During a recent dealer meeting held by Toyota in Las Vegas, the Japanese automaker reconfirmed that the launch of the Prius V is still on track for this fall, that the Prius C will be headed our way in early 2012 and that the electric RAV4, along with the plug-in Prius, are coming sometime next year, as well.
But it was Toyota's confirmation that the electric Scion iQ will hit U.S. dealerships in 2012 that caught us by surprise. Why's that? Prior to this announcement, Toyota had not officially committed to a launch date for the electrified iQ. Now, it seems, the all-electric Scion iQ will be America-bound in less than 18 month's time.
Toyota's electrified minicar, with its estimated range of 50 miles, will face fierce competition from vehicles like the 73-mile rated Nissan Leaf, 85-mile "best case range scenario" Mitsubishi i, and, if Think Global survives bankruptcy, its 100-mile rated City electric. With electric vehicles already having been condemned for not hitting advertised range ratings, one has to wonder if Scion's electric will be a success in the States. Of course, the battery-powered Scion iQ's MSRP has yet to be announced and the vehicle's price is sure to influence potential buyers one way or the other.
LAS VEGAS, NV (June 29, 2011) -- Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. confirmed that its annual national dealer meeting took place here today. The private meeting was attended by representatives from Toyota's 1,233 U.S. dealers. Speakers included Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) President Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMA) President and COO Yoshi Inaba, TMS President and COO Jim Lentz, TMS Senior Vice President, Automotive Operations Don Esmond, Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager Bob Carter and Vice President-Scion Jack Hollis.
Mr. Toyoda acknowledged the tremendous disaster that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 and thanked dealers for their extraordinary support and donations. Together, Toyota dealers and friends have contributed $11.5 million to Japan disaster relief.
Mr. Toyoda emphasized his focus on product and the company's core philosophies that will make Toyota better than ever. Other themes from his speech included:
The all-new 2012 Camry and Camry Hybrid. Designed to meet the changing needs of the 21st Century driver, the new Camry will provide technologically advanced features, a contemporary design inside and out, improved performance and refined ride and handling.
Future vision of mobility. New technology offerings like the all-new RAV4 EV and telematics advancements stemming from the Microsoft alliance will help make Toyota's vehicles even better.
Greater regional autonomy. Calling it his "most important goal," Mr. Toyoda stated he will empower those with local knowledge to make their own decisions.
Looking forward, Mr. Toyoda said the company is more committed and more passionate than ever about being a leader in the automotive industry, adding, "We must earn it with our actions and with our words, with great products and great service and with genuine affection for our customers and our communities."
Highlights from other executive speeches included:
Recovery from the disaster has far exceeded expectations. In Japan, production is expected to return to normal levels after July. In North America, eight locally-built models, including Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, Sequoia, Sienna and Venza returned to 100 percent production in early June. The remaining four North-American built models, including Tundra, Tacoma, RAV4 and Lexus RX, will return to 100 percent beginning in September.
Prius family launch remains on track. Prius dominates the hybrid market with over 50% market share. With the launch of Prius family, Toyota is capitalizing on that brand strength and providing all the benefits of Prius in a variety of vehicles. Prius v, which arrives this fall, has SUV like cargo capability, nearly 60% more than the current Prius, but still is expected to deliver estimated EPA fuel economy ratings of 42 mpg combined. The Prius c compact, arriving in the spring of 2012, offers expressive styling in a city-friendly vehicle that we believe will be the most fuel efficient hybrid in the U.S.
Advanced technology vehicles. New, advanced vehicles arriving in 2012 include the Prius plug-in hybrid, RAV4 EV and Scion iQ EV. Toyota has committed to putting a fuel cell vehicle on the road by 2015, and is researching bio-fuels and next-generation materials to help make vehicles that will be lighter, safe and more fuel-efficient.
Investment in North America. Our new plant in Mississippi opening this fall will build 150,000 Corollas per year, create 2,000 jobs and represents Toyota's faith in the North American market.
State-of-the-art multimedia. Toyota's new Entune system, which will feature simple, seamless functionality and is compatible with virtually every smart phone, will debut this fall in the new Prius v and Camry.
About Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers. Toyota directly employs more than 34,000 people in the U.S. and sold more than 1.76 million vehicles in 2010.