Posts Tagged ‘aqua’

Toyota’s Tokyo Concepts Pt. 2 – JPN Taxi, Voxy & Noah, and Aqua G Sports

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Yesterday we discussed Toyota’s two most important world premieres slated for the upcoming 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. However, those two concepts – the hydrogen-powered Toyota FCV Concept and the innovative Toyota FV2 Concept – were only the tip of the iceberg. Toyota is bringing seven total new(ish) concepts to Tokyo, so we have a lot left to cover today if we’re going to make it through everything. With that being said, let’s jump right in…

Toyota JPN Taxi Concept

Toyota JPN Taxi

While you might have a hard time getting excited about a taxi, the Toyota JPN Taxi Concept is one that may change your mind. As you can see, the design is well above your average taxicab, but it’s what’s going on underneath the hood that really sets the JPN Taxi Concept apart. Under the hood, you’ll find a new liquefied petroleum gas hybrid system that has been designed from the ground up to match the driving patterns of an average city cab… The JPN TAXI will stand up to long hours of operation and lots of city driving; all while quietly sipping on its LPG fuel. Obviously, The JPN taxi concept is going to be most relevant to its Japanese viewer. The car was developed with assistance from the Japanese Ministries of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, all in order to serve as the next-generation of Japanese hospitality. The concept is built with every type of passenger in mind – large, automatic sliding doors make it easy to enter and exit the vehicle, while a spacious and unobstructed floor plan make it comfortable for long trips.

Toyota JPN Taxi Interior

There’s even a digital display to show passengers information about their cab ride, such as taxi fares and the chosen route to their destination. There, are you excited now?

Toyota Noah & Toyota Voxy Concepts

Toyota Voxy Concept

If somehow you’re not excited, then surely you can get fired up about a couple new minivans, right? No? But, what if they “integrate higher levels of fun, utility and fuel economy?” Now that’s something to get excited about! Toyota’s new Voxy and Noah Concepts both herald a new minivan that will be arriving for Japanese drivers in early 2014. Both concepts are essentially the same vehicle with only the slight modifications, primarily on the front and rear of the vehicles. (Of course, if you want to buy the current or earlier generations of these models, you can always get them in the car auctions.) The Noah Concept, below, “presents sophistication as a compact minivan with standard parts”. Meanwhile, the more aggressively styled Voxy, above, “employs exclusive aerodynamic parts to emphasize the low center of gravity, impressive wide-body, and the overwhelming sense of presence.”

Toyota Noah Concept

Frankly, they may both be very practical and comfortable, but I can’t help but yawn at the 5-year out-of-date styling.

Toyota Aqua G Sports Concept

Toyota Aqua G Sports Concept

Here we have the Toyota Aqua G sports Concept, which is a new version of a more ordinary concept we saw at the 2012 Tokyo Motor Show. (Remember that the Toyota Aqua is the JDM version of the Toyota Prius C.) Toyota handed the compact hybrid over to GAZOO Racing for complete conversion to sports car form, and that’s what we’ll see in Tokyo this year. Best of all? Toyota plans to launch this Aqua G Sports Concept in Japan almost immediately following the Tokyo Motor Show.

Toyota FT-86 Open Concept

Toyota FT-86 Open Concept

The last Japanese premiere Toyota will showcase at the 2013 Tokyo motor show is the Toyota FT-86 Open Concept. You’ll recall that we originally saw the concept just earlier this year in Geneva, but they’ve repainted the car “Flash Red” instead of white. As you can see, it really brings out her eyes. All in all, look like it’ll be a great showing from Toyota. Stay tuned later this week for more Japanese car news!

Hybrids 19.7% of New Cars Sold in May 2012 in Japan

Posted by Stephen On Friday, June 8th, 2012

19.7% of new cars sold in Japan in May 2012 were hybrid cars, up 11 percentage points from last year. There were no surprises that it was the Prius leading the field with 20,789 units sold, but the Aqua (Prius C overseas) was snapping at its heels in second place for the second month running with 20,091 units sold. Could it be that the Prius could be dethroned in the coming months by the Aqua?

Looking at the different manufacturers, hybrid sales make up 25% of Honda sales in Japan, and a whopping 46% of Toyota sales. Honda’s percentage has actually dropped a little thanks to the success of its kei car minivan, the NBOX.

And talking of kei cars, these now make up 4 tenths of new car sales in Japan, with 6 of May’s top ten best selling models being keis.

Source: Nikkei (Japanese-only)

Toyota Aqua Jumps to #2 with Prius Maintaining #1 Crown

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Toyota’s new Aqua (called the Prius C in overseas markets) hybrid made a dramatic leap to number 2 in Japan’s April new car sales rankings, up from number 4 the previous month. But it will come as no surprise that the number one crown was retained for the 11th month by the Prius (including the Prius Alpha and PHV versions as well as the classic Prius model under this umbrella model name).

Considering April 2011’s new car sales were devastated in the aftermath of the triple earthquake / tsunami / nuclear disasters, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Prius sales were 4.5 times higher year on year at 21,906 units sold. The Aqua added another useful 18,481 sales to add a decent boost to Toyota’s overall results.

In other non-Toyota news, Honda’s NBox blasted past the perennial favorite, the Honda Fit, to take third place in the rankings for the first time.

Sources: Asahi, Nikkei (both Japanese-language)

Prius Wins Japan’s Fuel-Efficiency Rankings for 6th Year (Except It Doesn’t Really) …

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced Friday that Toyota’s Prius had won the latest 2011-12 fuel-efficiency rankings, handing a 6th straight victory for the Prius.

Nine of the top 10 regular passenger cars (kei cars are not included in this ranking) were hybrids — the exception being Mazda’s Demio with its Skyactive tech.

Position Maker Model KM/L in JC08 Mode) KM/L in 10/15 Mode Transmission Car Type
1 Toyota Prius 32.6 38.0 CVT Hybrid
2 Lexus CT200h 30.4 34.0 CVT Hybrid
3 Honda Insight 27.2 31.0 CVT Hybrid
4 Toyota Prius α 26.2 31.0 CVT Hybrid
4 Honda Fit 26.0 30.0 CVT Hybrid
6 Honda Fit Shuttle 26.0 30.0 CVT Hybrid
7 Mazda Demio 25.0 30.0 CVT ICE
8 Toyota Camry 23.4 26.5 CVT Hybrid
9 Honda Insight Exclusive 23.2 26.5 CVT Hybrid
10 Honda CR-Z 22.8 25.0 CVT Hybrid

But wait a minute. There’s something fishy going on… A surprising omission here is the Toyota Aqua (Prius C outside Japan) which should surely have made the list with its fuel consumption figures.

In fact, the Aqua would have topped the list with its economy figures outstripping the Prius at 35.4 KM/L in JC08 mode. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport states that vehicles had to be on sale in the 2011 calendar year, and the Aqua did just that — scraping in right at the end by going on sale on December 26th.

So perhaps this isn’t really the 6th straight win for the Prius at all? Following the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s own rules, I hereby pronounce the real winner as the Toyota Aqua.

Toyota Aqua beats Prius in real Japan fuel-efficiency rankings

So the Prius loses its crown in my reckoning. But Toyota shouldn’t waste too many tears over it: Add the Aqua to the mix, and you have Toyota products filling out all top-three spaces.

Sources: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport , Car Watch, Toyota Aqua site (all Japanese-language)

Hybrid Rentals Are Cheaper Too

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Toyota in Japan are encouraging people to go green — and sample the latest Toyota-sourced hybrid hardware at the same time — by reducing the cost of renting cars like the Toyota Prius, Toyota Prius Alpha and Toyota Aqua.

Toyota in Japan has a network of 1200 car rental offices in addition to its car sales dealerships. These used to be stocked with cars like the Vitz and its sedan sister, the Belta. But now Toyota is encouraging customers to rent hybrids instead.

Although the Prius has sat at the pinnacle of the new car sales rankings for quite some time, it’s still the case that there are quite a few people who either haven’t tried a hybrid at all, or who haven’t experienced the latest Toyota offerings in this market segment.

What better way to introduce these potential buyers to Toyota hybrids than with a car rental — which basically is an extended test drive in real-world conditions?

Toyota Aqua hybrid car available at Toyota Rental Lease from 1 April 2012

There will be three price bands for hybrid vehicles from April 1st, with prices ranging from 8,925 JPY to 17,325 JPY per 24 hour period. This revised pricing structure will see the introduction of the Aqua (launched in Japan at the end of 2012) and price cuts for some existing hybrid rentals, such as the 525 JPY reduction for renting the 1.5 liter Prius.

The addition of 3 bands for hybrid cars is at the expense of non-hybrid vehicles which will see options to customers cut from 7 price bands to 5 price bands. So prices are down and at the same time hybrids are going to take up a greater slice of the available vehicle options. All in all, yet another sign that the hybrid drivetrain is is moving from being a fringe technology into the mainstream.

Source: Nikkei (Japanese-language)

Japan’s January Car Sales Ranking Driven By Hybrids and Kei Cars

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Japan’s January car sales rankings have just been announced — and the effect of the December decision by the government to get behind the EcoCar tax incentive scheme (100k Yen for a hybrid, 70k Yen for a kei car) can be clearly seen.

Every model in the top ten has either a hybrid or kei car driving its sales. Take a look …

Rank Model Maker Number of Vehicles YOY Change
1 Prius Toyota 29108 2.1 times more
2 Fit Honda 21449 44.2% more
3 Mira Daihatsu 19795 3.8 times more
4 Freed Honda 14042 2.7 times more
5 Aqua Toyota 13485 (New model)
6 WagonR Suzuki 12442 11.9% more
7 Move Daihatsu 12384 12.8% less
8 Tanto Daihatsu 11603 8.5% more
9 N Box Honda 9934 (New model)
10 Alto Suzuki 8967 24.9% more

And if you look closely, what else do you see?

Well here’s a few things that just jump right out at me…

First of all the amazing start to Toyota Aqua sales. This is a new hybrid model that’s the only compact hatchback on the list. It comes out of nowhere with sales starting at the end of last year, and already it has clawed its way up to 5th position. I think Toyota has a hit on their hands here. Can they make enough to keep up with demand when the rest of the world gets their hands on it later this year as the Prius c?

This is a car that has the amazing ability to get even better mileage than a Prius, at an even lower price. Toyota has discovered that if the price is right and the car is frugal enough, at least in Japan size is not so much of an issue.

Sticking with Toyota for my second realization, take a look at how much of the top 10 territory is occupied either by Toyota or Daihatsu models. That’s right – half of the top ten best sellers are made by one or other of these manufactures. Except they are not really two separate entities are they? Daihatsu is a Toyota group company.

Now that’s what I call market dominance.

Finally there are two manufactures who are very conspicuous by their absence – Mazda and Nissan.

Mazda execs must be kicking themselves for coming up with as elegant a technological solution as the Skyactiv engine, when it is neither a hybrid or a kei car engine  — in other words it doesn’t give consumers the Ecocar incentive that hybrids and kei cars have. This clearly shows how the Japanese government has distorted the market by picking technologies to reward, rather than looking at underlying fuel frugality.

Nissan, on the other hand, must be crossing their fingers and living in hope of a distant future where all cars are electric, and their early transition to EVs has paid off in market dominance.

Let’s tune in again next month to see how they are all faring.

Source: Tokyo Shinbun (Japanese)

New Toyota Aqua Gets 40 km/l – Debuts At Tokyo Motor Show in December

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Details are emerging of Toyota’s new Aqua model which will be unveiled in December at the Tokyo Motor Show. The 1.5 liter hybrid is expected to achieve 40 KM per liter in the Japanese fuel economy test cycle, handily beating the current king of the hill, Toyota’s own Prius with its already superb 32 KM per liter rating. This would also make it the most frugal hybrid on the global market.

Toyota is basing the new Aqua on the existing Vitz model (a compact hatchback called Yaris in other markets), but instead of simply making a Vitz hybrid, Toyota is going to make this a distinct model in its own right.  It seems likely that the styling may well be similar to the Prius c concept debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in 2011.

Toyota Prius c concept car perhaps shows Toyota Aqua hyrbid car styling

Japanese media reports suggest that Aqua may not be the final name, and that also this name could be more of a brand name rather than the name of an individual model. (Much in the same way that “Prius” has become more of a brand name with the introduction of the Prius Alpha / V minivan.)

Pricing is also not finalized. Japanese media is reporting that Toyota is considering pricing the car at about 300,000 Yen less that the Prius, which would place it around 1.7 million Yen.

After its initial debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, the new Aqua model will be available for sale in Japan from January 2012.

With new models such as the Daihatsu e:S and Mazda’s Demio Skyactiv using regular ICE technology to achieve 30 KM per liter ratings that can almost match hybrid performance, Toyota has clearly felt the need to raise its game with this new model. The fact that it uses the tried and trusted Prius underpinnings in conjunction with the Vitz backbone will also reassure potential buyers concerned with the reliability of this new model.

Sources: SankeiBiz, Nikkei (Japanese)