Interior Color: Other
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Number of Doors: 4
Exterior Color: Gold
Vienna, Virginia, United States
In an apparent shot back at Ford's increasing market share of electrified vehicles and claim that it accepts more Prius trade-ins for its own hybrids than any other car, Toyota has flexed a muscle and played the numbers game to put the Blue Oval in its place.
Leaning on its hybrid market dominance in California, the Japanese automaker stated that six out of 10 hybrids sold in the Golden State are Toyota models. And it keeps coming: Year-to-date through May 2013, Toyota sold five times more hybrids than Ford. One of every two hybrids in California is a Prius model. In addition, Toyota notes that it has sold 1.5 million Prius vehicles in the US, 90-percent of which are still on the road today.
Want more? We'll let Bill Fay, Toyota's group vice president and general manager of sales lay the smack down:
Toyota has been known to make some exciting cars over the years, but its hybrids, well... let's just say a Prius appeals to a different kind of buyer. The TS030 Hybrid LMP1, on the other hand, now that's more our speed. And at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, the Japanese industrial giant will bridge the gap with the concept car you see here. Previewed in bits and pieces along the way, Toyota has now revealed the full details and array of photos of its new Yaris Hybrid-R concept. And what the full picture reveals is a Prius C that's gone to the gym - or more appropriately, the track.
Powering this little pocket rocket is TMG's Global Racing Engine: a 1.6-liter inline-four with direct injection and a Garett turbocharger to drive 300 horsepower to the front wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. A pair of electric motors provide an extra 60 hp to each of the rear wheels for a combined output of 420 hp and through-the-road all-wheel drive. A third 60hp electric motor serves as traction control under acceleration and acts as a generator under braking to feed the TS030-derived super capacitor that boasts a higher power density and faster charge/discharge speed than a traditional battery. The system can provide a 40-horse boost for ten seconds in Road mode, or the full 120hp for five seconds in Track mode.
Though based on the three-door Yaris, there'd be no mistaking this for any ordinary econo-hatch. 18-inch TRD alloys with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires pack the wheel wells and a wider grille dominates the front fascia, while black and blue trim contrast sharply with the white bodywork. The rear pillar incorporates a quick-fill competition-spec fuel cap, LED daytime running lights illuminate the way and oversized brakes keep it all under control. The interior boasts Recaro racing buckets in black leather and blue Alcantara. There's more to digest in the press release below, but the bottom line is that if this is where Toyota is taking its hybrids, we want to climb into the driver's seat, and we're looking forward to seeing the concept in the flesh next week.
One of the more popular trends in the auto industry is setting up production operations in China. Mainstream manufacturers like Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen have done it, and even luxury marques like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have or will soon have manufacturing ops in the People's Republic.
One company that isn't building cars in China, though, is Lexus. The Toyota-owned luxury brand still manufactures all of its vehicles in Japan (aside from a few RXs, which are built at a Toyota factory in Canada). According to Tokuo Fukuichi, Lexus just isn't ready to build cars there yet.
"The German Three have a brand image that they have cultivated over the past century in their long history, but Lexus is not in people's minds like that yet," Fukuichi-san told Reuters UK.