Report: 2012 Honda Civic output at half capacity until fall *UPDATE

Filed under: Coupe, Budget, Sedan, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Honda

2012 Honda Civic Si

2012 Honda Civic Si – Click above for high-res image gallery

The devastating earthquake in Japan couldn’t have come at a worse time for Honda. The Japanese automaker was just starting to launch its new Civic for 2012, and the compact car is a major part of the company’s portfolio. Any delays or hiccups in the Civic’s launch will surely send shockwaves reverberating through Honda’s balance sheets.

Sadly, supplies of electronics parts and raw materials from Japan are still hampering automobile production for Honda, even in plants outside its home market. That includes the new 2012 Civic, which is assembled in Greensburg, Indiana and Alliston, Ontario.

Speaking to Reuters, Honda spokesman Ed Miller admitted that Civic production will likely be stuck at around 50-percent capacity until the fall of 2011. Industry analysts predict that the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra will likely fill in any sales void left by a lack of available Civics.

*UPDATE: Honda has confirmed that Civic production will run at 50-percent capacity for the time being, likely until fall. The automaker expects all other models to be back up to normal production levels by August. See the official release after the break.

Continue reading 2012 Honda Civic output at half capacity until fall *UPDATE

2012 Honda Civic output at half capacity until fall *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 26 May 2011 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: 7th-generation Camry coming this fall, Prius expected to take top sales spot

Filed under: Sedan, Toyota

2011 toyota camry

2010 Toyota Camry – Click above for high-res image gallery

The current Toyota Camry has been carrying the mid-size sedan torch since 2006, so it’s high time for a remake. According to WardsAuto.com, Toyota is busily prepping the next-generation car, and it could be here by the fall.

The Japanese automaker has been seeing increased pressure from the latest offerings coming out of Korea and the United States, and now it’s time to update its own high-volume money maker. While Toyota sold 327,084 Camrys in 2010 – still at the very front of the midsize family sedan class – that figure represents the lowest sales total for the vehicle since 1994.

Somewhat interestingly, though, Toyota apparently sees the Prius hybrid range taking over for the Camry as Toyota’s best-selling model. Time, as they say, will tell.

7th-generation Camry coming this fall, Prius expected to take top sales spot originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 May 2011 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2012 Toyota Prius V still on track for U.S. launch this fall

Filed under: Hybrid, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Crossover, Toyota

Toyota Prius V

2012 Toyota Prius V – Click above for high-res image gallery

False alarm, Prius fans. According to Toyota, the Prius V MPV is on track to hit the market as scheduled. Reports recently began circulating indicating that the Japanese automaker was delaying the vehicle’s launch due to the lingering impact of this year’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. Word was that a battery shortfall was causing the hold-up, though the manufacturer has now confirmed that the large hybrid will debut this fall as originally scheduled.

Unfortunately, the arrival of the Japanese-market Prius Alpha is still slated to experience a delay of indeterminate length. Hit the jump for the brief press release.

Continue reading 2012 Toyota Prius V still on track for U.S. launch this fall

2012 Toyota Prius V still on track for U.S. launch this fall originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 May 2011 19:53:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toyota Q4 profits fall 77% due to quake

Filed under: Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Toyota, Earnings/Financials

toyota emblem logo

Toyota has announced profits of $314 million for the first three months of 2011, down 77 percent versus the automaker’s fiscal fourth quarter a year earlier. Toyota still managed a profit in spite of the March 11 earthquake that shuttered most Japanese plants, yet the $314 million is only a fourth of what analysts were expecting Toyota to make. Toyota’s sales were predictably low for the quarter, and revenue was hurt as a result.

Toyota’s profits for its fiscal fourth quarter may be disappointing, but the automaker is likely to release still worse numbers for the period through June. The automaker is still struggling through supply issues, with many plants running at only 50-percent capacity if they’re running at all. Further, the automaker says that dealers in the U.S. and China are likely to see less product in the coming months, which could lead to much lower revenue.

On a brighter note, Toyota now says that production should ramp up to 70 percent of capacity by June, up from previous estimates of July or August. That should help get Toyota back on its feet faster, which is good for everyone.

For the year, Toyota earned $5.9 billion, or nearly three times the profit of fiscal year 2009. Revenue was also up by .2 percent to $237 billion on sales of 7.3 million vehicles, up by 71,000 units compared to 2009. Sales in the U.S. were down by 67,000 units.

Hit the jump to read over the Toyota press release, which includes volume and revenue breakdowns by region.

Continue reading Toyota Q4 profits fall 77% due to quake

Toyota Q4 profits fall 77% due to quake originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 May 2011 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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All-new Honda CR-V coming this fall?

Filed under: Crossover, Honda, Rumormill

2010 Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2012 Honda CR-V is coming, and you can expect the successful compact crossover to continue in its current mold despite being an all-new generation. There’s virtually no official information on the next iteration of the popular CUV, but since the current formula outsells even the Toyota RAV-4 and is still among the top finishers in comparison tests, we wouldn’t expect any wild departures.

Fuel economy is likely to improve from the current CR-V’s figure; front-wheel drive models may even hit 30 mpg on the highway, up from the current 28 mpg. C/D suggests that the current CR-V’s 180 horsepower output is probably not subject to change. And while it seems odd to be talking about what’s staying the same on a new model, the CR-V’s massive sales numbers make it a golden goose for Honda that must be handled very carefully, not unlike the conservatively recrafted 2012 Civic that was just revealed at last week’s New York Auto Show.

Gallery: Review: 2010 Honda CR-V

[Source: Car and Driver]

All-new Honda CR-V coming this fall? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Apr 2011 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: All-new Honda CR-V coming next Fall

Filed under: Japan, Crossover, Honda

2010 Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V – Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda looks to be hanging its recovery hopes on the U.S. light truck market. According to Automotive News, North America was the only market to see sales growth for the company during the last quarter. The six-percent jump was fostered largely by the Odyssey and the CR-V, and Honda hopes to be able to keep up that momentum with a new version of the popular CUV. Reportedly set to debut by fall of this year, the 2012 CR-V will be a complete generational model change, though the company hasn’t revealed too many details about the new vehicle just yet.

Globally, Honda has seen its sales fall off by around seven percent, with operating profit declining by 29 percent. The company hopes that focusing on light trucks will help boost the company’s total U.S. volume to 1.28 million vehicles by the end of its fiscal year.

News of the next-generation CR-V goes a long way toward explaining why the 2010 and 2011 models received such skimpy updates. Engineers managed to pull another 14 horsepower from the engine and designers slapped on a slightly adjusted grille, but otherwise the vehicle has stuck pretty close to its 2009 recipe. Keep your ear to the ground for more information on the next-gen crossover.

Gallery: 2010 Honda CR-V

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[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Report: All-new Honda CR-V coming next Fall originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Feb 2011 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official 2012 Fiat 500 fuel economy numbers fall short of 40 mpg

Filed under: Budget, Hatchback, Fiat

2012 Fiat 500

2012 Fiat 500 – Click above for high-res image gallery

2011 marks the official return of Fiat here in the United States, with the adorable little 500 hitting dealerships in the coming weeks. With Fiat’s MultiAir 1.4-liter engine under the hood, you’d be right to expect top-notch fuel economy numbers. And while the 500’s EPA ratings of 30 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway aren’t bad, it’s not exactly what we were hoping for.

For comparison, consider the fact that much larger C-segment entries like the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze are all capable of achieving 40 mpg or higher (granted, you have to spec certain transmissions and option packages on the latter two in order to achieve it). What’s more, the 30/38 mpg rating on the Fiat 500 is only with the five-speed manual transmission. Cars equipped with the six-speed self-shifter will only achieve 27/34 mpg. Ouch.

Still, with prices starting at $15,995 for the entry-level Pop model, we don’t think Fiat will have too much trouble moving 500s out of showrooms. Besides, the majority of people purchasing the Fiat 500 will be doing so because of its style rather than its frugality.

Gallery: 2012 Fiat 500

2012 Fiat 5002012 Fiat 5002012 Fiat 5002012 Fiat 5002012 Fiat 500

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Official 2012 Fiat 500 fuel economy numbers fall short of 40 mpg originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 28 Jan 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hot Wheels Video Racer coming this Fall for $60 [w/video]

Filed under: Technology, Videos, Toys/Games

Hot Wheels Video Racer

Hot Wheels Video Racer in action – Click above to watch the video after the break

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re firmly entrenched in the year 2011. Clearly, it’s high time for the little 1:64-scale cars your fathers were playing with when they were your little boy’s age to get an update, and Hot Wheels has just stepped up to the plate in a big way.

Come Christmas time, you’ll be able to fill stockings with the Video Racer, which, as its name suggests, adds a tiny camera to the front of your favorite little micro-sized motorer. Even cooler is the itty-bitty LCD screen you see when you flip to the bottom of the car, where you can then watch up to 12 minutes of recorded footage.

You can also use a USB connection to hook the Video Racer to your computer, and the little cars come equipped with attachments that allow them to be worn on the wrist (for covert spy work?), helmet, bicycle, skateboard or anything else that suits your fancy.

For $59.99 (we’ll let you be the judges on the value proposition), you’ll be able to purchase one of these little jewels this fall, and that price includes video editing software that works on Windows-powered PCs. Well done, Mattel. Check out a video of the Video Racer after the break.

[Source: Pocket-Lint, YouTube via Inside Line]

Continue reading Hot Wheels Video Racer coming this Fall for $60 [w/video]

Hot Wheels Video Racer coming this Fall for $60 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: A1GP back this fall as A10 World Series

Filed under: Motorsports

A1GP

Open-wheel racing fans may recall A1GP, self-styled as the World Cup of Motorsport. The spec racing series pitted national teams against each other in identical machinery – the final iteration having been developed and powered by Ferrari – on circuits across Europe and around the world. It was a promising idea (at least once organizers positioned it as a viable step on the ladder to F1 and not as a rival series), but financial troubles saw the series liquidated by the end of 2009.

Reports of A1GP’s revival have been circulating ever since, but according to Autosport – the publication of record when it comes to international motor racing – the series will be back by next fall.

Few details were revealed, except to say that a “leading motorsport figure” (we’d guess a former F1 champion) will head the group of investors behind the effort, and that it will be renamed the A10 World Series (which hopefully won’t be confused with the World Series by Renault).

While the previous A1GP series was balanced between European and overseas races, the new one will reportedly focus on emerging motorsport markets. So, figure on an Asia-heavy calendar with a number of races in the Gulf emirates and the Far East. As for the machinery, the new series could adopt the abandoned Ferrari chassis or go with a different design altogether.

[Source: Autosport]

Report: A1GP back this fall as A10 World Series originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 23 Jan 2011 13:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mini E to be phased out in a year, Coupe goes on sale this fall

Mini E

Mini E – Click above for high-res image gallery

When asked about the arrival of the production Coupe and Roadster at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, Mini Communication Manager Nathalie Bauters told us that the Mini Coupe “will go on sale in the fall, probably as a 2012 model year. The Roadster will come six months later as a 2012 or 2013 model.”

What won’t ever make the retail playground is the Mini E. “It will not go on sale, it was for research,” she said. Some of the leases on the first year trial for consumers and electric companies have been extended to a second year, but the end of the second year will mark the phase out of the program. A lease program with the 1 Series-based BMW Active E will follow, also to gather intelligence on electric cars, with both programs helping to prepare for the arrival of the BMW Megacity.

Gallery: MINI E

Mini E to be phased out in a year, Coupe goes on sale this fall originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Jan 2011 10:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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