Episode 988 – Are You Waku Doki? Fuel Ac-Cell-eration, Toyota is Smashing

October 9th, 2012 at 11:40am

Runtime: 7:04

Toyota’s chairman says he won’t approve any new models that are not waku waku doki doki. What does that mean? Find out. Four major companies agree to accelerate the pace of fuel cell development and infrastructure. Toyota makes good on damaged cars in recent protests. All that and more, plus Andrew Justus has Autoline’s first look at Ford’s new dedicated hybrid, the C-MAX.

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Welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.

Toyota introduced the automotive world to words like Kaizen, which means constant improvement, and poke yoka, which means mistake proofing. But those don’t sound nearly as funny as waku waku doki doki. That loosely translates into an over-brimming heartbeat. The whole idea is that when you see a new Toyota your heart beat races up. And they’re dead serious about it. It may sound funny to us but Akio Toyoda, the chairman of the company says he will not approve any new model unless it has the feeling of waku waku doki doki. Me? I just love the way it sounds.

Want to know why car sales are the one bright spot in the American market? Because banks are more than willing to extend car loans. Mike Jackson, the CEO of Autonation, says that’s because during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, car payments became the Number One priority payment for households. They would make their monthly car payments ahead of their mortgage payments, their credit card bills and even their children’s education. With that kind of prioritization, banks feel comfortable extending more car loans, and that’s why the automotive market is one of the few bright spots in the American economy.

Fuel cell cars just took a big step forward. Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai all signed a memorandum of understanding with a group representing Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark, to support and accelerate the introduction of fuel cell vehicles and a hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the countries between 2014 and 2017.

Chinese car buyers sure like a lot of back seat leg room. So the Chinese version of the Ford EcoSport will get a longer wheelbase. It’s only 40mm longer than the Latin American, Indian, and European models, that’s about an inch and half, but I guess that’s enough. The elongated EcoSport will feature the 1.5L but it will also get a 1.0 liter turbo engine in 2013 when Ford completes it’s engine plant in Chongqing.

And the Chinese version of the Cadillac XTS will offer either a turbocharged 2.0L or a 3.0L V6. The U.S. version, by comparison, gets a 3.6 liter V-6.

Speaking of China, Toyota announced it will compensate owners of vehicles that had been smashed or damaged by protesters angry over those islands that China and Japan are squabbling about. FAW Toyota will also offer subsidies of nearly $3,200 to purchase a new vehicle.

(The Ford C-MAX Hybrid overview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

Don’t forget to join me and Peter De Lorenzo, that bodacious Autoextremist, this Thursday night for Autoline After Hours. One of the topics we’ll be covering is the kind of fuels we might be using in our cars in the not too distant future. That’s because our guest will be Candace Wheeler, one of GM’s top fuel experts. So join us this Thursday starting at 6PM ET at Autoline.tv

And that wraps up today’s report, join us again here tomorrow.

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24 Comments to “Episode 988 – Are You Waku Doki? Fuel Ac-Cell-eration, Toyota is Smashing”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Mr Toyoda has gone wacko wacko IMO. Constant improvement? really? everyone in the auto business knows that Toyota has been going constantly downhill since the 90′s when they peaked with their Camry and Corolla and Tercel and trucks and like Honda, have been descending into automotive mediocrity ever since. Who is he fooling with all this doki pokey crap!

  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    “You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in (and you all know the rest); just marketing. Will it work? Now that’s the question (but I’m siding with pedro on this one).

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Bank loans comment: makes sense, if you loose the car then you loose the ‘tool’ that makes the rest of the payments possible.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It sounds like Mr. Toyoda wants to do Hyundai-like styling, or some such thing.

    If they want to go out on a limb, I think a Camry hatch shaped like a Prius would be a great idea. It would have great utility, and would get at least 10% better mpg on the interstate than today’s Camry. Yeah, some people wouldn’t like the looks, but that doesn’t keep Prius from consistantly selling 100K+ a year in the U.S.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    The story of the auto loans taking precedent over other things is indeed disturbing, I was always taught that a roof over your head and food on the table besides an education were the most important things in life, not the transportation needed to get around, the fact that so many people in places like NY don’t eve won a car is proof of this.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree. If one is on a tight budget, a new car should be the last priority. Some places, you almost need a car, but it certainly doesn’t need to be a new one “bought” with lots of borrowed money.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, remember Camry had a hatch in the first gen, I don’t think it sold very well at all. The wagon was a bit more successful.

  8. C-Tech Says:

    We will see if Woki-Woki Doki-Doki is oki-doki with the U.S. market. Toyota did do okay borrowing conservative design elements from GM and Benz, and solid reliabilty.

    If Toyota is helping out Chinese owners of Toyotas, maybe we can get them to help out Pedro ? Where that Facebook campaign?

    There is a lot riding on the C-Max, good luck Ford.

  9. C-Tech Says:

    @ #5 and #6 I think many people understand your sentiments, just keep in mind, for a lot of people the value of their homes is underwater, alot of people put other things ahead of their children’s education (I worked with a manager making over 100K who was in a funk because his son could not get a scholarship because they made too much money. This guy and his wife owned 2 homes, snowmobiles, and part-owner of a yacht) is nothing new, so putting the car payment 1st is not unusual. It is terribly expensive to own a car in N.Y.C. even when it is not moving, but at least there is good public transport, not so good in a lot of other cities.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    #8 yeah I’m down with that! maybe they want to prove me wrong about the new Toyotas not being as good as the stuff from 2 yrs ago, prove it to me Mr Toyoda, woki woki doki doki or whatever you call it!

  11. W L Simpson Says:

    waku waku etc. funny sound, serious meaning,
    & always the goal of every designer who ever lived.

  12. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #5 and #6……..loans and priorities

    My comment was to reflect the need of the vehicle to ‘get to work’ or for work; no transportation, no income. I’m sure there are/were a lot of scenarios concerning payment of what first/last/priority; just that circumstances can be wide and varied, and with people living in the suburbs (or even out in the country) if you’ve got to commute (that’s what you do).

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    I fall into the category where I use my car to get to my cases so I can do my job, however, we get no car expense or allowance of any kind, I put on too many miles to lease and I’ve seen others who do my work regret spending money on a new car only to have it worth poppycock just a couple of years after purchase due to all the miles or to lease and then have to take a big loss at the time when they surrendered the car, only wise thing is to buy an older car and just keep it running and pray you don’t have any big repairs.

  14. Jim Thykeson Says:

    Scandanavia is serious about SAVING their planet! Statoil and Royal Dutch Shell don’t call the shots in these ‘socialist’ countries; the gov’t. does! We in America are controlled by ‘big-oil’ read Exxon-Mobil & Chevron- Texaco, so we will be the last to the new fuel dance! Hydrogen is so damm cheap it should be considered ecological treason not to go there! Car companies are ready. Hell, they’ve been ready since WW11 with the ‘multi-fueled duece and a halfs!

  15. Dale Leonard,Lakewood,Oh Says:

    Here’s the major problem with extended car loans. An American buyer will finance for 72 months. But we tire of the car around the 60th month. Then when we go to trade it in we’re in the ditch which then gets added into the new car purchase putting us further and further behind. It’s not like in the 40′s or 50′s when a person drove the car until the wheels fell off then bought a new one.

  16. Charles Domanski Says:

    #15 As an American car and truck buyer, I have to tell you I do not get tired of my car or truck after 4 or 5 years. My car is now over seven years old, and I still like it very much. Now my truck is twelve years old and I really love driving it even though it gets the worst gas mileage of any vehicle I have ever owned. I like the sound of my truck and even if I wanted another new truck, there is nothing out there I consider that much better then my old truck. So why would I want to spend a ton of money on another new truck or even a new car. My car has a total of 33,627 miles on it. And my truck has a total of 58,810 miles on it. The car has been flawless. Very little on the truck had to be changed. I will drive these vehicles until the wheels fall off.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Every time I consider dumping the ole Crapola and I remember the monthly payments plus the increase of insurance premiums, I stop and think how much more I enjoy dining out with my people and taking those jaunts to Disney with my little nieces and how I will miss out on it by having to spend my money on new or almost new wheels, then I stop myself and keep on bumping along with the old lady.

  18. HtG Says:

    you’ve got my support, Pedro. From my own experience, once I stopped getting such a kick out of the Miata it made sense to let it go to a young guy that coveted it. And my Civic is in good enough shape I don’t see why I shouldn’t drive it another 10 years. Dang good car, and no driver aids beyond power steering and synchromesh gears.(I won’t do more than whisper to you about the recent recall notice I received for a faulty headlight switch)

  19. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    I feel the biggest reason that auto loans have become a priority is that if you are even considering bankruptcy the first thing they will tell you to do is stop paying your mortgage. I think it takes 13 months to foreclose and evict you from your home after your last patment (you have all the time in between to try to restructure or find a new place) I think it is three or four months before your car gets repo’ed if you stop paying. I think there are many people today that figure if they keep the new car payment up to date they will have somethng reliable until they get credit back after a bankruptcy.

  20. XA351GT Says:

    I had a look at the new C-Max a week ago. It’s a very nice vehicle if your looking for something like that. My sister is interested in one. As she said” It’s a lot better looking than the Prius” She’s not a fan of the Hey look at me I’m a eco warrior styling on the Prius. My own take is I hate the Prius styling and the Insight gen 1 and Gen 2 . If you have to style a car like it came out of Star Wars just to get attention. I think it’s like a kid misbehaving just to get their parents attention. Let the effiency speak for itself.
    I saw a new 2013 Fusion this weekend in person. Wow that is a nice car . great style inside and out and with the drivetrain choices I think Ford has a Camry killer on it’s hands. Unless of of course you prefer driving a toaster. Toyota pick up your game and style your cars like you care. You had great cars in the past. The 76-77 Celica , The 81 Supra. the mid 70s Toyota pick ups even looked great. Funny how the 2 biggest japanese companys are so polar opposite in styling but both miss the mark widely. Toyota Bland and Boring, Nissan ridiculously over styled.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A Prius looks like it does because that shape reduces aero drag by about 20-25% compared to a “normal” car. I like it, because, to me, beauty is as beauty does. A lot of people seem to think that shape is to make a statement, but it’s not. It is to reduce aero drag.

    The local dealer got their first C-Max a few days ago. I’ll be interesting in hearing what mpg it gets in real world driving, but the EPA numbers are impressive.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #20 continued,
    If Toyota “misses the mark widely” with the Camry, why has Camry been the best selling car for the last umpteen years?

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ditto for Corolla, despite it’s archaic engine and tranny it outsells the new kids on the block with their 6 speeds and double clutch and direct injection iffy technology.

  24. XA351GT Says:

    Well Kit I can only say that I guess styling isn’t as important to Camry buyers as it is to me. I’m all for dependable cars , but why make them so blah? Hyundai has nice styling confident enough in them to warrant them for 10 years . So why can’t the big T? Like I said earlier bizarre styling isn’t nessasary either ie. Nissan. They have some of the most butt ugly styled vehicles out there. and then they have the 370Z nad the GTR which look great. The Leaf, the Juke , are 2 of the worst designs this side of the Aztec.