January, 2009

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

As I stated in an earlier post, “Best Cars for the Money, Toyota Clear Winner”, in a troubled economy car buyers are focusing on stretching their dollars with carefully planned or delayed auto purchases. This has led to Toyota being The Number One Auto Seller worldwide in 2008 over General Motors!

However, demand for new vehicles are down and Toyota will scale back automobile production on U.S. vehicles with a plan to cut its inventories by nearly half….

There will be no new 2009 Solara or  Sequoia SUVs. Production on new 2010 Sequoia is planned for late 2009. There will also be very limited availability of Tundra, 4Runner, Avalon, Tacoma, Matrix, FJ Cruiser, Rav4, and Scion models for 2009. The Prius will be scarce during the year with production of a new 2010 generation scheduled for later in 2009.

On average, Toyota has an inventory of 80 to 90 days of North American-built vehicles on hand to ship to dealers and plans to cut that inventory by half in the second quarter of 2009.

“This is a tough environment, and it may continue for a while, we will continue to do everything possible to assure viability and protect long-term employment security of our team members,” a spokesman recently said.


Sunday, January 18th, 2009

People often want to know if Toyota cars and trucks can be towed. The answer is both “Yes” and “No”….

Owners who often travel by motor home or recreational vehicle like to pull a smaller vehicle behind their rig for agile economical transportation once they reach a destination. The smaller vehicle is called a “dinghy“, like a small boat carried on a yacht. 

RV and motor home travelers will have an ideal “dinghy” towing a Yaris, Corolla, Scion or Matrix because of their size and weight. The easiest Toyotas to dinghy tow are front-wheel drive vehicles with manual transmission because they can be towed with all four wheels on the ground. The next easiest are front-wheel-drive Toyotas with automatic transmission. To avoid transmission damage only “dinghy tow” these vehicles with the front wheels riding on a dolly (a small, light two-wheel trailer).

Rear-wheel-drive Toyotas and four-wheel-drive Toyotas cannot be “dinghy towed”. This means Toyota trucks, SUV’s, Matrix AWD, and RAV4 4WD are not recommended dinghy vehicles….

Here is a Dinghy Towing Reference Guide:

VEHICLE                        TOW/MANUAL TRANS.           TOW/AUTO.

Avalon                                   N/A                               w/dolly only

Camry(incl. Solara,Hybrid)       Yes                               w/dolly only   

Celica                                    Yes                                w/dolly only

Corolla                                  Yes                                w/dolly only

Yaris/Echo                             Yes                                w/dolly only

Matrix                                   Yes                                 w/dolly only

Prius                                     N/A                                 w/dolly only

Rav4                                     Yes                                 w/dolly only

Highlander(incl. Hybrid)            N/A                                w/dolly only   

Sienna (2WD)                          N/A                          w/dolly only(2WD Only)

Scion(Xd, Xb, &Tc)                   Yes                                w/dolly only

Precautions for Dinghy Towing:

  • Manual Transmission gear lever must be in Neural for dinghy towing
  • Ignition switch turned to ACC position to unlock steering wheel, 4 wheels down
  • All accessories off
  • Parking brake released
  • After towing, start vehicle and let idle for 3 minutes before driving


Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Get ready to use that electrical outlet in your garage for something more than the occasional power tool or to plug-up the outside Christmas lights…

Toyota Motor Corp. has just announced plans to sell a tiny, battery-powered car in the U.S. by 2012 that can be recharged at that garage electrical outlet! The FT-EV urban commuter as Toyota calls it will be a two-door electric car, similar to the Daimler “SmartCar”, seat 4 people and travel at least 50 miles “between home and work for example” between plug charges.

Toyota readies the FT-EV as alternatives to gasoline vehicles expands. Spring and summer 2008 $4/gallon gas prices were no anomaly, but rather a preview of what is coming and possibly as fast as a “freight train”.

Toyota also plans to place into leased fleet service this year 500 plug-in Prius Hybrids with lithium-ion battery packs. It is estimated that approximately 150 of these will be in the U.S. Toyota hasn’t announced when plug-in Prius Hybrids, which can be recharged by a “garage outlet” will be sold to individuals.

Current hybris such as Prius as well as others sold by Honda, GM, Nissan, Ford, and Mazda use nickel-metal-hydride batteries that recharge from braking and deceleration when the vehicle is in motion.


Sunday, January 11th, 2009

In the movie “FARGO” from a few years back William H. Macy’s character, a car salesman, is selling new car features to an Ornery Fellow. The Crusty Buyer crashes Macy’s features monologue and announces something like, “Don’t try to sell me none of that worthless Sealant, I don’t want no Sealant!…”

Well, Distributor installed options that include a Sealant have been around for a while and Macy’s inept character above didn’t convey the Benefits very well. What are the Benefits? For new Toyotas in the Southeast, Toyoguard Plus is a cluster option package that includes vehicle protection and sound deadening features along with a host of assistance services.

The vehicle protection leg includes:

  • Exterior Paint Protection from Harsh Weather Salt Air
  • Helps Prevent Loss of Luster
  • Heavy Resistance Undercarriage Sound Dampening- Prevents Underside Chipping and Quiet Ride
  • Interior Fabric Protection that Seals Fibers Against Stain Absorption

The vehicle ride with Toyoguard is 11-13% Quieter!…If there is a Spill on the Seat or Floor Fabric, the Liquid will Puddle so that You can Pull off the Road and Wipe it up,…Easy,…No Stain! These Benefits alone make Toyoguard Plus a “Must Have”. But, As They Say,…Wait! There’s More!!!

Toyotguard Plus has a Host of Assistance Services that include:

  • Emergency Towing to Nearest Qualified Repair Facility in the event of Mechanical Disablement.
  • One Day Rental Car per Warranty Repair using Toyota Parts during 3 Year/36,000 Mile Bumper to Bumper Coverage.

In addition, the First  Oil and Filter Change at a Southeast Toyota Dealer is Free. Also, Vehicle Identification Numbers are Permanently Laser Etched on Select Windows Making it Impossible to Alter and the Vehicle is on file with all DMV Offices throughout the USA.

All of these Services are Bound by a Toll Free 24 Hours A Day, 365 Days a Year Assistance Phone Number Reachable Anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

TOYOGUARD PLUS…You Probably Shouldn’t Drive Your New Toyota Without It!..

LIFETIME WARRANTY…You Shouldn’t Drive Your New Toyota Without It Either!..                          

BEST CARS for the Money, Toyota Clear Winner!

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Well recent car sales numbers aren’t good…November sales were down over 30% from last year and Toyota dropped 34% as a result of the wide credit crisis and consumer belt tightening that is the new American pastime. Still, this is a great time to buy a new car for those that need one or just want one because they can buy. 

Here’s what’s going on…With such a mixed bag of messages flying around as if shot out of a paintball gun, like domestic bankruptcy, dealer closings, warranty questions, rising incentives but an uncertain economy, and no advice for consumers;….Car Buyers find their head spinning 360 degrees and just don’t know what to do. 

The key to surviving the current marketplace is to stretch dollars as far as they’ll go and that doesn’t mean flocking to the biggest incentives. No, it means focusing on cars that are proven winners and offer great value over the car’s entire lifetime…

Enter this year’s U.S. News Best Car for the Money awards…The awards use U.S. News’ online automotive rankings based on the collective opinion of the automotive press, which helps eliminate subjectivity and elevate expert opinion about each car. Initial price is a factor, but more importantly, a five-year total ownership cost is incorporated. 

Across 14 new car classes, the clear winner is Toyota, with Five Best Car for the Money awards in their classes. They are:

  • Toyota Camry                     Best Midsize Car for the Money
  • Toyota Highlander               Best Midsize Crossover for the Money
  • Toyota Tacoma                   Best Compact Truck for the Money
  • Toyota Avalon                     Best Large Car for the Money
  • Toyota Sienna                     Best Minivan for the Money

Also, Lexus, Toyota’s luxury marquee pulled in another Three awards out of 14.

One reason Toyota models take so many of the awards is their Bulletproof Quality (See Post On Toyota Quality). That not only lowers the cost of maintaining Toyotas; it means that they retain value better than most other cars. With the conditions that we have for the beginning of 2009, it just makes sense to stick with cars that offer maximum satisfaction at a minimal cost.

The U.S. News Best Car for the Money awards cut through the fog surrounding the auto industry and point to Toyota for cars and trucks that combine value with day-to-day livability…and given that new Toyotas can be purchased with an Exclusive Lifetime Warranty for unlimited time and unlimited miles, Buyers have  the can’t lose silver lining they’re looking for in all of this…