first quarter of 2018 and Plug-in availability in the second quarter of 2018.
      “Our new 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in models add appeal in every area, from exterior to interior design, handling, steering, ride comfort, safety and infotainment,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning at Hyundai Motor America. “When combined with Hyundai’s outstanding value and efficiency, the new Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in are sure to attract even more eco-focused buyers.”
      The new Sonata exterior design conveys a new appearance from every vantage point, including new wheel designs. On the inside, a new instrument panel center stack, steering wheel, available audio/video navigation system, wireless phone charging and rear USB charge port further enhance the interior experience.
      HYBRID POWERTRAIN
      The heart of the 2018 Sonata Hybrid is a 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission that houses a powerful 38 kW electric motor and clutch where the torque converter would normally be found. Sonata Hybrid’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED) delivers the same responsive, engaging driving characteristics Sonata owners expect while improving fuel economy through the use of a larger electric motor.
      This innovative transmission uses an electric oil pump, which helps improve efficiency. It is possible for Sonata Hybrid to operate solely on electric power at speeds up to 75 mph by decoupling the gasoline engine from the rest of the drivetrain.
      Sonata Hybrid’s Nu engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque. The electric motor produces 38 kW (51 horsepower) and 151 lb. ft. of torque. Hybrid system net power is 193 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Sonata Hybrid SE has preliminary internal estimates of 39 mpg in the city, 45 mpg on the highway and 42 mpg combined. The Sonata Hybrid’s total range is estimated at more than 650 miles under typical driving conditions.
      The lithium-ion polymer battery pack capacity is 1.76 kWh and the battery pack fits under the trunk floor, which allows for a flat trunk floor as well as available 60/40 split-folding rear seats. Sonata Hybrid offers 13.3 cu. ft. of cargo volume, thanks to the compact battery pack dimensions and efficient design. Locating the battery pack beneath the trunk floor helps improve cargo volume and total interior volume with 106.1 cu. ft., the most in its segment.
      PLUG-IN HYBRID POWERTRAIN
      Although the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is very technologically advanced, it drives similarly to the regular Sonata Hybrid, but with the additional benefit of extended all-electric range. A 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, more than five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery, gives the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid an EPA-estimated all-electric range of up to 27 miles, and it can recharge in less than three hours with a level-two charger. It offers the best of both worlds by providing the power delivery of a hybrid gasoline engine, perfect for long trips, with the additional benefit of environmentally-friendly all-electric range for commuting. As a result, many consumers will be able to complete their daily commute without using a single drop of fuel, and total estimated range is an impressive 590 miles.
      The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid uses a six-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED), a 50 kW electric motor, in place of a torque converter. The 50 kW electric motor is 32 percent more powerful than the motor used in Sonata Hybrid and allows EV operation at higher engine load and speed. A 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled with the electric motor allows the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to operate just like the Sonata Hybrid once the onboard battery charge is depleted. The Sonata Plug-in Nu engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque and the total system output is 202 horsepower at 6,000 rpm.
      SAFETY FEATURES
      2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in come standard with seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag. Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display and a rearview camera are also standard. LED headlamps are optional and LED taillights and DRLs are standard.
      Hyundai engineers implemented many active safety technologies for the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in to assist drivers and help prevent accidents. No longer reserved for luxury cars, advanced safety technologies, such as Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is standard. Available advanced safety features include Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist and Automatic High Beam Assist.
      The Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in advanced Blind Spot Detection system is designed to alert drivers of an approaching vehicle in the next lane if the turn signal is activated. Drivers are first alerted of a vehicle in the blind spot by warning lights in the side mirrors. When the turn signal is activated, the Lane Change Assist system determines the closing speed of any vehicle in the adjacent lane to determine if the lane change is safe. If the system determines the vehicle in the other lane is closing too quickly, it sounds an audible alarm to warn the driver that the lane change is unsafe. The Lane Keep Assist uses a forward-facing camera to recognize lane markers. If the system detects the vehicle is headed outside the lane markers, a warning on the instrument cluster illuminates and an audible sound alerts the driver.
      Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCTA) is another standard feature that uses advanced technologies from the Blind Spot Detection system. RCTA scans the areas to each side of the Sonata when drivers are backing out of parking spaces. If the system detects another vehicle is approaching from the side, the Sonata driver is given an audible alert. This system is another tool that helps Sonata drivers benefit from active safety technologies.
      CONVENIENCE FEATURES
      The Sonata Hybrid delivers the convenience technology one would expect in a luxury vehicle in an incredibly efficient mid-size hybrid sedan. Hyundai’s Hands-free Smart Trunk is available as well as an electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, an Integrated Memory System for driver’s seat and side mirrors, segment-exclusive rear window sunshades, ventilated front seats, power front seats with adjustable driver lumbar support and Smart Cruise Control featuring stop/start capability.
      MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in offer an eight-inch color touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto® smartphone integration, iPod®/USB and auxiliary inputs, SiriusXM® satellite radio and Bluetooth® phone connectivity with phonebook transfer and voice-recognition. Available upgrades include a nine-speaker Infinity premium audio system with subwoofer and external Infinity® amplifier.
      The available eight-inch navigation system offers a map and music split-screen display and the ability to record SiriusXM presets one to six. For 2018, this navigation system also adds Bird’s Eye View map perspective capability. Switching to a preset station in the middle of your favorite song won’t be an annoyance any longer; simply rewind up to 22 minutes to listen to the full song or catch up on sports broadcasts. SiriusXM Travel Link® provides access to traffic information, sports scores, weather, stock prices, fuel prices and local movie times.

      AERODYNAMICS
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in use the same functional design cues to improve the drag coefficient to an industry-leading 0.24 Cd.

      NEXT-GENERATION BLUE LINK® CONNECTED CAR SYSTEM
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Blue Link-equipped models include three years of complimentary Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and voice navigation services. Blue Link brings connectivity directly into the car with technologies like Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. Blue Link features can be accessed via buttons on the rearview mirror, the MyHyundai.com web portal, the MyHyundai with Blue Link smartphone app, the Amazon® Alexa Blue Link skill, and the Blue Link Google Assistant app. Some features can also be controlled via Android Wear™ and Apple Watch™ smartwatch apps. The latest release of the Blue Link smartphone app includes:
      Widgets for easy access to remote features
      Ability to send Point-of-Interest data to vehicle navigation system (if so equipped)
      Access to Blue Link notification settings
      More details on specific Blue Link-equipped vehicles available at www.hyundaibluelink.com.

      MYHYUNDAI with BLUE LINK® APP
      Owners can manage and monitor the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid remotely via the Blue Link smartphone app. With the app, owners can access real-time data from their Sonata Plug-in and perform specific commands like starting the engine and locking doors. Plus, users can search for points of interest using Google with voice or text and have the directions when they start their Sonata Plug-in.
      For Sonata Plug-in owners who will charge at their residence, one of the most useful features of the app is the ability to manage their Plug-in charging schedule. Owners are given vehicle charging options that they can select while in the car, but users can also manage them remotely via their smartphone. Immediate charge is the simplest option, as charging begins as soon as the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is plugged-in.
      A distinctive instrument cluster provides Sonata Plug-in Hybrid drivers with additional information about the vehicle’s functions. A charge indicator is located on top of the dashboard to make it easy to see the state of charge from outside the vehicle.
      Individuals that have different electric rates at off-peak times may want to schedule the charge to reduce cost as well as reduce peak demand on the electricity grid. Users can do that with the new app based on time and date. For example, charging could be set to start at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays on a weekly basis.

      Connected Car Services:
      Remote Start with Climate Control and defroster Remote Lock/Unlock Vehicle Diagnostics/status Stolen Vehicle Recovery Car Finder Connected Plug-in Hybrid Charge Management Services:
      Start or stop charging Set-up charging schedule with days of the week and time Current battery level with real-time electric and fuel range Real-time fuel range Plug status (in/out) Charge status Time left until fully charged SONATA PLUG-IN AVAILABILITY AND TAX CREDITS
      The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be distributed in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, but customers in any of the other states can custom order the vehicle at their local Hyundai dealer. Sonata Plug-in Hybrid buyers are currently eligible for a $4,919 federal tax credit. These tax credits reduce the amount of federal tax the purchaser is liable for, making them much more valuable+ than tax deductions. In addition, the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is eligible for HOV-lane access in certain states.
    • By William Maley
      It seems we were right on the money with our guess concerning Toyota's Chicago Auto Show debuts. Today, the Japanese automaker introduced updated versions of the TRD Pro family, comprised of the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra.
      The big story with the update deals with the suspension. All TRD Pro models now come with aluminum-bodied 2.5-inch TRD Fox Internal Bypass shocks. The shocks promise improved damping for on- and off-road situations, and each models gets their own specific tuning for the shocks. All models also get new front springs to improve ground clearance and provide a more comfortable ride. Each TRD Pro model gets their own setup in terms of the rear suspension,
      4Runner: TRD Coil Springs Tacoma: Progressive-Rate Off-Road Leaf Springs Tundra: Leaf Springs found on TRD Off-Road Trim Toyota has also made various changes in terms of exterior and features for each TRD Pro model.
      4Runner: 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels, 1/4-inch front skid plate, and new roof rack Tacoma: 1-inch wider track for the front and rear, 16-inch TRD alloy wheels finished in black, thicker front skid plate, and optional TRD Desert Air Intake (also called a snorkel) Tundra: New LED head and foglights, grille, hood scoop, and 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum, five-spoke satin black wheels Pricing will be announced closer to the launch of the TRD Pro models, which is expected to happen this fall.
      Source: Toyota
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Game Changer: 2019 Toyota TRD Pros Typify Ultimate Off-Road Performance
      Next-Generation 4Runner and Tundra TRD Pro Feature All-New Fox shocks; Tacoma TRD Pro to Feature New TRD Desert Air Intake
      Fox 2.5-inch Internal Bypass Shocks Featured on Entire TRD Pro Lineup Tacoma TRD Pro Offers Available TRD Desert Air Intake New TRD Roof Rack on 4Runner TRD Pro Tundra TRD Pro Fitted with Rigid Fog Lights and BBS Wheels Three Colors Offered: Super White, Midnight Black Metallic, and Voodoo Blue (TRD Pro-Exclusive) CHICAGO (Feb. 8, 2018) – The pulse-pounding, heart-racing TRD Pro Series from Toyota returns for its next generation of off-road dominance. For 2019, Tundra, 4Runner and Tacoma will all feature Fox shocks and a host of impressive off-road equipment tuned and designed by the engineers at Toyota Racing Development (TRD).
       
      First unveiled in 2014, the TRD Pro lineup was born from Toyota’s rich racing and off-road heritage. All TRD Pro vehicles offer unique styling, as well as highly capable, tried and tested performance off-road equipment, specifically tailored for when the pavement runs out.
       
      The 2019 TRD Pro series will be available in fall of 2018, and each vehicle will be offered in three colors that include Super White, Midnight Black Metallic or Voodoo Blue (a TRD Pro exclusive color).
       
      Wanna go places? TRD Pro is the ultimate tool to get you there and back.
       
      Only as Good as Your Suspension
       
      As any seasoned adventurer knows, a true off-road vehicle is only as good as its suspension. For 2019, the entire TRD Pro family rides on 2.5-inch TRD Pro-exclusive Fox Internal Bypass shocks. Tuned specifically for each vehicle by the engineers at TRD, the aluminum-bodied Fox shocks offer impressive performance and supreme damping for a wide variety of driving situations. High-speed desert running, slow-speed rock crawling, or simply driving to and from work – drivers and passengers will be as comfortable as they are confident.
       
      Whereas off-road race vehicles traditionally have external bypass tubes on their shock bodies to fine-tune damping pressure, each high-tech Fox shock compactly incorporates bypass zones inside of the shock. These multiple bypass zones offer a cushioned, plush ride during typical operation but get progressively stiffer through the shock stroke to provide excellent bottoming resistance.
       
      The front shocks are paired with specially-tuned TRD springs designed for excellent ride comfort and to also produce additional lift, giving each TRD Pro an aggressive, heightened stance for improved trail-conquering capability. A combination of high-temperature shock fluid and nitrogen gas pressure are employed inside each Fox shock to improve bump compliance and to help maximize seal life.
       
      Every TRD Pro model features rear 2.5-inch Fox shocks that utilize a piggyback reservoir to house additional oil volume, which assists in maintaining peak damping performance during extreme use. Tundra relies on the beefy rear leaf springs also equipped on the TRD Off-Road grade, 4Runner utilizes the TRD Off-Road grade rear coil springs, while Tacoma features progressive-rate off-road leaf springs out back to allow more compression suspension travel to aid performance over rough terrain. TRD dust boots are utilized front and rear to offer added protection to help keep dust and dirt out, and 4Runner utilizes unique roost shields to help protect the inverted rear shock.
       
      Tacoma TRD Pro: Civilized Commuter or Trail-Tackling Specialist
       
      Based on the very trail-capable TRD Off-Road grade, Tacoma TRD Pro ups the ante with enhanced 2.5-inch Fox front shocks that use large 46mm pistons and feature 8 bypass zones (5 compression, 3 rebound). They are paired with TRD-tuned springs that provide an additional 1 inch of front lift. A larger front sway bar is employed to retain crisp steering and refined road manners. The Tacoma also features 2.5-inch rear shocks that use 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 rebound) and are paired with 2-inch piggyback reservoirs.
       
      A host of additional TRD equipment finds its way onto the new Tacoma TRD Pro, including an updated front skid plate with TRD red lettering, while the cat-back TRD exhaust is accented with a new Black Chrome tip.
       
      Inside, passengers are treated to standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with subwoofer amplifier and Integrated Navigation and App Suite. Tacoma is equipped with TRD Pro-branded floor mats and leather-trimmed seats with TRD Pro emblems on the front headrests. Distinguishing the exterior are unique TRD Pro badges, projector-beam headlights with black sport bezels and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), Rigid Industries LED fog lights, taillights with black sport bezels, and a black TOYOTA grille.
       
      Thanks to the offset of the 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels, Tacoma has a 1-inch wider track both front and rear for added stability. Trail and pavement traction comes in the form of P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar All-Terrain tires.
       
      TRD Desert Air Intake: Clearing Tacoma’s Sinuses, No Prescription Needed
       
      The most eye-catching of the Tacoma upgrades, no doubt, is the available all-new TRD Desert Air Intake. Designed to sustain consistent off-road performance no matter how silty or dirty the terrain gets, the TRD Desert Air Intake takes the 278-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine’s air intake away from dust that hovers inside the wheel well (where traditional air intakes are located) during off-road operation. This allows for air ingestion to occur in a cleaner space above the windshield, therefore, helping to benefit filter longevity and, ultimately, engine health.
       
      Tundra TRD Pro: Boastful New Additions
       
      Tundra TRD Pro also gets its fair share of new features for 2019. Of course, Tundra is equipped with new Fox 2.5-inch front shocks that boast beefy 46 mm pistons. The TRD-tuned springs provide an additional 2 inches of front lift, and front wheel travel is increased more than 1.5 inches. The front shocks feature 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 bypass) to fine-tune damping performance for off-road romps while retaining composed on-road manners. The Tundra also employs 2.5-inch rear Fox shocks that feature an impressive 12 bypass zones (8 compression, 4 bypass). The rear shocks feature 2.5-inch piggyback reservoirs, and wheel travel is increased by more than 2 inches in the rear.  
       
      Taking a cue from little brother, big bro Tundra gets new Rigid Industries LED fog lights for improved visibility on and off the highway, in a variety of weather conditions. Tundra also features LED headlights with LED accent lights and a unique black treatment. A new TOYOTA grille plus new hood scoop add style to Tundra’s brawny front end. Out back, TRD Pro stamping is found on the bed’s rear quarter panels.
       
      New 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum, five-spoke satin black wheels are featured on Tundra, which reduce un-sprung mass 3.35 lbs. per wheel (13.4 lbs. total) to improve cornering response and overall ride quality. The new wheels are wrapped in Michelin P275/65R18 all-terrain tires to provide a sure footing in dirt and on pavement.
       
      Inside, TRD Pro logos garnish the driver and front passenger leather-trimmed seats, while red stitching accents the dash, seats and armrests. TRD Pro floor mats, shift knob and a center-console emblem help complete the distinctive look. Providing added growl on the highway and the trail is a dual TRD Pro exhaust, which is fitted with new Black Chrome exhaust tips. A TRD Pro 1/4-inch skid plate sporting signature red Toyota lettering is found underneath the front end. Tundra TRD Pro will offer an available moonroof.
       
      4Runner TRD Pro: The Legend Grows
       
      4Runner needs no introduction. The iconic SUV is one of the most legendary off-road vehicles in Toyota’s history. For 2019, TRD Pro takes 4Runner’s world-renowned trail capability to the next level.
       
      4Runner’s Fox shocks not only enhance its off-road performance but, paired with the TRD-tuned front springs, the package lifts its front 1 inch compared to other grades, while also providing nearly 1 inch of additional wheel travel. The 2.5-inch front shocks employ 46 mm pistons and include 7 bypass zones (4 compression, 3 rebound). In the rear, the 2.5-inch Fox shocks feature 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 rebound) to fine-tune the low- and high-speed compression, and 2-inch piggyback reservoirs house additional oil to retain damping performance when it’s needed most. A unique TRD roost shield offers additional protection for the inverted shock design in the rear.
       
      4Runner adds a new roof rack for stashing additional gear outside of the cabin (say, dirty gear or laundry after a weekend camping trip).The 1/4-inch-thick front skid plate also sports new red TRD lettering. 4Runner features 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels with an offset change to provide it with nearly a 1-inch wider track front and rear for added stability. Nitto Terra Grappler P265/70R17 A/T tires provide all-terrain performance for whatever the situation demands.
       
      Like Tacoma, 4Runner TRD Pro passengers can jam to tunes from a new-for-2019 standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite. Other interior appointments include TRD Pro floor mats, TRD shift knob, and red-stitched Softex seats with red TRD logos on the front headrests. Additional TRD Pro exterior features include LED fog lights, blacked-out TOYOTA grille, and projector-beam headlights with smoked trim.
       
      Even on the Most Capable, Safety is Paramount
       
      Even though capability and toughness are at the core of the TRD Pro Series, safety is still the utmost priority. All three TRD Pro models feature the Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
       
      Tundra and Tacoma come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), which features Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Sway Warning System (SWS), Automatic High Beams (AHB) and high-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It seems we were right on the money with our guess concerning Toyota's Chicago Auto Show debuts. Today, the Japanese automaker introduced updated versions of the TRD Pro family, comprised of the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra.
      The big story with the update deals with the suspension. All TRD Pro models now come with aluminum-bodied 2.5-inch TRD Fox Internal Bypass shocks. The shocks promise improved damping for on- and off-road situations, and each models gets their own specific tuning for the shocks. All models also get new front springs to improve ground clearance and provide a more comfortable ride. Each TRD Pro model gets their own setup in terms of the rear suspension,
      4Runner: TRD Coil Springs Tacoma: Progressive-Rate Off-Road Leaf Springs Tundra: Leaf Springs found on TRD Off-Road Trim Toyota has also made various changes in terms of exterior and features for each TRD Pro model.
      4Runner: 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels, 1/4-inch front skid plate, and new roof rack Tacoma: 1-inch wider track for the front and rear, 16-inch TRD alloy wheels finished in black, thicker front skid plate, and optional TRD Desert Air Intake (also called a snorkel) Tundra: New LED head and foglights, grille, hood scoop, and 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum, five-spoke satin black wheels Pricing will be announced closer to the launch of the TRD Pro models, which is expected to happen this fall.
      Source: Toyota
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Game Changer: 2019 Toyota TRD Pros Typify Ultimate Off-Road Performance
      Next-Generation 4Runner and Tundra TRD Pro Feature All-New Fox shocks; Tacoma TRD Pro to Feature New TRD Desert Air Intake
      Fox 2.5-inch Internal Bypass Shocks Featured on Entire TRD Pro Lineup Tacoma TRD Pro Offers Available TRD Desert Air Intake New TRD Roof Rack on 4Runner TRD Pro Tundra TRD Pro Fitted with Rigid Fog Lights and BBS Wheels Three Colors Offered: Super White, Midnight Black Metallic, and Voodoo Blue (TRD Pro-Exclusive) CHICAGO (Feb. 8, 2018) – The pulse-pounding, heart-racing TRD Pro Series from Toyota returns for its next generation of off-road dominance. For 2019, Tundra, 4Runner and Tacoma will all feature Fox shocks and a host of impressive off-road equipment tuned and designed by the engineers at Toyota Racing Development (TRD).
       
      First unveiled in 2014, the TRD Pro lineup was born from Toyota’s rich racing and off-road heritage. All TRD Pro vehicles offer unique styling, as well as highly capable, tried and tested performance off-road equipment, specifically tailored for when the pavement runs out.
       
      The 2019 TRD Pro series will be available in fall of 2018, and each vehicle will be offered in three colors that include Super White, Midnight Black Metallic or Voodoo Blue (a TRD Pro exclusive color).
       
      Wanna go places? TRD Pro is the ultimate tool to get you there and back.
       
      Only as Good as Your Suspension
       
      As any seasoned adventurer knows, a true off-road vehicle is only as good as its suspension. For 2019, the entire TRD Pro family rides on 2.5-inch TRD Pro-exclusive Fox Internal Bypass shocks. Tuned specifically for each vehicle by the engineers at TRD, the aluminum-bodied Fox shocks offer impressive performance and supreme damping for a wide variety of driving situations. High-speed desert running, slow-speed rock crawling, or simply driving to and from work – drivers and passengers will be as comfortable as they are confident.
       
      Whereas off-road race vehicles traditionally have external bypass tubes on their shock bodies to fine-tune damping pressure, each high-tech Fox shock compactly incorporates bypass zones inside of the shock. These multiple bypass zones offer a cushioned, plush ride during typical operation but get progressively stiffer through the shock stroke to provide excellent bottoming resistance.
       
      The front shocks are paired with specially-tuned TRD springs designed for excellent ride comfort and to also produce additional lift, giving each TRD Pro an aggressive, heightened stance for improved trail-conquering capability. A combination of high-temperature shock fluid and nitrogen gas pressure are employed inside each Fox shock to improve bump compliance and to help maximize seal life.
       
      Every TRD Pro model features rear 2.5-inch Fox shocks that utilize a piggyback reservoir to house additional oil volume, which assists in maintaining peak damping performance during extreme use. Tundra relies on the beefy rear leaf springs also equipped on the TRD Off-Road grade, 4Runner utilizes the TRD Off-Road grade rear coil springs, while Tacoma features progressive-rate off-road leaf springs out back to allow more compression suspension travel to aid performance over rough terrain. TRD dust boots are utilized front and rear to offer added protection to help keep dust and dirt out, and 4Runner utilizes unique roost shields to help protect the inverted rear shock.
       
      Tacoma TRD Pro: Civilized Commuter or Trail-Tackling Specialist
       
      Based on the very trail-capable TRD Off-Road grade, Tacoma TRD Pro ups the ante with enhanced 2.5-inch Fox front shocks that use large 46mm pistons and feature 8 bypass zones (5 compression, 3 rebound). They are paired with TRD-tuned springs that provide an additional 1 inch of front lift. A larger front sway bar is employed to retain crisp steering and refined road manners. The Tacoma also features 2.5-inch rear shocks that use 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 rebound) and are paired with 2-inch piggyback reservoirs.
       
      A host of additional TRD equipment finds its way onto the new Tacoma TRD Pro, including an updated front skid plate with TRD red lettering, while the cat-back TRD exhaust is accented with a new Black Chrome tip.
       
      Inside, passengers are treated to standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with subwoofer amplifier and Integrated Navigation and App Suite. Tacoma is equipped with TRD Pro-branded floor mats and leather-trimmed seats with TRD Pro emblems on the front headrests. Distinguishing the exterior are unique TRD Pro badges, projector-beam headlights with black sport bezels and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), Rigid Industries LED fog lights, taillights with black sport bezels, and a black TOYOTA grille.
       
      Thanks to the offset of the 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels, Tacoma has a 1-inch wider track both front and rear for added stability. Trail and pavement traction comes in the form of P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar All-Terrain tires.
       
      TRD Desert Air Intake: Clearing Tacoma’s Sinuses, No Prescription Needed
       
      The most eye-catching of the Tacoma upgrades, no doubt, is the available all-new TRD Desert Air Intake. Designed to sustain consistent off-road performance no matter how silty or dirty the terrain gets, the TRD Desert Air Intake takes the 278-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine’s air intake away from dust that hovers inside the wheel well (where traditional air intakes are located) during off-road operation. This allows for air ingestion to occur in a cleaner space above the windshield, therefore, helping to benefit filter longevity and, ultimately, engine health.
       
      Tundra TRD Pro: Boastful New Additions
       
      Tundra TRD Pro also gets its fair share of new features for 2019. Of course, Tundra is equipped with new Fox 2.5-inch front shocks that boast beefy 46 mm pistons. The TRD-tuned springs provide an additional 2 inches of front lift, and front wheel travel is increased more than 1.5 inches. The front shocks feature 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 bypass) to fine-tune damping performance for off-road romps while retaining composed on-road manners. The Tundra also employs 2.5-inch rear Fox shocks that feature an impressive 12 bypass zones (8 compression, 4 bypass). The rear shocks feature 2.5-inch piggyback reservoirs, and wheel travel is increased by more than 2 inches in the rear.  
       
      Taking a cue from little brother, big bro Tundra gets new Rigid Industries LED fog lights for improved visibility on and off the highway, in a variety of weather conditions. Tundra also features LED headlights with LED accent lights and a unique black treatment. A new TOYOTA grille plus new hood scoop add style to Tundra’s brawny front end. Out back, TRD Pro stamping is found on the bed’s rear quarter panels.
       
      New 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum, five-spoke satin black wheels are featured on Tundra, which reduce un-sprung mass 3.35 lbs. per wheel (13.4 lbs. total) to improve cornering response and overall ride quality. The new wheels are wrapped in Michelin P275/65R18 all-terrain tires to provide a sure footing in dirt and on pavement.
       
      Inside, TRD Pro logos garnish the driver and front passenger leather-trimmed seats, while red stitching accents the dash, seats and armrests. TRD Pro floor mats, shift knob and a center-console emblem help complete the distinctive look. Providing added growl on the highway and the trail is a dual TRD Pro exhaust, which is fitted with new Black Chrome exhaust tips. A TRD Pro 1/4-inch skid plate sporting signature red Toyota lettering is found underneath the front end. Tundra TRD Pro will offer an available moonroof.
       
      4Runner TRD Pro: The Legend Grows
       
      4Runner needs no introduction. The iconic SUV is one of the most legendary off-road vehicles in Toyota’s history. For 2019, TRD Pro takes 4Runner’s world-renowned trail capability to the next level.
       
      4Runner’s Fox shocks not only enhance its off-road performance but, paired with the TRD-tuned front springs, the package lifts its front 1 inch compared to other grades, while also providing nearly 1 inch of additional wheel travel. The 2.5-inch front shocks employ 46 mm pistons and include 7 bypass zones (4 compression, 3 rebound). In the rear, the 2.5-inch Fox shocks feature 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 rebound) to fine-tune the low- and high-speed compression, and 2-inch piggyback reservoirs house additional oil to retain damping performance when it’s needed most. A unique TRD roost shield offers additional protection for the inverted shock design in the rear.
       
      4Runner adds a new roof rack for stashing additional gear outside of the cabin (say, dirty gear or laundry after a weekend camping trip).The 1/4-inch-thick front skid plate also sports new red TRD lettering. 4Runner features 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels with an offset change to provide it with nearly a 1-inch wider track front and rear for added stability. Nitto Terra Grappler P265/70R17 A/T tires provide all-terrain performance for whatever the situation demands.
       
      Like Tacoma, 4Runner TRD Pro passengers can jam to tunes from a new-for-2019 standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite. Other interior appointments include TRD Pro floor mats, TRD shift knob, and red-stitched Softex seats with red TRD logos on the front headrests. Additional TRD Pro exterior features include LED fog lights, blacked-out TOYOTA grille, and projector-beam headlights with smoked trim.
       
      Even on the Most Capable, Safety is Paramount
       
      Even though capability and toughness are at the core of the TRD Pro Series, safety is still the utmost priority. All three TRD Pro models feature the Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
       
      Tundra and Tacoma come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), which features Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Sway Warning System (SWS), Automatic High Beams (AHB) and high-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).
    • By William Maley
      January is usually not a strong month for car sales as it just after the holidays and people don't have the money to buy a new car. This is reflected in our January sales figure ticker where most automakers post small increases and decreases. There were some automakers that posted some surprising numbers. Nissan reported a 10 percent increase and Toyota noted an impressive 16.8 percent rise. The two automakers credit their utility as a key reason for the rise. But Bloomberg reports there is another reason for these rises.
      Pulling data from Cox Automotive, Bloomberg found out that fleet deliveries for the month rose 46 percent for Nissan and 69 percent for Toyota. Most of the sales came from rental car companies. 
      “If you want to claim 10 percent market share, that’s a way to do it. The danger is that you create a large number of late-model used cars that will compete with your new cars and bring down prices and profits,” said Maryann Keller, an independent auto industry consultant.
      A number of automakers have been turning away from fleet sales for this very reason. GM which has been a poster child for fleet sales has been cutting back.
      Toyota spokeswoman Amanda Roark told Bloomberg that fleet deliveries will be lower during the second half of this year and will likely make up "about 10 percent of its total U.S. sales in 2018." Judy Wheeler, Nissan vice president of U.S. sales explained the increase in fleet sales was due to them clearing out 2017 models to make way for 2018 models.
      “It’s really just a timing situation for us,” she said.
      It needs to be noted that Nissan has been increasing their sales to fleets within the past year.
      Source: Bloomberg

      View full article
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