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Toyota to add more hybrids.....

andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
edited March 5 in Toyota
Automotive News for 7/14 reports that Toyota is poised to add 3 more Hybrid gas/electric models to it's US lineup for '05.

Toyota, ironically the maker of one of the most comprehensive lineups of SUVs, plans to add hybrid versions of the Highlander and the Sienna
minivan to the redesigned Prius in 2005.

A Lexus RX400H (a hybridized RX330)is due for US sale as soon as Spring 2004.

Engineers are studying possible hybridized Camry and Lexus V8 models for future development.

Toyota Motors, with the largest cash hoard in the industry is clearly willing to spend heavily to dominate the hybrid vehicle maket.

GM, Ford and Honda are also developing hybrids and others are researching them but Toyo's effort clearly dwarfs any known competitive plans.

2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

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Comments

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    there's a huge hybrid market, just waiting to be tapped, for large SUVs, pickups, and even larger commercial rigs. Gas-hybrids and diesel-hybrids are coming, and I think it's great.

    If it were possible to get 30 -35 mpg out of a Tundra/Sequoia hybrid or a Tahoe/Suburban hybrid, there would be far less criticism of such vehicles. I just hope they are priced within reach of mere mortals...

    Bob
  • sonjaabsonjaab Posts: 1,057
    Reading a link yesterday on another site: GM to bring a hybrid truck to japan next year for some delivery company. Something in the article about japanese companies being unable to use the tech. they already have. I think it was US News.

    Will try and find the link and post !
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "... there's a huge hybrid market, just waiting to be tapped, for large SUVs, pickups, and even larger commercial rigs."

    Actually, some of the earliest hybrids are commercial vehicles. The house-sized dump trucks used in mining operations are hybrid-electric vehicles.

    I think Toyota is making a smart move. Honda is the only company currently presenting any sort of challenge in the NA market. Toyota can out-spend them many, many, many times over. While Honda may have been the first with a hybrid here on NA soil, Toyota will get the recognition. With a hybrid option in most major lines (small car, mid-sized car, SUV, and minivan), they will have far greater reach. This will most likely force Honda to seek out less profitable niches for their hybrid offerings.

    As for the others... They are late to the game without much to show for it. Solutions like GM's soft-hybrid option are seen by most hybrid fans as half-hearted attempts. A hybrid that powers only the A/C and other auxiliary systems simply isn't as sexy. Driveline hybrids (which are also in development by GM) are the ones being taken seriously. Nissan, Ford, GM and others have signed up to purchase Toyota systems and electronics. While that may get their name in the paper, I doubt very much Toyota will allow them to become seriously competitive. That is... unless they are making serious cash on the deal. Subaru has only done one concept car that I know of and Hyundai hasn't completed much of anything, either. Economic uncertainties have sent their main product lines into a tizzy. So, the domestic's HEV projects are low on their list or priorities. They have bigger fish to fry and initial offerings are more or less PR moves to prevent Toyota from running away with the market. You can almost hear the marketing guys shouting, "me too! me too!", from the sidelines.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    to buy from Toyota?

    I've seen the claim made on the web. But have not seen any reliable source to back it up. GM is developing its own hybrid program, using technology it already has in place from the EV-1 project.

    As far as I know, when the hybrid VUE hits the streets late next year, it will be have the largest hp gas/electric combination on the market. Given Saturn's limited dealership networks, the VUE is selling very well. The hybrid VUE will provide a clear chance to see how much the market really wants hybrids.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Not their only option. Just one they apparently took in addition to their own efforts. As mentioned in other threads, the articles which described the relationship have been purged from news websites. The links are dead.

    My point was not to dismiss the engineering prowess of others. Rather, this shows how Toyota is leading the way. They are the "goto guys" for hybrid technology. This gives them a certain degree of control over anyone using their technologies.

    As for the VUE, what are the combined engine and motor ratnigs? Ford has the HEV Escape going on sale this fall/winter (starting with fleet sales). Estimates are around 200 hp, same as the gas-only V6.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    would beat the Escape to the market. Carguy's good link shows I am wrong by about 9 months.

    But the link also shows that Ford and Saturn will beat Toyota to market with affordable small Hybrid suvs.

    IMO, the small hybrid suvs are the best manifestation of the technology for US drivers. On the one hand, a lot more Americans will buy them over small cars. And with the greater hp and interior room, the hybrid suvs will not make their customers feel they are giving up anything by going hybrid.

    The Japanese failure to beat Ford and GM to market with small hybrid suvs underscores some points the pro-Japanese people hear gloss over. The Japanese did not beat the US to market with small hybrids because of some internal vision. Rather, the Japanese government mandated and backed up the mandate by paying Toyota and Honda to make hybrids for the Japanese market. Japanese tend to buy small cars, so naturally, the hybrids were small cars.

    What makes the willingness of the Japanese government to underwrite hybrid research all the more interesting is that Japan, in its 13th year of recession has a deficit that by percentage of GDP, dwarfs that of most other first world nations. At the same time, in order to keep the yen weak (and by doing so exporting auto companies' profits high), Japan has been spending billions of dollars it does not have on US Treasury bonds and dollars.

    Curiously, either due to lack of political will, or perhaps some odd sense of self-sacrafice for perceived national good, the Japanese tax payer make narry a peep about this extravagence.

    In the US, on the other hand, US taxpayers would scream bloody murder if the government spent money at the level of Japan to help private industry. Indeed, many American people would welcome the entire collapse of the US auto industry, if some of the other topic strings are indicative of US opinion.

    I am not a flag waver. In fact, I believe in social Darwinisim. I plan to retire to a farm I own with my wife's family in Brazil. But I do find the almost gleeful desire of Americans to bring down what our folks worked so hard to make somewhat odd.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    won't the hybrid RX400H be available to retail consumers (ie NOT fleets) BEFORE either the VUE or Escape hybrids? That is a small SUV, and it is a Lexus.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    says the Ford is in production now and will be in the showroom by the middle of next year.

    It also says the Toyota suv is the Lexus 330. I am not aware of the Toyota you are talking about. Is there a link?
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Carguy - Thanks for the link.

    Logic1 - Ford has been promising the Escape HEV since the gas model was introduced sometime in 2000. I've had a hard time keeping up with when it would be released as well. Right now, they are saying that the Escape HEV will go on sale to fleet customers this Fall or Winter. It goes on sale to the public in the middle of next year.

    I don't see why the small SUV market is such a big deal. Sales of small SUVs from Honda and Toyota average about 18K units combined. Their total sales of small sedans is more like 60K units. The small car segment is obviously a much bigger market for them.

    As for government intervention, I don't think it matters. Why Toyota is leading the charge is secondary to the reality that they are doing it. They could have gotten the idea from a fortune cookie and it wouldn't make a difference.

    BTW, California is something like the 3rd largest economy in the world. Take a look at how they have been promoting clean cars.

    Nippononly - I think he means the small AND inexpensive SUV market. The entry level, not the luxury level. Besides the new RX isn't as small as the old model.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    has already sold 64k Escapes, and Saturn 33k Vues. So the cute Ute market can be significant if you have a player in it.

    Efforts in California actually explain the headstart Toyota and Honda got in the Hybrid market. In the early-90s California rejected the hybrid idea, insisting on 100% electric. The car companies all told California electric cannot work because battery technology is not a level acceptable to consumers. California insisted and GM spent billions producing what is until now the only commercially sold all electric car, the EV-1.

    Toyota and Honda were unable to produce an all electric car. But their lobbyists were able to convince California to follow the Japanese government line of thinking and shift from all electric to hybrid. GM did what California asked.

    This is just another case in point about what I said above. The Japanese government is using taxpayer dollars to assist Toyota and Honda in their technology race while the Japanese people are suffering economic hardship. In the US, the Feds stand pat and the largest US state actually takes actions hostile to the local manufacturers.

    Then the US citizens, at least as represented by the majority in Edmunds, rant about how it is all GM and the UAW's fault. A curious difference in approaches, imo.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > What makes the willingness of the Japanese government
    > to underwrite hybrid research all the more interesting
    > is that Japan

    PNGV was a UNITED STATES funded hybrid project that paid GM, DC, and FORD millions & millions of dollars for producing *nothing* except a prototype. TOYOTA was denied the opportunity to join in, so they funded their own hybrid project with their own money.

    So... First, the US did in fact use taxpayer money for the same purpose. Second, JAPAN didn't. I don't know where you got your info from. Had this been true, Nissan would have a hybrid now and Honda could have developed more than just an assist type hybrid.

    > Toyota and Honda were unable to produce an all electric car.

    Wrong. Toyota developed & sold the RAV-4 ELECTRIC in California. It's a small SUV, perhaps you don't call that a "car". But since it is bigger and more powerful, it definitely qualifies as a genuine electric vehicle.

    JOHN
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Also, how come you have problems with the US funding hybrids but you don't have any issues with the $1,200,000,000 the president just provided for fuel-cell development?

    Shouldn't some of the taxpayer money be used to help domestic automakers compete with a product that the foreign automakers already have a significant lead on?

    Hybrids are real, they actually deliver as promised. Fuel-Cells offer no guarantee whatsoever. Why invest solely in a risk like that?

    JOHN
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    I certainly did not say the things you appear to be responding to.

    First, unless I am mistaken, the RAV electric is not a consumer available vehicle. It also was not made in response to the California initiative I was discussing in the early-90s.

    I have read numerous resources that said the Japanese government underwrote the hybrid research done by Toyota and Honda. Nissan was on the verge of collapse at the time the Japanese intitiative started. Remember Nissan is only now better because of the Renault takeover.

    Where, where or where do you see me saying I was against the Japanese support of the Hybrid program? Rather I pointed out that American taxpayers tend to be hostile to government support of US industry though they can afford it, while the Japanese taxpayers who arguably cannot afford it, are not hostile. I never said anywhere that the US should not support hybrids and I strongly resent your inferring I did. You should either learn to read or learn to refrain from putting words in people's mouths.

    Finally, the fuel cell initiative is not auto manufacturing specific. Rather, it is an energy system wide program aimed at creating a US that does not need any foreign oil. Moreover, while the Bush administration heavily touted the intitiative, I have seen reports that say the research money is not readily available for non-military applications.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > The hybrid VUE will provide a clear chance to see how
    > much the market really wants hybrids.

    Not really, especially since only a single configuration will be available for it. There is a HP/MPG trade-off. Choosing the wrong ratio could mislead the market.

    And Prius, Escape-Hybrid, LX400-Hybrid, Highlander-Hybrid, and Sienna-Hybrid will also be available then. All of them will be FULL type hybrids too. So drawing any clear conclusion will be difficult, especially if the limited supply cannot keep up with demand. Knowing the true demand will be a challenge.

    JOHN
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > the RAV electric is not a consumer available vehicle

    It indeed was. (That was pretty cool, none this fleet-only garbage.) And you could buy it too, unlike the lease-only offer from GM for EV-1.

    > I strongly resent your inferring I did

    Sorry. Not including details causes that. (It was the "would" comment about something that already happened that lead me astray.) You provided additional facts in reply. That ended the mystery. In the past, threads have went on for weeks from people not answering specific questions. You did now. Thanks.

    And to move on, discuss the fact that R&D is now complete. Both Ford & Nissan will be purchasing hybrid technology from Toyota. That adds a whole new twist to playing market catch-up. The expense of R&D isn't an issue. They can fire-up the assembly lines and start flooding the streets with their own brand of hybrid.

    JOHN
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Honda sold an all-electric car here for years - it was available right after GM's EV1 came out. They did not discontinue it until about two years ago, and they now use the identical chassis for their new fuel cell vehicle which they have sold to fleets in L.A. for testing.

    And RAV-EV was available here for about 18 months to retail consumers. The MSRP was $42K, and even with the $9K rebate from the feds, the net MSRP of $33K for a RAV4 was enough to scare away most consumers...they did not sell all that many and discontinued it last year for slow sales. I think they should have emphasized that here in CA the all-electric vehicles can use the carpool lanes all the time, and they can recharge for free at public stations located all over the Bay Area and the L.A. basin, as well as Sacramento.

    I think it is fair to say Toyota has led the charge in hybrid tech, as witnessed by the fact that they are introducing their second gen this fall, when many other manufacturers are just getting out their first, and in many cases are merely buying Toyota's tech (Nissan, Ford).

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    I think you answered why the reports I read about the ill-fated attempt by California to mandate all electric did not mention the Toyota and Honda efforts.

    One of the California requirements -- goofy from a market point of view -- was that the all electric cars sell at a price within range of similarly sized cars.

    A 33k Rav would not have been close to its gas powered competitors, so Toyota must have been offering the car as part of meeting the California regulation.

    I think you are both right about Toyota licensing hybrid technology to Ford and Nissan. Some here have extended this to them licensing to GM and DC, which is not accurate.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    logical choice for Toyota to pick the RAV4 model to put the all-electric powertrain in - mini-utes are very popular and stand to gain a lot due to their mediocre gas mileage (low to mid 20s combined). That is why I wish Toyota had picked RAV to put the new hybrid synergy powertrain in.

    GM has changed course several times in the last couple of years as to what they would do with hybrids, but at one point they were in discussions with Toyota to purchase hybrid tech, just like Ford is now. They have since changed course, and now will only offer mild hybrids for a while...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Logic1 - Yes, the small SUV market is a decent-sized market. I'm just not clear why it is better than a market where Honda and Toyota have sold 128,000 and 142,000 units over the same period. The small sedan market reaches far more buyers.

    The importance of building a small SUV hybrid is lost on me (and I own one). Especially when Toyota is getting ready to launch a mid-size SUV, family sedan, and minivan. Toyota is swimming in the ocean while the domestics are dipping their toes in the kiddy pool.

    Seriously, GM is doing well with the VUE. And the soft-hybrids they are planning are better than no hybrid at all. But Toyota is the one pushing the envelope. There's just no comparison.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "GM has changed course several times in the last couple of years as to what they would do with hybrids, but at one point they were in discussions with Toyota to purchase hybrid tech, just like Ford is now." - Nippononly

    Thank you for clearing that up. I was unaware that GM had opted out. When last I'd heard, they were moving forward with some Toyota electronics.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    I see three reasons why a small SUV hybrid is better for the NA market:

    One, the Small SUV market is growing and the compact car market, at least for now is shrinking. Tastes change, but absent a really boost in gas prices, I do not see a lot of the US market going for compacts.

    Two, (closely related to one) hybrids are pricier than their plain gas burning cousins. The NA market rarely pays a premium for compacts. A hybrid will not attract the buffs willing to pay top dollar for a small car the way a 3 series or 9-3 will.

    Three, there is more room in the small suv than in the compact. Hybrids have at least two engines. The GM design will add extra (albiet rather small) engines for air conditioning and power steering as well. Americans like to put a lot of stuff in their cars. Japanese do not. A hybrid compact loses space, so it loses American customers, imo.

    Like any large company, GM most likely considered all sorts of options when it developed its hybrid systems. It has a duty to the share holders to do so. I doubt very much licensing Toyota's system was every a very high priority. GM has its own technology. There is fair reason to believe GM's technology will suit this market better. We will know in a year or so.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    One - At this rate, it would take more than 10 years for the small SUV market to match the compact sedan market.

    Two - Have you checked the sales of the Freelander? Small SUVs are the compact sedans of of the SUV world. The models that offer high levels of content at higher prices are the ones that do not sell well (or are highly discounted).

    Three - This has the ring of truth to it. At least in a mixed sense. Yes, there is more room in a larger vehicle. Because the VUE and Escape were designed with big V6 engines in mind, there is probably a decent amount of room in the engine compartment when it's occupied by the smaller I4 blocks.

    However, the notion that a commuter car needs extra space more than a utility vehicle seems a bit odd to me.

    I'm not convinced. If you want to make a big splash and gain some street creds with a new technology, you do it in a major segment. Small SUVs are a middle ground.

    I suspect that Ford chose a small SUV because there was no other market left for them to be first. Toyota and Honda had small cars, Chrysler was planning (at the time) a hybrid Durango and minivan, and Ford's family sedan has not been well-received. The big markets were covered, so they started publicly laying claim to the small SUV segment a long time ago.

    Why GM decided to take the same approach, I have no idea. With Ford beating them to the punch, it makes little sense as a PR move. Especially since Ford has been promising a no-compromises approach to the Escape with power and towing similar to the 3. V6. Perhaps the VUE's architecture was the easiest to transform.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > The GM design will add extra (albiet rather small)
    > engines for air conditioning and power steering as well.

    Prius doesn't need an engine for either. Both of those functions are electric in the 2004, they run off of the battery-pack instead.

    > I do not see a lot of the US market going for compacts.

    That's why Prius is growing to a MIDSIZE sedan this year, and without the price increasing.

    So with less of a price difference and the more of an efficiency gain now, you really can break even on just gas & oil savings. That makes all the extra goodies only the hybrid offers frosting on the cake, an extra you didn't have to pay for.

    > There is fair reason to believe GM's technology will
    > suit this market better.

    How? (I'm genuinely curious what configuration you think they will choose for their dominant hybrid technology.)

    JOHN
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    and other accessories off the battery pack all along. The problem with the existing hybrids is when the car is being taxed -- say going up an incline, heavy stop and go -- the air conditioning weakens and the power steering boost lessens, leaving occupants hot and grumpy.

    And we do not have to think how the VUE hybrid will be set up. We know. Just go to Saturn fans or media.gm.com.

    You join what is becoming a favored and very annoying ploy in the Edmunds TH by putting words in my mouth. I did not say anywhere that GM's hybrid technology will be dominant. I stated correctly that GM will use its own hybrid technology and that I thought hybrid cute utes are the better manifestation of the technology for the NA market. Utes make up almost 50% of the US market. The small utes from Ford, GM and Honda are selling very well (for whatever reason, the RAV4 has been going backwards). Making a popular line hybrid seems to make sense to me. The fact that Toyota is floundering in the cute ute market does not make it a bad one.

    The VUE hybrid will combine the regular 2.2 ecotec with the pre-existing electric power steering, a small electric engine for the airconditioning and a large electric engine to add to the drive power. The result will be great gas mileage with performance almost the same as the base V6 VUE. I think it an attractive combination.

    To answer Varmint's question, along with what I said here and above, the VUE is selling very well for Saturn. GM obviously wants the franchise to keep going by adding an ecological varient along with the performance varient.

    More importantly, the VUE platform will base the upcoming Chevy Equinox. With Chevy having three times as many dealers as Saturn, the Equinox has a chance to sell in the high 100s and maybe even push 200k if the execution is right. GM will not have to drop a dime to move the hybrid mechanicals from the VUE to the Equinox. If hybrids win broader market acceptance, GM could sell 50k hybrid VUES and Equinoxes per anum.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > The problem with the existing hybrids is when the car
    > is being taxed -- say going up an incline, heavy stop
    > and go -- the air conditioning weakens and the power
    > steering boost lessens, leaving occupants hot and grumpy.

    That's a misconception about power needs.

    You obviously haven't driven a Prius at 70 MPH up a 6% grade. IT DOESN'T USE THE BATTERY-PACK AT ALL DURING THE CLIMB! In fact, just the opposite happens; it's charged on the way up.

    The engine revs to full RPM, that provides more than enough thrust to turn both the wheels and the small motor (generator). Not all that electricity is needed for the bigger motor (thrust), so the extra is routed to the pack. You literally end up at the top with more stored electricity than you started with at the bottom.

    JOHN
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I did not say anywhere that GM's hybrid technology
    > will be dominant

    I asked which of GM's hybrid technologies within the company itself (hence the word "their"), not an industry-wide question.

    GM with offer "FULL", "ASSIST", and "NOT REALLY" type hybrids. Each will a different configuration of motor(s), battery-pack capacity, and electric support.

    If GM selects to push volumes sales, they may push the "NOT REALLY" type (just a 42V battery offering nothing but auto-stop/rapid-start).

    If GM chooses to lead the market with the most technically savy hybrid that breaks the records Prius is currently setting, they will go the "FULL" route. How many they sell and how they choose to promote it would be a total mystery. So I'm curious what others think about this approach.

    "ASSIST" is the happy medium technically, but they way it could be perceived makes me wonder. Having a number of "FULL" hybrids exceeding 150,000 miles at that point and showing there really are no concerns about reliability could change the attitude about this type rather significantly.

    And then of course, the thought about Toyota "floundering" is a bit premature. Their new hybrid system is componentized. That means they will be able to insert it into other platforms fairly easily. In fact, they have already announced upcoming SUV and minivan hybrids. Offering an "ute" to compete with the VUE-Hybrid is completely realistic. Don't forget, Toyota has a new vehicle coming out next year that falls into that category. It very well could be available in hybrid form a year afterward.

    JOHN
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    I do not think Toyota floundered with hybrids. It obviously did not. The RAV4, however, missed the market in NA as it is too small with no other attractive features. The Escape, CRV and VUE have taken away a market segment that Toyota originally owned. I would not be surprised if Toyota comes back with a better challenger in this market segment. And if Toyota does, I expect it will also offer a hybrid version.

    I have read on numerous occasions that Prius owners in warmer areas are disappointed with the air conditioning and power steering. I believe the JD Powers customer satisfaction survey also mentions this.

    To answer your other, interesting question, IMO from a purist green perspective, the FULL hybrid set up Toyota uses in the Prius and GM will use in the VUE Greenline is the best. The VUE Greenline will have mpgs in the high 30s and lower emissions than any other IC GM product.

    I believe that the NOT REALLY and ASSIST efforts have merit. By simply adding electric power steering and a motor for airconditioning across the entire GM line would save millions of gallons of fuel every year.

    The ASSIST approach with a standard IC engine may leave Green thinking people wanting. But in a year or so, GM will have DOD engines starting to flow into its lines. Combine an ASSIST approach with a DOD engine will allow the driver significant fuel ane emissions savings for most situations, with the advantage of the full power of a V6 IC engine for the few times the drivers really need it.

    All of this is stop gap, of course. What the market really needs is bio hydrogen extraction so we can all go fuel cell and leave the IC engine to hobbyiests and museums where it belongs.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    I agree with many of those points you made, but not the "stop gap" comment. At a rate of 60 million new vehicles per year worldwide and a minimum of 15 years before fuel-cells could even remotely compete on that scale, 900 million new vehicles (excluding pollution growth and developing country purchase increases) will be built & sold. Temporary or not, it is such a massive volume that it can't simply be shrugged off as just something to drive in the meantime, especially when you take into account the fact that they will be in service for around 10 years each.

    That also means the small 10-20% efficency improvements some hybrid designs offer is no where near enough. The more advanced hybrid designs (like the 2004 Prius) offer a 100% efficency improvement.

    JOHN
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > pollution growth

    By the way, I meant "population".

    JOHN
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    to buy, I think most of us here would be pleased if more people joined the debate.

    I hope as more models hit the market we start seeing the number of posts in Hybrid posts as on some of the other boards.
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