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Toyota Reveals Plan to Revamp Engine Lineup

Toyota Motor Corp. has unseated General Motors Corp. as the world's biggest carmaker last year instead of in 2007, as industry observers have earlier predicted.

Detroit-based weekly Automotive News, whose data centre publishes a widely quoted ranking of the world's automakers, said Japan's top carmaker outsold GM by about 128,000 units last year based on a technicality that excludes sales of vehicles at minority-held subsidiaries.

It is now the world's current number one automaker, but Toyota - maker of top of the line Toyota oxygen sensor -- is not about to rest on its laurels.

On Tuesday announced the development of new engine technology that promises to mark a major step in the evolution of the gas engine. The giant Japanese automaker confirmed that it plans to completely revamp its gasoline engine and transmission lineup by the end of the decade.

The move comes in the middle of the domestic automakers' frantic scrambling to come up with new, more competitive global engines, with Chrysler Group's new Phoenix family of V6 engines being a major case in point. A report from Inside Line is saying that diesels may be a component of the future engine and transmission lineup for Toyota.

Toyota on Tuesday introduced a next-generation engine valve mechanism called "Valvematic" that according to the company improves fuel efficiency by 5-10 percent, and reduces CO2 emissions and boosts output by at least 10 percent. The automaker said it will "introduce Valvematic shortly, starting with a new vehicle model featuring a 2.0-liter engine."

Toyota said Valvematic "further evolves the gasoline engine" by not only paying attention to green concerns but by also "enhancing acceleration responsiveness.

The company's plans to produce more technologically advanced, environmentally vehicles are as released in a company news release, involve:

Revamping of entire gasoline engine and transmission lineup
TMC plans to completely revamp its gasoline engine and transmission lineup by 2010 in an effort that started with the development of a new type of V6 engine in 2003. As part of this effort, a new 1.8-liter gasoline engine (see below for details) and continuously variable transmission have been developed as the main powertrain for Toyota compact and midsize passenger vehicles. This new powertrain-to be introduced in new-model vehicles due out in the fall of 2006-is intended to reduce CO2 emissions through high fuel efficiency and to achieve cleaner exhaust emissions.
TMC achieved the Japanese government's 2010 fuel efficiency standards in all weight categories of Toyota vehicles ahead of schedule in 2005.

As a target for 2010, TMC aims to achieve emissions levels that are 75% lower than the 2005 emissions standards*3 and to exceed the level called for by the Japanese 2010 fuel efficiency standards by 10% or more for most passenger vehicle.

Making hybrid vehicles more widespread and developing new technologies

TMC aims to make hybrid vehicles more widespread by doubling the number of hybrid models by the early years of the 2010s.

TMC will advance its research and development of plug-in hybrid vehicles (which can be charged from an external power source and provide electricity) and is currently working on a next-generation vehicle that can extend the distance traveled by the electric motor alone and that is expected to have a significant effect on reducing CO2 and helping to abate atmospheric pollution.

Initiatives toward the diversification of energy sources
Regarding TMC's introduction of bioethanol-compatible vehicles, TMC has achieved the technology necessary to allow all TMC gasoline engines to run reliably on gasoline with 10 percent bioethanol content. TMC plans to introduce to the Brazilian market (where bioethanol fuel is widely used) flex-fuel vehicles*4 that can run on 100 percent ethanol in the spring of 2007. For the United States, TMC is considering introducing flex-fuel vehicles in consideration of policies to promote bioethanol fuels.

TMC plans to further its development of fuel cell passenger vehicles and has successfully reduced by a large margin the time required for sub-zero fuel-cell-system startup and has achieved system startup at minus 30 degrees Celsius.

Toyota is definitely in top fighting form.

About The Author Zeke Gervis has a degree in Human Resource Management. He is an F1 fanatic and is a collector of racing memorabilias. At present, he enjoys working at a consulting firm in Iowa.
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