Japan Toyota

Drifting reaches the NYT

Drifting is another data point to support the “Cool Japan” thesis.

Since that first parking-lot event, Irwindale has offered events and exhibitions by the top Japanese drifters, including the 2004 Formula Drift Grand Prix in August, which drew a standing-room-only crowd of more than 8,000.
In the final round of Formula Drift, Dai was pitted against Rhys Millen for the top prize. Mr. Millen, a former world-rally car driver, and his car have shaken up the American drifting scene this year.
Dai learned to drift in the Japanese mountains, where the sport began. His Nissan Silvia is a favorite of Japanese drifters, a rear-wheel-drive compact car with an engine tweaked to add horsepower. General Motors sponsors Mr. Millen. His Pontiac GTO, with its growling V-8 engine and bright orange-yellow paint job, has been a lightning rod in drifting as people struggle with the idea of allowing big American metal to compete against traditional Japanese sport-compact cars.

The sport’s backers say that drifting, American style, has the opportunity to marry the grass-roots appeal it has in Japan with American commercialism. Drifting is still new enough, however, that a great driver can come from anywhere and take a championship. That is the dream for many drivers taking to the Irwindale track.

If You Like Driving Sideways, Drift With Me []
Previous posts on the topic of Cool Japan are here:
July 2003 – Cool Japan Marches on
Aug. 2003 – Is Japan Cool?
Dec. 2003 – Japan’s empire of cool


SUVs are more deadly

Darwin at work.

People driving or riding in a sport utility vehicle in 2003 were nearly 11 percent more likely to die in an accident than people in cars, the figures show.

The traffic safety agency reported last week that there were 16.42 deaths of S.U.V. occupants in accidents last year for every 100,000 registered S.U.V.’s. The figure for passenger cars was 14.85 deaths for each 100,000 registered; pickups were slightly higher than cars at 15.17 deaths per 100,000, while vans were lowest at 11.2 occupant deaths for every 100,000 registered.

Moral of the statistics? Minivans are safest. Imagine that.


crash test: Mini vs. F150

My god… if you drive an F150, you ought to reconsider it immediately. This is so incredibly horrible.
Crash Testing: MINI Cooper vs Ford F150


Toyota, unbelievable

Toyota seems unstoppable these days.

…Toyota reported $10.2 billion in earnings for its latest fiscal year, which ended in March, the most ever made in a single year by a Japanese company.
Toyota made more than General Motors, Ford Motor and DaimlerChrysler combined. In fact, its earnings were more than double the combined earnings of those companies in their most recent fiscal years.

An impressive company no matter what the metric. I look back on my time at Toyota fondly.


Toyota Volta Hybrid

WOW. Toyota’s newest hybrid is a sports car, with 408 horsepower, 100 km/liter, 0-100km in 4 seconds, 3 seat, carries both an electric engine and a 3.3L V6, designed by Giugiaro/ItalDesign.
AutoWeek – 2004 Geneva: Hybrid-powered Toyota coupe has Italian flair