Inside Toyota’s Hybrid Truck — Businessweek

26 мая 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Toyota A-BAT

Inside Toyota’s Hybrid

By Matt Vella December 28,

The automaker is introducing a concept hybrid pickup designed in for Americans

The design brain of the world’s most successful company is discreetly tucked in a leafy suburb in Newport Calif. Toyota’s (TM) design and research facility inconspicuously at the end of a sleepy cul-de-sac. by fountains and gardens, the studio a monastic calm broken by the sound of children playing in the of a nearby grade school.

the Zen-like atmosphere, designers have been brewing up disruption on four wheels for Since it was established in 1973, has served as the Japanese giant’s toe-hold in the American auto The studio has created some of the boldest and best-selling vehicles, the 2005 Scion xB and the 2001 SUV. Now, Toyota’s designers are at it again.

On Jan. 13 the will take the wraps off yet vehicle that could embattled American automakers to catch up. A new concept truck, A-BAT, will make its in the heart of the U.S. auto at the 2008 North American Auto Show in Detroit. And a twist: The tough-looking pickup a hybrid gas-electric power to reduce emissions and improve economy.

The sleek vehicle is roughly the of Toyota’s smallest SUV, the despite looking much thanks to an oversize front and rough-and-tumble body design to delight truck aficionados. But in a of red- and blue-state values, the was conceived as a gas-electric model. The cabin is shaped like a as is the company’s flagship gas-electric, the with which it shares the Synergy Drive system. gravitate towards sporty, Matt Sperling, a designer Calty. If you inject utility that, we think it’s

Pickup Truck Wars

this year, Toyota General Motors (GM) in auto sales for the first And 2007 was a banner year for truck division in the U.S. as it a redesigned full-size pickup, the intended to compete with the reliable profit centers of manufacturers. On top of rave press the vehicle earned the coveted of the Year award from Trend magazine in December,

According to Automotive News, sales for the first 11 months of were up nearly 37%, to vehicles, over sales of the model in the same period in Sales of GM and Chrysler Group’s trucks were flat. (F) suffered double-digit declines, it still sold some units of its flagship F Series

The new A-BAT would potentially the ongoing dogfight into segments of the U.S. truck The vehicle is a compact truck would fit into the company’s below the Tundra and midsize which has grown in size the years. The smaller A-BAT prove popular with buyers looking for a fuel-efficient but vehicle. Erich Merkle, for forecasting at Grand Rapids automotive forecasting firm says: Such a vehicle is a genre-buster, and that could competitors behind if the concept a production vehicle.

Risky Business

On the face of it, the A-BAT might seem After all, the market for trucks has languished in recent A dearth of products has been by lackluster, infrequently updated Merkle forecasts that U.S of small and midsize trucks continue to dive, dropping current levels by some to 458,000 vehicles in 2009.

Toyota A-BAT

makers are ditching the category, but we see an says Andrew MacLachlan, a strategic planner with If oil doesn’t go below $90 a barrel in the future, this could be trucks are heading.

Unlike flat-bed pickups, the A-BAT likely be built on a car platform, fuel economy, safety, and Its small size, versatility, and power plant would set it from anything on the market or products from major This is classic Toyota, Merkle. They’re positioning ahead of the curve, preparing for a generation of consumers that is coming up.

Certainly, growing environmental new government regulations, and the high of fuel have created in smaller cars, with new in that category by nearly major automaker in the past 18 Most have been The next frontier, analysts and say, is smaller vehicles like wagons, vans, and—perhaps—pickup trucks. This is our says Calty senior Daryl Harris.

To Be Determined


The new is also another important of how seriously Toyota takes the auto market. Calty say the idea for the truck came out of sky brainstorming sessions held at an workshop in March, 2006. was the first design project didn’t start with a from Japan, says Ian a project chief designer. It was ‘let’s think more about what this needs’. Of course, despite the focus, if the vehicle did well, it be transferred to other markets.

Whether or not the A-BAT makes it to remains to be seen. However, the team behind the new concept has a track record, reflected in a lot packed with vehicles were created there. The was responsible for the Toyota FTX concept which eventually became the new Its FJ Cruiser, a boyish 4×4 Tonka-truck looks, was so popular the public when it was unveiled as a in 2003 that Toyota to send it to production. We’ve had a lot of with previous concepts, Alan Schneider, a project designer. We hope [the has the same impact as the FJ.

Despite reputation as a green technology the A-BAT would not be the first pickup on the market. At the Los Angeles Show in November, GM introduced an hybrid version of its Silverado pickup. But GM’s track in the hybrid market is spotty. A mild-hybrid version of the 2005 sold dismally, and analysts expect the company to sell than 30,000 units

If any manufacturer has the green gravitas to a small, economical hybrid a a pickup—it is surely Toyota. track record would nothing less.

Toyota A-BAT
Toyota A-BAT

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