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Auto blogSun, 07 Jul 2013 08:59:00 EST
Three generations in sixteen years and more than three million units sold worldwide - as of the end of June, those are the stats on the Toyota Prius. Even though Toyota says Prius sales might not reach the goal of 250,000 units this year, the little hybrid that could still doesn't have any problem flying off dealer lots. The second-generation Prius sold 1.2 million examples in its eight-year lifespan, and the third generation, introduced in 2009, has sold 1.7 million examples in just four years.
Toyota is also touting its investment in future powertrains, some 790 billion yen ($7.9 billion US) on research and development into new platforms and components, and "environmental technology development."
The press release below has more details, the future undoubtedly has more Priuses Prii in it.
It's official - there will be a jointly developed sports car from BMW and Toyota. While the two auto giants signed a Memorandum of Understanding that pledged to pursue "joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle" back in June of 2012, in the interim, it has remained unclear how those plans had been progressing. BMW has finally officially confirmed that the German and Japanese manufacturers will be codeveloping a pair of sports cars in addition to pursuing other disciplines including fuel cell systems and lightweight technologies.
"We have agreed on a joint architecture for a sports car. What is important is that there will be two different vehicles that are authentic to the two brands," BMW Development Chief Herbert Diess told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Reuters is reporting. This is a very, very big step for both brands, but now the speculation can officially begin as to what the products of this agreement will look like.
There's ample reason to believe that the BMW-Toyota tie up will result in a Supra successor based on comments made by the chief engineer of the GT86/FR-S program, Tatsuya Tada, back in August. Follow that with a rumor from earlier this month that Toyota could debut a Supra concept car at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show later this month, and we could be seeing the fruits of this partnership sooner rather than later.
Interbrand, a consultancy firm, has published its 13th annual list of the best global brands. Besides seeing some shakeups at the top - Apple and Google unseated Coca-Cola (a company that has dominated the survey since its birth), the 100-item list features 14 automakers, most of which enjoyed double-digit gains in brand value.
Toyota managed to retain its spot as the study's top automaker. It finished the survey in 10th position overall (the same as last year), despite a 17-percent improvement in its brand value, from $29.33 billion to $35.34 billion. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Honda all made the top 20, at 11th, 12th and 20th place, respectively. Hopping a ways down the list, we come across Volkswagen in 34th place, up from 39th in last year's study, with a brand value of $11.12 billion, a 20-percent improvement over 2012. Ford and Hyundai round out the automakers in the top 50, at 42 and 43.
Porsche made the largest year-over-year gain of any automaker, with its brand value increasing 26 percent to $6.47 billion. Chevrolet meanwhile, cracks the list for the very first time at 89th place. As Interbrand notes, Chevy's inclusion is notable because of the sheer number of vehicles it moves for General Motors and its recent push in developing markets. The final interesting note on this survey is the position of an automaker that takes its name and logo more seriously than perhaps any other - Ferrari. The Italian exotic manufacturer finished 98th out of 100, with just $4.01 billion in brand value, a six-percent improvement over 2012.