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CarMD has released its third annual Vehicle Health Index, which for the 2013 tracked the frequency and cost of repairs for "check engine" problems of 119-million vehicles built between the 2003 and 2013 model years. For the first two years of the index, Toyota ranked at the top of the list, but this year's results see Hyundai moved to number one, pushing Toyota down a spot.
The Korean automaker's rise to the top has been "fueled by its low repair frequency," according to CarMD. Toyota is second to Hyundai in lowest repair frequency, but Toyotas also have the highest average cost of repair. (Interestingly, General Motors vehicles have the lowest average.) Both Toyota's and Hyundai's manufacturer "health" ratings suffered this year, but Toyota took a bigger hit, which also is what helped Hyundai achieve the top ranking.
While Hyundai is the top manufacturer in the index, the 2012 Toyota Camry is the top vehicle. The best-ranking Hyundai was the 2010 Elantra (behind three Nissan models and four Toyotas), which took the number eight spot. Hyundai has six other vehicles in the top 100.
Earlier this year, BMW and Toyota confirmed a four-part joint venture mostly focusing on increasing improving vehicle efficiency using fuel cells, lightweight materials and better battery technology. Also tucked into the announcement was a "feasibility study" for a shared platform to underpin a future midsize "sports vehicle."
In terms of the latter, it seems that things have stepped up from the feasibility stage to the conceptual stage, as Motor Trend reports we could see a pair of new sports car concepts debut later this year in at the Tokyo Motor Show. There isn't much information about the new program, but the article suggests the sports cars could be all-wheel drive hybrids, with electric motors powering the front wheels and a gas engine powering the rear wheels. While a partnership between Toyota and BMW might not lend itself to a catchy portmanteau like "Toyobaru," here's hoping it will bear fruit that is as exciting as the ones produced by the Toyota/Subaru tie up.
Toyota has announced plans to export the American-made Corolla south, to 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2014. The move follows statements made to The Wall Street Journal by Toyota's South American leader, Steve St. Angelo, that spoke to Toyota's resolve in emerging American markets.
Toyota is expected to begin export production in April, with initial production of 7,500 Corollas in the first year, courtesy of its Tupelo, Mississippi assembly plant. Years of unpredictable swings in the value of the Japanese yen has seen Toyota push its manufacturing operations in other countries, particularly the US, where its builds ten different models.
Scroll down to read the full press release from Toyota.