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Auto blogWed, 21 Aug 2013 13:01:00 EST
The Sydney Morning Herald has spoken to Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer of the Toyota 86 (our version of it, the Scion FR-S, is pictured above), and they've been promised that more power is on the way. We've heard a lot of speculation about a more powerful Toyobaru since before the standard model was even launched. The only question now is how the power will be delivered, and among the engine concepts we've already heard about - turbo, supercharger, twin-charged, hybrid - is a new one: more displacement.
Tada said that an engine with more displacement than the current coupe's 2.0 liters is being tested alongside a turbocharged and a hybrid-assisted motor. The SMH cites "inside sources" as saying the displacement option is the one likely to get the go-ahead, and suggests increased bore and stroke will see the engine grow to 2.5 liters, horsepower to about 250 - a 50-hp increase over the present car.
While that's apparently the betting man's solution for the long-awaited increase in gumption, what happens with the next generation could be more wide open than we suspected. According to the report, Tada "hinted that [a successor] could be a radically different car, potentially dropping the boxer engine altogether." He said once they've sorted out the concept for the second generation car, then they'll sort out an engine. That's where a turbo option could come to market, perhaps the turbocharged four-cylinder Toyota is developing for the Lexus NX crossover or a hybrid system that uses a capacitor.
Toyota has announced a set of voluntary recalls covering 960,000 Prius, RAV4, Tacoma and Lexus RX350 models in the United States to address two separate issues. Worldwide, Toyota will have to recall a total of 1.9 million Prius cars.
The Prius recall affects about 700,000 2010-2014 models in the US, due to a fault in the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU software. It says that the current software could result in high temperatures on certain transistors and possibly damage them. When it fails, the error forces the car into failsafe mode. Toyota says that in rare circumstances, it could even shut the hybrid system down while the car is being driven.
Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada told Automotive News that the software update should take about 40 minutes, and dealers would start to be notified about affected vehicles today. She also told them that the first reported glitch occurred in May 2011 in the US when the system overheated and the car entered failsafe mode. The affected cars were built between March 2009 and Feb. 5, 2014, according to Automotive News. Toyota says that it has received no reports of accidents or injuries caused by either fault.
The ES is Lexus' top-selling sedan, but the Japanese luxury marque has never manufactured it outside of Japan. In fact, Lexus has never made any cars in the United States, one of its largest markets worldwide. But that's about to change.
Yesterday, construction began in Georgetown, Kentucky, on the first Lexus assembly line in America, the first concrete (or steel) step in a $360-million expansion of Toyota's plant in the Bluegrass state that will create 750 new jobs. The expansion was announced last April by chief executive Akio Toyoda at the New York Auto Show.
Once the new assembly line gets online in the fall of next year, Toyota plans on building some 50,000 units of the ES each year. Lexus sold a record 72,581 examples of the ES in the United States last year - 30 percent more than the previous year - so Lexus will either have to import some more from overseas or leave some buyers disappointed.