RECAP: A DIGEST OF RECENT TOYOTA NEWS

Missed out on the news? Catch up here and click the links to access the full stories and pictures.

Toyota’s summer of new product launches draws closer and in preparation for what promises to be one of the busiest seasons the company has known, prices and specifications have been released for four new models.

The quartet of the GT86 2+2 sports coupe, Yaris Hybrid, Prius+ seven-seat full hybrid MPV and Prius Plug-in demonstrates Toyota’s impressive breadth of engineering and technology, from classic sports car handling to next-generation hybrid power. The future of hybrid is also at the heart of a new agreement between Toyota and BMW to collaborate on research into lithium-ion battery technology.

The new arrivals will add further momentum to Toyota’s positive sales figures, revealed in the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The popularity of Toyota models is further demonstrated in a 1-2-3clean sweep in the “best running costs” category of Auto Express magazine’s 2012 Driver Power satisfaction survey. Not only did Aygo, Prius and iQ take the top the three rankings, the second generation Prius claimed fifth place, too. And on the subject of awards, Toyota was named “greenest manufacturer” by Fleet News and Avensis Tourer the best family estate in Parker’s new car awards.

On the sporting front, pictures have been released of the two GT86 Gazoo Racing will be entering in the Nürburgring 24 Hours in May. Meanwhile in the UK the trio of Toyota independents competing in the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship experienced a tough time in the season-opening meeting at Brands Hatch, but with positive signs for better results to come.Toyota has also announced its continued support for grassroots motor sport in the UK by sponsoring this year’s MR2 Championship and Toyota Sprint Series.

The redoubtable Hilux has been proving its extraordinary toughness in extreme environments again, covering thousands of miles across Antarctica– without once breaking down.

Across the Atlantic, the New York International Auto Show provided the forum for the world debut of the new Toyota Avalon, the latest generation of the American large saloon that has been designed at the Calty studio in California. On the wilder side of styling, Toyota Racing in the USA has revealed the Scion FR-S Speedster, an open-top sports car study based on GT86.

In manufacturing news, Toyota has announced the start of production of the Fortuner SUV in Egypt. In Europe the TCPA plant in the Czech Republic, home to Aygo production, has celebrated building its two millionth car.