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Toyota on the mend?

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,726
    iQ also made in Japan, probably costs as much to make one as a NA built Corolla or even Camry.

    I wonder if for some reason the Corolla engine is just perfect for the gearing of that transmission, somehow has been made so adding another gear wouldn't be worth the effort.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,201
    Interesting data there on pricing and competitors.
    Toyota has allowed the Corolla to sit without refreshing with actual improvements in order to stay current.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They amortized those costs a long time ago, I guess. I bet the factory is non-union, so maybe they don't lose money on those.

    A price starting with $15 makes me think 1990, not 2012!

    Isn't that about what carbon ceramic brakes cost as an option on some cars? LOL
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    The worst thing about the Corolla is not the stone-age transmission, it is the awful steering.
    ZERO road feel
    ZERO understanding of what the front wheels are doing
    PINKY-LIGHT effort at all speeds
    MILES of play at straight ahead

    The only steering I have ever experienced that was worse was the first-gen Equinox, which I believe was one of GM's first attempts to deploy electric power steering.

    I am STUNNED that people would put up with steering this bad. Perhaps the lesson between that and the trans is that Americans' standards are so low it pays automakers little to spend much time or money improving their cars.

    With all that said, Toyota may have a little bargain-basement profit-maker going with Corolla LEs, but I do remember the time at least two decades ago when Toyota actually tried to build the best products, not just the cheapest. Do you really want to buy your next car from the company trying to build the cheapest cars, rather than the one trying to build the best cars?

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    worse was the first-gen Equinox

    I can vouch for that. Deal killer. Even compared to my Sienna (numb, but at least well weighted).
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    I hadn't given Corollas much thought recently, but the more comments I read on this Toyota topic, the more I'm thinking that the Corolla may be the best new car value on the market.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I rented a Corolla recently, and I agree with you that the steering was the worst aspect of this car. Although we're bothered by this, I imagine most drivers don't even notice it. It'll be interesting to see whether Toyota addresses this in the next generation Corolla.

    I think Toyota tried their best with the Camry, don't you?

    Given your comments about Toyota, why did you buy a new Yaris?
  • 2012aveo2012aveo Posts: 43
    Funny the "awful steering" features you mention pretty much describes the steering feel on my 2010 Yaris. But I find this type of electric steering is perfect for driving in typical New York City or probably San Francisco stop and go city traffic. For longer highway driving I usually use my 2001 Mercedes C240 (which has just developed a very slight rear main seal leak that is too expensive to fix for an 11 year old car) :sick: .
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    You're right; it's far cheaper to top off the oil occasionally than to repair a rear main seal. What's the mileage on your C240?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For a non-enthusiast, perhaps.

    Torsion beam rear and 4EAT don't exactly set hearts aflutter, but there are plenty of point A to point B customers.

    Even if that's all I could afford, I'd get something like a Fit instead.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    edited June 2012
    I think Toyota tried their best with the Camry, don't you?

    Given your comments about Toyota, why did you buy a new Yaris?


    I DO think they did a good job with the new Camry, yes. They completely reinvented the Yaris for 2012, vs what it was before, which is why I picked one up for my commute car.

    What is so frustrating about Toyota these days is that their development efforts for new models are so lumpy - why is the RAV4 so tacky inside and so dated technologically, as is the Corolla, yet the Camry is near the top of its class (and so is the Yaris, I would say). I guess the answer is they let them run too long (although in the case of Corolla, when they DID claim to update it a few years back, they had done little more than slap fresh lipstick on the same old pig).

    And despite what more and more automakers are doing these days, we still see Toyota reluctant to add DI to their engines, or to make the use of 6-speed transmissions widespread, and of course this is an area where the Yaris, despite all the major changes they made to the rest of the car, is still a let-down. A new 2012 model introduced with a 4-speed automatic? Imagine if they had put in a 5- or 6-speed automatic - could they perhaps have made this little car do 40 mpg on the highway? I would say yes, most likely.

    And for my part, I will make do with the 39 mpg I am getting in mine, but imagine if they had put in a 6-speed manual instead of the 5-speed mine has, so that it didn't rev at 3000 rpm to go 70 mph. Would 40-42 mpg be easily achievable? Yes, and it would be up to the class norm too.....

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

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    I agree with you that some of Toyota's actions - or inactions - are puzzling.

    As for DI, Nissan and Honda didn't adopt it yet either, as far as I know. Yet, even without DI, the 2013 Altima achieves 38 mpg highway. That's tops in its class, unless the '13 Accord does better, and one mpg better than the '13 Malibu light hybrid. I'm wondering whether DI isn't always better, or whether Nissan is just keeping that feature in reserve.

    As for the '12 Yaris, since that model is built in Japan, the lack of DI and a 6th gear probably has to do with cost. This is a low profit segment to begin with, and the yen is strong, so Toyota may earn nothing, or possibly even lose a little, on each Yaris. Whatever the explanation is for not including these enhancements, Toyota is spending very little to market the Yaris in the U.S. That ties in with the company's expectation that, at least for now, the Yaris will be a relatively low volume model in the U.S.

    There's also the fact that if the Yaris features DI and 6-speed transmissions, the Corolla must too. The business case just may not be strong enough to make these investments. Another thing to consider is reliability and cost-to-repair. These probably favor 4-speeds over 6-speeds, especially for the automatic.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    The business case just may not be strong enough to make these investments.

    And there you have it. You have neatly placed in a nutshell the message that I think sums up Toyota these days.....the days when it made business sense to just make the best product in each class and charge accordingly are gone I guess. Now it often makes more sense to make the cheapest product....not exactly aspirational, eh?!

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

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    edited June 2012
    I believe that a key challenge for Toyota, unlike several years ago, is that it has expanded into virtually every segment, when you include Lexus and Scion. That's similar to GM. This degree of vehicle diversification makes it virtually impossible to have leading edge products in every segment. They have to continually ask themselves whether, for example, they'll get a bigger payback from investing in a new transmission for Yaris and Corolla, or an improved battery pack for Prius. The answer may be to invest their marginal yen in Prius, to maintain their lead in hybrids. I imagine that the Prius line has more-long term profit potential than the econobox end of the spectrum.

    I'm just conjecturing, I really don't know, but that's what I think.

    Ford, on the other hand, took a different approach, by selling its PAG (Premium Auto Group) brands, and shutting down Mercury. It put its resources into fixing its main brand, and now that Ford has recovered, resources are being poured into Lincoln. Given its relatively limited resources, Ford Motor Co. had to make some hard choices. For example, it hasn't introduced RWD sport sedans, but has poured a lot of money into improving fuel economy, which is a higher priority for most consumers.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For Toyota, I think having Lexus is somewhat of a handicap. They need to keep Toyota vehicles to "less than Lexus". So that creates a glass ceiling for them - the IS gets DI but the Camry and Avalon cannot.

    The lesser Toyotas, then, can't either.

    Hyundai doesn't have that handicap, so even the Accent gets DI. Oddly the Elantra doesn't, go figure.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    http://www.worldcarfans.com/112061345280/toyota-reveals-camatte-concept-car-that- -kids-can-drive

    Kids can drive it. Or maybe they don't trust the geezers to work the pedals. ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120613/OEM06/120619952/1491-

    Toyota's been taking the right approach - Entune uses your existing smart phone.

    Now they'll have a Siri button the steering wheel, too.

    It's much easier to say "Navigate Home" vs. having to press a bunch of buttons. Siri's natural speech will make this work much better than existing (limited) voice commands.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Lexus topped J.D. Power's 2012 U.S. Initial Quality Study for the second year in a row with 73 problems reported per 100 models tracked, the same as in 2011.

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20120620/OEM/120629993#ixzz1yMDCSvtf
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2012/06/better-hurry-lexus-lfa-supercar-sold-out- -almost/

    Despite all the cries about it being overpriced...

    I hope they build a coupe in the $70 to 90k range next.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,726
    Low supply combined with a new gilded age for the 1% combined with speculators makes it easy. It is an amazing car, but for pure performance it is far from a value proposition.

    They had a 70K coupe just a few years ago - shaped like a football, driven by women with stretched back eyes and retired dentists living in Del Boca Vista - it was called the SC430.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good for the soul to shoot the moon once in a while.

    Let's see one priced down to earth next. Let the F sport division lead and not the marketing dept.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,726
    After what seemed like several millenia of bland, they need it. I kind of wish the LF-A was a Toyota model and not the isobeige, though.

    90K isn't down to earth. At most, what is really needed is a new Supra, no more than 50K.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    FRS is a hit and credit them for pushing Subaru into DI. We probably will see a Supra...

    Some one over there has a pulse... ;)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,726
    Hopefully the Supra will be a Toyota and not a glammed up Lexus.

    I wonder where those pulse people were for over a decade. Enthusiasts wanted to embrace Toyota, just had so little reason to for so long.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,575
    Probably didn't see much need while they were selling everything they could make and overtaking GM in the process. And maybe they thought the Scion experience would sway the new drivers more than speedboats.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,726
    They are still selling everything they can make...but now are trying to go after the part of the market who can fog a mirror. Someone must have not liked their image.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,575
    edited June 2012
    "Toyota Motor Corp. will start producing Yaris subcompacts at a French plant for export to North America next year.

    Toyota, which has an assembly plant in Valenciennes in northern France, said it expected to ship 25,000 Yaris cars a year to the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico starting in May 2013."

    Toyota to ship French-built Yaris to U.S. (Detroit News)

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    Makes sense. Currently they build the Yarises in Japan and export every single one at a loss to the United States due to the yen exchange rate which is totally stacked against them for such a low-priced model. Not to mention the Prius C, built in the same plant, has been a much bigger success than they anticipated and they need the capacity to build more of them.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited June 2012
    I wonder where those pulse people were

    Bound and gagged and locked in the basement by the bean counters.

    Hiromu died in 2010, so my theory is his soul snuck in and set them free. :shades:
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