Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Toyota

Toyota


A chronological day-by-day history of Toyota.

Friday 31st May 1907

110 years ago

The first motorised taxicab service in the United States started in New York City. Harry N. Allen, incensed after being charged five dollars ($126.98 in today's dollars) for a journey of 0.75 miles (1.21 km), decided "to start a [taxicab] service in New York and charge so-much per mile." He imported 65 gasoline-powered cars from France and began the New York Taxicab Company. The cabs were originally painted red and green, but Allen repainted them all yellow to be visible from a distance. By 1908 the company was running 700 taxicabs. Within a decade several more companies opened business and taxicabs began to proliferate. The fare was 50 cents a mile, a rate only affordable to the relatively wealthy. By the 1920s, automobile manufacturers like General Motors and the Ford Motor Company began operating fleets. The most successful manufacturer, however, was the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company. Founded by Morris Markin, Checker Cabs produced large yellow and black taxis that became the most common taxis in New York City. In 1937 Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia signed the Haas Act, which introduced official taxi licenses and the medallion system that remains in place today. The law limited the number of licenses to 16,900. The medallions are now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with fleet medallions topping $600,000 in 2007. In 1967, New York City ordered all "medallion taxis" be painted yellow to help cut down on unofficial drivers and make official taxicabs more readily recognisable. By the mid-1980s and into the 1990s the demographic changes among cabbies began to accelerate as new waves of immigrants arrived in New York. According to the 2000 US Census, of the 62,000 cabbies in New York 82 per cent are foreign born: 23 per cent are from the Caribbean (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and 30 per cent from South Asia, and Pakistan. In 1996, when Chevrolet stopped making the Caprice, the Ford Crown Victoria became the most widely used sedan for yellow cabs in New York. In addition, yellow cab operators also use the Honda Odyssey, Isuzu Oasis, Chevrolet Venture, Ford Freestar, and Toyota Sienna minivans which offer increased passenger room. The distinctive Checker cabs were, due to their durable construction, phased out slowly, the last one being retired in July 1999, being over 20 years in service and nearly one million miles on its odometer. Laws since 1996 require taxis be replaced every 6 years regardless of condition. In 2005, New York introduced incentives to replace its current yellow cabs with electric hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid. As of February 2011, New York City had around 4,300 hybrid taxis, representing almost 33 per cent of New York's 13,237 taxis in service, the most in any city in North America. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced the Nissan design as the winner to replace the city's 13,000 yellow cabs, to be phased in over five years starting in 2013.

Harry Allen and French Darracq cabs, 1907

Harry Allen and French Darracq cabs, 1907

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Friday 13th October 1916

100 years ago

General Motors Corporation was incorporated under Delaware law and acquired all stock of General Motors Company. neral Motors Corporation (GM), American corporation that was the world’s largest motor-vehicle manufacturer for much of the 20th and early 21st centuries. It operates manufacturing and assembly plants and distribution centres throughout the United States, Canada, and many other countries. Its major products include automobiles and trucks, automotive components, and engines. Its subsidiary General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), founded in 1919 to finance and insure the installment sales of GM products, entered the mortgage business in 1985 and expanded into commercial finance in 1999. GM’s headquarters are in Detroit, Michigan. Under the leadership of William C. Durant, the General Motors Company was founded in 1908 to consolidate several motorcar companies producing Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Oakland (later Pontiac), Ewing, Marquette, and other autos, as well as Reliance and Rapid trucks. GM introduced the electric self-starter commercially in its 1912 Cadillac, and this invention soon made the hand crank obsolete. GM remained based in Detroit and was reincorporated and named General Motors Corporation in 1916. The Chevrolet auto company and Delco Products joined GM in 1918, and the Fisher Body Company and Frigidaire joined in 1919 (the latter was sold in 1979). Durant was forced out of the company in 1920 and was succeeded by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., who served as president (1923–37) and then as chairman of the board of directors (1937–56). Sloan reorganized GM from a sprawling, uncoordinated collection of business units into a single enterprise consisting of five main automotive divisions—Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Chevrolet—the activities of which were coordinated by a central corporate office equipped with large advisory and financial staffs. The various operating divisions retained a substantial degree of autonomy within a framework of overall policy; this decentralized concept of management became a model for large-scale industrial enterprises in the United States. Sloan also greatly strengthened GM’s sales organization, pioneered annual style changes in car models, and introduced innovations in By 1929 General Motors had surpassed the Ford Motor Company to become the leading American passenger-car manufacturer. It added overseas operations, including Vauxhall of England in 1925, Adam Opel of Germany in 1929, and Holden of Australia in 1931. The Yellow Truck & Coach Manufacturing Co. (now GMC Truck & Coach Division), organized in 1925, was among the new American divisions and subsidiaries established. In 1931 GM became the world’s largest manufacturer of motor vehicles. By 1941 it was making 44 percent of all the cars in the United States and had become one of the largest industrial corporations in the world. General Motors grew along with the American economy in the 1950s and ’60s and continued to hold 40–45 percent of total U.S. automotive sales. It bought Electronic Data Systems Corporation, a large data-processing company, in 1984 and acquired the Hughes Aircraft Company, a maker of weapons systems and communications satellites, in 1986. Along with other U.S. automobile manufacturers, the company faced increasingly severe competition from Japanese automakers in the 1970s and ’80s, and in 1984 GM began a new automotive division, Saturn, that used highly automated plants to produce subcompact cars to compete with Japanese imports. While GM’s modernization efforts showed some success, heavy losses in the early 1990s forced the company to close many plants and reduce its workforce by tens of thousands. Like other American automakers, however, GM made a robust recovery by the middle of the decade and returned its focus to its automotive businesses. It sold Electronic Data Systems in 1996, and in 1997 it sold the defense units of its Hughes Electronics subsidiary to the Raytheon Company, thus leaving the computer-services and defense-aerospace fields in order to concentrate on its automotive businesses. General Motors became the sole owner of Saab Automobile AB in 2000. By the early 21st century GM had equity shares in a number of car companies, including Fiat, Isuzu, Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), and Suzuki. In 2004, however, it discontinued the Oldsmobile brand. Four years later GM was surpassed by Toyota Motor Corporation as the world’s largest automaker. In December 2008 Pres. George W. Bush announced an emergency financial rescue plan to aid the “Big Three” automakers—Chrysler LLC, General Motors, and Ford—to prevent the collapse of the country’s struggling auto industry. The plan made immediately available $13.4 billion in government loans from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), a $700 billion fund approved by Congress to aid the financial industry following the subprime mortgage crisis. The loans would allow the auto companies to continue operating through March 2009, by which time the plan required them to demonstrate “financial viability” or return the money within 30 days. An additional stipulation required the companies to undergo restructuring. The money was initially made available to General Motors and Chrysler; Ford claimed to possess adequate funds to continue operations and thus did not apply for government relief. As its financial troubles mounted—the company claimed to be some $173 billion in debt—GM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2009. It emerged from bankruptcy reorganization the following month. In 2010 the company officially discontinued both the Pontiac and Saturn brands and sold Saab. The downsizing left GM with four vehicle divisions: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. In November 2010 GM returned to the stock market with one of the largest IPOs in U.S. history. The following year GM regained its title as the largest automaker in the world.

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Friday 1st June 1934

83 years ago

The Tokyo-based Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha (Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in English) took on a new name: Nissan Motor Company. Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha had been established in December 1933. The company’s new name was an abbreviation for Nippon Sangyo, a “zaibatsu” (or holding company) belonging to Tobata’s founder, Yoshisuke Aikawa. Nissan produced its first Datsun, a descendant of the Dat Car, a small, boxy passenger vehicle designed by Japanese automotive pioneer Masujiro Hashimoto that was first produced in 1914. The company began exporting cars to Australia that same year. Beginning in 1938 and lasting throughout World War II, Nissan converted entirely from producing small passenger cars to producing trucks and military vehicles. Allied occupation forces seized much of Nissan’s production operations in 1945 and didn’t return full control to Nissan until a decade later. In 1960, Nissan became the first Japanese automaker to win the Deming Prize for engineering excellence. New Datsun models like the Bluebird (1959), the Cedric (1960) and the Sunny (1966) helped spur Nissan sales in Japan and abroad, and the company experienced phenomenal growth over the course of the 1960s. The energy crises of the next decade fueled the rise in exports of affordable, fuel-efficient Japanese-made cars. Success in the United States and other markets allowed Nissan to expand its foreign operations, which now include manufacturing and assembly plants in as many as 17 countries around the world. Today, Nissan–which dropped the Datsun name in the mid-1980s–is the third-largest car manufacturer in Japan, behind first-place Toyota and just behind Honda. After struggling in the late 1990s, the company turned itself around by building an alliance with French carmaker Renault; overhauling its luxury car line, Infiniti; and releasing the Titan pickup truck as well as revamped versions of the famous Z sports car and mid-size Altima saloon.

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Tuesday 17th August 1937

80 years ago

The Toyota Motor Company, Ltd was established. It began as a division of the Toyota Automatic Loom Works. The company was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda as a spinoff from his father's company Toyota Industries to create automobiles. The company underwent huge expansion in the 1960s and 1970s, exporting its smaller, more fuel-efficient cars to countless foreign markets. During this period, Toyota also acquired Hino Motors, Ltd., Nippondenso Company, Ltd., and Daihitsu Motor Company Ltd. Toyota has been Japan's largest automobile manufacturer for several decades.

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Saturday 28th August 1937

80 years ago

The Toyota Motor Company Ltd, the world's largest automobile manufacturer, was founded. The marque's origins lie in the Japanese weaving industry when Sakichi Toyoda invented the world's first automatic loom and, subsequently, set up the Toyoda Spinning and Weaving Company in 1918. His invention reduced defects and increased yields since a loom stopped and would not go on producing imperfect fabric and using up thread after a problem occurred. This principle of designing equipment to stop automatically and call attention to problems immediately (jidoka) remains crucial to the Toyota Production System today. The loom impressed a British Company, the Platt Brothers, so much that, in 1929, they bought the production and sales rights for £100,000. Sakichi gave those proceeds to his son, Kiichiro, to develop automotive technology at Toyoda. This in turn led to the launch of the Company's first ever passenger car in 1936, the Model AA, and in 1937, the Toyota Motor Company was born. After World War II, Japan experienced extreme economic difficulty. Commercial passenger car production started in 1947 with the model SA. The company was on the brink of bankruptcy by the end of 1949, but the company eventually obtained a loan from a consortium of banks which stipulated an independent sales operation and elimination of "excess manpower". In June 1950, the company produced only 300 trucks and was on the verge of going out of business. The management announced layoffs and wage reductions, and in response the union went on a strike that lasted two months. The strike was resolved by an agreement that included layoffs and pay reductions but also the resignation of the president at the time, Kiichiro Toyoda. Toyoda was succeeded by Taizo Ishida, who was the chief executive of the Toyoda Automatic Loom company. The first few months of the Korean War resulted in an order of over 5,000 vehicles from the US military, and the company was revived. Ishida was credited for his focus on investment in equipment. One example was the construction of the Motomachi Plant in 1959, which gave Toyota a decisive lead over Nissan during the 1960s. In 1950, a separate sales company, Toyota Motor Sales Co., was established (which lasted until July 1982). In April 1956, the Toyopet dealer chain was established. In 1957, the Crown became the first Japanese car to be exported to the United States and Toyota's American and Brazilian divisions, Toyota Motor Sales Inc. and Toyota do Brasil S.A., were also established. Toyota began to expand in the 1960s with a new research and development facility, a presence in Thailand was established, the 10 millionth model was produced, a Deming Prize, and partnerships with Hino Motors and Daihatsu were also established. The first Toyota built outside Japan was in April 1963, at Melbourne, Australia. From 1963 until 1965, Australia was Toyota's biggest export market. By the end of the decade, Toyota had established a worldwide presence, as the company had exported its one-millionth unit. The first Japanese vehicles to arrive in North America were five Land Cruisers in El Salvador in May 1953. The first Toyotas sent to Europe were two Toyopet Tiaras sent to Finland for evaluation in June 1962, but no sales followed.The first European importer was Erla Auto Import A/S of Denmark, who brought in 190 Crowns following a May 1963 agreement to become the distributor for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The Netherlands followed in May 1964, and after having established toeholds in countries with little or no indigenous automobile production other markets followed in 1966. In 1968 Toyota established its first European CKD assembler, Salvador Caetano I.M.V.T. of Portugal. Toyota is the world's first automobile manufacturer to produce more than 10 million vehicles per year. It did so in 2012 according to OICA, and in 2013 according to company data.[8] As of July 2014, Toyota was the largest listed company in Japan by market capitalization (worth more than twice as much as #2-ranked SoftBank) and by revenue. Toyota is the world's market leader in sales of hybrid electric vehicles, and one of the largest companies to encourage the mass-market adoption of hybrid vehicles across the globe. Cumulative global sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrid passenger car models passed the 9 million milestone in April 2016.

1937 Toyota Model AA

1937 Toyota Model AA

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Wednesday 18th October 1939

77 years ago

The Automotive Hall of Fame was founded in New York City by a group called the "Automobile Old Timers." Its mission was to perpetuate the memories of early automotive pioneers and to honor people from all parts of the auto industry worldwide.It went through for adverse times for its first three decades, and had four name changes. Its second iteration was "Automotive Old Timers" adopted in 1957 and intended to recognize its broader base, including automotive-related industries. In 1971 it became "The Automotive Organization Team." Finally, it became "The Automotive Hall of Fame" which resulted in greater growth. The organization moved to Washington, D.C. in 1960, sharing space in the National Automobile Dealers Association building. In 1971, it moved to Midland, Michigan where it got its first home at Northwood University. In 1997, it moved to its present home in Dearborn, Michigan, adjacent to The Henry Ford museum. It is within the MotorCities National Heritage Area, an affiliate of the U.S. National Park Service dedicated to preserving and promoting the automotive and labor history of Michigan. The facilities with automobile history artifacts are in a 25,000-square-foot building containing a small theater and a central enclosed building area for public events, meetings and other exhibits.[12] The Hall honors members of the automotive industry each year. There were 250 members to the Automotive Hall of Fame by 2015. These inductees include the founders of Benz, Bosch, Bugatti, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroen, Cord, Daimler, Dodge, Duesenberg, Durant, Duryea, Ferrari, Ford, Honda, Maybach, Olds, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault and Toyota among others. In 1946 the hall worked with the "National Golden Jubilee" (50th anniversary of the creation of the automobile). As General William S. Knudsen stated, the selection to the Hall of Fame included "Ten pioneers whose engineering and administrative genius made possible the present day." The selection was done in cooperation with the Automobile Manufacturers Association, the "National Automotive Golden Jubilee committee of which Knudeson was president. Edgar Apperson, William Crapo Durant, J. Frank Jersey, Henry Ford, George O'Malley, Charles B. King, Charles W Nash, Barney Oldfield, Ransom E. Olds, and Alfred P Sloan Jr. were selected.

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Tuesday 19th December 1939

77 years ago

Benjamin Copf of Ford-Japan, Yoshisuke Ayukawa of Nissan, and Risaburo Toyoda of Toyota signed a joint venture agreement to manufacture cars in Japan.

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Friday 1st May 1942

75 years ago

Hino Motors Ltd. (日野自動車, Hino Jidōsha, TYO: 7205 ), commonly known as simply Hino, a manufacturer of diesel trucks, buses, and other vehicles based in Tokyo, Japan, was founded. The company traces its roots back to the founding of Tokyo Gas Industry Company in 1910. In 1910 Chiyoda Gas Co. was established and competed fiercely against incumbent Tokyo Gas Company fighting for gas lighting users. Tokyo Gas Industry was a parts supplier for Chiyoda Gas but it was defeated and merged into Tokyo Gas in 1912. Losing its largest client, Tokyo Gas Industry Co. broadened their product line including electronic parts, and renamed itself as Tokyo Gas and Electric Industry(東京瓦斯電気工業), TG&E and was often abbreviated as Gasuden. It produced its first motor vehicle in 1917, the Model TGE "A-Type" truck. In 1937, TG&E merged its automobile division with that of Automobile Industry Co., Ltd. and Kyodo Kokusan K.K., to form Tokyo Automobile Industry Co., Ltd., with TG&E as a shareholder. Four years later, the company changed its name to Diesel Motor Industry Co., Ltd., which would eventually become Isuzu Motors Limited. The following year (1942), the new entity of Hino Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. spun itself out from Diesel Motor Industry Co., Ltd., and the Hino name was born. During World War II, Hino manufactured Type 1 Ho-Ha half-track and Type 1 Ho-Ki armored personnel carrier for the Imperial Japanese Army. Following the end of World War II, the company had to stop producing large diesel engines for marine applications, and with the signing of the treaty, the company dropped the "Heavy" from its name and formally concentrated on the heavy-duty trailer-trucks, buses and diesel engines markets, as Hino Industry Co., Ltd. The company took its name from the location of its headquarters in Hino (日野市 Hino-shi?) city within Tokyo prefecture.To sharpen its marketing focus to customers, in 1948, the company added the name "Diesel" to become Hino Diesel Industry Co., Ltd. In 1950 the heavy-duty TH10 was introduced, equipped with the all-new 7-liter DS10 diesel engine. An eight-tonner, this was considerably larger than existing Japanese trucks which had rarely been built for more than 6,000 kg (13,230 lb) payload.In 1953, Hino entered the private car market, by manufacturing Renaults under licence, and in 1961 it started building its own Contessa 900 sedan with an 893cc rear-mounted engine, and a pickup truck called the Hino Briska with the Contessa engine slightly enlarged and installed in the front with rear wheel drive. The Italian stylist Giovanni Michelotti redesigned the Contessa line in 1964 with a 1300 cc rear-mounted engine. Fed by two SU type carburettors, this developed 60 hp (44 kW) in the sedan and 70 hp (51 kW) in the coupé version. However, Hino ceased private car production very quickly in 1967 after joining the Toyota group. In 1963, the Hamura factory began operations, and focused entirely on commercial truck and bus manufacture. Hino Trucks have also been assembled in Portugal, Ireland, Columbia, Israel, Mexico,Canada and the United States as well as Japan.

1961 Hino Briska Light Duty Truck (Pickup)

1961 Hino Briska Light Duty Truck (Pickup)

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Saturday 8th December 1945

71 years ago

The Toyota Motor Company received permission from the occupation government to start production of buses and trucks, vehicles necessary to keep Japan running. It marked the beginning of the post-war car industry in Japan.

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Thursday 27th March 1952

65 years ago

Kiichiro Toyoda (57) Japanese industrialist and founder of the Toyota Motor Corporation died. He was the son of famed inventor and entrepreneur Sakichi Toyoda, and the driving force behind establishment of Toyota Motor Corporation. As a young man he studied engineering at the University of Tokyo, then traveled to England, where he worked at Platt Brothers and Company, a leading manufacturer of textile machinery. He later came to the United States, where he studied American manufacturing techniques. After returning to Japan he worked at his father's loom-making business, Toyoda Industries Corporation, where he engineered improvements to the looms' high-draft spinning frames, and patented a carding machine. He began his research into automotives by dismantling and reassembling an imported motorcycle, and briefly considered the feasibility of a charcoal-powered engine. After his father's death, he convinced Toyoda Industries' new president, his adoptive brother Risaburo Toyoda, to fund research into auto-making. Kiichiro Toyoda purchased a new Chevrolet and brought in several of Japan's top engineers to disassemble and reassemble it. By 1934 Toyoda and his team had designed and built their first gasoline-powered engine, and convinced stockholders to fully fund his new division. In 1935 Toyoda built the prototype for its first car, combining Japanese components with Ford and Chevy parts under a Chrysler body to construct what they called Model A1. According to legend, Kiichiro Toyoda drove the prototype to his father's gravesite, to show what he had accomplished.Toyoda vehicles were manufactured beginning in July 1935, and in 1936 the spelling of the nameplate was altered from Toyoda to Toyota, as Toyoda himself believed the new name was easier to pronounce (the family name, when presented in English, remains Toyoda). The auto division was quickly successful and was spun off as a separate business, the Toyota Motor Corporation, in 1937, with Toyoda as Vice President. He became president in 1941, but in 1950, with the business near bankruptcy in Japan's post-war recession, Toyota Motor Corp announced massive layoffs and its workers went on strike. To settle the strike, Toyoda and other top executives tendered their resignations, and Toyoda died two years later.

Kiichiro Toyoda

Kiichiro Toyoda

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Saturday 7th May 1955

62 years ago

(7th-18th): The 2nd Tokyo Motor Show opened its doors to the public. Although this show was still oriented toward commercial vehicles, Toyota and Nissan unveiled new passenger cars. Admissions reached 784,800 (over 12 days). To compete with popular three-wheelers, Toyota showed a light 4-wheel truck, "Model SKB 1000cc" (renamed Toyoace in 1956), Nissan a Datsun Truck Model 120, and Fuji Precision Machinery AFIF 1.5 ton truck. These featured excellent handling, loading capacity, and comfort. Popularity, therefore, seemed to shift from three-wheeled to four-wheeled trucks. In the passenger car division, Nissan’s compact Datsun 110 excelled. It had a newly designed body, which won the Mainichi Kogyo Design Award. Outstanding also were Toyota s new Toyopet Crown RS and Toyopet Master RR, which had an American appearance. The combined effect was an impression that the domestic car days had arrived.

Datsun 120

Datsun 120

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Friday 20th April 1956

61 years ago

The third Toyko Motor Show opened. Vehicles were exhibited by type, and the center of popularity shifted to passenger cars. These characteristics indicated the birth of a full-scale motor show. Behind this trend was the "people s car plan" announced by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in May of 1955. The plan envisaged a 4passenger car capable of driving 100Km/h, wholesaling for ¥150,000 and retailing for ¥250,000. This was completely unrealistic given that average per capita national income was ¥75,960 and car prices at the time were: Datsun Sedan ¥750,000, Renault ¥740,000, and Toyota Crown ¥950,000. Still, the MITI plan spurred automakers to strive to cut prices.

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Thursday 9th May 1957

60 years ago

The Fourth All-Japan Motor Show was held at Hibiya Park during an 11-day period. In the passenger car category, a significant improvement was found in the quality of exhibited vehicles, including the first-generation Toyopet Corona small car, Fuji Seimitsu's Price Skyline, and the Nissan Datsun Sport prototype. In the truck category, Toyota displayed its first diesel truck (DA60), while Nissan unveiled its Nissan Junior and Nissan 581 models. Ohta also exhibited its 1.5-ton class light truck model. Meanwhile, an automobile information bureau was newly set up in the PR Center to provide extended knowledge on road traffic and vehicle design, etc. In this show, the organizer successfully provided visitors and exhibitors with an opportunity for business talks in addition to the general promotion of automobiles.

Toyota Corona (1957)

Toyota Corona (1957)

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Thursday 31st October 1957

59 years ago

Two months after a three-man Toyota team flew to Los Angeles to survey the U.S. market, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. was founded in California with Shotaro Kamiya as the first president. Toyota's first American headquarters were located in an auto dealership in downtown Hollywood, California, and by the end of 1958, 287 Toyopet Crowns and one Land Cruiser had been sold. Over the next decade, Toyota quietly made progress into the Big Three-dominated U.S. car market, offering affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles like the Toyota Corolla as an alternative to the grand gas-guzzlers being produced in Detroit at the time. But the real watershed for Toyota and other Japanese automakers came during the 1970s, when, after enjoying three decades of domination, American automakers had lost their edge. On top of the severe quality issues that plagued domestic automobiles during the early 1970s, the Arab oil embargoes of 1973 and 1979 created a public demand for fuel-efficient vehicles that the Big Three were unprepared to meet. The public turned to imports in droves, and suddenly Japan's modest but sturdy little compacts began popping up on highways all across America. The Big Three rushed to produce their own fuel-efficient compacts, but shoddily constructed models like the Chevy Vega and Ford Pinto could not compete with the overall quality of the Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics. Domestic automakers eventually bounced back during the 1980s, but Japanese automakers retained a large portion of the market. In 1997, the Toyota Camry became the best-selling car in America, surpassing even Honda's popular Accord model.

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Thursday 9th January 1958

59 years ago

Toyota and Datsun make their first appearances in the United States at the Imported Motor Car Show in Los Angeles, California. The first Nissan products were sold in the U.S. under the trade name“Datsun” and the first Toyotas were “Toyopets”. Unofficially, a few Datsuns and Toyopets had arrived in the United States with the return of servicemen stationed in Japan in the mid 1950s. Officially, the first two Toyopets arrived in September of 1957 for testing in the American market. It turned out that the cars were totally unsuitable for North American terrain and roads. While the Toyopets were perfect Taxis in Tokyo, they couldn't handle the hilly Los Angeles roads. Not only that, but the head of the Toyota USA division didn’t like the name “Toyopet”. He complained that the name “Toy” sounded like a toy, and “toys break”. pet, meantime, brought to mind dogs. Datsun’s premarketing test went considerably better. A Datsun 210 was brought to Los Angeles and tinkered with. The test included an uphill drag race with a Volkswagen Beetle. The Datsun won. Later, the Datsun was damaged in a traffic accident. All told, the Nissan engineers told their Japanese bosses that Datsuns could be sold in the U.S. if they were modified with stronger engines and drivetrains. The vehicles selected for the L.A. Import Show included A Datsun-1000 (PL210) four door sedan. The Toyopet sedan was a slightly larger vehicle. Both vehicles were given “passing” scores on body quality but were judged lacking in the engine departments. It turned out that Datsun had the advantage of showing a smaller car plus a pickup model. The prices and performance were competitive with the top import of the day, the VW Beetle. Dealerships soon were opened as Datsun cars and pickups began appearing on the streets. Meanwhile the Toyopet was given high marks for sturdiness and quality, but it was considered to be overpriced and underpowered for the American market. Sales were lackluster, so Toyota withdrew from the U.S. market in 1960. In 1965, Toyota began anew with a completely redesigned Toyopet Crown that featured a larger engine and more luxury features. The car also came back with a new name, Toyota Corona. The vehicle was the first of a successful line for the company that, years later, renamed the model “Camry”, the Japanese word for “crown”.

Datsun-1000 (PL210) -1958

Datsun-1000 (PL210) -1958

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Friday 10th October 1958

58 years ago

The 5th Tokyo Motor Show was opened. Many innovative models were exhibited. A midget car, "Subaru 360" attracted much attention amid the people’s car boom. Noted for its small overall size, 1,000 lb curb weight, monocoque construction, swing axle rear suspension, fiberglass roof panel, and rear-hinged doors, the inexpensive car was designed in response to the Japanese government's light car or Kei car regulations and its proposal for a larger "national car," both intended to help motorize the post WWII Japanese population. The 360's overall size and engine capacity complied with Japan's Kei car regulations. Nicknamed the "ladybug" in Japan, and ultimately superseded by R-2, the 360 was one of Japan's most popular cars and was available in a single generation in two-door, station wagon, "convertible" (coupe with roll-back fabric roof) and sport model variants.10,000 were sold in the United States, imported by Malcolm Bricklin — advertised as "Cheap and Ugly." The nameplate 360 derived from its tax-limited engine displacement: 356 cc engine. It had a top speed of 60 miles per hour. Consumer Reports recorded a 0-60 time of about 37 seconds and reported 25–35 miles per gallon,[7] despite Subaru's claimed 66 mpg. When introduced in 1958, the 360's engine produced 16 hp (12 kW). By the end of production, power had increased to 25 hp (19 kW) with a 36 hp (27 kW) twin-carbureted engine optionally available. Production reached 392,000 over its 12-year model run. Also popular were the 1.5-litre Toyota Crown prototype, equipped with the world’s smallest diesel engine, the Prince 1900 production model, and a unique car, "Mikasa Touring" equipped with a 600cc engine and torque converter. Japan’s first bus equipped with air suspension system, developed by Minsei Diesel Engineering, also drew much attention. This was the year Toyota, Nissan, and Fuji Precision Machinery started full-scale exports of the Crown, Datsun, and Skyline to the U.S. At the Australian Rally, famous as the world s roughest race, Datsun 1000 (Fuji) won the championship in its class. Crown also competed. Thus, Japanese cars were beginning to be known overseas. Visitors to the Motor Show included a few foreigners, another new feature at this Show.

Subaru 360

Subaru 360

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Saturday 24th October 1959

57 years ago

The 6th Tokyo Motor Show opened. On display were the Mitsubishi 500 following the Subaru 360 which appealed as a people's car for "My Car" Japan, and Bluebird which refreshed itself from popular Datsun to a completely new European style car. Japan's first full-scale sports car, the Datsun S211, was also displayed. This was a high performance car with a 1-litre, 34 hp engine. Its top speed was 155 kph. It attracted attention primarily because of its all-plastic body. Also popular were the Toyota Masterline, equipped with Japan s first automatic transmission and a mid-sized passenger car, the Gloria from Fuji Precision Machinery. Many new trucks were displayed. Most representative were the Jupiter from Mitsubishi Heavy-Industries, Elf from Isuzu, Datsun Truck G220 and Caball C43 from Nissan, and Prince Skyway Van/Pick-up from Fuji Precision Machinery. This show featured many new models developed with Japan's own technology.

Mitsubishi 500

Mitsubishi 500

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Saturday 16th January 1960

57 years ago

The Chicago Auto Show opened to the public. Harsh winter weather did not keep Chicagoans away who had a batch of new imports and compact cars to gaze at in 1960, along with chrome-laden full-size models. As automakers aimed at economy, Chevrolet introduced its rear-engine Corvair, Ford offered the new compact Falcon and Chrysler developed the Valiant. The show also offered the public a glimpse of nearly three- dozen imported makes, including Deutsch-Bonnet, Toyota and Fiat. This was the final viewing of the waning DeSoto line. A few 1961 DeSotos were built, but production halted prior to the 1961 show.

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Tuesday 25th October 1960

56 years ago

The 7th Tokyo Motor Show opened with over 350 exhibits. One highlight of the Show was Toyota s exhibit of the Publica show car with its catch phrase, "Everybody s Car". The four-seater equipped with a 700cc air-cooled engine and priced at ¥389,000 was called a $1000 car ($1=¥360 at that time), and attracted much attention. Toyota also announced its second generation Corona "PT20", whilst Nissan introduced the "Cedric" with four headlights, a product springing from the technical tie-up with Austin. Fuji Precision Machinery marketed the four headlight "Gloria," and Toyo Kogyo presented a midget car with four-wheel independent suspension, the "Mazda Coupe," at the low price of ¥310,000.

Toyota Publica

Toyota Publica

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Thursday 25th October 1962

54 years ago

Many prototypes were displayed again at the opening of the 9th Tokyo Motor Show. The highlight was the debut of Honda Sports 360 and 500. These were the first 4-wheeled cars produced by Honda, which had become a world-famous motorcycle manufacturer. Both cars were high-performance, miniature sports cars, equipped with a 4-cylinder, twin-cam engine generating a maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) for Model 360 and more than 130 km/h (80 mph) for Model 500. Toyota displayed the Publica Sports with a futuristic body and no door. It had a canopy that slid backward like that on a fighter plane. Nissan displayed the Fairlady with a detachable hardtop. Popular sports cars were the Mitsubishi Colt Convertible and Prince Sports Convertible.

Honda Sports 360 (prototype)

Honda Sports 360 (prototype)

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Saturday 26th September 1964

52 years ago

The 11th Tokyo Motor Show opened. The Toyota Corona, the third generation RT 40, made its debut to compete with the Bluebird. Toyota equipped the Crown Eight with a V8 engine to contend with foreign cars, while Isuzu Bellet 1300 and 1500 Coupe & GT, and the 6 cylinder Skyline GT long-nosed "sheep skinned wolf" attracted attention. Other models that made their debut included Hino Contessa 1300, Bluebird 2-door saloon, Mazda Familia 800, Publica Sports, and Datsun Coupe (Silvia). In the foreign car division, displays included the Triumph series (UK), Jeep Wagoneer (US) developed from the Jeep, a masterpiece produced by World War II, and the 4 wheel-drive Huflinger (Austria), creating a slightly international mood.

Toyota Crown Eight

Toyota Crown Eight

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Friday 29th October 1965

51 years ago

The 12th Toyko Motor Show was held immediately after imports of passenger cars were liberalized on October 1. Models exhibited: large luxurious models, the President and the new Cedric, equipped with Japan s firstV6, 3.0-liter and V8, 4.0-liter engines, and the Crown equipped with a 6-cylinder engine. Small cars concentrated on the 800-1000cc class: the fastback Colt 800, the Honda S800 and N800, the Subaru 1000 equipped with new features, and the Familia Coupe (1000). These models attracted attention as family cars geared to the "my car days," and not to be used as taxies. Sports cars such as Prince R380, Hino GT Prototype, Toyota 2000GT and Honda F-1 Racer challenged speed records and attracted the attention of young enthusiasts. Overseas participants in the show were the Soviet Union and U.K. firms, with twelve exhibits: the Moskvitch 400, the Austin Healey 3000 Mark III, the Austin 1800, and the Morris Mini Cooper.

Subaru 1000

Subaru 1000

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Saturday 14th May 1966

51 years ago

The Subaru 1000, the first front wheel drive Subaru produced by Fuji Heavy Industries that was in the Japanese government "compact car" classification, went on sale. Previous Subaru models such as the Subaru 360 and the Sambar had been rear-engined, rear wheel drive kei cars. It was the first production Subaru to use a boxer engine. In 1960, Subaru management decided to introduce a successor to the prototype Subaru 1500 with a new code name "A-5" with a four-cycle air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine displacing 1500 cc, driving the front wheels in a compact car platform. It was to have a double wishbone front suspension. Due to FHI's limited resources, the car wasn't produced. The Subaru 360 was selling at the time but Subaru wanted a car that could comfortably carry four passengers without a cramped compartment, that would appear to be an alternative to the Toyota Publica, the Datsun 110/210, the Hino Contessa, and the Mitsubishi Colt 600. Subaru also wanted to reduce engine noise by placing the engine up front and improve interior space by implementing front wheel drive, thereby eliminating a centrally mounted drive shaft powering the rear wheels, and utilizing an independent suspension at all four wheels. The only other Japanese company to use an air-cooled, horizontally opposed engine at the time was in the Publica, and the Toyota U engine. In 1963, Subaru tried again, with a new project code "A-4", with a smaller 923 cc engine, front wheel drive, and an overall length of 3,885 mm (153.0 in), a wheelbase of 2,400 mm (94 in), a front wheel width of 1,230 mm (48 in) and a rear wheel width of 1,220 mm (48 in), weighing 500 kg (1,100 lb). It made it towards production status and was changed to production code "A-63" and was eventually introduced as the Subaru 1000. To address space efficiency and a quiet operation with minimal vibration, the engine was developed as a water-cooled engine instead of the original intent of air-cooled in the "A-5" concept. These cars featured a unique water-cooled, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, with overhead valves operated by pushrods. Subaru engineers examined Porsche, Volkswagen and even Chevrolet Corvair and thought it would be nice if this type of engine is combined with front wheel drive system. The neck in proceeding the mechanism was the vibrations from universal joints, but in collaboration with the bearing maker Toyo Bearing (now known as NTN), the epoch-making "double offset joint" was invented. Modern Subaru's still make use of horizontally opposed four-cylinder engines, albeit of a much greater capacity and with more modern overhead-cam-driven valves. As was typical of early front wheel drive cars, the 1000 featured inboard drum brakes up front to reduce unsprung suspension weight and an easier implementation of an independent front suspension (but atypically Subaru would retain this unusual design into the seventies). Other unique features of the 1000 were a lack of a heater core, the heating system took its warmth directly from the radiator, and a hybrid suspension system that used torsion bars in combination with coil springs (much like the front suspension of the Subaru 360). The 1000 was superseded by the 1100 (also known as the Subaru FF-1 Star in the United States and in other export markets) at the start of the seventies.

Subaru 1000 - 1966

Subaru 1000 - 1966

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Wednesday 26th October 1966

50 years ago

The Nissan Sunny and Toyota Corolla were unveiled at the 13th Tokyo Motor Show. Other carmakers also presented their new models in the 800-1,000cc engine class, heralding the "Era of Cars for Everyone." Amid the My Car boom, mini-vehicles fitted with under 660cc engines also earned popularity among consumers again. New mini vehicle models such as Honda's N360, the Daihatsu Fellow, and Suzuki Fronte featured significantly improved performance. Notably, the Nissan Prince Royal, the first made-in-Japan limousine used by the emperor and empress, was unveiled at the show. Visitors were surprised at the vehicle's overwhelming body size and engine.

Toyota Corolla (first generation)

Toyota Corolla (first generation)

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Tuesday 30th May 1967

50 years ago

The Mazda 110S Cosmos, the world’s first two-rotor rotary engine production car, was officially launched with NSU rotors, beating even NSU’s own Ro 80 to market by 3.5 months. Mazda paid NSU hefty licence fees for the use of the Wankel design, and all Mazda rotor housings had ‘NSU licence’ cast into them. The Series I/L10A Cosmo was powered by a 0810 two-rotor engine with 982 cc of displacement and produced about 110 hp (thus the 110 name). It used a Hitachi 4-barrel carburetor and an odd ignition design - two spark plugs per chamber with dual distributors. A 4-speed manual transmission and 14 inch (335 mm) wheels were standard. In Japan, the installation of a rotary engine gave Japanese buyers a financial advantage when it came time to pay the annual road tax in that they bought a car that was more powerful than a traditional inline engine, but without having the penalty for having an engine in the higher above-one-litre tax bracket. The front independent suspension was A-arm/coil spring design with an anti-roll bar. The rear used a live axle with a de Dion tube, trailing arms, and semi-elliptic leaf springs. Power-unassisted 10 inch (254 mm) disk brakes were found in front with 7.9 inches (201 mm) drum brakes in the rear. Performance in the quarter-mile (400 m) was 16.4 s, with a 115 mph (185 km/h) top speed. The price was lower than the Toyota 2000GT at 1.48 million yen (US$4,100).

Mazda 110S

Mazda 110S

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Friday 30th October 1970

46 years ago

33 American cars by 4 makers, 18 English cars by 11 makers, 25 German cars by 8 makers, 5 French cars by 3 makers, 8 Italian cars by 4 makers, 4 Swedish cars by 2 makers, and 2 Australian cars by 1 maker for a total of 95 cars by 33 makers from 7 countries were exhibited at the 17th Tokyo Motor Show. Test cars made public included a Toyota electric car based on the Commuter, a Nissan electric car with a 120V-60AH battery, a Toyo Kogyo (now Mazda) hybridelectric car with a combination motor and a small rotary engine, a Mitsubishi electric car and a Daihatsu hybrid car. Nissan, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Honda, and Fuji Heavy Industries also displayed electronic injection systems, and Nissan and Mitsubishi publicized gas turbine engines.The number of visitors to this show, 1,452,900, decreased somewhat from the previous show. This was partly because parking was prohibited around the show site to avoid traffic congestion in Tokyo.

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Monday 23rd October 1972

44 years ago

The 19th Tokyo Motor Show opened to the public. Use of professional models had been banned a few years before, but now the beauty was brought back, and crowds gathered. The lunar vehicles co-exhibited by GM and Isuzu, and Mitsubishi s replica of a 1917 Model A also attracted much attention. Conspicuous in the Passenger Car Hall were the Skyline GT racing car, the Mitsubishi Colt F-2 engine, the Isuzu R6 Spider, the Mazda Savanna racer, the Suzuki Vickr, and the Toyota Town Spider. Since this show was mainly about safety and environment, the number of exhibits was decreased from 755 at the previous show to 559. The number of visitors also decreased to 1,261,400.

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Friday 21st September 1973

43 years ago

The Ford Mustang II was introduced, two months before the first 1973 oil crisis, and its reduced size allowed it to compete against imported sports coupés such as the Japanese Toyota Celica and the European Ford Capri. The car was available in coupé and hatchback versions, including a "luxury" Ghia model designed by Ford's recently acquired Ghia of Italy. The coupe was marketed as the "Hardtop" but in fact had a thin "B" pillar and rear quarter windows that did not roll down. All Mustangs in this generation did feature frameless door glass, however. The "Ghia" featured a thickly padded vinyl roof and smaller rear quarter windows, giving a more formal look. Changes introduced in 1975 included reinstatement of the 302 CID V8 option (after being without a V8 option for the 1974 model year) and availability of an economy option called the "MPG Stallion". Other changes in appearance and performance came with a "Cobra II" version in 1976 & 1977 and a "King Cobra" in 1978.

Ford Mustang II advertisment

Ford Mustang II advertisment

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Tuesday 23rd October 1973

43 years ago

Only five days after 11 Arab oil producers increased oil prices and cut back production in response to the support of the United States and other nations for Israel in the Yom Kippur War, Toyota U.S.A. held its first national news conference in Los Angeles, California. Central on the agenda for the three-day conference was the discussion of the remarkable fuel efficiency of Toyota automobiles. In the days following the oil crisis, concerned American consumers suffered gasoline rationing, a quadrupling of prices, and huge lines at gas stations. The small percentage of Americans who owned a Toyota, a Honda, or a Nissan found themselves the envy of other domestic car owners, whose American automobiles typically averaged less than 15 miles per gallon.

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Wednesday 16th October 1974

42 years ago

Cars introduced at the opening of the London Motor Show included the Aston Martin Lagonda (long wheel-base, four-door version of the Aston Martin V8), Lotus Esprit (Worldwide launch), Lotus Eclat (2+2) (Worldwide launch), Panther De Ville (Worldwide launch, for the basic model it was one of the most expensive cars being displayed at the time) and Toyota 1100. The Citroën CX had been launched a few weeks earlier at the Paris Motor Show and was scheduled for inclusion in the 1974 London show. However. It was withdrawn at the eleventh hour, possibly because the manufacturers found themselves unable to schedule right hand drive production of the car till well into 1975. The model nevertheless went on to win first place with motoring journalists voting for the European Car of the Year a few months later.

Panther De Ville

Panther De Ville

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Friday 31st October 1975

41 years ago

Toyota displayed TTC-C and TTC-V systems and also the Gas Turbine Century at the opening of the 21st Tokyo Motor Show. Nissan exhibited the Steam Engine Cedric and showed its NAPS system using a multi-media show. Honda displayed its ESV with CVCC engine. Mitsubishi stressed high performance and low pollution by combining its Astro Engine and emission cleaning system MCA. Mazda displayed the rotary engine REAP and reciprocating engine CEAP system. Isuzu exhibited the Gemini Coupe which cleared the 1975 regulations by introducing GM technology for air injection EGRplus a catalytic converter. Fuji Heavy Industries announced the Leone Sports equipped with the SEEC-T system that cleared the 1976 regulation and attracted wide attention. The only new models displayed were the Toyota Corolla Sprinter Liftback, Silvia, and Cosmo s revival model. The rest of the exhibits had radical technological innovations under their hoods, but looked unchanged and mostly modest.

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Friday 28th October 1977

39 years ago

A trend common to the new models exhibited 22nd Tokyo Motor Show was fuel efficiency. Every manufacturer had made an effort to improve fuel economy by reducing vehicle weight and wind resistance. To cite an example, the Daihatsu Charade achieved a fuel economy of 20 km per 1 litre. Diesel cars that debuted as "fuel economy cars" were the Nissan Cedric 220DE, the Toyota Crown DE, and the Isuzu Florian DE, which drew attention from non-Japanese people.

Daihatsu Charade

Daihatsu Charade

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Thursday 2nd March 1978

39 years ago

The Renault 18 and Toyota Starlet were launched at the Geneva Motor Show.

Renault 18

Renault 18

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Thursday 10th August 1978

39 years ago

Three teenage girls died after their 1973 Ford Pinto was rammed from behind by a van and bursts into flames on a highway in Indiana, US. The fatal crash was one of a series of Pinto accidents that caused a national scandal during the 1970's. The small and economical Pinto, which debuted in 1970, was Ford's first subcompact car produced domestically, and its answer to popular imports like the Volkswagen Beetle and the Toyota Corolla. Lee Iacocca, then an executive vice president at Ford and later to earn fame as head of Chrysler, spearheaded the Pinto's development. By 1974, however, rumors began to surface in- and outside the company about the Pinto's tendency to catch fire in rear-end collisions. In May 1972, a California woman was killed when her Pinto caught fire after being rear-ended on a highway. Her passenger was burned over 90 percent of his body but survived; he sued Ford for damages. The passenger's lawyer found that the Pinto's gas tank sat behind the rear axle, where it was particularly vulnerable to damage by rear-end collisions. He also uncovered evidence that Ford had known about this weakness ever since the Pinto first went on sale, and had done nothing about it, mostly because changing the design would have been too costly. An article in Mother Jones magazine in the fall of 1977 exposed the Pinto safety concerns to a national audience, and a California jury's award of $128 million to passenger Richard Grimshaw in February 1978 spread the news still further. That June, Ford voluntarily recalled all 1.9 million 1971-1976 Pintos and 1975-1976 Mercury Bobcats (which had the same fuel-tank design). The Ehrlich girls, who died in the rear-end collision in Indiana on August 10, 1978, were apparently unaware of the Pinto-related dangers; their family would not receive a recall notice until early 1979. A grand jury later returned indictments against Ford on three counts of reckless homicide in the Ehrlich case, marking the first time in history that a corporation had been charged with murder. Ford claimed that the Pinto's fuel-tank design was the same as other subcompacts, and that the company had done everything possible to comply with the recall once it had been enacted. Due to a lack of evidence, the jury found Ford not guilty in that case. A California appeals court upheld the Grimshaw victory, however, ordering Ford to pay $6.6 million and stating that the company's "institutional mentality was shown to be one of callous indifference to public safety."

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Saturday 24th February 1979

38 years ago

Visitors to the Chicago Auto Show brought glimpsed the new AMC Spirit, the redesigned Ford Mustang, and the first viewing of the Toyota Celica Supra. A number of concept cars were on hand as well, including the Mercury XM, and Ford's Fiesta Tuareg off-roader and Megastar II. Visitors to the Chrysler-Plymouth display at the 71st Chicago Auto Show could sign up for a chance to win "Tattoo's Fantasy Wagon," from the Fantasy Island TV show.

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Sunday 6th January 1980

37 years ago

Jimmy Carter signed a bill authorising $1.2 billion in federal loans to save the failing Chrysler Corporation. At the time it was the largest federal bailout in history. The "Big Three" American car makers (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) had suffered through the 1970s, as Japanese competitors led by Honda and Toyota outperformed them in quality and price. Chrysler, which lacked the vast cash reserves of GM and Ford, was brought to the brink of bankruptcy by 1980. The federal bailout, which required Chrysler to find billions in private financing in order to receive the federal money, brought Chrysler back from the brink. Lee Iacocca, the charismatic executive largely responsible for Ford's successful Mustang, joined Chrysler in late 1979, and engineered the company's return to profitability during the 1980s.

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Saturday 11th February 1984

33 years ago

The Chicago Motor Show was opened by Mayor Harold Washington and Illinois Secretary of State Jim Edgar. More than 700 vehicles were exhibited including the new sporty Pontiac Fiero, the Honda CRX, the Nissan 300 ZX and the Ford Mustang SVO. Chevrolet offered visitors a glimpse of the redesigned Chevrolet Cavalier Type 10, displayed with a special Chicago appearance package. Concept vehicles shown included the four-wheel steering Mazda MX-02, Nissan NX-21 (dubbed family car of the Nineties), Ford Ghia Barchetta convertible, mid-engined Toyota SV-3 prototype, Oldsmobile diesel Ciera ES, and Chevrolet's fiberglass Citation IV.

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Friday 1st March 1985

32 years ago

The 40,000,000th Toyota vehicle, a Tercel, was produced on the same day that the 10,000,000th Toyota Corolla was produced.

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Thursday 26th December 1985

31 years ago

The Ford Motor Company introduced the Taurus, the product of years of engineering. The original Taurus was a milestone for Ford and the entire American automotive industry, bearing an influential design that brought many new features and innovations to the marketplace. Since its launch in 1986, Ford had built 7,519,919 Tauruses through the 2007 model year, making it the fifth-best-selling North American nameplate in Ford's history; only the F-150, Escort, Model T, and Mustang have sold more units. Between 1992 and 1996, the Taurus was the best-selling car in the United States, eventually losing the title to the Toyota Camry in 1997. The distinctively streamlined car became enormously popular, lifting Ford to record profits in the late 1980s. The rounded "jellybean" shape of the Taurus had a strong influence on the designs of other car manufacturers in the next few years. The first generation was available with either a V6 or an inline four-cylinder engine and came with either a manual (MT-5) or automatic transmission. Like its exterior, the Taurus's interior was ahead of its time, and many features originating from it are still used in most cars today. Its interior was designed to be extremely user-friendly, with all of its controls designed to be recognisable by touch, allowing drivers to operate them without taking their eyes off the road. For example, the switches to the power windows and power locks were designed with one half of the switch raised up, with the other half recessed, in order for its function to be identified by touch] To further enhance this quality, the car's dashboard has all of the controls in the central area within reach of the driver. The left side of the dash curves slightly around the driver to make controls easily accessible, as well as creating a "cockpit" feel.

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Monday 14th April 1986

31 years ago

The inaugural season of Indy Lites opened at Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The original Indy Lights series was formed as an open-wheeled racing series that acted as a developmental circuit for CART from 1986 to 2001. It was founded in 1986 as the American Racing Series (ARS). The series was renamed Indy Lights in 1991. The CART-sanctioned series became widely popular and secured the title sponsorship of Firestone. Later, Firestone's subsidiary Dayton Tires took over as tire supplier and title sponsor. A spec-series, CART Indy Lights used March chassis (essentially a modified 85B Formula 3000 chassis, renamed to Wildcat) from 1986 to 1992. Lola provided chassis from 1993 to 2001. Buick V6 engines were used for its entire existence. The ARS/Indy Lights series' championship winners included two CART champions, two IndyCar Series champions, seven CCWS race-winners and two Formula One drivers. The Indy Lights schedule closely followed that of the CART series, with the noteworthy exception of Indianapolis. The series typically had a gap of up to a month while the primary CART teams raced at the Indy 500. The races were usually held the morning of the CART series races, as an undercard, support event. In early years, the Indy Lights series skipped superspeedway races such as Michigan, but eventually found its way to race there. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, CART was suffering from financial problems. Meanwhile, in 1996, the rival Indy Racing League was formed. CART canceled the minor league outright after the 2001 season. By this time, the Toyota Atlantic series was equally effective in providing CART with new drivers. In addition, the Atlantics served as a springboard for such drivers as Greg Ray, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Richie Hearn to enter the IRL. The Atlantics effectively became CART's primary feeder system, and later became Champ Car World Series' official in-house feeder championship for a time.

Indy Lights

Indy Lights

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Thursday 29th October 1987

29 years ago

The 27th Tokyo Motor Show saw full-scale participation by Western automakers and participation by Yue Loong Motor from Taiwan for the first time. It was really an international show joined by 276 domestic and foreign makers.. Notable cars revealed included the Toyota FXV-II, Nissan ARC-X, and Mitsubishi HSR.

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Saturday 2nd January 1988

29 years ago

After almost 10 years of development, the Lexus brand made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Lexus originated from a corporate project to develop a new premium sedan, code-named F1, which began in 1983 and culminated in the launch of the Lexus LS in 1989. Subsequently, the division added sedan, coupé, convertible, and SUV models. Until 2005 Lexus did not exist as a brand in its home market and all vehicles marketed internationally as Lexus from 1989-2005 were released in Japan under the Toyota marque and an equivalent model name. In 2005, a hybrid version of the RX crossover debuted, and additional hybrid models later joined the division's lineup. In 2007, Lexus launched its own F marque performance division with the debut of the IS F sport sedan, followed by the LFA supercar in 2009. From the start of production, Lexus vehicles have been produced in Japan, with manufacturing centered in the Chūbu and Kyūshū regions, and in particular at Toyota's Tahara, Aichi, Chūbu and Miyata, Fukuoka, Kyūshū plants. Assembly of the first Lexus built outside the country, the Ontario, Canada–produced RX 330, began in 2003. Following a corporate reorganization from 2001 to 2005, Lexus operates its own design, engineering, and manufacturing centers. Since the 2000s (decade), Lexus has increased sales outside its largest market, the United States. The division inaugurated dealerships in Japan's domestic market in 2005, becoming the first Japanese premium car marque to launch in its country of origin. The brand was introduced in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Europe, and other regions. The division's lineup also reflects regional differences for model and powertrain configurations.

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Sunday 20th March 1988

29 years ago

The last Pontiac Fiero was produced. The Fiero was designed by George Milidrag and Hulki Aldikacti as a sports car. The Fiero was the first two-seater Pontiac since the 1926 to 1938 coupes, and also the first and only mass-produced mid-engine sports car by a U.S. manufacturer. Many technologies incorporated in the Fiero design such as plastic body panels were radical for their time. Other features included hidden headlamps and, initially, integrated stereo speakers within the driver and passenger headrests. A total of 370,168 Fieros were produced over the relatively short production run of five years; by comparison, 163,000 Toyota MR2s were sold in their first five years.[1] At the time, its reputation suffered from criticisms over performance, reliability and safety issues. The word fiero means "very proud" in Italian, and "wild", "fierce", or "ferocious" in Spanish. Alternative names considered for the car were Sprint (which ended up on a Chevrolet car instead), P3000, Pegasus, Fiamma, Sunfire (a name which would later be applied to another car), and Firebird XP. The Fiero 2M4 (two-seat, mid-engine, four-cylinder) was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1984. The 1984 Fiero was the Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500 for 1984, beating out the new 1984 Chevrolet Corvette for the honor.

Pontiac Fiero (1984-88)

Pontiac Fiero (1984-88)

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Sunday 9th October 1988

28 years ago

Felix Wankel, the only twentieth-century engineer to have designed an internal-combustion engine which went into production, passed away at the age of 86 in Lindau, Germany, where he did much of his research and where Wankel Research and Development is still located. During World War II, Wankel developed seals and rotary valves for German air force aircraft and navy torpedoes, for BMW and Daimler-Benz. After the war, in 1945, he was imprisoned by France for some months, his laboratory was closed by French occupation troops, his work was confiscated, and he was prohibited from doing more work. However, by 1951, he got funding from the Goetze AG company to furnish the new Technical Development Center in his private house in Lindau on Lake Constance. He began development of the engine at NSU Motorenwerke AG, leading to the first running prototype on 1 February 1957.Unlike modern Wankel engines, this version had both the rotor and housing rotating. It developed 21 horsepower. His engine design was first licensed by Curtiss-Wright in New Jersey, United States. On 19 January 1960 the rotary engine was presented for the first time to specialists and the press in a meeting of the German Engineers' Union at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. In the same year, with the KKM 250, the first practical rotary engine was presented in a converted NSU Prinz. At this time the "Wankel engine" became synonymous with the rotary engine, whereas previously it was called the "Motor nach System NSU/Wankel". At the 1963 IAA, the NSU company presented the NSU Wankel-Spider, the first consumer vehicle, which went into production in 1964. Great attention was received by the NSU in August 1967 for the very modern NSU Ro 80, which had a 115-horsepower engine with two rotors. It was the first German car selected as "Car of the Year" in 1968. In Japan, the manufacturer Mazda solved the engine's chatter marks problem. The engine has been successfully used by Mazda in several generations of their RX-series of coupés and sedans, including the Mazda Cosmo, R100, the RX-7 and more recently the RX-8. Mercedes-Benz completed it's C111 experimental model in 1969 with 3-rotor Wankel engine. In 1970 next model which had a 4-rotor Wankel engine could reach top speed 290 km/h but reached never serial production. Wankel became a success in business by securing license agreements around the world. By 1958 Wankel and partners had founded the "Wankel GmbH" company, providing Wankel with a share of the profits for marketing the engine. Among the licensees were Daimler-Benz since 1961, General Motors since 1970, Toyota since 1971. Royalties for the Wankel GmbH for licensure were 40%, later 36%. In 1971 Wankel sold his share of the license royalties for 50 million Deutschmarks to the English conglomerate Lonrho. The following year he got his Technical Development Center back from the Fraunhofer Society. From 1986 the Felix Wankel Institute cooperated with Daimler Benz AG. Daimler Benz provided the operating costs in return for the research rights. He sold the Institute to Daimler Benz for 100 million Marks.

Felix Wankel

Felix Wankel

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Friday 1st September 1989

28 years ago

The first Lexus was sold, launching Toyota's new luxury division. However, Lexus' story had begun six years earlier in a top secret meeting of Toyota's elite. Surrounded by the company's top-level management, Chairman Eiji Toyota proposed the company's next challenge - a luxury car that could compete with the world's best. Lexus originated from a clandestine flagship sedan project, code-named "F1" (F for "flagship," and the numeral 1 recalling the high performance of Formula 1 race cars) which began in 1983 and culminated in the launch of the original Lexus LS in 1989. Subsequently, the division added sedan, coupé, convertible, and SUV models. Until 2005 Lexus did not exist as a brand in its home market and all vehicles marketed internationally as Lexus from 1989-2005 were released in Japan under the Toyota marque and an equivalent model name. In 2005, a hybrid version of the RX crossover debuted, and additional hybrid models later joined the division's lineup. In 2007, Lexus launched its own F marque performance division with the debut of the IS F sport sedan, followed by the LFA supercar in 2009.

Lexus LS 400

Lexus LS 400

Lexus made its television debut with champagne glasses stacked on the hood of a revving LS 400.

Lexus made its television debut with champagne glasses stacked on the hood of a revving LS 400.

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Monday 28th May 1990

27 years ago

The ‘Father of Lean Manufacturing’, Taiichi Ohno (78), died. He devised the seven wastes (or muda in Japanese) as part of this system and wrote several books about the system, including Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production.

Taiichi Ohno

Taiichi Ohno

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Monday 5th August 1991

26 years ago

Sochiro Honda, founder of the Honda Motor Company, died at the age of 84. In 1937, Honda founded Tōkai Seiki to produce piston rings for Toyota. During World War II, a US B-29 bomber attack destroyed Tōkai Seiki's Yamashita plant in 1944 and the Itawa plant collapsed in the 1945 Mikawa earthquake. After the war, Honda sold the salvageable remains of the company to Toyota for ¥450,000 and used the proceeds to found the Honda Technical Research Institute in October 1946. In 1948 he started producing a complete motorized bicycle, the Type A, which was driven by the first mass-produced engine designed by Honda, and was sold until 1951. The Type D in 1949 was a true motorcycle with a pressed-steel frame designed and produced by Honda and with a 2-stroke, 98 cc (6.0 cu in) 3 hp (2.2 kW) engine, and became the very first model in the Dream series of motorcycles. The Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan (Japanese) lists both the Type A and the Type D models as two of their 240 Landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology. As president of the Honda Motor Company, Soichiro Honda turned the company into a billion-dollar multinational that produced the best-selling motorcycles in the world. Honda's engineering and marketing skills resulted in Honda motorcycles outselling Triumph and Harley-Davidson in their respective home markets. The next year, Honda was reacquainted with Takeo Fujisawa, whom he knew during his days as a supplier of piston rings to Nakajima Aircraft Company. Honda hired Fujisawa, who oversaw the financial side of the company and helped the firm expand. In 1959, Honda Motorcycles opened its first dealership in the United States. Honda remained president until his retirement in 1973, where he stayed on as director and was appointed "supreme advisor" in 1983. His status was such that People magazine placed him on their "25 Most Intriguing People of the Year" list for 1980, dubbing him "the Japanese Henry Ford." In retirement, Honda busied himself with work connected with the Honda Foundation.

Sochiro Honda

Sochiro Honda

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Wednesday 25th November 1992

24 years ago

Carlos Sainz and Luis Moya won RAC Rally with a Toyota Celica Gt-Four.

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Wednesday 16th December 1992

24 years ago

Toyota’s European manufacturing operations began when the first Carina E drove off the production line in Burnaston, Derbyshire. Since the start of production, more than 3.25 million cars have been built and Toyota has invested more than £2 billion in the UK.

Toyota Carina E

Toyota Carina E

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Saturday 6th February 1993

24 years ago

The 1993 Chicago Motor Show opened to the public. Almost two years before an Oldsmobile Aurora would go on sale, a concept sedan by that name debuted at the show. A Cadillac Aurora concept was "a vision of an international high performance sedan." Audi exhibited its sleek new Cabriolet, based on the Series 90 platform, to be introduced as a 1994 model. Auto show visitors also got to see a prototype of the reworked Toyota Supra, which went on sale in summer 1993, much more costly than before, with a turbocharged engine available. Cevrolet gave Chicago a hint of the fore coming 1994 S-10 extended cab pickup truck with its Highlander concept. Painted in chartreuse and purple, the two-tone exterior featured custom removable roll bar, a sliding driver side second door, rollbar with driving lights, and a tool compartment on the left side of the bed. Power train consisted of a 4.6-liter V-6 with an automatic transmission.

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Monday 1st March 1993

24 years ago

The Citroen Xantia arrived in UK showrooms.The Xantia replaced the earlier Citroën BX, and maintained the high level of popularity of that model, but brought the car more into the mainstream to compete harder with its rivals, such as the Ford Mondeo, Nissan Primera, Rover 600, Toyota Carina E and Vauxhall Cavalier.

Citroen Xantia

Citroen Xantia

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Tuesday 12th October 1993

23 years ago

A decade after it was first introduced, the one-millionth Camry rolled off a Toyota assembly line. The Camry was first introduced by the Toyota Motor Company in 1983 as a replacement for its Corona Sedan. Hoping to follow in the path of the popular Toyota flagship, the Cressida, the roomy and durable Camry immediately proved a best-seller, faring well against the likes of the Honda Accord and domestic U.S. compacts. In the late '80s, the Camry, now Toyota's most popular model, saw an upsized redesign, boasting a new twin-cam 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine with 16 valves and a much greater horsepower potential than the previous model. In 1992, the Camry was again stylishly redesigned, approaching mid-size while maintaining its original efficiency.

Toyota Camry (3rd generation) 1990-94

Toyota Camry (3rd generation) 1990-94

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Friday 19th November 1993

23 years ago

Toyota and General Motors signed an historic agreement to sell the Chevy Cavalier in Japan as the Toyota Cavalier. In a sense, the U.S.-built but Japanese-inspired Cavalier was returning home. The popular Cavalier, which was first introduced in 1981, was Detroit's answer to Japan's fuel-efficient and well-made compacts.

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Wednesday 24th November 1993

23 years ago

Juha Kankkunen and Nicky Grist won RAC Rally with a Toyota Celica GT-Four.

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Saturday 5th February 1994

23 years ago

At the 1994 Chicago Auto Show, Buick used a product presentation theatre to promote the new 1995 Riviera. Ford teased visitors with its Profile concept, said to suggest the coming-soon Contour. Lincoln's Contempra concept foretold the 1995 Continental. As their names suggest, the Dodge Venom and Chrysler Espresso concepts could hardly have been more different. Official debuts in Chicago included the Toyota Avalon, Mercury Mystique, Pontiac Firebird convertible, 1995 Chevrolet Blazer, and 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon. The 1994 Cadillac Northstar engine was guaranteed not to require a tuneup for the first 100,000 miles!

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Friday 30th June 1995

22 years ago

Toyota corporate officials approved the development of a hybrid vehicle. It was code-named "890T." The vehicle would be powered with what was (and is) called the "Toyota Hybrid System" (THS), a system that would combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor. The early THS system in the Prius concept used a capacitor to store its electrical energy rather than the battery pack that eventually became part of the production model’s system and which continues as a main component in Toyota’s current Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Interestingly, Toyota has carried on its development of capacitor-based hybrid systems, most notably in the TS030 and TS040 Hybrid endurance race cars which use supercapacitors to store energy. The Prius concept is a fantastic example of how concepts can foreshadow forthcoming production models. Even though the exterior design evolved in the two years between the 1995 concept and 1997 production reveal, the ‘Toyota Hybrid System’ (THS) technology in the Prius concept car was developed to underpin the production version and has gone down in history as bringing hybrid motoring to the masses.The 1995 Prius concept was the result of 18 months of hard work by Toyota engineers and designers. In early 1994, they had identified the need to develop and build a car that was kinder to the environment and Earth’s resources while retaining the benefits of a modern car. By the end of 1994, the project team had designed a hybrid concept car and coined the name ‘Prius’, and they then had around a year to bring it to fruition in time for the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995.

Prius concept - 1995

Prius concept - 1995

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Thursday 13th July 1995

22 years ago

The Chrysler Corporation opened a car dealership in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam. One week later, Chrysler opened another dealership in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with the intention of marketing 200 import vehicles per year through the two dealerships. The openings were a part of Chrysler's long-term goal of implementing auto production in Vietnam--something that rivals Ford and Toyota were also pursuing at the time. On September 6, Chrysler received permission from the Vietnamese government to assemble vehicles in Vietnam, allowing Chrysler to construct a production facility in Dong Nai Province, Southern Vietnam, with the aim of manufacturing 500 to 1,000 Dodge Dakota pick-up trucks for the Vietnamese market annually. Chrysler Vice President of International Operations Tom Gale stated, "We're taking a very long term view with our program in Vietnam. Southeast Asia is a significant market on our international growth strategy, so it is vital to establish a foothold there now. Since it is a young market, it will take several years before we can produce at capacity level." Chrysler planned to achieve production of 17,000 vehicles annually in three car types: the Neon, the Dakota, and the Jeep Cherokee. Of the significant hang-ups faced by the foreign car companies attempting to set up shop in Vietnam was the Vietnamese government's refusal to give up rice pasture land for the construction of new production facilities. The American car companies also met resistance from some Vietnam veterans groups, but Chrysler held that it would not have gone forward with its move unless it met with the nation's approval. On this issue, Gale said, "By starting business here we feel we're helping the healing process. We have consulted with veterans groups and the U.S. government. Some feel it's time to move on. Many of the veterans groups support American investment in Vietnam as an outlet to increase access to the country."

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Tuesday 12th September 1995

22 years ago

The 250,000th Australian-built Toyota Camry was produced at the Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Ltd plant in Altona, Victoria.

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Friday 27th October 1995

21 years ago

The theme of the 31st Tokyo Motor Show was, " Dream the Dream, Car with That Feel”, with the introduction of the Toyota Prius concept car. Less stringent regulations concerning displays brought about a brighter feeling to the show, enabling visitors to forget about the recession. In order to enhance visitors satisfaction, the closing time of the show was extended one hour to 7 p.m. Furthermore the extension of the show time provided people with more time to see the displays, and this was highly appreciated. It also helped relieve congestion.

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

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Sunday 1st September 1996

21 years ago

The Toyota RAV4L electric vehicle was offered to the Japanese public on a limited basis.

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Monday 25th November 1996

20 years ago

Armin Schwarz and Didier Giraudet won RAC Rally with a Toyota Celica Gt-Four.

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Monday 13th January 1997

20 years ago

Detroit (North American) Auto Show opened. Production cars introduced included the Chevrolet Corvette C5, Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Durango, Ford Escort ZX2, Mercedes-Benz CLK, Subaru Forester, Toyota Sienna, and the Volvo C70 convertible.

Ford Escort ZX2

Ford Escort ZX2

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Wednesday 10th December 1997

19 years ago

The Toyota Prius went on sale in Japan.

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

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Tuesday 17th November 1998

18 years ago

The brand-new DaimlerChrysler began trading its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The company had formed five days earlier, when the American Chrysler Corporation merged with the German conglomerate Daimler-Benz AG. As a result of the merger, DaimlerChrysler became the world's fifth-largest automaker (behind General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen. The Daimler-Chrysler merger, for which Daimler-Benz AG paid $36 billion, was supposed to create a single powerhouse car company that could compete in all markets, all over the world. Daimler-Benz was known for its high-quality luxury cars and sturdy trucks, while Chrysler's minivans and Jeeps had a big chunk of the growing sport- utility vehicle market; meanwhile, the American company seemed to have mastered the art of high-volume, low-cost manufacturing. However, things did not quite work out that way. Chrysler actually lost so much money—$1.5 billion in 2006 alone—that in 2007 Daimler paid a private equity firm to take the company off its hands. In 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy again. In order to stay afloat, it merged with the Italian company Fiat.

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Friday 19th March 1999

18 years ago

Toyota opened its theme park in Tokyo at the waterfront, the Mega Web. Visitors could take the wheel in electric vehicles and drive themselves between and through the pavilions. They also could also test-drive conventional Toyota vehicles and view historical Toyota models.

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Monday 19th April 1999

18 years ago

General Motors and Toyota announced an unprecedented five-year agreement to work together in exploring and developing alternative vehicle propulsion technologies.

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Sunday 26th September 1999

17 years ago

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (TMMC) became the first automobile plant outside of Japan to manufacture the luxury brand of Lexus vehicles. The first Canadian-built Lexus RX 330, the luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV), rolled off a dedicated Lexus line at the plant in Cambridge, Ontario in view of TMMC team members, as well as Toyota executives from around the globe, and government dignitaries.

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Sunday 16th January 2000

17 years ago

John Morris Rankin (40), a member of the Celtic group 'The Rankin Family', drowned when his Toyota 4-Runner truck hit a large pile of rock salt, swerved, and then plunged over a 25-meter cliff into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. His son and two teenage friends were able to climb to safety after the truck hit the water. As one of Rankin's friends said, “Why is it that all the good people died like that?”

The Rankin Family

The Rankin Family

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Thursday 12th July 2001

16 years ago

The decision to make Toyota Aygo was made when the presidents of Toyota and PSA Group, Fujio Cho and Jean-Martin Folz respectively, decided to produce a small car to share development costs. The Peugeot 107 and Citroën C1 were rebadged versions of the same car.

Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo

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Monday 17th December 2001

15 years ago

Toyota finally launched their racing car, after one of the longest development processes in Formula One history. The Japanese team had an entry for the 2001 F1 season but chose not to compete, instead spending the year setting up the team and testing the car. Panasonic Toyota Racing's F1 car, TF102, was a successor to the team's 2001 test car, TF101, and came with a brand new livery. The car retained Toyota's corporate colours of red and white, while additionally carrying the logos of the team's newly acquired partners AOL Time Warner and Wella. The new car had been designed by a team led by Chief Designer Gustav Brunner. The 2002 race car was powered by the newly developed RVX-02 engine. President of Toyota Motorsport, Ove Andersson, said: "Success is not a matter of money. It is about a good team working well together and getting everything right." In 140 Grands Prix between 2002 and 2009, when it finally called time, Toyota failed to win a race.

Mika Salo and Allan McNish at the official unveiling of the new TF102 Grand Prix challenger

Mika Salo and Allan McNish at the official unveiling of the new TF102 Grand Prix challenger

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Wednesday 27th March 2002

15 years ago

Scion, a marque of vehicles produced by Toyota Motor Corporation, was unveiled at the New York Auto Show with the production-ready bbX concept, based on the Toyota bB, and the more conceptual ccX 3-door coupe.

Scion bbx

Scion bbx

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Monday 29th July 2002

15 years ago

The 10 millionth North American-made Toyota rolled off the line at Toyota's Kentucky plant. Special events were held across the continent to celebrate, 15 years and 10 months since the first Toyota-brand vehicle, the Corolla FX, was made in North America in September 1986 at NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.), a joint venture with General Motors in California, US.

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Monday 4th November 2002

14 years ago

Brazilian CART champion Cristiano da Matta signed a two-year contract to drive for Toyota. "I have accomplished one of my goals by winning the CART drivers' championship title," he said. "Now I am ready for the next challenge." His CART success came with a Toyota engine, hence the deal. But he struggled to adapt managing a brace of sixths, and after his form fell away in 2004 he returned to the USA.

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Monday 2nd December 2002

14 years ago

Toyota delivered its first two "market-ready" hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCHVs, in the company's shorthand) to researchers at the University of California (UC). Since 1997, Toyota had been providing research money to UC scientists and engineers who studied the problems associated with "advanced transportation systems" like fuel-cell vehicles. With their new fleet of FCHVs, the researchers finally had a chance to test out their theories. Unlike the Toyota Prius, which has a petrol-electric hybrid engine, FCHVs use a hydrogen fuel-cell system that generates electricity by combining hydrogen with oxygen. That electricity powers the car's motor and charges its batteries. As a result, the vehicle creates no environmentally unfriendly byproducts: its only emission is water vaporu.

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Monday 16th December 2002

14 years ago

On Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. 10th anniversary, the company donated two cars built at the Burnaston plant to two local children's charities.

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Thursday 2nd January 2003

14 years ago

Scion, a marque of vehicles produced by Toyota Motor Corporation founded in 2002 unveiled the production ready concepts, xA and xB, at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. Scion's long-term goal was to appeal to Generation Y consumers, expected to dwarf the market size of Generation X by 2020. Scion grew from Toyota Project Genesis, a failed effort to bring younger buyers to the Toyota marque in the United States.

Scion xB

Scion xB

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Monday 10th February 2003

14 years ago

Max Mosley warned that Formula One couldn't rely on manufacturer teams alone and needed to become more accessible for independents. He said that the likes of BMW, Ford, Honda, Mercedes and Renault had a proven record of pulling out of the sport and truly independent teams like Williams and Jordan should be helped out. The comments were largely ignored but six years later Mosley's vision had come true as BMW, Ford, Honda and Toyota had all left the sport.

Max Mosley - 2003

Max Mosley - 2003

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Saturday 1st March 2003

14 years ago

The new Toyota Avensis went on sale in saloon, hatchback and tourer body styles. Prices started at £13,995 for the 1.8-litre T2 hatchback and saloon, rising to £21,495 for the T Spirit Tourer with sequential automatic transmission.

Toyota Avensis (2003-09)

Toyota Avensis (2003-09)

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Thursday 6th March 2003

14 years ago

The MINI One D made its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, the first series production MINI ever to feature a diesel engine. The MINI One D went go on sale in the UK on June 7, 2003. The 'heart' of the MINI One D was a 1.4 litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine, developed in co-operation with Toyota Motor Corporation.

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Tuesday 9th September 2003

14 years ago

The Frankfurt Motor Show, opened it’s doors, with the simultaneous launch of the 5th generation of VW Golf and Opel Astra. Ford unveiled the first production models based on next year’s new Focus platform – the Mazda 3 and new Volvo S40 sedan. The 2003 Show was also a significant event for BMW, with the debut of the new 5-Series saloon and 6-Series coupe, while the X5 was updated for 2004 and joined by the smaller, all-new X3. Mercedes showed the production version of the SLR McLaren; Jaguar the X-Type Estate and Maserati returned to the luxury saloon fold with the premiere of the new Quattroporte. Leading the concept car debuts from Europe were the Citroen C-Airlounge, Renault Be-Bop, Peugeot 407 Elixir, SEAT Altea, and Saab 9-3 Sporthatch, together with surprises from Lancia with the Fulvia Coupe concept and Skoda with the Roomster. Japanese makers were also strongly featured with concepts such as the Toyota CS&S, Nissan Dunehawk, Mazda Kusabi, Mitsubishi ‘i’, and Suzuki S2.

VW Golf (5th generation)

VW Golf (5th generation)

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Thursday 20th November 2003

13 years ago

Motor Trend magazine named the hybrid Toyota Prius ‘Car of the Year’.

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

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Tuesday 25th November 2003

13 years ago

Country singer Glen Campbell was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona with a blood-alcohol percentage level of 0.20 after his BMW struck a Toyota Camry. He was charged with ‘extreme’ drink-driving, hit and run, and assaulting a police officer. According to a police officer, Campbell hummed his hit ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ repeatedly whilst in custody.

Glen Campbell - 2003

Glen Campbell - 2003

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Friday 2nd January 2004

13 years ago

Six years after the launch of the original Prius and with more than 130,000 examples sold worldwide, Toyota unveiled the second-generation version. With its unique and advanced Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive®, the latest Prius was at the time the greenest car (104g/km CO2 emissions; 65.7 mpg combined fuel consumption; 0–62 mph in 10.9 seconds) available to the motoring public.

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Sunday 21st March 2004

13 years ago

The Malaysian Grand Prix took place at the Sepang circuit; Michael Schumacher took pole position and went onto win the race. The event also saw Britain's Jenson Button stand on the podium for the first time, finishing in third position. With all drivers starting on dry tyres, the action started sooner than expected as on the parade lap Kimi Räikkönen spun but was able to retake his grid position. Mark Webber, starting from P2, made a woeful start and slid down the field to be 9th by the 1st lap. Fernando Alonso on the other hand, made a brilliant start from 19th (2nd last) and was up behind Webber in 10th after lap 1. Michael Schumacher led from the start while drivers behind jostled for position. By the second lap, rain started to fall and cars were starting to lose traction on the dry tyres. Trulli overtook Button but the Brit promptly took the place back again. Alonso barreled past Webber for eighth and closed in on the McLaren of David Coulthard. From the back to a points position within four laps was an outstanding performance from Alonso but it was the best he got all race. By this time Michael Schumacher had already built up quite an advantage, but this was quickly eroded by the hard-charging Juan Pablo Montoya. It was to prove to be just a brief shower as soon the precipitation passed and Schumacher was back on his way. Webber managed to get past Ralf but the Williams retaliated and got ahead again, puncturing the Jaguar's rear right tyre on his way. Takuma Sato spun into the gravel but recovered the BAR smartly and Webber had to pit for a tyre change. To add insult to injury he got a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane and finally compounded his misery by spinning out of the race a few laps later. A string of cars in the midfield were jostling for position, starting with Nick Heidfeld's Jordan in 11th, then Cristiano da Matta's Toyota, the second Jaguar of Christian Klien, Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella and da Matta's teammate Panis. In the first round of pit stops Heidfeld's fuel rig failed and he had to go out and back in again. He eventually pulled into the pits to retire with a gearbox problem. Trulli got ahead of Coulthard in the first stops and running order at the front, where not much was happening, was Michael, Montoya, Raikkonen. Montoya was falling away from the Ferrari in the second stint of the race but not letting him get too far ahead. Alonso took Coulthard for sixth but then the pair pitted for the second time and the McLaren got out ahead. Alonso swapped to a two-stop strategy but it gave him no advantage and he seemed resigned to staying behind Coulthard, while Trulli, who had been on quite an early charge, also seemed to lose momentum. Ralf's engine unexpectedly gave up midway through the race, the first failure for BMW for 17 races. Felipe Massa, who was having a pretty good race, got held up by a Minardi and did a bit of agitated hand waving as he went by. The gap between Michael and Montoya was holding at around four seconds and Button moved up to third, jumping Raikkonen in the second pit stops. Both of the Finn's stops seemed quite long and eventually he pulled off to the side of the track with a transmission failure. Disappointing for Raikkonen and McLaren as Kimi was showing good pace until then. Panis ducked into the pits only to find no crew ready for him and had to go straight back out. Then next lap he was back in again to serve a drive-through for speeding on his previous effort. Not a good day for Panis, or Toyota in general. Da Matta finished ninth after a fairly anonymous race. In the final laps the BAR crew froze as one of the cars pulled off with an engine failure but it was Sato rather than third placed Button. Bad luck for Sato but the relief that it wasn't his teammate was palpable. Barrichello was gaining ground on Button but with only a few laps to go, he was not in a position to challenge. Michael took the win with Montoya five seconds behind. BAR and Button were by far the happiest of the lot and the Englishman got the biggest cheer from the crowd as he lifted his first trophy on the third step of the podium.

Start of 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix

Start of 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Saturday 1st May 2004

13 years ago

The all-new Toyota Corolla Verso model went on sale in the UK. On the road prices started from £14,495 (1.6 T2)

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Sunday 13th June 2004

13 years ago

Williams and Toyota were both disqualified from the Canadian Grand Prix an hour after the finish after air ducts which were used to cool the brakes were found to be in contravention of the FIA's rules. 'It was a mistake and it was unintentional," said BMW technical director Sam Michael. "There was no performance gain and no gain for brake cooling because the inlet area was not bigger. However, the duct is not in compliance with the technical regulations, therefore we accept the FIA decision." The race was won by Michael Schumacher with his Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello second, but Ralf Schumacher, who had come third, was replaced on the podium by Jenson Button. "I'm now thinking 'what have I done to deserve this'," said a dejected Schumacher. "Breaking a rule is breaking a rule and somebody must be punished for that. I have to accept it, even if it really hurts."

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Friday 24th September 2004

12 years ago

The Paris Mondial de l’Automobile (Paris Motor Show) opened its doors to the press and featured a wealth of new concept and production cars. There were a number of major releases from Ford, BMW and Mercedes and, naturally, the French makers Peugeot, Citroën and Renault featured strongly as well. World debuts included the Alfa 147, Aston Martin DBR9, Audi A4, BMW 1 Series, BMW M5, Citroën C4, Ferrari F430, Ford Focus, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Sportage, Mazda 5, Mercedes A-Class, Mitsubishi Colt CZ3, Opel Astra GTC, Peugeot 1007, Porsche Boxster, Renault Mégane Trophy, Škoda Octavia Estate, Suzuki Swift and Toyota Prius GT.

BMW 1-Series

BMW 1-Series

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Sunday 6th March 2005

12 years ago

Giancarlo Fisichella in a Renault R25 won the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne. The first attempt to start the race was yellow flagged, due to the stalled McLaren of Kimi Räikkönen, who would eventually start the abbreviated race (57 laps from 58) in pit lane. When the red lights did finally go out, front row starters Fisichella and Jarno Trulli protected their positions and led the rest of the field through the first lap. Starting third in his home grand prix, Mark Webber– in his Williams debut– was outsprinted to the first corner by David Coulthard's Red Bull. Rubens Barrichello and Fernando Alonso each moved up three spots on the first lap, showing more of their cars' true potential than what was seen in the rain-soaked qualifying. Sato made the best start, moving from last place to 14th. Jacques Villeneuve had the worst start– his first in the Sauber– as he dropped five positions on the opening lap after losing forward momentum in a first-corner position skirmish. As Fisichella and Trulli raced away at the front, Coulthard began to gradually fall back, holding up Webber, Nick Heidfeld (also making his Williams debut), Christian Klien, Juan Pablo Montoya and Barrichello. Several seconds further back was Villeneuve, struggling to hold off a charging Alonso, who was himself just ahead of Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher (in his first start for Toyota). Close behind were Felipe Massa, Sato, the elder Schumacher, and Räikkönen, who doggedly pursued the champion but could not find a way past. The four rookies were a little further back: the two Jordans of Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan led the Minardi duo of Patrick Friesacher and Christijan Albers. Alonso passed Villeneuve, only to have the Canadian retake the position moments later. But just before the first round of pit stops, Alonso would finally find a way around the former champion, saving any podium hopes for the young Spaniard. While passing backmarkers on lap 15, Coulthard and Webber nearly collided with one another; Webber briefly went onto the grass, but no serious damage was done. After lap 17, unable to pull out of the pits due to a gearbox problem, Albers retired his Minardi, which had lost second gear as early as the formation lap. This was the only mechanical retirement of the afternoon. Fisichella remained firmly in command after his first pit stop, although he briefly relinquished the lead while refueling. Barrichello gained the most in the pits, as he moved up from eighth to fourth place; Alonso continued his hard charge, gaining four positions as well. However, Trulli's Toyota slowly began dropping back, getting passed again and again; it would later turn out to be a blistered rear tyre, which would affect him for the remainder of the race. Teammate Ralf Schumacher had a problem of his own, and was forced to pit twice in quick succession to tighten a loose safety harness. Räikkönen was able to get by the elder Schumacher into tenth (his starting grid position) and pull away from the champion in pursuit of Heidfeld. After Michael Schumacher's second stop, he emerged from the pitlane just ahead of Heidfeld, who thought he saw an opening going into the third turn. Schumacher, who momentarily lost sight of Heidfeld's Williams in his mirrors, closed the door on his fellow German, forcing him onto the grass. With no traction on the grass, Heidfeld braked in vain, sliding into the side of the F2004M, pushing both cars into the gravel. Heidfeld's race was finished; although Schumacher was able to get his Ferrari back on track, nevertheless he retired in the pits soon thereafter, due to collision damage. Montoya went onto the grass briefly at Turn Eight as he prepared to make his second call to pitlane; this, plus another off-track excursion while tangling with a backmarking rookie, cost him valuable time. When he later lost part of his rear deflector, Montoya eased up to finish the race and to preserve his Mercedes-Benz power plant for the next race. Teammate Räikkönen also lost a significant portion of his deflector, which became imbedded under his side barge board; mechanics were later seen removing it during a pit stop. After the second round of stops, the final order of finish was nearly determined. While most of the field slowed to conserve engines, Alonso continued pushing hard on Barrichello's heels. Barrichello, despite battling a brake balance problem, was able to answer the challenge, and held off Alonso for second. Fisichella, who flawlessly managed the gap to his nearest opponent all race long, easily took the chequered flag for his second career victory, with his only other victory coming for Jordan in 2003. He never put a foot wrong, and his R25 chassis, although not seriously challenged, performed flawlessly to claim the inaugural race of the season. Teammate Alonso clocked the fastest lap of the race, and was noticeably the fastest car on track for most of the event. Interestingly, both BARs pulled into the pits on the final lap of the race; by not officially finishing the event, they effectively exempted themselves from the new two-race engine rule. By taking advantage of this loophole in 2005 regulations, they were entitled to replace the cars' Honda engines in Malaysia without incurring any penalty. The loophole was immediately closed, as a car was in future required to have a genuine technical problem to be entitled to a new engine.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Australian Grand Prix  2005

Giancarlo Fisichella, Australian Grand Prix 2005

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Sunday 3rd April 2005

12 years ago

Fernando Alonso driving a Renault R25 won the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir. Jarno Trulli finished in second place in a Toyota car and Kimi Räikkönen completed the podium in third position for McLaren.

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Tuesday 17th May 2005

12 years ago

Toyota Motor Company announced its plans to produce a petrol (gasoline)-electric hybrid version of its bestselling Camry model. Built at the company´s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, the Camry became Toyota´s first hybrid model to be manufactured in the United States. Toyota introduced the Camry - the name being a phonetic transcription of the Japanese word for “crown” - in the Japanese market in 1980; it began selling in the United States the following year. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, the success of the Camry and its Japanese competitor, the Honda Accord, had allowed Toyota and Honda to seize control of the midsize sedan market in the United States. By then, Toyota had adapted the Camry more to American tastes, increasing its size and replacing its original boxy design with a smoother, more rounded style.

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Saturday 21st May 2005

12 years ago

The UK's biggest ever gathering of Scalextric-type slot car fans was held at Toyota GB's HQ in Burgh Heath, Epsom, England. Organised by the NSCC (National Slotcar Collector's Club) to mark its 25th anniversary, the focal point of the event was the finals of the NSCC International Race Championships on five massive tracks.

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Sunday 10th July 2005

12 years ago

Before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, a minute of silence was held as a mark of respect for those who had lost their lives in the London bombings three days earlier. The race was won by Juan Pablo Montoya driving a McLaren-Mercedes MP4-20. For the second consecutive race, Renault's Fernando Alonso took pole position while his championship rival, McLaren's Kimi Räikkönen, was demoted ten places on the grid following an engine failure. Räikkönen, who had originally qualified second with a time just 0.027 seconds slower than Alonso's, suffered this engine failure during Saturday free practice. This promoted BAR's Jenson Button, in his home race, to the front row, with the top ten being completed by Juan Pablo Montoya in the second McLaren, Jarno Trulli in the Toyota, Rubens Barrichello in the Ferrari, Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault, Takuma Sato in the second BAR, Ralf Schumacher in the second Toyota, Michael Schumacher in the second Ferrari, and Jacques Villeneuve in the Sauber. Jordan's Tiago Monteiro started at the rear of the grid after failing to set a time, following an engine failure during Friday practice. The weather was hot, with air temperature at 30 °C, and the track temperature at 45 °C as the cars completed the formation lap. Sato stalled as he came to the grid, but race director Charlie Whiting nonetheless started the race, with the safety car being deployed on lap 2 to allow the marshals to safely return the BAR to the pit lane. Sato would eventually rejoin the race, two laps behind the leaders. Montoya made a fast start, passing Button off the grid and then overtaking Alonso for the lead into Becketts. After the safety car period, Montoya retained the lead until the first round of pit stops, although Alonso remained no more than a second and a half behind as he and the Colombian traded fastest laps. Button held third, while Barrichello and Fisichella passed a slow-starting Trulli, who in turn was holding up Michael Schumacher. Räikkönen, already up four places, was thus able to close up behind Schumacher and Trulli, but was unable to overtake them until the pit stops. The race was won by Juan Pablo Montoya, his first victory for McLaren. Montoya made his first pit stop on lap 21, a lap earlier than planned due to traffic.[2] Alonso followed on lap 23, rejoining the race almost side-by-side with Montoya, who again held his line. Fisichella led for the next two laps, setting the fastest lap in the process, before making his first stop. On lap 28, with every driver except Sato having pitted, Montoya led Alonso by three seconds, followed by Fisichella, Button, Barrichello, Räikkönen, Michael Schumacher and Trulli. On lap 32 Barrichello, on a three-stop strategy, made his second stop. This enabled Räikkönen, now the fastest man on the track, to close up behind Button. Montoya responded to his team-mate's pace, and to Alonso, by setting back-to-back fastest laps on laps 40 and 41, increasing his lead over the Spaniard to over six seconds. On lap 43, Räikkönen took fourth when Button made his second stop, easily retaining this position after his own stop two laps later. Montoya pitted on lap 44, putting Alonso back in front, before Barrichello made his third stop on lap 45. On lap 46 Fisichella, on course for his first podium since winning the opening race of the season in Australia, made his second stop, but stalled as he tried to leave the pits, promoting Räikkönen to third. Alonso led for five laps before pitting on lap 49, but lost time trying to lap Trulli. This meant that he did not have a big enough lead to make his stop and rejoin the race in front of Montoya, though he was comfortably ahead of Räikkönen. In the end, the Colombian took his first win for McLaren by 2.7 seconds. Räikkönen set the fastest race lap on the final circuit to finish less than 12 seconds behind Alonso, while Fisichella ended up 3.5 seconds behind the Finn. Button finished a distant fifth, ahead of Michael Schumacher and Barrichello, while Ralf Schumacher edged out Toyota team-mate Trulli for the final point. The result allowed Alonso to increase his lead over Räikkönen in the Drivers' Championship by two points, 77 to 51. Michael Schumacher remained in third on 43 points, while Montoya moved up to sixth with 26. In the Constructors' Championship, McLaren reduced the deficit to Renault by three points, 102 to 87, Ferrari remaining in third on 74.

2005 British Grand Prix

2005 British Grand Prix

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Sunday 26th March 2006

11 years ago

In Florida Paul Dana, a 30-year-old rookie in the Indy Racing League, died at Jackson Memorial Hospital from multiple trauma suffered in the crash during the final morning practice for the season-opening Toyota Indy 300.

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Tuesday 1st August 2006

11 years ago

Market share of Detroit auto companies fell to 52% in July 2006, its lowest point in history (52.2% in October 2005). Auto sales figures showed that Toyota passed Ford Motor Company to rank as the second-biggest-selling auto company in the US. Honda outsold DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler group for the first time. General Motors held a 27% share of the auto market and Chrysler - 10%.

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Friday 27th October 2006

10 years ago

The last Ford Taurus rolled off the assembly line in Hapeville, Georgia, US. The keys to the silver car went to 85-year-old Truett Cathy, the founder of the Chick-fil-A fast-food franchise, who took it straight to his company's headquarters in Atlanta and added it to an elaborate display that included 19 other cars, including one of the earliest Fords. "I do have this disease of collecting cars," Cathy told a reporter. "I was very sorry [the workers at the Ford plant] lost their jobs," he said, but "since I was gonna get the keys, I was glad for that." When Ford added the Taurus to its lineup in 1985, the company was struggling. High fuel prices made its heavy, gas-guzzling cars unattractive to American buyers, especially compared to the high-quality foreign cars that had been flooding the market since the middle of the 1970s. The Taurus was smaller than the typical Ford family car, and its aerodynamic styling appealed to design-conscious buyers. Almost immediately, the car was a hit: Ford sold 263,000 in 1985 alone. Sales figures climbed higher each year, and in 1992, the Taurus became the best-selling passenger car in the United States. (It wrested this title away from the Honda Accord, and kept it for the next five years.) But by the 2000s, the Taurus had lost much of its appeal. Even after a 1996 facelift, its once cutting-edge design now looked dated, and it still did not have the fuel efficiency of its Japanese counterparts. (In fact, in contrast to cars like the Accord and the Toyota Camry, which overtook the Taurus to become the nation's best-selling car, by the mid-1990s Ford was selling the majority of its Tauruses to rental-car companies, not individuals.) Ford discontinued the Taurus station wagon at the end of 2004, and idled the Hapeville plant—across the street from the original Chick-fil-A—two years later. Fifteen hundred workers lost their jobs. In place of the Taurus, Ford pushed its full-size Five Hundred sedan along with its midsize Fusion. Neither sold especially well, however, and in 2007 the company re-released the Taurus (actually just a renamed version of the Five Hundred). It unveiled a revamped, sportier Taurus in July 2009.

Ford Taurus (2006)

Ford Taurus (2006)

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Saturday 30th December 2006

10 years ago

R&B singer and former America's Got Talent judge, Brandy (Brandy Norwood) was involved in a four-car crash that left one woman dead, after the singer failed to slow down and hit the back of another car. Brandy was alone in her car and no alcohol or drugs were involved. Law enforcement officials reported that she was driving her car at 65 miles per hour and did not notice that vehicles ahead of her had slowed considerably. Her vehicle then collided with rear of Awatef Aboudihaj's, causing the Toyota to strike another vehicle before sliding sideways and impacting the center divider. As the Toyota came to a stop, it was hit by yet another vehicle. A source in the California Highway Patrol later reported that Aboudihaj actually struck the car in front of her and then slammed on her brakes before Brandy made contact. The sudden stop caused Norwood to hit Aboudihaj's car. As confirmed, toxicology reports showed that Aboudihaj had "slight traces" of marijuana in her system at the time of the crash. In December 2007, Norwood's attorney Blair Berk stated that the Los Angeles City Attorney determined Brandy should not be charged with any "crime relating to the accident back in 2006." In May 2009, Brandy stated, "The whole experience did completely change my life, and I can say that I think I'm a better person from it. You know, I still don't understand all of it and why all of it happened, but I definitely have a heart, and my heart goes out to everyone involved. I pray about it every single day, and that's all I can really say on the subject." Nevertheless, there have been multiple lawsuits filed against Brandy, all of which were ultimately settled out of court by Brandy's attorney Ed McPherson. Aboudihaj's parents filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Brandy. Filed on January 30, 2007, the lawsuit was initially set to go to trial in April 2009, but was eventually canceled as Brandy had settled out of court with Aboudihaj's parents. Aboudihaj's husband also filed a lawsuit against Norwood, suing her for an undisclosed amount of financial relief to cover medical and funeral expenses, as well as legal costs and other damages. He rejected his part of a $1.2 million settlement offer in February 2009, but did settle in November of that year. The couple's two children, who also filed a lawsuit against Brandy, received $300,000 each, according to court documents filed in L.A. County Superior Court on June 2, 2009.Two other drivers who were involved and injured in the accident also filed a lawsuit against Brandy. They settled with Norwood for undisclosed amounts.

Brandy

Brandy

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Thursday 1st February 2007

10 years ago

Toyota Auris, an all-new Toyota, a family hatchback designed, developed and engineered for the European market went on sale. Prices started from £11,995 on the road (T2 1.4 VVT-i three-door). In 2007, Toyota aimed to sell around 22,000 Auris in the UK.

Toyota Auris

Toyota Auris

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Thursday 8th February 2007

10 years ago

Scion, a marque of vehicles produced by Toyota Motor Corporation founded in 2003, unveiled two models, the xB, based on the t2B concept, and the new xD, successor of the xA, at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. Scion grew from Toyota Project Genesis, a failed effort to bring younger buyers to the Toyota marque in the United States.

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Thursday 15th February 2007

10 years ago

Formula One edged further away from the threat of a breakaway series as Renault announced it was leaving the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association (GPMA). The organisation had been in meetings about the future of the sport with the FIA and Formula One Management but had backed down on a plan to create an alternative series. Renault followed Toyota out of the group, leaving just BMW, Daimler-Mercedes and Honda in the GPMA.

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Tuesday 24th April 2007

10 years ago

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. reported that it outsold General Motors Corporation by around 90,000 vehicles in the first quarter, moving a step closer to unseating its US rival as the world's biggest automaker. Aside from a few strike-related blips General Motors had been the top US car seller since 1931.

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Sunday 22nd July 2007

10 years ago

After being declared fit to race after a crash in practice, Lewis Hamilton spun off in a torrential downpour at the European Grand Prix at Nürburgring, eventually coming home ninth - ending his run of nine successive podiums - behind race winner Alonso. It started a dry race with a chance of rain and clouds hanging overhead. At the start of the warm-up lap, the timing screens displayed the warning that the rain was going to begin falling in about 3 minutes. This did not concern the Ferraris who led into the first corner as a pair with Alonso trailing in third. Markus Winkelhock for Spyker was the only driver to pit after the warm up lap to change to the wet tyres, although this meant he had to start from the pits at the beginning of the race. It did pay off when all the other drivers were having to pit or spin off during the first lap. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, coming back from his 10th-place qualifying made a good start and was up to sixth at the first corner, but a collision between the two BMWs caused Hamilton to take avoiding action and the diffuser of Kubica's car caused a puncture in Hamilton's left-rear tyre causing him to fall back into the rest of the pack. This was only the beginning of the first lap chaos. The time it took for the rain to arrive and the sheer amount was heavily underestimated by everybody but Spyker, and so during the first lap it started to rain heavily and people had been caught out. David Coulthard skated across the gravel at turn five as everybody tried to drive around a slow Hamilton and there was a small impact between Rubens Barrichello and Nico Rosberg at the newly named Schumacher 'S' corner in the mid-field with Barrichello's Honda the worst affected. As Rosberg recovered, he was extremely lucky not to have been clipped by Ralf Schumacher who sped past but the luck did not last and the first lap chaos had not ended there as Adrian Sutil was also caught up with the recovering Rosberg towards the end of the lap at the back. Alexander Wurz also missed the final chicane after getting two wheels on the soggy grass. Somewhat amazingly, all of the drivers' cars had survived, and they returned to the pit lane at the end of lap one to change from grooved dry tyres to intermediates - though it would later show intermediate tyres were still the wrong tyres to be on. Debutant Markus Winkelhock took advantage of a gamble which meant he started on wet tyres and from the pit lane which gave him a surprising lead at his home Grand Prix after everyone in the field pitted for intermediates or stayed out on dries; the first time that a Spyker had led a Grand Prix. Everyone would have normally pitted at the end of lap one as it was raining heavily but an error from then-leader Kimi Räikkönen resulted in him slipping wide on the paint and he missed the pit entry completely which meant he had to do an extra lap on the dry tyres slipping him to a net seventh place. Others had stayed out in the hope that the rain would stop, such as Jarno Trulli but this lost him time. As the weather worsened, it turned out that full wet tyres were required, rather than intermediates. Being on the wrong tyres, almost every driver had to slow down to prevent sliding off the track. The sole exception was Markus Winkelhock of the Spyker Ferrari, who started the race on wets. The gamble he took against the weather paid off handsomely, and he managed to lead the race by 33 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, who had pitted at the end of lap one along with other drivers. By the start of lap three, the weather had become so bad that water was flowing round turn 1 and was nicknamed the 'turn 1 river'. Another big winner in the chaos was Jenson Button who moved up from a mid grid position to 4th despite coming in on the 1st lap to change tyres. However, he spun off into the wall at the start of the 3rd lap, quickly followed by Lewis Hamilton who locked up. Adrian Sutil had a huge spin into the same place as Button and Hamilton and just missed both of them as he hit the wall. Nico Rosberg and Scott Speed were the latest casualties of the turn 1 "river". Anthony Davidson then locked up at the "river" but stopped his car just before the gravel and was able to reverse out. The safety car crept out to slow down the race, then quickly sped off around the corner as Vitantonio Liuzzi came into the 1st corner backwards at 150 mph. The gravel trap slowed him and he gently tapped a recovery tractor. Amazingly, Hamilton had kept his engine running and was hoisted back on the circuit to continue a lap down. Not long after the safety car was deployed, race director Charlie Whiting decided the conditions were too dangerous to continue, and the race was red flagged. The race was the first to be red-flagged since the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, when a crash by Fernando Alonso halted the race. However, it was the first race to be red-flagged and restarted since the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix, when a crash by Luciano Burti stopped the race but was restarted after repairs to the wall. At about 2:20 p.m. local time the rain stopped and the drivers were pushed on to the starting grid, in the order that they were one lap before the red flag. Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil, Nico Rosberg, Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi did not take the restart as they all aquaplaned off the track at turn one on lap three, causing the red flag. The race restarted under safety car conditions, after one and a half minutes (as agreed by the team bosses), any lapped cars are allowed to over take all the cars in front (including the safety car) and unlap themselves. The only lapped car was that of Lewis Hamilton, who proceeded around the track (much to the confusion of some other drivers). He then proceeded to pit and change to the dry tyres, a gamble which did not pay off due to the track still being too wet and Lewis subsequently skidded off the track for several laps. When the safety car returned to the pit, race leader Markus Winkelhock lost the lead very early on after another gamble which resulted in him keeping wet weather tyres on while everybody else was on the more suitable intermediate tyre in the hope further rain would fall. It would not and eventually he was forced into retirement after a hydraulic failure on lap 15. He had, however, already made his point and it was an impressive debut considering he had only driven the car for three days in total before the race. All of those days were also dry and so this was also Winkelhock's first experience of wet weather in a Formula One car. He was later joined by Takuma Sato and Ralf Schumacher, with the latter of which involved in a collision with Nick Heidfeld who continued. Pole position holder Kimi Räikkönen was also forced to retire due to mechanical problems while catching up to the leaders running third. From then onwards, it seemed it was normal service resumed and a normal dry race with the faster Ferrari of Massa leading Fernando Alonso and slowly pulling away. Mark Webber, whose reliability problems seemed to be behind him, was driving a strong race in third with Alexander Wurz chasing him hard. But on lap 52, the rain once again fell onto the track, albeit not so heavily but it caused all the drivers to dive into the pits for the intermediate tyres. Except for Lewis Hamilton who gambled that the rain would not be heavy enough to need intermediate tyres and that he would benefit from everyone else pitting. He managed to get up to a points position of eighth, before having to pit, dropping him back down to tenth. From then onwards, Fernando Alonso's McLaren came into its own and he passed Massa on lap 56 in dramatic fashion around the outside at turn five. They had made contact and he proceeded to win the race, taking McLaren's first win at the Nürburgring since 1998 and came on the 80th anniversary of the first Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, won by Rudolf Carraciola in a Mercedes. Massa trailed him by 8.1 seconds, clearly less comfortable in the wet/dry conditions. The final podium position was claimed by Mark Webber in the Red Bull, albeit over one minute behind the leader. Alexander Wurz, David Coulthard, Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen, who had gambled on putting intermediate tyres on early and fell from fifth position to eighth, completed the points-paying places. The Red Bull Team was ecstatic to earn ten points and they moved past Toyota in the constructors championship into sixth. Lewis Hamilton elected to change onto dry tyres, while the safety car was deployed, which ultimately proved to be far too early as the track was still wet. The decision put Hamilton a lap down and he finished the race in ninth place, the first time he had finished outside the points-scoring positions. Alonso and Massa had a heated argument (in Italian) before the podium ceremony, over their collision in the final part of the race, that was shown live on TV coverage.

Felipe Massa leading Fernando Alonso at the 2007 European Grand Prix

Felipe Massa leading Fernando Alonso at the 2007 European Grand Prix

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Wednesday 3rd October 2007

9 years ago

The Toyota Aygo successfully defended its crown as the most economical car on the roads at the 2007 AA/ALD Automotive MPG Marathon. Driving an Aygo 1.0 litre, James Sutherland and Richard Hill from Peak Performance achieved an overall consumption figure of 78.39 mpg. The MPG Marathon, run by Fleet World magazine, involved completing 330 miles from Basingstoke to Torquay over different types of road. The results were judged on the consumption achieved, along with the percentage improvement obtained, in relation to the official consumption figure for each car.

Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo

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Sunday 20th April 2008

9 years ago

With the 34th Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach an era came to end. Will Power won the last ever Champcars race, the last single-seater category to feature turbocharged engines.

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Tuesday 10th June 2008

9 years ago

Japan’s Toyota said it would start making the Camry hybrid in Australia and Thailand as part of the its efforts to step up production of "green" cars around the world.

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Wednesday 21st January 2009

8 years ago

General Motors reported an 11% drop in 2008 vehicle sales, relinquishing its crown as the world’s biggest auto maker to Toyota after 77 years.

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Tuesday 24th February 2009

8 years ago

The second-generation Honda Insight, billed as "the world's first affordable hybrid," went on sale in the United States. The Insight, a five-door hatchback, carried a price tag of just under $20,000. In 1999, a three-door hatchback version of the Insight became the first-ever gas-electric hybrid vehicle sold in the U.S. The Toyota Prius, which debuted in Japan in 1997, arrived in America in July 2000 and went on to outsell the first-generation Insight, which was retired in 2006. By the time the second-generation Insight launched in 2009, Toyota controlled 70 percent of the hybrid market in the U.S. (the planet's biggest market for hybrid vehicles).

Honda Insight

Honda Insight

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Wednesday 11th March 2009

8 years ago

The Toyota Motor Company announced that it had sold over 1 million gas-electric hybrid vehicles in the US under its Toyota and Lexus brands. The Prius, the world’s first mass-market hybrid car, which was launched in Japan in October 1997 and introduced in America in July 2000, led the sales.

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

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Sunday 29th March 2009

8 years ago

At the request of the Obama administration Rick Wagoner, the chairman and chief executive of troubled General Motors (GM), resigned. During Wagoner's more than 8 years in the top job at GM, the company lost billions of dollars and in 2008 was surpassed by Japan-based Toyota as the world's top-selling maker of cars and trucks, a title the American car manufacturer had held since the early 1930s.

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Tuesday 11th August 2009

8 years ago

General Motors reported that its Chevrolet Volt Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (or E-REV) was capable of 230 mpg in city driving, more than four times the mileage of the current champion, the Toyota Prius. The Volt, which was neither a hybrid nor a battery electric vehicle, was powered by electricity 100 per cent of the time. Volt’s Voltec electric drive unit kept going when its lithium-ion battery was depleted, thanks to its on-board petrol-to-electricity-powered generator, extending its range to over 300 miles.

Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

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Sunday 4th October 2009

7 years ago

Sebastian Vettel took a dominant victory in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, keeping his title hopes alive after leaders Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button finished well down the order in seventh and eighth. Vettel never looked under threat, keeping a comfortable gap between his Red Bull and the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, who fended off McLaren's Lewis Hamilton for second.

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Tuesday 26th January 2010

7 years ago

Toyota Motor Corp. halted sales of some of its top-selling models to fix gas pedals that could stick and cause unintended acceleration. Last week, Toyota issued a recall for the same eight models affecting 2.3 million vehicles. Toyota also suspended production at six North American car-assembly plants beginning the week of 1st February and gave no date on when production would restart.

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Friday 12th February 2010

7 years ago

The Chicago Auto Show opened to the public. The vehicle on the cover of the Chicago Auto Show program was the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox. A wide range of vehicles made their public debuts, including the next-generation Toyota Avalon, the 75th Anniversary Diamond Edition Chevrolet Suburban and Kia Ray Hybrid concept. This was the 102nd edition of the Chicago Auto Show, which filled more than one million square feet of exhibit space, all on one level in McCormick Place. A stunning display - as much modern art as automotive exhibit, was the upside down Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck cantilevered over the show floor. Motor Trend selected the new Ram its 2010 Truck of the Year.

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Thursday 1st April 2010

7 years ago

In Fremont, California, the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant (NUMMI) produced its last Toyota Corolla after 25 years of operations building cars the "Toyota Way".

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Monday 13th December 2010

6 years ago

Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire owner of the New Jersey Nets, introduced a new line of hybrid cars — called "Yo". Unlike other hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, the internal-combustion engine directly powers the motors rather than a battery. It was planned to install a rotary vane type engine, with the pistons moving in a circle, rather than linearly. Fuel economy of the car was expected to be around 80 mpg, with a range of 680 miles (1,090 km) and a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h).

Yo-mobil coupe

Yo-mobil coupe

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Tuesday 21st December 2010

6 years ago

Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to pay the US government a record $32.4 million in additional fines to settle an investigation into its handling of two recalls at the heart of its safety crisis. The latest settlement, on top of a $16.4 million fine Toyota paid earlier in a related investigation, brought the total penalties levied on the company to $48.8 million.

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Friday 11th February 2011

6 years ago

The 2011 Chicago Auto Show celebrated its 103rd edition with rave reviews and a 10 percent increase in attendance over the 10-day run when compared to the 2010 show. Two new vehicles, a 2011 Honda CR-Z and a 2011 Hyundai Sonata turbo, were awarded to the fortunate ticket holders during the First Look for Charity event held the evening before the show opened to the public. Eighteen area charities shared in the $1,905,060 raised from the tickets sold for the black-tie fund-raiser. Four brands rolled out ride and drive tracks, including Jeep, Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet. Among brands unveiled at the 2011 show included the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Volkswagen GLI, Hyundai’s Genisis 5.0 R-spec and Veloster Rally Car, the 2012 2Acura TL with Acura Vice President of Sales Jeff Conrad. The 012 Shelby GT350 convertible, Toyota Matrix and Chrysler 200 convertible were seen for the first time at this show, and Audi presented the TT RS for the first time anywhere in North America. Ram Truck announced a new trim package for the Ram Tradesman, and Dodge unleashed five new performance models. A bold experiment premiered on the second media day that proved auto shows and social media are a match made in marketing heaven.

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Wednesday 9th November 2011

5 years ago

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. said it was recalling about 550,000 vehicles worldwide, mostly in the United States, for problems that could make it harder to steer. Toyota had received a total of 79 reports about the defect dating back to 2007, but there had been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the problems.

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Saturday 9th February 2013

4 years ago

Crowds swarmed at the opening of the Chicago Auto Show to the Chevrolet exhibit to be among the first to see the 2014 Corvette on display. Visually stunning, the ’14 Corvette’s sculptured, aerodynamic two-door hatchback exterior and track-capabilities was worthy of the iconic “Stingray” designation. This model marked the seventh-generation of “America’s Sport Car.” New vehicle introductions at the '13 Chicago show included the 2014 Toyota Tundra, 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR and 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck.

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Tuesday 3rd September 2013

4 years ago

Jakub Przygonski of Poland set the record for the world’s fastest drift at Biala Podlaska airport near Warsaw. Driving a Toyota GT86 modified to over 1,000bhp, he managed to hold a staggering 135.44mph for the duration of the powerslide. Even more astonishing was the 159mph entry speed Przygonski had to nudge before the break in traction slowed the car down.

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Thursday 6th March 2014

3 years ago

The 84th Geneva Auto Show opened its doors to the public. Cars premiered included Audi S1, Bentley Flying Spur V8, Citroen C1, Cireon C4 Cactus, Ferrari California, Nissan Juke, Renault Twingo, Toyota Aygo and the VW Golf GTE plug-in hybrid.

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Tuesday 15th July 2014

3 years ago

A Toyota GT86 set the world record for the longest drift. Germany’s Harald Müller spent an incredible 89.55 miles sideways in Samsun, Turkey, on 15 July 2014. Müller was at the wheel for nearly two-and-a-half hours pirouetting the coupe around a 235-metre course, during which time he racked up 612 laps – and that was his second attempt.

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Tuesday 6th January 2015

2 years ago

Japan-based Toyota announced it would give away thousands of patents for its fuel-cell cars, in an effort to encourage other automakers into the new industry.

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Wednesday 3rd February 2016

1 years ago

Toyota announced that it would discontinue the Scion brand in August 2016, with selected models to be re-branded as Toyota vehicles for the 2017 model year.

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