Toyota & Mazda Share Tech : News
Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. have agreed to form a “long-term partnership” that deepens collaboration on products, manufacturing and technologies as carmakers race to spread spiraling development costs amid ever-stricter emissions standards.
Under the agreement announced May 13, the carmakers will form a joint committee to evaluate “how best to utilize each company’s respective strengths,” the companies said in a statement.
The announcement comes amid media reports that said the two companies are exploring numerous projects. Among them would be an arrangement in which Toyota supplies Mazda with its hydrogen fuel cell system and plug-in hybrid technology, in exchange for receiving Mazda’s fuel-efficient Skyactiv gasoline and diesel engine technology.
Outlining the partnership at a joint press conference, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda and Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai declined to offer concrete examples of what the cooperation might deliver. But they identified joint manufacturing, hybrid vehicles and fuel cells as possibilities.
The executives side-stepped questions about the talks evolving into a capital tie-up. They also did not give a timeline for deciding on future joint projects.
“This is an engagement announcement, not a marriage announcement,” Toyoda said.
'Transcend the boundaries'
The agreement builds upon technical exchanges that date back years between the world’s biggest automaker and one of Japan’s smallest, export-dependent Mazda.
Toyota already supplies Mazda with hybrid drivetrain technology for the Mazda3 sedan. And Mazda is building a Skyactiv-equipped subcompact sedan for Scion at its new plant in Mexico.
But Kogai said the new tie-up would “transcend the boundaries of previous cooperation.”
The latest move comes as global automakers increasingly pool resources on expensive green-car development. In hydrogen fuel cell technology, for example, Nissan Motor Co. has teamed with Ford Motor Co. and Daimler AG, while Honda Motor Co. is working with General Motors.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has vocally advocated for industry consolidation, insisting that major automakers need to stop wasting billions developing the same products and start working together.
“The capital consumption rate doesn’t deliver value to the consumer, and in its purest form, is pure economic waste. It’s just bizarre,” Marchionne said last month.
In an analysis he titled “Confessions of a Capital Junkie,” Marchionne said automakers could potentially share 40 to 50 percent of vehicle development costs, returning $2.8 billion to $5.1 billion euros of capital every year.
For Japan’s smaller carmakers such as Mazda and Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries, circling wagons with a giant like Toyota can complement their own tiny r&d budgets.
Fuji Heavy, for example, cooperated with Toyota in developing and manufacturing the BRZ sporty coupe, which is sold as the Scion FRS in the U.S. Fuji Heavy also gets minicars for the Japan market from Toyota Group minivehicle-manufacturer Daihatsu.
Toyota also owns a capital stake in Fuji Heavy.
“If Ford, Nissan and Daimler need to get together on fuel cells, then Mazda’s not exactly able to go it alone,” said Kurt Sanger, an auto analyst with Deutsche Securities Japan.
“Now Toyota’s recruiting somebody to its camp.”
The incremental volume Toyota can glean from selling fuel cell and plug-in hybrid systems to Mazda and others may help to boost scale and bring down manufacturing costs.
Kogai, keenly aware of his small company’s budget limitations, has made partnering with other carmakers a top priority. Besides producing the upcoming Mazda2-based Scion sedan for Toyota, Mazda will also provide a version of its MX-5 Miata roadster to Fiat. Kogai said the Fiat supply arrangement will continue as planned, as will other partnerships already on the books.
The need for assistance is especially acute at Mazda following it independence from Ford, which had long been Mazda’s sugar daddy, helping defer global r&d costs. While Mazda has said it has no interest in another capital tie-up, such as that with Ford, it still needs plenty of cash.
“The smaller makers in Japan have done extremely well in recent years,” Sanger said. “But looking beyond the next five years, that’s not enough. They have to change what they’re doing.”
Even without costly hybrid or hydrogen development, Mazda eyes its own moonshot next-generation drivetrain technology with a 2020 horizon. That strategy calls for introducing homogeneous charge compression ignition, known as HCCI.
The technology compresses the fuel-air mixture to such a high pressure and temperature that it ignites by itself without requiring a spark, similar to the way a diesel engine operates.
The new gasoline engine under development would be 30 percent more efficient than the Skyactiv powerplants that first debuted in 2011 and are still being spread across Mazda’s lineup.
For Toyota, the deal also gives it a front-row seat to study Mazda.
Toyota engineers say privately that their company has been quietly benchmarking the comparatively tiny Japanese rival, fascinated by its uncanny ability to churn out high-quality vehicles on a shoestring budget -- and to do so profitably from high-cost Japan.
Toyoda said that despite the difference in size between the two companies, Toyota has much to learn from its pint-sized counterpart.
“In a sense, Mazda is ahead of us in many areas,” he said.
Mazda’s high-compression Skyactiv engines, efficient transmission and lightweight chassis systems, as well as its Kodo design language, are prime examples of areas where Mazda leads Toyota by a “full lap,” Toyoda said.
Toyota aims to change that, however, with a new modularized product platform that debuts later this year and will underpin future cars. It is also playing catch up in engines.
Toyota had long prioritized gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrains over traditional internal combustion systems. But it now is revamping base engines across the lineup. The new technologies draw on direct injection, turbocharging, high compression ratios and lean-burning Atkinson-cycle combustion. Last month, Toyota said it was stepping up a global engine upgrade of 14 high-efficiency engines through 2015 with the deployment of a new downsized turbo unit.
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Sources : Toyota & Mazda Photo | Toyota & Mazda Article
Jaguar XE-R : Concept Cars
Recently, Cadillac debuted its latest attempt at the BMW M3’s throne, with the ATS-V. As good as the ATS-V is, many fans of Cadillac and General Motors were hoping that Caddy would stuff the 6.2 liter V8 from the Corvette into it. Instead it got a twin-turbo 3.6 liter V6. The turbo V6 is a good engine, but kind of lacking in that American muscle vibe so many fans wanted. Well, it seems that there could be a thumping V8 performance sedan, with its eyes on the M3, on the way. Except this one hails from Britain — The Jaguar XE-R.
While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, it is a possibility that Jaguar will stuff its 5.0 liter supercharged V8 under the hood of an XE to create the XE-R. It isn’t official, but Jag does say it’s possible, as the engine will fit. The blown 5.0 liter V8 could very well produce 500 horsepower, as the same V8 in other Jaguar applications has 550 horsepower. That much power would make it, by far, the most powerful in the segment of performance sedans that the M3 occupies.
But it won’t be just rip-roaring power. The XE-R should be receiving a performance-tuned chassis, adaptive dampers and bigger brakes, as well. From the few reviews of the XE, it seems to be a very good handling car already, so added performance bits could turn it into a very engaging car. However, the standard XE seems to be a bit more relaxed in focus, in comparison to the 3 Series, so the XE-R might be as well.
The current bunch of performance Jags all have more power than their competition, yet don’t actually manage to be much faster, if faster at all. They tend to be big hooligans, roasting their tires to bits and making gnarly exhaust notes doing it. While this isn’t the fastest or most effective kind of performance car, it’s definitely one of the most fun kinds. So the XE-R might not be the track weapon that cars like the M3 or ATS-V are, but it might be the big, bruising British hooligan of the bunch. And that’s not a bad thing.
As mentioned earlier, none of this is confirmed and we’ll keep updating as more information is released, but the XE-R seems primed to be a very fun car indeed.
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Sources : Jaguar XE-R Photo | Jaguar XE-R Article
2016 Audi A4 : Current Models
Audi is set to unveil a new generation of its A4 small sedan at September’s 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, but we won't see it in showrooms until the 2017 model year as the current model still has some life in it. The current A4 has been with us since the 2009 model year and it’s certainly starting to show its age up against newer rivals such as the BMW 3-Series, Cadillac ATS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It’s now soldiering on into the 2016 model year, priced from $36,825 with its $925 destination charge added on.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many changes to the note on this 2016 model, with the only updates worth mentioning being a new three-spoke multifunction steering wheel fitted as standard on the entry-level Premium trim, and Advanced Key and Audi Connect tech features now available as part of the Navigation Plus Package. Opt for the more upmarket Premium Plus, and you now get a Bang & Olufsen sound system included with the Technology Package. Finally, Premium models with the S Line Competition Plus Package feature a new set of 19-inch wheels.
Other models in the A4 range include the sporty S4, which for 2016 is priced from $50,125, once again including destination. No changes are mentioned for this model.
The more practical Allroad, meanwhile, now features a standard three-spoke multifunction steering wheel lined in leather. The Premium Plus trim with the Technology Package also includes a Bang & Olufsen sound system, while the Advanced Key and Audi Connect features are available with the Navigation Plus Package. This model is priced from $43,625, including destination, for the 2016 model year.
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Sources : 2016 Audi A4 Photo | 2016 Audi A4 Article
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EO Smart Connecting Car 2 : Videos
More and more people are drawn into the big cities of the world. Consequently, all of these cities have one challenge to face: Not enough parking space and very congested traffic, especially during rush-hours. This becomes even more problematic when big cars are just used by single individuals.
Therefore, small, comfortable and safe cars are required and, in addition to that, the electric drive train provides possibilities to completely rethink what we know about individual transportation.
A team of German engineers have come up with an ingenious solution with EO smart connecting car 2 — a “flexible” electric vehicle capable of shrinking, driving sideways and turning on a dime.
EO smart connecting car 2 is the result of consequent and ongoing research, development, and optimization of the EO smart connecting car concept.
The EO smart car 2 drives like a regular vehicle, but has the sideways-driving capabilities with each wheel having its own motor. With this functionality, the car can be more easily parked in tight spots in urban environments, such as a tiny space on the side of the road.
The EO smart connecting car 2 has a top speed of 65 km/h (or 40mph) and can travel 50 to 70 kilometers (30 to 44 miles) on a single four-hour full charge of the battery. But it’s the two-seater’s ability to shrink to around 1.5 meters in length that has the team excited about its uses in future cities, says Timo Birnschein, project manager for the vehicle.
One problematic aspect of electric vehicles is the charging cable. To face this issue, a versatile, foldable docking interface was constructed that fits into the body of the car and also allows for connecting extension modules, like range extenders, passenger modules, or cargo modules.
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Sources : EO Smart Connecting Car 2 Photo | EO Smart Connecting Car 2 Article
1973 BMW 3.0 CSI : Classic Cars
With some classic cars, it’s hard to improve on the original design. The Porsche 928 comes to mind. So fluid and pure were its lines that any attempt to add a spoiler here or wheel modification there distracts from the overall aesthetics. The BMW E9 is a different story. This is a car that looks good in stock form but can also withstand a tasteful modification or two. Even the factory CSL version had a butch, purposeful look that took it from the ordinary to the extreme. This 1973 3.0 CSI was brought to our attention from our reader EB and is for sale with no reserve. The bumperless front end does a lot to accentuate the early shark nose look. If Mad Max was a bit more refined, I’d imagine he’d pilot something like this.
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Sources : 1973 BMW 3.0 CSI Photo | 1973 BMW 3.0 CSI Article