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Toyota and Mazda agree to share Hybrid technology 30
Posted by Edward - JapanCarBlog in hybrid, Industry News, Mazda, TOYOTA, toyota hybrid, Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive System, Toyota Mazda on 03 30th, 2010

Mazda Sky Engine

Consumers will find a bit of Toyota at Mazda dealerships by 2013. Mazda will become the second manufacturer, after Nissan, to borrow Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology as part of a licensing agreement aimed at leap-frogging hybrids into Mazda’s stable beyond the lonely Mazda Tribute SUV.

The deal’s details have yet to be released but Toyota’s key hybrid drive components are expected to make the cross over to Mazda’s recently announced, next-generation, direct-injected Sky engines.

TMC and Mazda Agree to Hybrid System Technology License
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) have reached an agreement on the supply under license of hybrid technology used in the Toyota Prius.

Leveraging this agreement, Mazda plans to combine the hybrid system with its next-generation SKY* engine that is currently under development, and develop and manufacture a hybrid vehicle in Japan. Mazda is aiming to commence sales of a hybrid vehicle starting in Japan by 2013.

Positioning response to environmental issues as a management priority, TMC began sales of the Prius, the world’s first mass-production hybrid vehicle, in 1997. Since then, over 2.3 million TMC-produced hybrid vehicles have been delivered to customers in over 70 countries and regions.

TMC recognizes the importance of benefiting the environment by encouraging the popularization of its eco-friendly technologies, which are represented by its hybrid systems. Accordingly, TMC has announced that it will consider requests from other companies to supply hybrid technology.

Based on its long-term vision for technology development, Sustainable Zoom-Zoom, Mazda aims to increase the average fuel economy of Mazda vehicles sold globally 30 percent by 2015, compared to its 2008 level. In order to offer all of its customers driving pleasure as well as outstanding eco-friendly and safety performance, Mazda is implementing a Building Block Strategy. Under this strategy, Mazda will enhance the core aspects of its vehicles – including engines, transmissions and weight reduction – and then progressively add electric devices such as idling stop, regenerative braking and hybrid systems.

Through this partnership, each company intends to offer technologies and products with outstanding environmental benefits to as many people as possible.

*Concept name for engines and transmissions that are intended for launch from 2011 onward.

Subaru teases new Impreza STI before NY Auto Show 30
Posted by Edward - JapanCarBlog in American Industry, New York, Subaru, Subaru Impreza STI, subaru new york, subaru sti, subaru usa on 03 30th, 2010

Subaru Impreza STI Debut at New York Auto Show

With the New York Auto Show around the corner, Subaru’s well into teaser mode about a new Impreza WRX STI variant. With just “the wing is back! Exclusive world debut at the New York International Auto Show” as a press release, and a winged silhouette to accompany, the Japanese automaker is craving attention.

And it has it. Unfortunately, like most teases, there’s very little information we can worth with. We’ll just have to stand in the corner awkward.

The New York International Auto Show opens for press day on March 31 and April 1 and will ppen to the public from April 2 through 11.

Lexus Premieres the CT 200h at Geneva 16
Posted by Heather in CT 200h, LEXUS, TOYOTA on 03 16th, 2010

Lexus CT 200hLexus.

You think Lexus, you think sleek. Luxurious. Classy. Rich. Those are the words that come to mind. Am I right?

Set to get its much anticipated reveal at — you guessed it — Geneva, this compact model is a first in many ways.

One way is that it is the first to be shown from Toyota’s new luxury brand.

Wait. Toyota? Luxury? What? Well, okay, sure.

Maybe that explains why … none of those aforementioned adjectives come to mind when I look at this car.

It is bland. It is boring. It is hardly even ordinary. Mediocre though? Sure. Yes. It is definitely that.

A New Spyder Concept from Porsche 15
Posted by Heather in 918 Spyder, concept, porsche on 03 15th, 2010

Porsche 918 Spyder conceptAh Porsche. Porsche, Porsche, Porsche.

There were tons of surprises at this year’s annual motor show in Geneva, and for one of the largest, we have Porsche to thank.

They unveiled a brand new concept and man, it is a dynamic little doozy.

This concept is known as the 918 Spyder. Porsche, right in Germany, can be thanked for the design, but the creation of this sleek stunner occured in Turin, courtesy of Vercarmodel Saro.

More information as it occurs. Thus far, besides knowing that this is one sexy car, we know that the design revolves around the rather iconic 917.

My Take on the Nissan Micra 14
Posted by Heather in Bug, Micra, Neon, nissan, VW on 03 14th, 2010

Nissan MicraGear up, guys. I have got a lot to say about the new Nissan Micra.

You know, first of all, I have to say, I like the car. That is not quite a compliment, however.

You see, the thing is, I liked this car the first time I saw it. In many different variations.

Yep. I am totally calling copycat on Nissan. I am not going to go tattling or anything (to anyone but you, of course, oh so faithful readers), but I am calling copycat.

Why? Well, let’s take a really close look at the Micra, shall we?

I know there is nothing new under the sun. I know most cars are carbon copies of one another.

But good grief! I see old school Neon.  I see Mini Cooper.  I see VW Bug.  This car is like some mutant, made up of the discarded parts of other, more successful cars.

2010 Nissan Patrol unveiled in Abu Dhabi 3
Posted by Edward - JapanCarBlog in Middle East, nissan, Nissan Patrol, Nissan SUV, Press Release, SUV on 03 3rd, 2010

2010 Nissan Patrol

Nissan launched it’s new 2010 Nissan Patrol off road “hero” in the first-ever Middle East automobile premiere in Abu Dhabi last week. Carlos Ghosn’s presence made it clear just how significant the Middle East market is in the ongoing success of the Patrol brand. “The new Patrol is built with the high level of safety, performance and quality that characterises the Nissan brand, and we paid special attention to the needs of GCC drivers and passengers,” sais Ghosn.

The flagship SUV will feature a newly developed 5.6litre V8 engine with variable valve event and lift (VVEL) and direct injection gasoline technologies. It delivers 400hp and 560Nm of torque on the top specification version and with its new seven-speed automatic transmission has a wider range of gear ratios than its predecessor in an effort to deliver more power, faster. The New Patrol also comes equipped with a hydrauclic body motion control system to keep the car stabilized during lane changes and off-road treks.


Abu Dhabi, UAE (Feb. 13, 2010) – Reliable, unbreakable, affordable. The Nissan Patrol is a name synonymous with ruggedness, a legendary off-roader capable of going anywhere, anytime. Meticulously honed for over five decades, the Patrol is Nissan’s flagship large SUV model and enjoys a rich heritage particularly in the Middle East that dates back to the 1950′s. This off-road trendsetter was one of the first dedicated four-wheel-drive vehicles in the climatically demanding Middle East region, and boasts the notable distinction of also being the first vehicle to successfully cross the grueling Simpson Desert in Australia back in 1962.

Nissan PatrolNissan Patrol

Under the banner of “The Hero Comes Home” the Patrol is back as an all-new seventh generation model, building on its impressive history, but at the same time, incorporating a new platform, a radical new design direction, significantly enhanced interior comfort and luxury, powerful new V8 engines, a 7-speed automatic transmission and a new 4WD system.

“We paid special attention to the needs of current Patrol owners, and their passengers, and so focused on creating first-class levels of comfort for the whole family. Heightened luxury, a roomier cabin and a quieter ride combine to achieve this goal, while maintaining Patrol’s superior off-road heritage” stresses Hiroyuki Fushiki, project head and Segment Chief Product Specialist.

Nissan Patrol

Tested to the limit
Wanting to build the best possible Patrol, engineers first tuned and tested 200 prototypes for dynamic evaluation at the company’s Motegi, Oppama and Tochigi proving grounds before sending them to the Middle East where they were exposed to every imaginable challenge; desert, rocky surfaces, highways and inner-city traffic. “By the time we came around to adding the new body and interior, we had virtually completed our reliability and durability testing and perfected all of the new technologies,” says chief vehicle engineer, Takashi Fukui.

New exterior more sophisticated but still rugged
After extensive market research, especially in the Middle East, the design team concluded that for the Patrol to beat its main competitors, it needed not only a brand new design direction but class-leading engine performance, greater luxury and comfort and a smart mix of new technologies that enhanced the total driving experience. Product design director, Taiji Toyota, tells us that the all-new exterior design is like a breath of fresh air. “Not as edgy and hardcore as its predecessor, the softer new surfaces are beautiful and add a sense of modernity to the design equation, while still maintaining a ruggedness and commanding road presence” he said.

According to the design director, one design element that expresses ‘Patrol’ and had to feature strongly was the angled-strut motif front grille. It was meticulously proportioned to deliver a sense of continuity with past models but give a touch of newness while enhancing the car’s status level.

Nissan Patrol

Focus on roomier, more luxurious cabin
Featuring generous amounts of leather, polished aluminium and wood grain paneling, the Patrol’s interior too has been significantly upgraded. Given that most customers only go off-road no more than 15% of the time, designers wanted to create a better, higher quality interior for the whole family.

In keeping with the Patrol’s mission to deliver more comfort and more room, the new Patrol delivers seat dimensions that outclass all competition. Boasting wider, higher and deeper front seats, the Patrol offers over 100mm more legroom for second row passengers, and a roomier third row of seats as well. Employing double the lateral rigidity over the outgoing model, the new Patrol sits on a revised platform that now offers a more robust construction with a low vibration body.

All-new V8 engine leads array of segment-beating hardware
The new Patrol is now the most powerful vehicle in its class. And the key technology achieving this jump in performance over the predecessor’s 4.8 litre power plant is the newly developed ‘VK56VD’ 5.6-litre V8 engine with VVEL (variable valve event and lift) and DIG (direct injection gasoline) technologies that generate 400hp and 550Nm of torque on the top specification version of this new engine.
Every component has been redesigned for maximum performance and smooth response, while a new 7-speed automatic transmission with a wider range of gear ratios than its predecessor, gives the off-roader the ability to deliver power faster.

Comprehensively upgraded 4WD system sets new standard
In a world-first for Nissan, the new Patrol employs a Hydraulic Body Motion Control System (HBMC), which keeps the car flatter with less body roll during lane-changing and cornering, while delivering a comfortable ride in city driving and superb stability on rugged and sandy tracks. Another crucial part of handling equation comes from the new suspension system, which now employs 4-wheel independent suspension, upgraded from the previous rigid axle setup. Nissan has completely redesigned the vehicle’s suspension from the bushes to the links. The combination of HBMC and the new suspension system with its longer suspension stroke delivers significantly improved handling and stability on both on- and off-road terrain.

The Patrol also employs a newly developed ALL MODE 4×4 system incorporating a variable 4×4 mode package. It allows the driver to quickly switch between four drive modes: sand, on-road, snow and rock, with the flick of a switch. In sand mode, owners are able to drive safely, quickly and skillfully in sand and dirt, just like professional rally drivers.

In addition, the Patrol also offers a new Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control which can also be selected easily with the touch of a button. With Hill Start Assist, if a driver stops on a slope and steps off the brake pedal, the system keeps the vehicle stationary – with no roll back. Hill Descent Control uses the brakes to maintain a constant downhill speed of 7km/h in 4H mode and 4km/h in 4L mode.

The new model employs a revised Tyre Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) with tyre inflation indicator which beeps the horn softly to inform drivers that a suitable tyre pressure has been reached.

A revised, more effective brake system also provides the best braking performance in its class thanks to its new hydraulic brake booster and a 4-piston opposed front caliper setup with larger 358mm front discs.

More world-firsts
Nissan designers paid special attention to the second row seat passengers by not only significantly expanding legroom, but by also fitting a new multi-screen DVD entertainment system, a first form Nissan. It boasts two rear-facing TVs; one 7-inch monitor embedded into each front seat headrest.

Fitted with six airbags for top grade, the Patrol also comes with a totally revised climate control system boasting another world-first – the curtain vent. Curtain vent has several small but highly effective vents mounted in the ceiling above each side window to blow a strong current of cool air down forming a curtain of air that acts as a barrier to heat penetrating the cabin.

Yet another impressive Patrol feature is the cool box mounted in the centre console between the front seats. Incorporating a unique double hinge design, the lid of the cool box can be opened easily from either the front or second row of seats to access the six 600ml drink bottles inside.

And lastly…
With its fresh new styling, superior packaging, powerful but economical V8 engine, clever off-road technologies and higher levels of luxury and comfort, the all-new Patrol is now a true segment leader.