Tesla is an innovative company that, despite a lot of negative news recently, is rather successful as far as gaining a loyal following of customers and prospective customers. So successful, in fact, that so far Tesla has received more than 300,000 reservations with $1,000 deposits without a single one of them knowing what the car will look like or any specifications whatsoever. While some manufacturers have flat out said that Tesla isn’t one of their competitors, Nissan and BMW have both run advertisement campaigns attempting to poach Model 3 customers. Now, Toyota has done the same thing, boasting its Mirai and the term “No Waiting to Buy.”
If you recall, it started out with Nissan pushing its electric vehicle, the Leaf, and it’s laughable 84 to 107-mile range. Then, not long after that, BMW tried to boast its 330e plug-in hybrid and its hilarious all-electric range of just 14 miles. Nissan’s campaign boasted that purchasers get cash back and don’t have to wait, while BMW’s campaign involved a video titled “Wait or Drive” that included charging stations that look suspiciously similar to Tesla’s superchargers. Toyota’s campaign is powered by Google Ads and was first announced by Instagram user Activegareth when he searched for the term “Tesla Model 3 speed.” The ad included wording like “Mirai is Available Now,” “No Waiting to Buy,” and even had a dedicated web address of Toyota.com/Tesla-Model-3.
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Texas Dealership Lures Buyers Thanks To Pokemon Go
Who knew that a car dealership’s life-sized wooden horse would play an integral part in closing some deals? In any other time, such a scenario would be met with snickers and giggles, but since we now live in a world that’s slowly being run over by Pokemons, the impossible has become, well, possible. Such was the case for one car dealership in Texas, which was able to attract buyers simply because it was smart enough to turn its mascot – the Tundra Horse – into a Pokestop.
The genius ploy was hatched by Street Toyota salesman and Pokemon Go player Nick Schuman, who crossed paths with fellow players on one random Sunday afternoon during the dealership’s first Pokemon Go event. Like a true salesperson, Schumann chatted up the players, presumably to compare the Pokemons that they’ve caught near the Pokestop. Schuman was able to build a quick rapport with some of the players and some of them returned days later to buy three used vehicles from the dealership.
According to Automotive News, Schuman was instrumental in closing the deal for a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country, a 2010 Ford Escape, and a 2011 Ford Escape. The Town & Country, in particular, was sold to a family with four children while one of the Escape models to a pair of friends who returned the very next day to trade in their vehicle.
All told, the dealership only spent a total of $45. Of that, $20 bought “lures” it purchased in the game and $25 went to promote the event on social media. The idea turned into a great sales run, and is something other dealerships will likely be replicating Now showroom sales staff can catch a few Pikachus, Squirtles, Charmanders, and customers.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Old-School Toyota Hilux Ad is Slap-Stick Fun: Video
The Toyota Hilux pickup truck is nearly fabled in its rugged toughness, reliability, and strong pulling power. I mean, who could forget the legendary TopGear episode where Jeremy Clarkson beats and abuses a Hilux that refused to quit, even after a saltwater bath in the sea. It was only after setting it afire did the ‘Yota cease to run. Well, Toyota’s Australian advertising arm took a swing at describing the truck’s toughness in the 1999 TV commercial titled “Bugger.”
This slap-stick-style advertisement pits a hapless farmer against such daily chores as mending fences, towing a tractor, and even fetching an unfortunate cow mired in mud. Much to the farmer’s dismay, his Hilux overdoes each task with a tremendous result. For the audience, the result is laughter and a positive remembrance of the Hilux pickup. The commercial also likely sparked a renewed usage of the word Bugger.
Playing a lead role in the ad is the sixth-generation Hilux, which lasted from 1997 to 2005. Toyota offered the pickup in several different configurations with a bevy of drivetrain options. Available was the single cab, Extra Cab, and Double Cab, with both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive. Engine options included three different gasoline four-cylinders and four different four-cylinder diesel options. A five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmission were the gearboxes of choice.
So kick back, relax, and enjoy this short TV commercial from the last century. It certainly classifies as “an oldie but a goodie.”
2016 Toyota Setsuna Concept
In a world where steel, aluminum, plastic, and carbon fiber are the dominate materials that make up the cars we drive, Toyota has done something different. Meet the Toyota Setsuna Concept – a car that is made almost entirely out of wood. Well, that might be a little exaggerated, the chassis, suspension, and drivetrain are still made out of some kind of metal, and the tires are still made of rubber, but the body, and most of the interior is made from a choice selection of wood. Interesting, huh?
Toyota claims the decision to use wood to make this concept is because it reflects the developing relationship between people and their cars, saying it “symbolizes how cars undergo gradual transformation.” For the concept, several different types of wood were used, and while something like this could never go into production, Toyota claims it could last over several family generations if it is properly taken care of.
Kenji Tsuki, the lead engineer of the Setsuna Concept, said, “We evaluated various ways to express the concept and selected different lumber materials for specific applications, such as Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and Japanese birch for the frame. We also paid particular attention to the sizes and arrangements of individual parts. For the assembly structure, we adopted a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari3, which does not use any nails or screws.”
So, even though this isn’t necessarily a “serious” concept, it means something to Toyota. A 100-year meter has even been included with the car that keeps track of time as the years pass and the car ages – changing as the wood its built out of does. So with that said, let’s take a look at this rather interesting concept.
Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Setsuna Concept.
The world might not know it yet, but the Mirai is Toyota’s next big thing. It’s the hydrogen-powered car that takes the next step past the Prius. Despite all the advancements in the area of fuel cell technology, some analysts – Toyota says – are calling bullsh*t.
Interestingly enough, Toyota agrees with them – not that hydrogen cars are a bad idea, but that bullsh*t is a great source for creating hydrogen fuel. To demonstrate, Toyota is producing a video series called “Fueled by Everything,” in which the automaker explains the process of creating hydrogen while showing off its latest product.
Without spoiling the video’s plot or diving into science that’s way beyond my degree in journalism, manure can be turned into hydrogen using a digester that breaks down the cow pies, releasing biogas in the process. The gas is then collected and purified before being sent to a steam-methane reformer. From that reforming process comes pure hydrogen, which can then be used for fuel.
From that point, the news is all about the Mirai and how it produces power from hydrogen. For that run-down, check out our full 2016 Mirai review. The Readers’ Digest version is this: the hydrogen combines with oxygen inside the fuel cell and produces DC electrical current. It’s that electrical energy that’s used to power the Mirai’s electric motors.
So yes, Toyota can in fact, power the Mirai on bullsh*t.
Continue reading to learn more about Toyota’s latest "Fueled by Everything" Series.
The best commercial in this year’s Super Bowl won’t even take place during the game, but don’t worry, it will most certainly have cars. NBC Sports has released its advertisement ushering in the 2015 NASCAR season, and it does so with the unwavering Americanism of Nick Offerman – meat connoisseur, wood craftsman extraordinaire and Ron Swanson.
In “America, It’s Time For A Gut Check,” Offerman brings his usual comedy and machismo with one-liners like “Sure everybody at NASCAR gets a trophy/As long as they win the f***ing race” and “Where men and women compete together/Just like they did back in the 18-nevers.” AdWeek says that a 60-second version of the commercial will air immediately after the game, but you can see the full-length version right now. Trust me, it will be the best two minutes you’ll spend today, and you don’t have to be a NASCAR fan to get a kick out of it.
The true point of the ad, of course, is as a promotion for NBC Sports, which picks up coverage of the 2015 season starting on July 5.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
The Swagger Wagon has just received a dramatic and quite literal facelift, featuring the unmistakable mug of SpongeBob Squarepants. This one-off piece of absurdity is actually a 2015 Toyota Sienna, customized to the hilt by Toyota and Nickelodeon to promote the upcoming SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
The Sienna SpongeBob Squarepants Edition will make its public debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. As sure as the sun is hot, this creation will likely go down as one of the more popular attractions in Los Angeles.
Once the SpongeBob Sienna gets its fill of the spotlight in Los Angeles, the van will embark on a cross-country tour to promote the new SpongeBob movie before the it opens in theaters on February 6, 2015.
Serious-minded folks are likely to scoff at the Sienna SpongeBob and dismiss it as nothing more than a novelty showpiece. How easy these people forget that this is actually the second SpongeBob-themed creation Toyota has built in as many years. Remember the 2014 Toyota Highlander Spongebob Squarepants Edition that made its debut at the 2013 SEMA Auto Show?
On a far less obvious level, it’s a genius marketing ploy to attach SpongeBob Squarepants to a minivan Toyota wants parents all over the U.S. to buy. What better way to do draw attention to that than by dressing up a Sienna using a cartoon character that kids of this generation are all-too familiar with. We see what you’re doing there, Toyota.
Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota Sienna SpongeBob Edition.
The Dark Knight Rises has been heating up cinemas for the past few days, so it seems only fitting that with the last part of the trilogy in cinemas today, we take a look at one of the most enduring stars of the famed DC super hero movie franchise. No, we’re not talking about Alicia Silverstone’s Batgirl character from Batman and Robin. What we’re referring to is the Batmobile, the Dark Knight’s very own ride-of-choice.
In this section though, we’re going to pay tribute - we use that word loosely - to the five worst Batmobile replicas we’ve ever seen. Some are more eye-cringing than the others, but rest assured, none of them would pass the standards of Bruce Wayne.
Heck, we don’t even think the Joker would be caught dead riding in one of these so-called Batmobiles.
So here it is, folks. Prepare to cringe, laugh, or whatever emotion these pictures will do to you.
Find out TopSpeed’s five worst Batmobile replicas after the jump
There are a lot of new car scams in the world and most of them are initiated by the new car dealer, not the buyer. A group of buyers flipped the script on several Los Angeles dealerships, by using fake identities to purchase 20 cars and were shipping them to Hong Kong and Vietnam to sell them for two to three times their U.S. value.
It was a laundry list of luxury vehicles, such as a $280,000 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia, an Audi Quattro, 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, along with several Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti, and BMW SUVs among others. For some reason, the thieves even threw in a Toyota Tundra.
The one that got these fraudsters busted was the Ferrari 458 Italia, as Ferrari fitted the supercar with a GPS system as standard, which Ferrari used to track the car once they found out they were defrauded. This led U.S. Customs and the California highway Patrol to conduct a full investigation and find the cars on a ship that had already pulled away from the port.
Needless to say, that ship was forced to come back and all but four of the cars were recovered. The four non-recovered cars are due to be shipped back by Vietnamese Customs.
According to the report, had the fraudsters not gone after the Ferrari, chances are they would have gotten away with this scam and made a ton of money in the process. The total amount of the vehicles seized by U.S. customs is estimated at $1.5 million, which would have pulled in around $3 million in Hong Kong and Vietnam.
We are still trying to figure out what in the world a Toyota Tundra was doing in the mix with all of these high-end luxury cars. We also wonder which thief drew the short straw and was stuck going to the Toyota dealership to pick this thing up?
If you’re lucky to be somewhere in Minneapolis right now - who thought we’d actually write that and mean it - then we highly suggest you find a way to catch this new musical that’s becoming a hot ticket in town. Created by a comedy theater and improv school called ’Brave New Workshop’, the musical is all about Toyota. That, and all of it’s unintended acceleration woes. We get the tongue-in-cheekness of it all and it actually sounds like something we’d go and watch on a Friday night.
Titled as "Toyota: The Runaway Musical Hit!", the creators have promised anyone watching that they’re going to have a rollicking good time with the musical - or as they loosely said. "prepare yourself for an unstoppable musical ride".
These guys worked so far to the end with this they even managed to use - without permission, we heard - R.E.O. Speedwagon’s hit song "Can’t Fight This Feeling" and made it into their own. Don’t believe us? Check out the lyrics.
"And I can’t stop this Prius anymore.
I forgotten what I started stopping for.
I got the brake pressed clear down to the floor.
[Who just came through the back door?]
Baby I can’t stop this Prius anymore."
The show runs until August 14 so you have loads of time to make the trip to the Twin Cities to catch this "runaway musical."
It’s the hip-hop video to end all hip-hop videos and the funny thing is, it features a suburban American family that takes their affection for the 2010 Toyota Sienna SE minivan to a new level. Predictably enough, the family calls themselves the ’Siennas’.
Don’t be fooled; mom and pops can both carry a tune and they’re all down and diggity with their "swagger wagon".
Despite the hip-hop beat of the music video, we’re not sure how it accomplishes the goal of appealing to middle class parents who, for better or worse, aren’t as hip to the times as the Siennas are in this video. Nevertheless, the "Swagger Wagon" is as catchy a hip-hop soundtrack as we’ve heard from a car commercial in a long time.
Watch the video and get a kick out the Siennas doing their best hip-hop impersonation.
Apparently, Toyota President Akio Toyoda is all but fed up with the recent bad publicity his company has been getting. So he did what any self-respecting CEO would do when his company is under fire: he went on the Late Show with David Letterman and proceeded to go on a tirade that would have made his grandpa proud.
Ok, so it was a fake Akio Toyoda that made the appearance but in the few minutes he was given to speak to the "American public", he made quite a few heavy promises, including that from now on, Toyota cars will have no more brakes, no more horns, and that they’ll explode in your garages.
Not content with his threats of making Toyota’s ticking time bombs, Fake Akio Toyoda even called Americans "fatties" and called out Letterman for poking fun at "Big Jaw" Jay Leno.
When you’re in the deep sink like Toyota is right now, you better be prepared for the pack of wolves that are ready, willing, and able to pounce on you and make fun of your every misstep.
Talk shows like The Daily Show and The Late Show have already taken liberties in throwing pot shots at Toyota and while the jokes are most likely far from over, this video definitely takes it to another level.
Despite not having the resources of the aforementioned TV shows, this amateur video proves that there’s no price tag for a good parody. Laughter is laughter, and we had a pretty good time LOL-ing and ROFL-ing courtesy of this hilarious lampooning.