Wed, 13 Feb 2013 19:15:00 EST
Fri, 21 Feb 2014 14:00:00 EST
Each year, J.D. Power and Associates surveys original owners of three-year-old vehicles to find out what kinds of problems they have had experienced over the last 12 months, and then it uses this data to create its annual Vehicle Dependability Study. This means that the models in the 2013 study are 2010 model year vehicles, and J.D. Power rates each make as well as the top individual models based on how many problems were experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100).
Debunking the idea that carryover models are more dependable than new or updated models, the 2013 study found that the average carryover model experienced 133 PP100, while all-new or redesigned vehicles for the 2010 model year had 116 PP100; vehicles that received minor changes fared the best with just 111 PP100. The overall average for all makes was 126 PP100, which is the lowest figure since the findings were first issued in 1989.
Okay, folks - it appears we've got a problem. The Toyota GT86, Europe's counterpart to our own beloved Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S coupes, is apparently not selling too well. This, according to Toyota's European Vice President of Research and Development, Gerald Killman, is what's limiting plans for additional variants of the rear-drive coupe.
Wed, 03 Apr 2013 08:43:00 EST
"A faster version of that car would be at the top of most people's wish lists, but like the cabriolet, it is hard to justify a business case to push either model into production based on the current sales," Killman told AutoExpress. "Personally, I think that engine could use a little bit more," he added.
More troubling is that slow sales aren't limited to the Euro-spec car, with Killman claiming that the GT86 have been missing sales targets in major markets around the globe. It may not be that the US is one of those major markets, though. Scion's Vice President, Doug Murtha, tells Autoblog that his brand is happy with the sales of its version of the GT86, the FR-S. 18,000 units were sold last year, which Murtha says is "generally in line with original expectations for the car."
A new report in from the website Club Lexus claims to have insider knowledge about a return to Formula One racing by Toyota, this time under the auspices of the Lexus brand. Toyota competed in F1 from 2002 through the 2009 season. That final year saw the team return competitive, if inconsistent results, but the larger economic woes in the automotive market made a decision to pull the plug relatively easy at the time.
Now, citing recent interviews with Toyota executives and insider sources, Club Lexus says that the move to re-enter F1 for the 2014 season is "all but finalized." The choice to go with the Lexus nameplate over Toyota makes some sense, too, considering the success that rival Infiniti has had in recent years through its partnership with Red Bull Racing. Further, the emerging Lexus identity as a performance car builder, with a strong background in hybrid vehicles, could help the F1 move resonate with buyers.
A few technological factors and formula changes within F1 offer some credence to the Lexus rumor, too. F1 will increase the available capacity of KERS from 60kW to 120kW, a change that theoretically benefits the hybrid-savvy Toyota. What's more, 2014 will see a switch from the current 2.4-liter V8 engines to 1.6-liter turbocharged V6s. A Lexus team that goes racing in 2014 will be on a level playing field with the rest of the grid then, with all teams adjusting to and continuing to develop the new engines.