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From dealerships to digital whips: How car buying is evolving with Volkswagen

Over the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an impetus for a virtual revolution across all industries. More than ever before, Americans find themselves not only working and socializing online but making major purchases as well. As clothing, electronics and furniture sales are adapting to a virtual society, so are car…

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Over the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an impetus for a virtual revolution across all industries. More than ever before, Americans find themselves not only working and socializing online but making major purchases as well. As clothing, electronics and furniture sales are adapting to a virtual society, so are car sales.

This shift coincides with an influx of new and potential car buyers, needing alternatives to public transportation, returning to work or commuting for a new job. Today, car buying has – and will continue to – transform to meet a growing virtual demand. A perfect example is the unique approach behind the ID.4, Volkswagen’s new, all-electric SUV.

Since the start of the new year, Americans have explored and purchased the Volkswagen ID.4 EV in modern and cutting-edge ways. Pinterest, a site where people are typically inspired to buy items, soon became a place where people could also experience them with the introduction of an interactive driving simulation Volkswagen launched on the platform. This 360-degree view provided car buyers the ability to virtually test drive the ID.4 and subsequently make informed purchasing decisions – all from the comfort of their homes.

“While life as we knew it rapidly changed, our customers still needed vehicles that delivered a fun and satisfying driving experience,” said Hein Schafer, senior vice president of product marketing and strategy at Volkswagen. “It was a trying time for everyone, but we saw an opportunity to reimagine the car buying experience to match the real-world demands of customers.”

Car buyers, enthusiasts and dealers once convened at public auto shows to present new and classic cars, but as the ID.4 debuted during the height of the pandemic, there needed to be an alternative way to introduce it to the public. In December 2020, Volkswagen launched a virtual, augmented reality (AR) showroom that brought auto shows into the homes of car buyers. Now, potential customers can visualize the VW ID.4 EV in their driveway or garage and scrutinize it from almost any angle.

On the heels of creating two experimental ways of digitalizing the car buying experience, Volkswagen also sought to revamp the administrative side of things. Volkswagen Credit was the first in the industry to work with a major dealer service provider to implement remote contracting tools such as Sign Anywhere. These tools reimagine the financing process and allow consumers to securely fill out paperwork and sign on the dotted line from anywhere – on a mobile device or computer – instead of stepping inside a dealership.

Meanwhile, showrooms will continue to adapt and integrate new virtual platforms into their existing structures. “We know that, for many customers, testing everything – from visibility to dashboard layout – is a crucial aspect of the car buying process,” says Schafer. “That’s why we leveraged tools like AR and 360-degree panoramas to provide car buyers with as realistic of testing and viewing experiences as digitally possible.”

As Americans advocate to maintain the newfound convenience and accessibility that comes with an increasingly digital landscape, the future of car buying is clear. We can expect Volkswagen, along with our dealers and the broader automobile industry, to continue to push the envelope by seeking and executing new ways to leverage virtual tools to modernize everyday tasks.

“We strive to continuously move with the needs of car buyers,” says Schafer. “As the challenges presented over the past year required industry innovation, we met customers with novel and engaging approaches to car buying that will only expand in the future.”

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Where can I charge my car?

‘Where can I charge my car? ‘ is one of the most common questions asked by EV and PHEV drivers, especially when venturing into unfamiliar areas. The following information will provide clear answers to that question, and will also direct Toyota owners to Toyota products and services that can assist you along the way.Where can…

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Where can I charge my car? ‘ is one of the most common questions asked by EV and PHEV drivers, especially when venturing into unfamiliar areas. The following information will provide clear answers to that question, and will also direct Toyota owners to Toyota products and services that can assist you along the way.

Where can I charge my car? – Public charging

Did you know there are almost four times as many charging points in the UK than traditional fuel stations? These 32,000 individual points are distributed over almost 20,000 locations, and their number is currently increasing at a rate of around 30% a year.

But whereas traditional fuel station forecourts are readily visible from the road, public charging points are not always so easy to spot. Travel that involves public charging may therefore require a little forward planning.

The Toyota Public Charging Network offers more than 150,000 charging points throughout Europe

Toyota has also developed a Europe-wide network of public charging points that can be accessed through the Toyota Public Charging Network. More than 150,000 points are clearly displayed on the network website (see screen grab above), which has useful search and zoom functions to enable visitors to zone in on any specific area (see screen grab below). Further information is provided on each station’s immediate availability, charging speed and price per kWh.

Specific locations can be typed into the top left search box, and you can zoom into each area with the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons in the bottom right

Subscribers to the Toyota Public Charging Network can access the same information through their MyT connected services app. But they also benefit from a convenient charging solution that requires just one contract and a single charging card, irrespective of the company supplying electricity from the public charger. Payment is made via a single monthly invoice.

Some satellite navigation systems can display a list of the nearest public charging stations and how far they are from your location. Alternatively, smartphone apps such as Zap-Map allow you to search for public charging points, plan longer journeys, pay on participating networks and share updates with fellow EV drivers.

See more: Searchable website map of the Toyota Public Charging Network

Home charging

What if your travel plans are less ambitious and you are confident that you will be able to return home without needing to top-up on route? In this instance, charging your EV or PHEV at home usually represents the most straightforward and cost-effective means of replenishing your vehicle’s battery.

The battery packs in electrified vehicles can always be topped-up using any domestic three-pin socket, but as this method delivers a maximum of 2.2kW per hour it is the slowest method of charging. Where possible, Toyota recommends the installation of a dedicated home charging system, which can supply electricity to the battery at a higher rate of up to 7.4kW.

Toyota has partnered with British Gas to offer UK customers a complete home charger installation service. Prices for this begin at £939 and includes the recommended charger, installation and VAT. A government fund is also available to help homeowners living in flats or rented accommodation install a home charging point.

Learn more: What is the Toyota Public Charging Network?

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2023 Toyota Corolla reviews: the first media drives

The finishing touches are currently being applied to the 2023 Toyota Corolla, which among many other changes will debut the fifth-generation of our world-leading, full hybrid petrol-electric powertrain. Members of the national motoring press were recently invited to test pre-production prototypes in both Hatchback and Touring Sports guise, including back-to-back comparisons with current 1.8-litre models.…

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The finishing touches are currently being applied to the 2023 Toyota Corolla, which among many other changes will debut the fifth-generation of our world-leading, full hybrid petrol-electric powertrain. Members of the national motoring press were recently invited to test pre-production prototypes in both Hatchback and Touring Sports guise, including back-to-back comparisons with current 1.8-litre models. What did they think of this thoroughly refreshed model? What were their 2023 Toyota Corolla reviews?

Below is a selection of excerpts from their online reviews, which include a numerical rating where applicable. To read the full reports, simply click on the emboldened links.

2023 Toyota Corolla reviews:

“The latest refinement benefits… particularly the 1.8 Hybrid. For 2023, it’s getting a 24bhp boost to 138bhp, for a 0-62mph sprint of 9.2sec. The point of the exercise is not so much to make the entry-level Corolla a fast car, but more to improve drivability.

“Toyota has also recalibrated the drive modes. [In Eco mode] the updated car… makes better use of the increased potency of the electric motor and waits for longer before it has the engine working. That makes the car feel more relaxed without noticeably compromising performance. At anything less than full throttle, the gearbox will build in some shift points and avoid holding maximum revs wherever possible. It helps that the 1.8 engine is a refined one, so when it pipes up, it’s not grating. Economy remains impressive: at the end of our test route, the car was indicating 57.7mpg.

This is a successful update of an already well-rounded family car

“Just as valuable in daily usage… are the improvements to the brakes. The pedal is now more progressive and allows clean limo-drive stops. The new car also uses the radar for the adaptive cruise control to judge how much regenerative braking it should apply when you lift off the throttle.”

“Exterior changes include a new mesh pattern for the front grille, fresh alloy wheel designs, and on some trim grades, new bi-LED headlights. [Inside] there are embossed patterns aimed at giving trim pieces and upholstery a ‘three-dimensional depth’, a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (on mid-range trim and upwards) and a 10.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

“The biggest changes of all concern the powertrain. The updated Corolla’s redesigned lithium-ion battery pack is smaller yet more powerful, and the same goes for the motor unit. The 1.8-litre car… has a total system power of 138bhp, an increase of 14%. This is immediately obvious the first time you apply a generous amount of throttle. This isn’t only down to the power increase – Toyota’s hybrid and CVT tweaks have worked wonders. Toyota’s intention is for the response of the set-up to be more closely aligned with throttle inputs.

The Corolla does a remarkable job of replicating an EV-like driving experience

“At cruising speeds, the engine revs sit around 500rpm lower than before, making the Corolla more relaxing over longer distances. At lower speeds, the Corolla does a remarkable job of replicating an EV-like driving experience… making stop/start traffic a far more relaxing experience. It remains an efficient set-up – we achieved around 57mpg despite driving in an often less than sympathetic way to test the recalibrated powertrain.”

2023 Toyota Corolla reviews:

“This revised Corolla features the fifth-generation version of Toyota’s hybrid system, bringing a big boost in performance to the 1.8-litre model in particular, as well claiming improved refinement and response. The safety and infotainment tech gets an upgrade, too. Fundamentally, this remains a sharp-looking, comfort-orientated family car, with… a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain line-up that… shouldn’t be sniffed at as a stop-gap to going full EV.

“The lithium-ion battery pack has a 14% greater output, a 14% (18kg) lower weight and is more compact. The control electronics are more efficient and quieter. And the electric motors are more powerful. Put this together with a substantial amount of recalibration and the additional torque-fill now available from the gutsier e-motors… [and] the new 1.8-litre Corolla is more of a surprising transition than the overall increase might lead you to suspect.

Over a mixed driving route… the car was reporting it had been in EV mode 72% of the time. Toyota’s hybrid tech has really come of age

“The updated car is immediately more brisk. A lot of work has gone into remapping the accelerator response so it better matches driver intentions, dialling back the revs the CVT requires for a given amount of progress. It is also quieter at speed.

“The car can [also] use the adaptive cruise control gear to automatically vary the amount of deceleration you get when you lift off the throttle. This… simply means it maintains a safe distance from the car in front without you having to intervene with the friction brakes, even when slowing almost to a stop. This is so unexpectedly polished that it turns [the Corolla] into a one-pedal driving experience much of the time – something that’s usually the reserve of pure EVs.”

“Updates to the Toyota Corolla’s hybrid system mean that the latest version of the entry-level 1.8-litre engine has 138bhp at its disposal. [That’s] more than enough performance for everyday driving and getting up to motorway speeds without needing to mash the accelerator into the carpet.

“Fancy a bit of pampering? Well, forget the spa and buy yourself a Corolla instead because… it’s one of the most comfortable cars in the family car class. It has softer suspension than [some other rivals], which means it smooths off the rough edges of road ridges better and fidgets less on patchy sections of motorway.

The Toyota Corolla is a brilliant family car. It’s comfortable, well made, well equipped and remarkably frugal in real-world driving

“When you’re driving normally, you’ll find that the Corolla is a fine handling car. The steering is precise and its weight builds in a progressive manner, starting light for city driving and ending up with a heft that’s reassuring. There’s even a reasonable amount of feedback streaming to your fingertips [and] a decent feeling of composure at faster speeds.”

Learn more: 2023 Toyota Corolla revealed

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Sales, Production, and Export Results for May 2022 | Sales, Production, and Export Results | Profile | Company

Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our…

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Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our Guiding Principles in pursuit of a safer, greener and more inclusive society. Today, as we transform into a mobility company developing connected, automated, shared and electrified technologies, we also remain true to our Guiding Principles and many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to help realize an ever-better world, where everyone is free to move.

SDGs Initiatives https://global.toyota/en/sustainability/sdgs/

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