Toyota to Work on Large Fuel Efficient Cars

by : KatieJones

The United States auto market is known for the demand for larger vehicles like sport utility vehicles and even full-size sedans. In fact, American motorists are still looking for larger cars to drive even with the increasing price of gasoline. This makes the auto market even more competitive. Since consumers are also looking for fuel efficient cars, they still want bigger sized cars and vehicles.

Car manufacturers need to focus their attention to developing and producing large vehicles with good fuel efficiency. This is already addressed by different car manufacturers. In fact, a top official for the surging Toyota Motor Corporation said that the pressure will be on automotive engineers to come up with a vehicle that will both address the size of the vehicle and the fuel economy issue.

David Baxter, a Senior Executive Administrator of the Toyota Technical Center located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said and emphasized on the demand of the auto market particularly in the North America. He said that consumers are looking for bigger sized vehicles and it would be the job of automotive engineers to come up with a vehicle that will satisfy their needs while meeting stricter emission regulations and support the United State's energy independence goal.

During the Society of Automotive Engineers annual convention, Baxter said: "Especially in North America, people like the size of their vehicles, and there's going to be a lot of pressure to maintain the size for safety and improve fuel economy."

Aside from the size, Baxter also pointed out that consumers will also be looking for vehicles loaded with safety features to go along with size and fuel economy. But he stressed that that does not mean that the vehicles of the near future will not be all hybrids or small cars.

Baxter is of course part of Toyota which is known for their vehicles' fuel efficiency. The company is currently enjoying much success in the U.S. auto market. The Japanese company's success is mainly due to strong sales of their efficient cars like the Toyota Corolla and the Toyota Camry. Add to that the fast selling fuel miser that is the Prius. These vehicles are seen as more fuel efficient that the sedans manufactured by General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, the U.S.' Big Three.

The current challenge for them is to develop a large vehicle with an incredibly high gas mileage rating for its class. The Toyota Avalon, Toyota's entry to the full-size sedan market, is also considered as one of the most fuel efficient vehicles in its class. The Toyota Avalon was designed at Toyota's technical center where Baxter is currently the administrator.

While Toyota recently release a hybrid version of the mid-size Camry sedan, Baxter did not divulge at the convention whether Toyota will be offering a hybrid version of the Avalon. Instead, Baxter has this to say about the issue: "It's likely there will be more hybrid vehicles or more hybrid powertrains available in our models in the future."

In connection with the challenge posed on automotive engineers, Toyota will be expanding their technical center at Ann Arbor. This is to help the company design more fuel efficient and bigger sized cars, which according to Baxter, are what the public is looking for. Baxter also furthermore reported that the technical center has already hired 780 persons and Toyota is planning to add 500 more engineers to assist in the whole development process.

The planned new technical center will be tasked to design vehicles that will meet the demand of North American consumers meaning larger cars with good fuel economy and a Toyota logo just above the . He said that the new plant is expected to help the company as their U.S. business expands more in the next several years.

Although Baxter maintained that Toyota will be putting in effort on the development of larger and fuel efficient vehicles, he also pointed out that in the near future, even a company as large as theirs or maybe even General Motors will be joining forces with other car manufacturers. He said that the development of safety features, fuel efficient technologies, and other issues will be more cost efficient if a partnership with other automakers is made.