Toyota will finally resurrect the Supra in 2018

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HYPEBEAST/DesignBoom (by T.S. Fox):

Originally released as a Celica offshoot with 2000GT roots back in 1978, the Supra grew to become one of Toyota’s most beloved vehicles before it was unceremoniously discontinued back in 2002. Thankfully, Toyota righted that wrong in 2014, taking to the Detroit Auto Show to showcase the FT-1 — a Calty Design Research-crafted spiritual successor of sorts to the old fastback coupe and one that fans hoped signaled a sign of things to come for the much loved front-engine, rear-wheel drive setup. Now it looks like those Supra hopes may become a reality: Toyota has confirmed that it’s resurrecting the car for a return in just a few short years.

Said to build upon the aforementioned FT-1, the brand new Supra will be positioned above the 86 in the manufacturer’s lineup and will likely be decidedly more complex, powerful and high-tech than the rebadged Scion FR-S. And if the FT-1′s design language is any indication, the new and improved Supra will come with an aggressive, track-inspired exterior marked by airflow management systems and aerodynamic curves; it may even employ the FT-1′s sleek retractable rear wing for added downforce.

Stay tuned for updates on the Supra’s welcome return and mark your calendars: the fan-favorite Toyota returns to the road in 2018.

GoPro: The Streets of Japan in 4K

 

While it has traditionally reveled in its reputation as the premier maker of action cameras, GoPro is also eager to push the new 4K ultra-high definition capabilities of the newest HERO4 camera as a documentary tool. Cue this stunning look at the grittier, flashier side of Japan through its motorhead subculture, otherwise known as the Bōsōzoku, which literally translates as “violent speed tribe.”

While the Bōsōzoku were seen as a blemish on Japanese society in the ’80s and ’90s for their blatant violations of traffic laws, deafening mufflers and complete disregard for personal safety, their numbers have since declined, and this documentary explores what those former rebels without a cause have moved onto. Taking us on nighttime joyrides with gangs of decked-out Lamborghinis which provide a moving light show through the streets of Tokyo, the nine-minute film is narrated throughout by the musings of these larger-than-life personalities on car culture and Japanese society, who live a real-life version of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift on the daily.

Enjoy the short film above, and check out the rest of GoPro’s cinematic offerings on YouTube.

GoPro HERO4 Captures “The Adventure of Life” in Japan

 

While it has traditionally reveled in its reputation as the premier maker of action cameras, GoPro is also eager to push the new 4K ultra-high definition capabilities of the newest HERO4 camera as a documentary tool. Cue this stunning look at the grittier, flashier side of Japan through its motorhead subculture, otherwise known as the Bōsōzoku, which literally translates as “violent speed tribe.”

While the Bōsōzoku were seen as a blemish on Japanese society in the ’80s and ’90s for their blatant violations of traffic laws, deafening mufflers and complete disregard for personal safety, their numbers have since declined, and this documentary explores what those former rebels without a cause have moved onto. Taking us on nighttime joyrides with gangs of decked-out Lamborghinis which provide a moving light show through the streets of Tokyo, the nine-minute film is narrated throughout by the musings of these larger-than-life personalities on car culture and Japanese society, who live a real-life version of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift on the daily.

Enjoy the short film above, and check out the rest of GoPro’s cinematic offerings on YouTube.

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10 things Japan does better than anywhere else, according to the international community

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

Advertising agency Dentsu recently released the results of its annual Japan Brand Survey, in which it asks people from around the world for their opinion on the country. This year’s study involved 3,600 men and women living in 17 different countries, whose responses were used to compile a list of 10 things they feel Japan does better than anywhere else in the world.

In carrying out the survey, Dentsu spoke with people living in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, the U.S., Brazil, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Russia. All participants were between the ages of 20 and 59, with middle or upper-class incomes.

Roughly 80 percent of those questioned said they had either plans or a desire to visit Japan, a jump of more than seven percent from last year’s survey. When asked what intrigued them about Japan, the most common response was the country’s cuisine. Its numerous travel destinations, both urban and rural, came in second, and Japanese fashion rounded out the top three.

Being an advertising firm, though, Dentsu’s primary concern is with the perception of Japanese goods and services. To get a better grip on how people abroad feel about things stamped “made in Japan,” researchers asked participants what they felt Japan does better than anywhere else, resulting in the list below.

10. Video games

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It’s a sign of the times that Japan’s video game makers, who created and for years dominated the modern industry, only barely managed to crack the top 10. Still, even as overseas companies continue to make strides in the arenas of smartphone and social gaming, for some fans there’s just no substitute for a Japanese-made game.

 

9. Transportation infrastructure

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It’s telling that the list was compiled from responses from people who live outside Japan, and not in it. Residents have a number of valid complaints about the country’s narrow roads, expensive expressways, and difficult to find parking. If you’re a traveler though, or anyone else using public transportation in Japan, there’s a lot to be thankful for, as it’s hard to imagine the train and subway network being much more efficient or punctual than it already is (quibbles about service ending shortly after midnight notwithstanding).

 

8. Environmental engineering

7. Food

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No arguments here. While sushi was the dish most respondents reported eating, wanting to try, or just simply knowing about, Japanese food has a wealth of delicious dishes, ranging from subtle delicacies like tofu and lotus root to heartier fare such as ramen and the cabbage-and-pork-filled crepes called okonomiyaki.

 

6. 3D technology

5. Precision engineering

4. Cars/motorcycles

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Japan still may not be able to match Germany’s cachet in the luxury segment, and it’s facing ever-increasing pressure in the economy class from American and Korean manufacturers. That said, Japanese marques are still the go-to choice for many looking for reliably-made transportation, eco-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles, or a lightweight rear-wheel drive sports car.

 

3. Robotics

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Build a dancing robot like Honda’s ASIMO, earn a rep for robotics. Simple as that.

 

2. Anime/manga

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This one might be a bit of a linguistic technicality here. While in Japanese, the words anime and manga refer to cartoons and comics respectively, regardless of country of origin, among the international community, the terms generally refer to works made in Japan. For a lot of people, saying that Japan makes the best anime and manga is like saying Alaska produces the best Alaskan king crab.

Also, some fans are looking for completely different things from Japanese and non-Japanese animation. This makes the question of whether Japan produces “better” cartoons a tricky one to answer, sort of like asking, “Which is superior, a bicycle or an ocean freighter?” Sure, they’re both vehicles, but designed with completely different things in mind, and one isn’t really a substitute for the other.

Setting all that aside, though, if you want to see robots fighting, giant-eyed characters slowly falling in love, or some combination of the two, odds are the Japanese anime industry’s got you covered.

 

1. Audio/video electronics

Once again, Japan doesn’t have the same iron grip on this segment that it used to. Even as manufacturers from other countries offer alternatives with lower prices and passable quality, though, Japan still has the image of making some of the best-performing consumer electronics money can buy.

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Source: Niconico News

 

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10 things Japan does better than anywhere else, according to the international community

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2015 Lexus NX

 

Image of 2015 Lexus NX
Lexus has unveiled its all-new NX compact crossover automobile, strategically positioned to rival the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA models. Seemingly inspired by the Lexus IS series, the bold design aesthetic is achieved via an array of sharp angles, the brand’s familiar spindle grille, a face lift at the headlights and LED taillights.
The interior sees clean lines throughout and features long stretches of luxurious leather, complemented with either metal or wood trims. Underneath the hood is an unprecedented 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which will be the first Lexus car equipped with a turbocharger. No word yet on the vehicle’s price point, however we understand that the 2015 Lexus NX delivery will include three models – 200t, 200t F Sport and NX 300h.
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Image of 2015 Lexus NX
Image of 2015 Lexus NX
Image of 2015 Lexus NX
Video

Modified Lamborghinis: Wangan Freeway, Tokyo

A group of crazy modified Lambos speeding on Tokyo‘s famous Wangan Freeway. We also meet the owners at Daikoko Futo and interview them about what they’ve done to each car. Love ’em or hate ’em, it’s certainly not something you’ll see every day!

Video

Vossen Wheels World Tour 2014 Makes Its First Stop in Japan

Wheel specialist Vossen Wheels recently kicked off the 2014 edition of its World Tour with a first stop in Japan. Taking to the streets of historical cities including Tokyo, Hamamatsu, Yokohama and Chiba, Vossen appeared at both the Tokyo Auto Salon as well as a slew of smaller outdoor gatherings with local Vossen owners and fans.

Creative director Anthony Anderson shared his thoughts on the trip: “It’s always amazing to see so many people united by their love for automotive culture. Despite the obvious language barrier, everyone remained connected by a common bond.”

To catch some scenes from the visit, check out the video above as well as get the full rundown at VossenWheels.com.

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Japan’s rarest cars, from exotic sports coupes to Toyota’s answer to the Hummer

RC 14

 

RocketNews 24: 

 

For decades, the automobile industry has been one of the driving forces behind the Japanese economy. But for every Camry, Civic, or Miata that went on to international success, Japan’s carmakers have produced a model that came and went so quickly that you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s even seen one on the street, let alone actually driven one.

Today, we present a field guide to Japan’s rarest, most frequently forgotten rides.

1. Toyota Sera

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Leading off is Toyota’s Sera, which given its design cues had a surprisingly long four-year run. Not only did this coupe feature a glass roof, it also came with Lamborghini-esque scissor doors, ensuring that the driver would always attract the attention of birds flying overheard and anyone in the parking lot. Unfortunately, the Sera also featured lackluster performance and handling, and the disharmony of its “look-at-me” styling and absence of driving fun has resulted in it largely fading from memory.

2. Daihatsu Leeza Spider

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The engineers at Daihatsu who decided to tinker with the company’s Leeza Spider thankfully had the common sense not to give it a glass roof like the Sera. Unfortunately, their wisdom didn’t extend to picking a better car to chop the top off of than the dry as a piece of week-old white bread Leeza hatchback.

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Needless to say, the open-top version was even more short-lived than the standard Leeza, which only stuck around for seven years.

3. Suzuki X-90

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Daihatsu isn’t alone in the club of poor convertible decisions, as Suzuki’s corporate history carries the stain of the X-90. With proportions so awkward your first instinct when looking at a picture is to assume the image is warped, the X-90 sought to combine the unentertaining ride height of an SUV with the lack of practicality and luggage space of a compact roadster. The result was a two-seater with one seat more than it needed, as finding anyone willing to ride in the passenger seat of the X-90 was a difficult task.

4. Mazda AZ-1 / Suzuki Cara

RC 5

Mazda went all out with the AZ-1. Despite falling into Japan’s lightweight kei jidousha class of cars, the AZ-1, with its gull-wing doors and engine mounted behind the pilot, was built to squeeze every last drop of fun and excitement out of a car in the compact category. Unfortunately, the AZ-1 hit showrooms just about the time the bottom fell out of Japan’s Bubble Economy of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and the car was a sales disaster.

RC 6

The Cara, a rebadged version of the car from Suzuki (which supplied the engine for the AZ-1), didn’t fare any better. The only apparent justification for the Cara’s higher sticket price versus its Mazda cousin was a switch to manually turn its fog lights on and off, and the Cara bowed out after just three years and a paltry 533 units sold.

5. Mazda Eunos Cosmo

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The AZ-1 wasn’t the only time the exuberance of Mazda’s designers won out against its accountants’ restraint. Its Cosmo luxury coupe, powered by the first, and only, triple-rotor engine the company has offered in one of its road-going cars, was initially hoped to be the flagship of its planned overseas luxury brand Amati. Instead, the Cosmo, with gas mileage similar to that of a Lamborghini but without the performance or panache to justify it, sold so poorly in Japan that the financial damage contributed to Mazda’s decision to scrap the Amati project entirely.

6. Mitsubishi Debonair V Limousine

RC 8

Mitsubishi got similarly overambitious with its Debonair V Limousine, which was offered in both “European Style” and “American Style,” with the latter featuring a faux convertible top and blacked-out windows.

Despite the clear effort and thought put into pleasing both metallic-roof loving Europeans and visibility-hating Americans, designers overlooked one critical item: the whole point of a limousine is to show others you have enough money that you don’t have to ride around in a Mitsubishi.

7. Toyota Origin

RC 9

Not even Japan’s largest automaker is immune to occasionally overestimating the appeal of its nameplate. The Origin, offered for only the 2000 model year, was designed to look almost exactly like Toyota’s Crown sedan of the 1950s, the first model the company exported.

A closer look at history would have revealed this was an inauspicious model to ape, though, as the 1950s Crown was a colossal failure in the international market, with performance well below what overseas buyers demanded. The Origin’s 7,000,000 yen (US $70,000) price tag was also a bold choice for a car powered by a measly 220 horsepower, and the limited edition Origin’s production run ended after Toyota found roughly a thousand drivers willing to bite on the initial batch.

8. Toyota Comfort GTZ Supercharger

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Toyota didn’t skimp at all on content with this model, though, as it tossed a supercharger, lightweight wheels, new front fascia, and lip spoiler on its Comfort sedan. Unfortunately, even all this wasn’t enough to overcome the Comfort’s image as a car for taxi companies and driving schools. Despite the potential for a great sleeper performance car, the public’s response was simply sleepy, making this tuned variant a rare sight.

9. Toyota Sprinter Trueno Convertible

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Another sporty Toyota that failed to catch on was this open-topped conversion of the fabled AE86 “Hachi Roku” Corolla fastback. Offered only through Toyota Tama dealers and with a price tag approaching double that of the hardtop it was based on, we can see why it never sold in big numbers. Nonetheless, excuse us as we shed a tear at all the open-air drifting we aren’t doing.

10. Toyota Mega Cruiser

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It’s pretty easy to make the analogy that Toyota is the General Motors of Japan, what with the long history and broad appeal to domestic buyers the companies share. Something else the two have in common is that much like GM offered the Hummer, a civilian version of the military Humvee, Toyota took the all-terrain vehicle it built for the Japanese Self Defense Force and produced a street-legal version called the Mega Cruiser. Given Japan’s narrow roads, tiny parking spaces, and expensive gas, you’re as likely to see a tank on the road as a 2,850-kilogram (6,270 lb.) Mega Cruiser.

11. Mitsuoka Orochi

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Finally, how about not just a car model that’s rare, but an entire manufacturer many people don’t know exists? While Mitsuoka’s started off as a boutique automaker that re-skinned Nissans in more eye-catching sheet metal, in 2007 the company released its own original creation, the Orochi. Despite its exotic looks, the Orochi is outfitted with the same engine that powers Toyota’s Land Cruiser SUV, which at just 220 horsepower produces far less thrust than that of the Italian exotics it’s clearly gunning for in the styling department. Still, for road presence and uniqueness it’s hard to top the Orochi, which appears on public roads only slightly more often than the mythical eight-headed serpent for which it’s named.

Sources: Naver MatomeCar Sensor

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Japan’s rarest cars, from exotic sports coupes to Toyota’s answer to the Hummer

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Hyundai taps Google Glass compatibility to boost sales

 

Wall Street Journal: 

Hyundai Motor Co. is hoping to further raise its appeal to tech-savvy customers with a new app that allows owners to interact with their vehicles remotely through Google Glass and potentially other wearable devices.

Among the features being launched with Hyundai’s all-new 2015 Genesis, owners will be able to use their wearable device to remotely start a car’s engine, unlock and even to locate the vehicle, according to the South Korean carmaker. Hyundai will start selling the Genesis to U.S. customers this spring.

Meanwhile, push notifications through the wearable device will alert drivers when maintenance is needed and allow quick service scheduling, the company said.

Wearables are a great way to extend the experience outside of the vehicle by leveraging these small screens to quickly access remote features and deliver timely vehicle information,” said Barry Ratzlaff an executive director at Hyundai Motor America.

Just how the new app functions was showcased this week just ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hyundai said.  The new software follows other mobile apps already on offer by Hyundai for driver-car interaction.

While the CES has traditionally been the stage of electronics giants, the show is expected to embrace a broader pool of industry topics this year with an increasing number of auto names crashing the event this year. Analysts say that the roles of automakers and electronics firms may become blurred going forward, especially if electric cars play a more central role in the auto industry.

Samsung Electronics Co. has filed a number of patent applications in the U.S. and South Korea that cover technology that could be adopted in electric vehicles, though the company has denied any interest to enter the car market.

Hyundai’s move to jazz up its flagship sedan, the Genesis, with a suite of technology and connectivity features comes as it struggles to improve its weak image in the global market for premium cars. To boost sales, the company has sold the Genesis luxury sedan at a discount to many of its Japanese and European rivals.

The price for the existing Genesis sedan starts at $35,200 in the U.S., according to the company. The Lexus ES350 starts at $36,470 and the BMW 5 series starts at $49,500. Pricing details have yet to be disclosed for the 2015 Genesis.

The new Genesis also faces a crowd of competitors in the market for larger, luxury sedans in the U.S., a segment where sales growth has been flat in 2013. Additionally, Hyundai’s Genesis will also compete against its ultraluxury sister, the Hyundai Equus, which looks similar to the Genesis but is equipped with more luxury features and starts at $61,000.

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Hyundai taps Google Glass compatibility to boost sales

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2015 Subaru WRX STI Preview

 

Image of 2015 Subaru WRX STI Preview
Ahead of its public debut at the Detroit Auto Show comes the first look at the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX STI. Decked out in Subaru’s signature look of royal blue with golden wheels – not to mention a massive rear wing – the WRX STI is expected to make use of a turbocharged 2.5-liter boxer four capable of about 300 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. As it’s part of the STI family, expect the usual accoutrements like upgraded breaks and a tuned suspension over that of the base WRX.
Stay tuned for a further look at the latest WRX, including more concrete specs and pricing info, following next week’s premiere.
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Image of 2015 Subaru WRX STI Preview
Image of 2015 Subaru WRX STI Preview
Image of 2015 Subaru WRX STI Preview