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The Mazda CX-5 stamped its Kodo design and SkyActiv technology authority all over the Japan Car of the Year awards, taking the top prize ahead of the Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT 86. It is Mazda's second victory in the last ten years, the 2005 MX-5 claiming the same trophy, and the fourth time the Hiroshima company has won.
The award is decided by 60 local "automotive experts and journalists," and open to any passenger car released in Japan from November 1, 2011 to October 31, 2012 that has sold more than 500 units. Each judge gets 25 votes, his or her top vote getting 10 points, the rest of the points being spread among the judge's choice for the next best four cars.
The second-place getters were the Toyobaru twins with 318 votes, the surprise being they didn't beat or get any closer to the crossover. The Subaru BRZ did claw some mojo back, earning the Special Award given to cars that have made "an exceptional impact." The BMW 3 Series was third overall and won the Import Car of the Year award with plenty of room between it and the second place Range Rover Evoque.
Toyota's surprising announcement on Monday that it will move its North American headquarters from Torrance, CA location to the Dallas suburb of Plano, TX is allegedly not due to any political wrangling from the state's Republican governor, Rick Perry.
Perry (above) has been up front in his aggressive pursuit of businesses and jobs for Texas, traveling to California, Missouri, Illinois and New York to tempt corporations to his state. And it's not just about the promise of much lower taxes, a Perry spokesman reminds Automotive News that the state boasts, "a workforce that is skilled and ready to do any job."
For his part, Jim Lentz, Toyota's North American CEO said Plano was chosen through an internal process, with the location helped by its proximity to the company's massive pickup factory in San Antonio rather than any campaigning from the governor.
Toyota has brought its A game to the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, showing off the striking FT-1 Concept. Short for "Future Toyota," the FT-1 is, we're imagining, the supposed Supra Concept we reported on early in December.
Penned by the Calty Design Research team, the FT-1 draws inspirations from the FT-HS and the Lexus LF-LC concepts from 2007 and 2012, respectively. We certainly see a bit of Lexus LF-A in the design, while there's more than a hint of Formula One in the FT-1's pointed nose.
"Our team was heavily influenced by Toyota's sports car past, especially Celica and Supra, and we sought to capture some of that history. It is an aggressive, track-focused sports car concept with a presence that has been amplified for shock and awe," said Alex Shen, Calty's Studio Chief Designer.