Toyota's 2010 unintended-acceleration crisis and the Japan earthquake and tsunami that followed in 2011 diverted engineering resources and resulted in delays in the development of some key products and engines.
But while Toyota plays catch-up in areas such as direct injection, it is moving ahead in others. For example, it is adopting continuously variable transmissions starting this fall with the redesigned Corolla. Also, there is renewed interest in turbocharging -- starting with the Lexus brand, but quickly filtering into Toyota-badged products.
Here is a look at what's coming from Toyota.
Yaris: The next U.S. version of Toyota's subcompact will be a badge-engineered Mazda2 -- built by Mazda in Salamanca, Mexico, beginning in mid-2015. Details are sketchy. A Toyota source said the Mazda-built Yaris may be offered only as a sedan and will not include Mazda's Skyactiv engine technology. Meanwhile, Toyota may import the Toyota-built Yaris hatchback from Japan. It is uncertain whether Toyota will keep the Yaris name.
Corolla: A redesigned version arrives this fall with more angular styling. The wheelbase and length have been increased by 4 inches. The Corolla will have a carryover 132-hp, 1.8-liter base engine, but the new optional 140-hp four-banger should get 42 mpg on the highway. A continuously variable transmission will be standard for most of the lineup.
Matrix: Although the current generation will be the last, the Matrix may carry on for an extra year in Canada after the Corolla is replaced this fall.
Celica: A Toyota-badged convertible or turbo-charged performance version of the Scion FR-S coupe was under consideration, but was deemed too expensive for its limited volumes. Toyota will leave those ideas to the aftermarket.
Camry: Redesigned in fall 2011. A freshening in calendar 2014 will improve side-impact performance with some sheet metal changes.
Avalon: Redesigned in fall 2012.
Supra: Toyota is considering a return of the venerable sports car name. After letting the Supra trademark die in 2006, the company renewed the application in 2010. Plus, new Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada has said the sports car Toyota is developing with BMW should reflect the previous Supra. Still, dealers shouldn't expect anything for several years. If Akio Toyoda has approved the Lexus LF-LC coupe, that platform could filter down to the Supra.
Prius: A redesign expected in early 2015 will have a different look -- a lower hoodline and beltline, moving away from the one-box design, according to a Motor Trend report. Dimensionally, the next Prius is expected to be the same as the current one, with slightly shorter overhangs.
Toyota sources tell Automotive News that the automaker
is toying with multiple battery packs -- using two different kinds of batteries for different usage cycles. Also, Toyota is using supercapacitor energy storage systems in its racecars to test possible stop-start applications in production vehicles. Toyota has stuck with nickel-metal hydride batteries, but its alliance with Tesla could lead to use of advanced lithium ion batteries instead.
Prius C: Launched in spring 2012. No changes planned.
Prius V: Launched in summer 2011.
HFC: Toyota is testing hydrogen fuel cell mules on U.S. roads, using an old Lexus HS hybrid sedan as the platform. The production sedan will be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in November and will go on sale in early 2015.
RAV4: Redesigned in spring 2013. A mid-cycle freshening could include the addition of a 2.0-liter turbo engine.
Highlander: The redesigned 2014 Highlander coming in January will be nearly 3 inches longer and a half inch wider than the current version. The added length will make it easier to get in and out from the second- and third-row seats.
Toyota will stay with a three-engine strategy for the Highlander: a base 2.7-liter four-cylinder, a 3.5-liter V-6 and a 3.5-liter hybrid. The four-cylinder and V-6 will come with a six-speed automatic transmission. The rear suspension will be a double-wishbone setup, replacing struts and shocks, for more cargo capacity. A midcycle change could replace the 2.7-liter four-banger with the 2-liter turbo.
Venza: The relative lack of sales success and marketing support has some wondering if the Camry derivative will be a one-and-done product.
Sienna: A six-year cycle means that a redesigned Sienna is due about the same time as the next-generation Camry in mid-2016. However, Toyota likely will push back the Sienna by several months to avoid a launch overlap.
FJ Cruiser: This is a one-generation vehicle, but because it runs on the same line as the 4Runner, with outsourced bodywork, Toyota will keep selling it until there is no more demand.
4Runner: Freshened for the 2014 model year. Toyota typically runs seven-year cycles for its truck-based products. Think fall 2016.
Sequoia: Although it carries a big CAFE penalty, the large SUV still appeals to buyers who like to tow and who have big families. As the Sequoia's Tundra platform was merely re-engineered, not redesigned, the current version can keep running indefinitely with minor freshenings.
Land Cruiser: No major changes are expected. The Land Cruiser was the first nameplate Toyota sold in the United States, so it is unlikely to be eliminated.
Tacoma: The Tacoma soldiers on until a late 2014 redesign is needed for safety and emissions requirements.
Tundra: Re-engineered in summer 2013, the Tundra has more-chiseled sheet metal, and a taller hoodline. The grille looks like a giant electric-shaver head. Mechanically, the big truck carries over much of the powertrain and chassis.