Posts Tagged ‘detroit motor show’

Why Honda Projects Record Sales in 2015

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

At this month’s Detroit motor show, Honda’s Executive VP, John Mendel, predicted that the automaker would break their US sales record by the end of 2015. But it’s not just the US – Honda is taking extreme measures everywhere to revitalize their brand and push their momentum from 2014.

It Starts With New US Models Like the Acura TLX

2015 Acura TLX

One of the biggest ways Honda plans to beat their US sales record is simply by meeting demand for their new Acura TLX. Turns out they’re struggling to keep up with orders. Mendel is even quoted as saying demand for the car is “going gangbusters” in an interview with Columbus Business First in Detroit.

They also kick-started the year with the Acura NSX concept in Detroit, with even more new cars coming to Chicago like a redesigned RDX and the new Honda Pilot. While they’re adding new models to increase sales growth in the US, the Japanese automaker is doing exactly the opposite in Europe…

Honda Accord Withdrawing from Europe

2014 Honda Accord

Leon Brannan of Honda UK recently told Automotive News Europe, “we are running out the accord and we will not return to the segment.”

The jaws of several of our US readers are probably dropping right now, as the idea of Honda removing the Accord from their lineup in any market is near unthinkable. However, keep in mind that the European version of Honda’s midsize Accord is actually our discontinued Acura TSX. That’s the same car that Honda recently replaced with the TLX in the US, but they plan to totally withdraw from the segment in Europe.

Why?

It’s a smart move when you hear the full story.

First, they’ve been losing sales to natively manufactured European models like the Mercedes C class for some time. In fact, Honda UK’s Accord sales fell by nearly 20% in 2014. When you consider that Honda’s total European sales fell 5% last year, it’s easy to see that the Accord is one of the cars dragging down their numbers. Meanwhile, their always-excellence crossovers continue to outsell their European competition.

When you see like that, the change seems obvious – they’re cutting their losses and refocusing on the models that are selling well. The refreshed Honda CR-V is already doing well, and the new subcompact HR-V is also expected to play a part in Honda’s European sales rebounding to record highs by the end of this year.


Here’s the 2016 Lexus GS F Performance Sedan

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

2016 Lexus GS F at Detroit

This week we continue our coverage of the 2015 Detroit Motor Show with the all-new Lexus GS F performance sedan. This is the sixth car in Lexus’ lineup to receive the “F injection”, and we have to say this is the best one yet. To see – and hear – the new GS F for yourself, check out the video below:

When we’d first seen the Lexus GS F in previews, we questioned whether the car would be able to stand out from its European competitors. However, after seeing the car in the metal at Detroit, we’ve realized that sort of thinking isn’t really productive…

2016 Lexus GS F side-front view

See, the Lexus GS F isn’t so much about being the best super sedan on the market; it’s about combining core Lexus values in a way that resonates with a generation that was previously unreachable for the premium Japanese automaker.

“Our F brand products are distinct in their execution with an application of technology in tuning to help create cars that elevate speed, heart rate and adrenaline,” Jeff Bracken said, who is the president and general manager for Lexus.

2016_Lexus_GS side-rear view

Bracken went on to say that the F version of the GS and the other F models are targeted at a demographic that’s as much as 12 years younger than the standard versions of those cars. Since Lexus hasn’t announced pricing yet, we’re hoping that we’ll see a price tag that innately makes the car more appealing than its higher-powered European competitors.

2016_Lexus_GS interior

Not that the GS F is weakly powered by any stretch of the imagination – with a naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 capable of outputting 467hp and 389 lb-ft of torque, it’ll definitely be firing up its fair share of adrenal glands. Plus, Lexus revealed that they only hope to move around 1,500 or 1,600 GS F sedans per year, so it really is just as much about portfolio coverage as profit potential.

You can click here to learn more about what Lexus has done to set the GS F apart from the regular GS, including a detailed rundown of aesthetics and interior amenities. Or, you can read Lexus’ official press release.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2008 Cadillac CTS

2008 Cadillac CTS

Today’s Japanese car auction find isn’t a Lexus, but rather one of their competitors. It’s a 2008 Cadillac CTS sedan. This would’ve been the first model year in the second-generation of the CTS, and features a 3.6L V6 with 263hp and 253 lb-ft of torque. So, not enough to rival today’s GS F, but certainly enough to give anyone a good time.

2008 Cadillac CTS auction find

You can see that the car’s exterior speaks for itself; Cadillac has always had knack for capturing that “European feel”, and that’s just as clear here as ever.

2008 Cadillac CTS interior

The interior isn’t quite up to what you might expect from a Lexus, but leather upholstery and all your standard premium amenities mean you won’t be left wanting. For more information, keep reading below the auction sheet:

2008 Cadillac CTS auction sheet

“Grade 4, interior B, first registered December 2008, CTS 3.6 model, ABA emissions code, official dealer left-hand drive import, 2008 model, spare key, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, leather, original navigation system, airbag, spare key, service book, seats worn, interior trim scratched, minor interior grime, alloy wheels scratched, left front bumper corner offset, light scratches on roof, stone scratches on bonnet, other marks as per map”


Detroit Debut of 2016 Nissan Titan & Toyota Tacoma

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

To wrap up our coverage for the 2015 Detroit Motor Show, we’re going to showcase the two new Japanese pickup trucks that hit the stage at the event.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma

There’s no doubt that the old Toyota Tacoma was a truly impressive vehicle. It’s been on the market in its current form for over a decade, and yet it claimed a full 66% market share in 2014. However, while that’s certainly an impressive stat, Toyota knows that a big reason they’ve sold that many of their aging Tacoma trucks is due to a lack of competition. This year, that’s changed as GM has re-entered the compact pickup scene with two brand-new models.

Now, Toyota is updating their mighty Tacoma to maintain its status as the best pound-for-pound pickup in its class. Toyota says that the new 2016 Tacoma is the most powerful and fuel-efficient Tacoma ever… The ultimate lifestyle vehicle for today’s most active drivers.

2016 Toyota Tacoma on the road

With the Tacoma’s debut, Toyota revealed specific powertrain specs we’d been waiting for. The new compact pickup will offer drivers a choice between a 2.7L four-cylinder or a 3.5L Atkinson cycle V6, both of which will deliver power to the wheels via an off-road-ready six-speed automatic transmission.

But, the powertrains won’t be the only distinguishing factor between the Tacoma and its new American competition. Toyota has unleashed a bevy of new technology in the Tacoma to make it stand out from the crowd.

2016 Toyota Tacoma rear view

For example, this will be the first compact pickup ever to have what Toyota calls “crawl control”, which basically allows the truck to take over acceleration and braking while the driver devotes their undivided attention to steering through rough terrain.

Another new technology is the Tacoma’s multi-terrain system, which allows optimal throttle and brake responses depending on the specific off-road terrain you’re driving on. There are modes for rocks, mud and sand.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited

Finally, since there’s only so much aesthetic appeal that can be designed into a truck, Toyota has made sure theirs has an interior that truly stands out. From the new sound-absorbing materials in the roof and floor to the GoPro camera mount on the rearview mirror, every minute detail of the Tacoma’s interior serves a purpose, whether that be for fun, comfort or utility.

2016 Nissan Titan XD

2016 Nissan Titan XD

Moving up a weight class, the 2016 Nissan Titan is arguably just as impressive as the new Tacoma. Powered by a Cummins turbocharged 5.0L direct-injection V8 diesel, the new Titan XD will offer a hefty 310hp and 555 lb-ft of torque – enough to make this behemoth one of only two half-ton diesels on the market. The other is Ram’s EcoDiesel, which, as you can probably infer from the name, doesn’t offer near the same ‘oomph’ as Nissan’s new Cummins-powered pickup will.

2016 Nissan Titan XD woods

As you can see, the new 2016 Titan XD features a very rugged design with and an enormous front-end and eye-catching alloys.

2016 Nissan Titan XD interior

The interior is where things have really stepped up, though, with Nissan’s new NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats, a 12-speaker surround sound system from Rockford Fosgate, and of course Nissan’s latest Nissan Connect infotainment technology. You’ll also get standard safety features like Around View Monitor, rear-view display, and moving object detection.

All in all, both pickups look to be slated for success, but we’ll have to wait until later in 2015 to get full details on both models as neither automaker revealed fuel economy numbers or pricing.


This is the Epic New 2016 Acura NSX Supercar

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

2016 Acura NSX

It’s finally here – the car we’ve all been waiting for, and the undisputed king of the 2015 Detroit Motor Show. It’s the 2016 Acura NSX, back after 10 years of extinction, faster and better than ever before. This, folks, is the definition of a showstopper.

As you continue reading, you’ll get plenty of pictures, specs and even a video of the revived NSX supercar.

As you can see in the video, to say that the new NSX represents the future of Acura would be an understatement. This car simultaneously challenges the current status quo for performance cars everywhere and seeks to revive of the beloved Acura brand of old.

2016 Acura NSX supercar

It all starts under the hood with a powertrain that’s been in development since 2012.

The powertrain is a DOHC V6 engine, twin-turbocharged and paired with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission. But it’s more than just an engine; it’s a complete hybrid system with three independent electric motors – one for each front wheel, and one for the rear wheels, all working together to form a system that Acura dubs Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.

2016 Acura NSX chassis

In the SHSHAWD system (quite an acronym, eh?) the two front motors improve forward traction, vector torque and overall handling, while the rear motor is dedicated to acceleration, gear shifting and braking. The role of the transmission can’t be overstated, and Acura promises track-level shifting that’s been tried and tested on circuits all over the world, including the renowned Nürburgring.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any specific performance specs yet, but Acura’s presentation in Detroit promises more than 550 horsepower, made all the more effective by the supercar’s lightweight, multi-material chassis. The NSX uses aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, several alloys and even ceramics (in the brake discs) to minimize weight and maximize on-track performance.

2016 Acura NSX rear view

The exterior design speaks for itself, so we won’t spend too much time discussing that to keep this post from turning into a book, but one thing you might not notice in the pictures is just how low the center of gravity is for this new NSX. Acura actually stretched the body by about 3 inches compared to previous concepts in order to accommodate a lower engine mount, aided by the highly compact valve train and dry-pump lubrication system.

The NSX only gets more advanced as you move inside the car, with four driving modes to choose from via Acura’s Integrated Dynamic System, which allows you to choose between Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track modes with the simple twist of a dial.

2016 Acura NSX human centered interior

Of course, the interior also boasts supercar-level aesthetics with immaculate visibility and what Acura promises to be relatively intuitive controls given the highly advanced nature of the car. This all fits in line with Acura’s stated goal of creating a “human-centered supercar”, even down to the seats which are ergonomically designed for both comfort and high-speed grip. You can see that the Acura NSX pictured here utilizes a vibrant red-and-black color-scheme with plenty of leather, which we assume varies to fit the exterior color.

To be honest, we could spend the rest of the week talking about the new Acura NSX and nothing else… That’s just how much time and development has gone into this car. Fortunately, we’ll have plenty more opportunities to talk about it between now and when the car goes on sale this summer, with deliveries starting later this fall. A starting price hasn’t been specified, but Acura tells us it’ll be in the ballpark of $155,000.

If you’d like to learn more, feel free to watch the entire live unveiling below:


Infiniti Q60 Concept Kicks Off 2015 Detroit Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Infiniti Q60 Concept Debut

First, let’s get one thing clear: this car is guaranteed to reach production. Infiniti tells us it’ll hit dealership floors around either the end of this year or the beginning of next.

Great! With that out of the way, let’s look at the car itself.

Infiniti Q60 Concept Side-Rear view

We’d already seen a few photos of the car in previews, but with the official debut Infiniti has given us a full 60 photos of the car, both inside and out. Fitting, eh? 60 photos of the Q60; so clever. Of course, a lot of the photos are redundant, so we’ve selected the most informative of the bunch to show you here.

Infiniti Q60 Concept rear view

Looking at the exterior styling, we can see that the new Infiniti Q60, which will fill the shoes of the former Infiniti G coupe, looks exactly as good as expected. Updates to the styling include a totally new front fascia with larger front air intakes that dip up in the middle to draw your eyes into the enormous mesh grille. The car has an intricately symmetrical design, with three distinct sets of lines sculpted into the hood of the car. Infiniti has chosen to stick with a classy silver paintjob for the initial debut, although, of course, we expect several colors to be available by the time the car actually launches in 2016.

To give you an idea of the car’s size, it’s 184.6 inches long, 73.4 inches wide and 53.9 inches tall.

Infiniti Q60 Concept dashboard

The interior of the Q60 is where things really get interesting. We have a truly luxurious cabin with quilted white leather seats, and a similar dash to what we’d already seen in the new Infiniti Q50. It also showcases Infiniti’s new InTuition system, which basically allows up to four different “driver profiles” to be programmed into the car’s memory. Infiniti describes it as a “fully customizable digital environment, which works with the vehicle’s advanced Intelligent Keys to recognize the vehicle settings for up to four different drivers, including preferences for driving position, heating and cooling, audio, navigation, telematics.”

Infiniti Q60 Handcrafted Perfections

On top of that, Infiniti clearly wants us to know just how much love and care went into this particular Q60, as they’ve released several photos like the one above of an engineer painstakingly stitching and assembling the car by hand.

Infiniti Q60 Concept Looking Inside

Finally, along with the car’s debut, we have confirmation that Infiniti’s new coupe will ship with the same direct-injection turbocharged V6 hybrid powertrain that we’d seen in the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration. They declined to release further details than that – probably because much of the powertrain is still in development. You can get a better look at the car in the video below:

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2004 Nissan Skyline 350GT

2004 Nissan Skyline 350GT

Although you won’t find any Infiniti models in up for auction in Japan (outside of grey imports), Nissan actually had a Japanese-spec G coupe alternative in the generations before the one we’re currently in. First it was the Nissan Primera, and then from 2002 to 2007 it was the Nissan Skyline. As it turns out, there are several Nissan Skylines up for auction in Japan today, and the one you see here is the best of the bunch – a 2004 Nissan Skyline 350GT.

2004 Nissan Skyline 350GT rear spoiler

Noteworthy features include parallel twin-spoke alloys, a long coupe-like front fascia, and a sport-tuned 3.5L V6 petrol engine fitting of the car’s 350GT nomenclature. The engine produces a decent 280hp and is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.

Being over a decade old, you won’t get built-in nav. or fine leather seating, but you will get a spacious four-seat interior with plenty of storage space, a chrome-aluminum shift lever and aluminum pedals for that extra bit of flair.

2004 Nissan Skyline 350GT auction sheet

Top Japanese Cars Coming to the 2015 Detroit Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, January 10th, 2015

The 2015 Detroit Motor Show opens doors next Monday. It’s the first major automotive event of the new year, so it’s a big one for enthusiasts everywhere. As you continue reading, we’ll quickly review every Japanese car you should look out for at the show next week.

2016 Acura NSX

2015 Honda Acura NSX

Perhaps the most highly anticipated car coming to the show, Japanese-made or otherwise, is the next-generation Acura NSX supercar. And this won’t just be a concept either, but a full-fledged production-spec model ready for dealership floors.

However, while you might assume that we know a lot about it because it’s a production model, the exact opposite is true. All we have are four darkened teaser images, similar to the one shown above, and a vague statement by the supercar’s chief engineer and project leader, Ted Klaus:

“After three years of intensive development work we are excited to reveal this next-generation supercar — the Acura NSX — to the world. We’ve developed a human-centered supercar that responds to the will of the driver and that builds upon the NSX heritage.”

The one thing we do know is what will lie beneath the hood. Acura promises a twin-turbocharged sport hybrid powertrain with three high-performance electric motors to help deliver power to the wheels. Other than that, we’ll just have to wait and find out next Monday.

2016 Lexus GS F

2016 Lexus GS F

Even though the Lexus GS F is also an extremely high performance model that will make its official debut in Detroit, for some reason there’s markedly less excitement for Lexus’ amped up saloon than the Acura NSX. Perhaps it’s because we’ve already seen a full suite of teaser images, thereby removing any mystery from the reveal…

Or, perhaps it’s because of the car’s naturally-aspirated 5.0L V8 engine with 467hp, which is borrowed directly from the Lexus RC F. Obviously, 467hp is a ton of output by any normal standards, but not when compared to the GS F’s competitors. The BMW M5, the new Cadillac CTS-V and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG all offer anywhere from 100 to 200 more horsepower, with the best of the bunch being Cadillac’s 640hp 6.2L V8 behemoth, which can zoom from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.7 seconds.

2016 Lexus GS F two-tone interior

Still, the new GS-F should not be counted out. Because of Toyota’s expertise with carbon fiber thanks to their previous LFA project, the car comes in at 200 to 500 pounds less than competitors, which means it can go faster with less power. Plus, it’s reported to continue the trend of truly top-notch driving dynamics from Lexus. On top of that, Lexus has once again proven their prowess for designing interiors, as you can see in the image above.

Infiniti Q60 Concept

2016 Infiniti Q60 Concept Preview

The next car to keep an eye out for, which we covered just earlier this week, is the new Infiniti Q60 Concept. You can read more about the upcoming concept here, but the short version is that this low-riding coupe is expected to compete with the BMW 4 Series with a plush interior, class-leading aerodynamics and probably the same 3.0L V6 engine that we’ve seen in the Infiniti Q80.

2016 Nissan Titan

2016 Nissan Titan spy shot

Finally, a non-sports car! Both Japanese pickups have remained relatively under wraps compared to the sports cars above, but the one thing we know about Nissan’s new Titan is that it’ll be powered by a custom-developed 5.0L V8 Cummins diesel engine. In order to appeal to the patriotic pickup niche, Nissan has put a heavy emphasis on the fact that their pickup is 100% American-made… Conceptualized in California, developed in Michigan, road-tested in the deserts of Arizona and built in the Midwest of Mississippi.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Alongside the Nissan Titan will be another new Japanese pickup truck, albeit a smaller mid-sized model, to compete with the likes of Chevy’s new Colorado and the new GMC Canyon. Again, Toyota has remained completely tight-lipped about the new model, but we do know what it looks like thanks to the numerous photos leaked ahead of the reveal.

We’ll find out exact powertrain specs when doors open next week, but we’re setting the bar pretty high after Toyota boldly claimed that the new Tacoma will be “better in every way” than the previous generation, which they point out was the best-selling midsize pickup for the past 10 years.

Other Possible Japanese Cars Coming to Detroit

Now, there are a couple other Japanese cars that aren’t totally confirmed for debut at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show, but that we highly suspect will make an appearance. Those cars include:

2016 Nissan Maxima – We know that the new Maxima will come sometime in “early 2015”, and all initial reports lead us to believe that Detroit will be that time. The car should showcase Nissan’s new design language, along with a more spacious interior and a possible new hybrid powertrain borrowed from the new Pathfinder.

2016 Lexus RX Facelift – The other Japanese car that we expect to see – but can’t absolutely guarantee that we will – is the facelift for Lexus’ 2016 RX crossover. Again, we really know nothing about this other than the fact that Lexus promised two new cars at Detroit, and this is the only other likely candidate.

Either way, you can clearly see that the 2015 Detroit Motor Show is going to be a big one for Japanese automakers. The three major Japanese brands each have multiple new cars making debuts, so you’ll definitely want to stay tuned next week to get the full reveal for each of the cars above.

Until then, thanks for reading!


Infiniti Q60 Concept Revealed Ahead of Detroit

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

2016 Infiniti Q60 Concept Preview

Today we’re finally getting a full look at the new Infiniti Q60 Concept that will make its official debut at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show next week. As you can see, this is a slick silver two-door coupe that is reported to seat up to four passengers in a 2+2 layout. As you continue reading, you’ll learn everything we already know about this new concept, and what more we hope to learn when the curtains come off next week.

If you’ve been following the teasers that Intiniti has already given us, then you know that the Q60 will essentially be a renamed, next-generation G coupe, which has been in its current generation since 2008. However, as far as we know right now, there will not be a sedan or convertible version of the Infiniti Q60, unlike the Infiniti G series which has a number of different iterations for drivers to choose from.

Now that we have a full picture of the new Q60 coupe, it’s much easier to identify the key design elements that will make this car stand out.

Starting from the front, we have Infiniti’s new, modernized mesh grille that characterizes their other new models. The front spoiler has been simultaneously toned down and modernized from the previous G coupe – it now has a split design that dips up in the middle to channel air underneath the car’s body. The bodywork has been beautifully sculpted in a way that almost makes the car look ethereal, as if it’s one with the air around it, and you can rest assured that those chrome accents and outlines will look much better in person than they do in this teaser (not that they look bad here!).

Personally, our favorite new design elements are the bold 21-inch twin-spoke alloys that fill the heavily sculpted wheel wells, and the pseudo-panoramic roof that arcs ever so gently back from the silver A-pillar to the uniquely designed C-pillar.

As for the interior, Infiniti tells us that the Q60 Concept will aim to offer drivers a luxurious, bespoke feel with plush materials like quilted leather seating and carbon fiber accents.

Unfortunately, Infiniti is still completely tight-lipped about the Q60’s performance. We don’t know what will lie under the hood, but we do know that the G models it’ll replace can go from 0 to 60mph in 5.7 seconds, and from 0 to 100mph in 13.1, so we’re expecting a really fast, really high-performance powertrain… Perhaps the Q80 Inspiration Concept’s twin-turbo 3.0L V6, although again, nothing is confirmed. Fingers crossed that we’ll get full powertrain specs when the Q60 Concept makes its official debut next week!


New Lexus GS F Saloon Teased Ahead of Detroit Debut

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

2016 Lexus GS F Teaser 1

Just as we’re starting to wrap things up before Christmas and New Years, Lexus has given us one last irresistible teaser to share. They haven’t given us any details, so we don’t have an official identity for this new sports car that will be shown at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show. However, as you continue reading you’ll learn what these teasers likely preview, and what you can expect to see next month in Detroit.

Lexus had already told us to expect not one, but two new sports cars to make an appearance at the Detroit Auto Show. So, we were already expecting to see something like this… Now we just have to narrow down what this specific teaser could preview. Fortunately, the automotive media is largely in agreement – this is a preview for the new Lexus GS F, a high-performance saloon that’s expected to hit the market later next year as a 2016 MY. The version we’ll see in Detroit will likely be 99% ready for production.

The new GS F – if that is, in fact, what it ends up being – will be the latest addition to Lexus’ sporty F lineup, which currently contains the RC F and IS F. The new GS F saloon will likely contend with cars like BMW’s M5, the Audi RS6, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and Cadillac’s new CTS-V.

Under the hood, we expect Lexus to port in the same 5.0L V8 that’s used in the RC F coupe. That means we can expect something around 500 hp, although it’s likely that Lexus will tune-up the engine for the larger, mid-sized GS F. either way, we’re sure the car will deliver jaw-clenching performance on the track.

2016 Lexus GS F Teaser 2

Now, we’ve actually seen a few unofficial spoilers for the new GS F. Spy shots were released earlier this year of a thought-to-be Lexus GS F prototype. These teasers we’re seeing now mostly fit with the spy shots we’ve seen earlier this year, but it does appear that Lexus has updated the headlights with a slanted three-cluster design. We can also make out a very aggressive pinched grille with an enormous front airdam.

Finally, we also expect Lexus to totally overhaul the mechanics of the regular GS with a tighter suspension, better brakes and performance tires, along with a generally more aerodynamic (and therefore sportier) design.

Either way, this is definitely a car that you will want to stay tuned for at next month’s 2015 Detroit Motor Show, which opens doors on January 13.


Toyota News: LC 500 Name Trademarked, Increased Mirai Production

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Things are happening at Toyota this week… Big things! Chief among them are two breaking news stories:

First, last week we learned that Toyota already had an astounding 200 pre-orders for their Mirai fuel-cell sedan, and this week we’ve learned that Toyota is devoting an extra $165 million to the car’s initial production.

Second, the avid users over at Lexus Enthusiast – a popular Lexus-themed blog and forum – also found out this week that the premium Japanese automaker has filed trademarks for the Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h nameplate in several countries.

You can read more about both stories below:

Increased Toyota Mirai Production

2014 Lexus LF-LC Concept

The word from a popular Japanese newspaper, Nikkei, has informed us that Toyota plans to invest something in the ballpark of ¥20 billion – about $165 million – to more than triple domestic production. Toyota will reportedly deliver 700 Mirais (instead of just 200) by the end of 2015. Apparently, demand is so strong that even with this increased production capacity, Toyota still won’t be able to meet production demands.

As a reminder, the all-new Toyota Mirai goes on sale in Japan next Monday, December 15. Then, it’ll go on sale in the US and Europe in the summer of next year.

Along with the news of increased production, Nikkei also gave us an updated breakdown of exactly how many Toyota Mirai FCVs the Japanese automaker intends to sell in its first three years on the market. They want to sell:

  • 400 units in the Japan by the end of 2015
  • 50 – 100 units per year in Europe by the end of 2016
  • 3,000 units per year in the US by the end of 2017

Lexus Trademarks LC 500 & LC 500h Names

2016 Toyota Mirai FCV

Remember the Lexus LF-C2 Concept from last month’s LA auto show? So do we – it’s a hard car to forget. Thanks to the investigative users at the popular Lexus blog, Lexus Enthusiast, we’ve learned that the premium automaker has filed trademarks for both LC 500 and LC 500h in the US, Canada and Australia.

This means that the Lexus LF-LC and the LF-C2 Concepts were never meant to herald new RC F models or revived SC coupe models… Instead, it looks like the Lexus LC 500 and 500h will mark the beginning of a totally new nameplate for Toyota’s sub-brand. Furthermore, we can now assume that the Lexus LF-LC and LF-C2 production models will be the “exciting new cars” we were told to expect at next year’s Detroit Auto Show, and that they’ll run on the Lexus RC F’s 467hp 5.0L V8 engine.


Nissan News: Cube Dropped, Self-Cleaning Leaf EV & More

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Immaculate Nissan

After the departure of Infiniti boss Johan de Nysschen last week, it has continued to be a busy month for Nissan. In fact, so many things are happening with the world’s second-largest Japanese automaker that we don’t have enough blog posts to cover every single one. So, today we’re going to give you a bird’s eye view of Nissan’s latest goings on with three different news tidbits:

Nissan Cube Dropped for 2015MY

2013 Nissan Cube

If you’ve been saving up for a brand-new Nissan Cube, you’d better plan on buying one before the end of the year. At last week’s Nissan Product Day, the Japanese carmaker released their full 2015 lineup, and the Cube was eerily absent from the list. When questioned about the missing vehicle, a Nissan representative evasively praised to the 2014 Cube instead of giving a real answer.

If Nissan has indeed decided to discontinue the Cube in next year’s lineup, no one can blame them for the decision. Honestly, it probably should have been upgraded before now, as sales have continued to decline year after year. But why give it the chop? This is a modern icon that really just needs a reboot, not termination.

The upside is that Nissan also announced a few key updates at their Product Day. Among the most noteworthy improvements, we can expect a refreshed Juke, a refreshed Nissan GT-R and GT-R NISMO, and a next-gen Nissan Murano due at the end of this year. And also …

Nissan Titan Confirmed for Detroit Debut

We already knew that the next-generation Nissan Titan would make its debut early next year, and we had a sneaking suspicion that it would be at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show. Now, Nissan has officially confirmed it.

While we’re sure we’ll love all the aesthetic updates that Nissan will make to their aged full-size truck, the changes we’re most excited about are those to the powertrain. The current Nissan Titan is only available with a 5.6L V8 petrol engine, but the new one will get two more powertrain options – a smaller V6 petrol and the highly-anticipated Cummins 5.0L V8 diesel, plus an updated version of the current 5.6L.

Self-Cleaning Nissan Leaf

Self-Cleaning Nissan Leaf

Dubbed “the world’s cleanest car” by the proud, EV-loving Japanese automaker, Nissan showed us a self-cleaning Nissan Leaf EV at their Product Day last week. Apparently, they took a normal Nissan Leaf and treated its exterior with an advanced Ultra-Ever Dry paint that repels all the common filth found in typical road conditions. Rain, standing water, mud, sleet and oils stand no chance against the superhydrophobic and oleophobic paint job, which keeps itself clean by creating a microscopic layer of air between the paint and the outside world.

Nissan NA’s VP of Product Planning, Pierre Loing, said, “The 100% electric Leaf provides the perfect canvas for this and new, advanced paint technology. This is one Leaf that never has to stop at gas stations – not even for a car wash.”

Unfortunately, this self-washing paint won’t be available as a stock option for any Nissan vehicle, EV or otherwise, anytime soon as Nissan is still testing the technology. However, there is a reasonable chance that it will eventually be offered as a manufacturer-installed aftermarket option.