February, 2010

...now browsing by month

 

TOYOTA GETS THE EXPOSURE… RECALLS OF OTHERS ABOUND

Saturday, February 27th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Toyota gets grilled with negative press and exposure, yet other manufacturers have Recalls in “Truck Loads” that abound and go virtually unannounced!free_report

For example, Where’s the Press on this one?  Hyundai Motor Co. on Wednesday announced a voluntary recall of its new Sonata sedan in South Korea and the U.S. to fix faulty latches on the vehicle’s front doors. According to the Wall Street Journal, the action – which affects 46,000 cars in South Korea and 1,300 in the U.S. – came after customers in the U.S. complained that, in certain circumstances, the latch gets stuck after the door is opened and then can’t be closed. There have been no accidents or injuries reported to the company in connection with the problem. Hyundai’s U.S. executives received complaints about the door on Monday and decided on Tuesday U.S. time to stop selling the car. Hyundai has about 4,000 units of the new Sonata at its approximately 780 dealers in the U.S. and has sold about 1,300 since the car became available there in January. New latches for the doors will reach Hyundai’s approximately 780 U.S. dealers on Wednesday U.S. time and sales of the car will likely resume later this week. But, Where Is the Media Outrage! 

How about this Honda Recall February 10, 2010, Honda announced it is expanding a previously announced recall to replace an airbag inflator in an additional 438,000 vehicles worldwide, including 379,000 in the United States. The expanded recall includes 2001 and 2002 Accord, Civic, Odyssey, CR-V, and selected 2002 Acura TL vehicles, the statement said. Honda said there have been 12 incidents related to the airbag inflator problem. The recall now affects a total of 952,118 vehicles, with more than 826,000 in the United States.

Did you hear about this Ford Recall just a few months ago? Ford issued the largest single recall in its history Tuesday as drivers of an additional 4.5 million vehicles were alerted about a fire hazard from a faulty switch.

At  about the same time a few months ago Nissan announced this Recall,  Nissan is recalling 2009-2010 Altima and Maxima in the United States after discovering that a suspension glitch could increase the risk of a crash and have serious consequences over the passengers’ safety. In a notification posted on the official website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nissan explains that the recall concerns 26,398 units manufactured in 2009 and 2010

Of Course Government Motors has got a “Boat Load” of Recalls, Example from 2009,  The possibility of Engine Fires has prompted General Motors to recall nearly 1.5 million passenger sedans manufactured between 1997 and 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday. The recall covers certain mid- and full-size passenger sedans under GM’s  Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac brands.

March 2, 2010, General Motors is recalling 1.3 million compact cars in North America to address a power steering problem that has been linked to 14 crashes and one injury, the company said on Tuesday.
The recall covers the 2005-2010 model year Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007-2010 Pontiac G5 in the United States

Folks, These are all Recent and Current Recall Issues  (And Just A Sampling)…How Many Of You Ever Heard of Them?

 

OUR AMAZING TECHNOLOGY FROM FUTURISTS 70 YEARS AGO

Saturday, February 27th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

We’ve grown accustom to technology applications on a daily basis that were nowhere insight just a few short years ago. Cell phones, Hand-held Computers, IPhones, Go To Meeting Video Conferencing, Ipods, Flat Screen Lcds, Blue-Tooth Hot Spots are all very recent marvels.

All of these things began with a simple thought from someone’s mind. Did that thought originate with some geeky kid autistically gifted in one direction? Or was it someone else….

Take a look at the  Picture Below:1945 OFFICE OF TOMORROW

In this futuristic workplace, there’s a videoconferencing box on every desk, and assistants helpfully visualize essential business data on giant screens. All the while, distant smokestacks gracefully pump toxic fumes into the atmosphere. There is reference to records which “appear as if by magic” from automatic files referring to robotic filing cabinets or hard disks. We are also intrigued by the several unmentioned gizmos on the desk. Maybe they include a proto-iPod, a rudimentary Flip, and a pseudo-BlackBerry.

The Image was created by a Futurist circa 1945…Take a look at another illustration below:-portable-radio_

“Today’s weapon, tomorrow’s convenience!” The article accompanying this illustration from 1944 explained that the wireless phone was already in use by the armed forces, and would soon become a consumer product; it ended up taking 50 plus years before cell phones became truly common. In this demonstration, a fisherman phones his wife to relay good news about his catch and ask her to invite the neighbors for dinner, and then calls her again from his Car to tell her what time to expect him. He’s using a pocketwatch-like handset on a cord.

Each of these depicts a miracle that would transform postwar America. They’re fascinating and entertaining and they sort-of-accurately predict scenarios that eventually came to be, such as the rise of the cell phone

TOYOTA OR CONGRESS…WHO REALLY PRODUCES A DEATH TRAP PRODUCT

Thursday, February 25th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

We just had Toyota Executives up on Capital Hill being accused of “knowingly” building “Dastardly” Death Trap Products, unsuitable for Americans to drive…by Congress! Yes, by 10% Approval Rating Congress, board members of GM and Chrysler …I mean Folks, here’s  a big finger pointing exercise except there are “three bigger ones” pointing back the other way!pointed-finger

Today, Obama is set to come back around again with Obamacare, a health care product manufactured by Obama and Congress that is a Ticking Time Bomb Death Trap loaded with Design Flaws! Talk about a product guaranteed to “suddenly accelerate” to the Moon, debt wise that is; Here It Is…and how about Obama,… Man, he’s popping up with this Fraught Laiden Calamity in hand more often than Glenn Close in the movie “Fatal Attraction”.

The difference between Toyotas and Obamacare is that nobody’s forced to buy a Toyota. People buy them because they like them and Toyota owners are a loyal repeat customer base logging many years of trouble free satisfaction. A very small percentage of Toyota owners are affected with potential flaws here whereas all Americans will be forced to buy a health care product that is saturated with design flaws, one that weakens the company selling them, and one that puts the buyer, We Americans, at great personal risk.  And the worst thing about this, is that the CEO of this will not be subject to any recalls… You know…, Obama?

 

TOYOTA AND WASHINGTON’S SCREAMING CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Friday, February 19th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT WE COULD SEE THIS COMING…

By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL

That vague screeching noise you hear in D.C., the slight odor of burning rubber? That’s the government trying to brake its anti-Toyota campaign. It may be a little late.

The Toyota spectacle has become slightly surreal, as a few uncertain questions about “sudden acceleration” morphed into a media and political firestorm over the safety of its entire fleet. It is also proving an interesting case study in the treacherous politics that accompany government ownership of U.S. industry. Washington’s initial enthusiasm in bashing Toyota is beginning to backfire.

There’s no question that in the first, heady days of recall, at least some in the Obama administration and Congress saw advantage in undermining Toyota. The majority owner of Government Motors felt it couldn’t hurt to fan the image of a “foreign” auto maker disregarding the safety of American drivers. Shoppers might just buy a Chevy instead, propping up government investment and bolstering United Auto Worker union jobs. And of course the trial bar would be thrilled by a fat new class-action target.

Vehicle recalls (there were 16.9 million in 2009 alone) are usually handled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—but the Toyota case was commandeered by Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He skewered the firm for being “a little safety deaf,” complained it hadn’t been responsive, and bragged it was the government that forced a recall.

“This is a big deal, this is a big safety issue,” he exclaimed as part of the LaHood Vs. Toyota Media Tour. It was, in fact, the “most serious safety issue” of his tenure. It was, to repeat, such a huge, scary, safety deal that his “advice is, if anybody owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it.” Mr. LaHood later claimed he’d misspoke.

Over in Congress, a geographically notable contingent of representatives piled on. Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) announced an investigation into “dangerous” malfunctions. Toyota was ordered to report to his Oversight subcommittee hearing next week. Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.) berated the company for taking “two years” to step up and ripped them for not recalling more models.

UAW lobbyist Alan Reuther demanded Toyota make amends by keeping open a unionized factory in California, currently scheduled for closure. Chrysler, GM and Ford started offering cash incentives for car buyers to trade in recalled Toyotas for domestic wares.

The results of this campaign are now making pols queasy. It was inevitable that such a loud attack would lead to questions as to whether the administration was carrying water for the domestic industry. The White House is today fielding as many queries about its role as owner and regulator as Toyota is fielding about recalls.

This thinking also inspired reporters to dig into Congress’s Toyota ties and to question, conversely, whether it can be tough enough. The press dredged up Senate Toyota investigator Jay Rockefeller’s role in landing his state of West Virginia a Toyota plant. Did you know, the head of NHTSA, David Strickland, worked eight years for Mr. Rockefeller? Or that California Democrat Jane Harman, who sits on the House investigating committee, once made money selling stereo systems to Toyota? You do now.

It is also occurring to some Democrats that, while Toyotas are mainly assembled in red states, they are, uh, sold in blue ones. In addition to idled Toyota factory workers, Toyota dealerships and suppliers are getting hit by the company’s sharp drop in sales. Some of these folks even live in Michigan.

The angry phone calls to Washington only increased last week when four governors—three Republicans and Kentucky Democrat Steve Beshear—sent a sharp letter to Congress, accusing the administration of a “conflict of interest.” They unsubtly noted that many recent recalls were “as serious as or more serious” than Toyota’s.

This sent the media digging into the recall record of U.S. auto makers, which may have to revisit their own safety issues. Some politicians are worried about Japanese retaliation against U.S. auto makers.

All of which accounts for Washington’s recent piping down. Mr. LaHood devoted a lot of this week to touting stimulus grants. Quite a few Democrats have gone mute, leaving the issue to NHTSA and wishing it would go away. Some lawmakers are even stepping up to defend Toyota.

Yet having revved up the drama, the administration is now all but obliged to take action against Toyota, say with civil penalties. Mr. Rockefeller and other Democrats with ties to the carmaker are under pressure to get rough. And if Toyota bungles Washington as badly as it did the initial recall PR, this could go on a long time.

Toyota has not yet laid off a single one of its 34,000 U.S. workers, but that may change. Only a year ago, Democrats were wailing about economic damage if GM or Chrysler went bust. They forestalled that with government ownership. They, and Toyota, are now dealing with the all-too-easy-to-predict political behavior that followed such meddling in the private economy.

THE WAY OUR AUTOMOBILES SOUND ARE NO ACCIDENT…IT IS BY DESIGN

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Here’s a Tutorial Article about how Our Perception of Our Automobiles is influenced by specific assigned vehicle sounds or “Signatures” and how Vehicle Sound Signatures are used to Market Our Vehicles to Us.  vroom

Vehicle sound is one of the primary drivers of consumer perception of overall vehicle quality. Tuning a sound signature requires research, where listeners in audio laboratories are queried about what attributes create positive impressions of a vehicle’s sound.

The two areas of the vehicle that tune the sound of the engine are the engine induction system and the exhaust system. By applying engineering expertise to analysis of consumer market research, companies such as Visteon, Inc. provide vehicle manufacturers with carefully calibrated engine induction systems that deliver unique Acoustic Sound Signatures.

These cost-effective solutions help manufacturers differentiate their vehicles, reinforce Positive Brand Images, and Market their Vehicle Models.

Vehicle-specific Signature Tuning
Consumers of different types of vehicles expect different types of sounds from their vehicles, and Automotive Acoustic Engineering suppliers recognize the importance of meeting these expectations.

For instance, sports car drivers expect a deep, V8-engine sound while owners of work trucks expect a heavy, rumbling sound. Some passenger-car owners prefer just enough rumble so that their vehicle sounds sporty. Luxury buyers, on the other hand, prefer silence. Sound Engineers like Visteon, Inc have experience working with vehicle manufacturers to deliver the desired Sound Signature consumers want from their vehicles.

Providing this type of acoustic distinction is more important, and even more difficult, when working with broad vehicle platforms that support multiple brands and vehicle types. In these cases, it becomes important to maximize common components for cost efficiency while providing the different outputs required for creating brand distinction. For example, the new 2011 Toyota Avalon Sound Signature  is very quiet and smooth as silk, where the new Tundra is smooth yet with a very seamless “Powerful” sound.

Calibrating Sound
After consumer preferences are assessed and documented, vehicle manufacturers establish sound targets for specific vehicle makes and models. While sound attributes can be calibrated to support the specific needs of a vehicle or brand, they also have a direct relationship to performance of the engine.

Sound Engineering Companies such as Visteon use unique applications of Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) and other analytic tools, that allow engineers to fully comprehend the trade-offs between performance and acoustic tuning, and allow them to optimize the system to meet necessary targets without adversely impacting engine performance. These tools also allow Engineers to support manufacturers by providing sound files of the predicted sound, so it can be verified that the consumer desired sound is being created.

Systems-level Expertise
Additionally, specific systems-level understanding of engine induction helps engineers understand how other engine induction components, such as the intake manifold, air cleaner and air inlets, can impact vehicle noise, vibration and harshness. This expertise helps engineers optimize placement of devices such as Helmholtz resonators and quarter-wave tuners. However, the requirements of the customer can call for more tuning than standard resonators and wave tuners provide, so companies such as Visteon, Inc. are developing even more sophisticated solutions. These new technologies merge a company’s knowledge of engine induction systems, automotive electronics, and the total vehicle into systems that can change Acoustic tuning.

 

WHY THE TOYOTA RECALL BACKLASH IS OVERBLOWN

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

By James B. Meigs, Editor-in-Chief, Popular Mechanics

To judge by press accounts and statements from government officials, those innocuous-looking Toyota sedans and SUVs in millions of American driveways are somehow kin to the homicidal ’58 Plymouth Fury in the Stephen King novel “Christine”—haunted by technological poltergeists and prone to fits of mechanical mayhem. In the midst of three major recalls, Toyota has been hammered by daily newspaper and TV pieces suggesting it has been slow to address safety problems. U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood announced that anyone who owns one of the recalled vehicles should “stop driving it.” (He quickly backpedaled on that pronouncement, but warned, “We’re not finished with Toyota.”) Displaying a previously undisclosed concern for the safety of American owners of foreign-badged automobiles, the UAW quickly piled on. And now, Toyota’s North American president Yoshi Inaba must submit to ritual humiliation at the hands of the U.S. Congress in a hearing on Wednesday.

 

Does Toyota—or any car company—deserve this? Well, if they are knowingly selling an unsafe car, yes. But is that what’s going on here? Not so fast. There’s no question that unintended acceleration  is a serious problem that needs to be fixed. But a little perspective is in order. As Popular Mechanics automotive editor Larry Webster has pointed out, every major carmaker receives occasional reports of sudden unintended acceleration (SUA). In the last decade, the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency logged some 24,000 SUA complaints. Less than 50 of these red flags were investigated. Why so few? The main reason is the nebulous nature of SUA. Often the problem occurs once, never to happen again. It’s tough to fix a defect that can’t be replicated. And then there’s the driver variable. As awful as this is to think about, it’s been shown that sometimes drivers simply mix up which pedal they’re pushing. In the late 1980s, the Audi 5000 was the target of a barrage of SUA allegations, lawsuits and press reports (including a notorious “60 Minutes” episode that was later discredited). Then, as now, there were accusations that mysterious electronic gremlins somehow took over the car. In the end, NHTSA concluded that driver error was the only likely explanation for the incidents.

But many safety concerns do have validity, and every carmaker has conducted numerous recalls involving critical safety features of their vehicles—brakes, steering, airbags, seat belts, and more. Still, the fact that some safety problems don’t emerge until cars have been on the road for months or years is not a sign that automakers are criminally cavalier about safety. Quite the opposite. The safety issues that lead to recalls generally occur in very small numbers, often barely rising above statistical noise. Toyota’s unintended acceleration problem, for instance, involved a handful of cases in literally billions of miles of driving.

As those cases come to light, it is necessary for carmakers to take action, and it is natural for consumers to be concerned. But the intensity of the backlash against Toyota is almost unprecedented. Here’s what is being missed in most of the coverage of the issue: All cars are inherently dangerous. They propel their fragile human cargo at high speeds over unpredictable terrain. They combine thousands of parts that need to interact flawlessly—in environments ranging from Death Valley heat to Fairbanks cold—in order to maintain safe operation. Their radiators contain scalding fluids; their batteries are full of toxic acid; and their gas tanks hold explosive power equivalent to more than 100 sticks of TNT. And, by all accounts, Americans drive those cars faster than ever, on increasingly congested roadways.

Nonetheless, driving gets safer every year. Fatalities per mile driven have fallen more than 25 percent since 1994, in part because cars themselves are safer. Compared to those of 20 years ago, the typical vehicle today has better brakes, better steering and more (not to mention smarter) airbags. Electronic stability-control systems have helped prevent countless accidents. Still, even the best cars are far from perfect. And much of the outrage over Toyota’s troubles seems based on the unrealistic expectation that cars should be infallible. That’s an unattainable goal; even well-designed components can wear out and fail in unexpected ways. Recalls are not a sign that carmakers are indifferent to the safety of their customers. On the contrary, recalls are part of the process by which automakers address safety or reliability issues that are often fairly subtle.

So why did Toyota’s safety issues become front-page news when similar recalls by other automakers barely made the business pages? One is the scary nature of unintended acceleration itself, which taps into our almost instinctual fear that our machines will suddenly turn on us (HAL, anyone?). Another was the horrific 911 call from the passenger of a Lexus that crashed in Santee, Calif., in August of last year. And then there was timing. Toyota responded first to the problem of shifting floor mats (the likely culprit in the Santee crash), and only later to the much more subtle issue of accelerator pedals that are slow to return to idle. Those are two unrelated problems that needed to be addressed separately. Perhaps in a different climate, Toyota could have convinced the public that the accelerator pedal recall was an example of extreme diligence in pursuit of safety. Instead, the second recall struck the public as an admission of culpability—just another shoe dropping in a much larger scandal.

By the time conversation got around to disconcerting glitches in the antilock brake system on Toyota’s high-tech Prius hybrid, there was no containing the outrage. (The fact is, most hybrids exhibit slightly twitchy braking as they try to manage the switchover from the electrical braking that recharges the batteries to the hydraulic braking needed for more aggressive stops. Conditions that engage the antilock braking system only complicate that challenge.) Without the previous incidents, news that Toyota was making a small change in its Prius braking software would have been a non-story. Instead, it completed the trifecta of bad news that has made this Toyota’s annus horribilis.

Crisis managers will no doubt study Toyota’s handling of this issue, looking for lessons in avoiding that company’s predicament. After all, it took years for Audi’s sales to rebound after that company’s trip through the SUA gauntlet. Still, some good did come of Audi’s experience: Today all cars have interlock systems that make it impossible for drivers to move the shift lever out of park unless their foot is on the brake (thus preventing them from shifting into gear while accidentally flooring the accelerator). One likely outcome of the Toyota episode will be a requirement for a similar interlock that automatically disengages the throttle whenever the driver steps on the brake. And that would help make all cars just one, tiny increment safer than before.

TOYOTA OPENS INDIANA PLANT FOR PUBLIC TOURS

Monday, February 15th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

It used to be that you had to be a special friend of Toyota — or an area student on a field trip — to score a tour of the Toyota’s Gibson County manufacturing plant in Indiana…That changes Tuesday!tundra explosion picture

On Tuesday, Toyota opens its new Visitors Center and begins offering public tours on a regular schedule. Previously, tours were offered only to school groups or those with ties to the company.

Toyota says the move will help the public better understand the company, area commerce and tourism. Officials say it will strengthen the Tri-State’s list of attractions.

“We’re very eager to show off this facility,” says a senior vice president at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana. “I think it’ll help people understand the complexity of auto manufacturing.”

The Free Tours begin in Toyota’s Visitors Center. Through text, photos, artifacts, sound and hands-on activities, the center presents the history of the Princeton-area business community, Toyota’s development as a company and explains the manufacturing process. Visitors can try on the protective gear worn by production employees, and they can see a demonstration of the process through which Toyota makes plastic bumpers and dashboards.

A Major Feature Highlight at the Visitors Center is a 2008 Toyota Tundra pickup suspended from the ceiling. WOW!!!…Just look at the picture of it. Various components of the vehicle are pulled apart to reveal how parts fit together. Also in the Visitors Center is a second-floor meeting space that Toyota will offer free of charge to civic and nonprofit organizations.

After visitors watch a short movie, they board a tram for a 20-minute plant tour.

On the tour, visitors watch Toyota employees (and robots) weld, stamp and assemble the parts that create the plant’s Siennas, Highlanders and Sequoias.

At a preview event last week for invited guests, tourism and commerce officials said the tours have been long anticipated.

The Gibson County Chamber of Commerce, said their office regularly receives queries from people asking about Toyota tours. “Everyone is very curious about auto assembly plants. They’re really fascinating,” a spoksman said.

Toyota’s Princeton plant began operations in 1998 — so why wait until now to offer public tours?

The company first wanted to establish itself in the area. “It was something we knew we had to take a little time to grow into,” an official said.

Groups of 16 or more people must make a reservation to take a plant tour. To make a group reservation, please call us at (812) 387-2266 or (888) 696-8211 (88TOYOTA11).

Groups with fewer than 16 people are welcome to join a plant tour if space permits; however, reservations are recommended. To make a reservation, please go to Reservations.

You do not need a reservation for the Visitors Center. 

A LETTER FROM PRESIDENT OF TOYOTA

Saturday, February 13th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Here is a Powerful Letter From The Preident Of Toyota Motor Company…toyota emblem

More than 70 years ago, Toyota entered the auto business based on a simple, but powerful, principle: that Toyota would build the highest-quality, safest and most reliable automobiles in the world. The company has always put the needs of our customers first and made the constant improvement of our vehicles a top priority. That is why 80 percent of all Toyotas sold in the United States over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

When consumers purchase a Toyota, they are not simply purchasing a car, truck or van. They are placing their trust in our company. The past few weeks, however, have made clear that Toyota has not lived up to the high standards we set for ourselves. More important, we have not lived up to the high standards you have come to expect from us. I am deeply disappointed by that and apologize. As the president of Toyota, I take personal responsibility. That is why I am personally leading the effort to restore trust in our word and in our products.

For much of Toyota’s history, we have ensured the quality and reliability of our vehicles by placing a device called an andon cord on every production line — and empowering any team member to halt production if there’s an assembly problem. Only when the problem is resolved does the line begin to move again.

Two weeks ago, I pulled the andon cord for our company. I ordered production of eight models in five plants across North America temporarily stopped so that we could focus on fixing our customers’ vehicles that might be affected by sticking accelerator pedals. Today, Toyota team members and dealers across North America are working around the clock to repair all recalled vehicles.

But to regain the trust of American drivers and their families, more is needed. We are taking responsibility for our mistakes, learning from them and acting immediately to address the concerns of consumers and independent government regulators.

First, I have launched a top-to-bottom review of our global operations to ensure that problems of this magnitude do not happen again and that we not only meet but exceed the high safety standards that have defined our long history. As part of this, we will establish an Automotive Center of Quality Excellence in the United States, where a team of our top engineers will focus on strengthening our quality management and quality control across North America.

Second, to ensure that our quality-control operations are in line with best industry practices, we will ask a blue-ribbon safety advisory group composed of respected outside experts in quality management to independently review our operations and make sure that we have eliminated any deficiencies in our processes. The findings of these experts will be made available to the public, as will Toyota’s responses to these findings.

Third, we fully understand that we need to more aggressively investigate complaints we hear directly from consumers and move more quickly to address any safety issues we identify. That is what we are doing by addressing customer concerns about the Prius and Lexus HS250h anti-lock brake systems.

We also are putting in place steps to do a better job within Toyota of sharing important quality and safety information across our global operations. This shortcoming contributed to the current situation. With respect to sticking accelerator pedals, we failed to connect the dots between problems in Europe and problems in the United States because the European situation related primarily to right-hand-drive vehicles.

Toyota will increase its outreach to government agencies charged with protecting the safety of motorists and passengers. I have spoken with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and given him my personal assurance that lines of communications with safety agencies and regulators will be kept open, that we will communicate more frequently and that we will be more vigilant in responding to those officials on all matters.

In recent years, much has been written about what we call “the Toyota Way” — the values and principles at the heart of our company. Chief among these is our unwavering commitment to continuous improvement: going to the source of a problem and fixing it. While problems with our cars have been rare over the years, the issues that Toyota is addressing today are by far the most serious we have ever faced.

But great companies learn from their mistakes, and we know that we have to win back the trust of our customers by adhering to the very values on which that trust was first built. The hundreds of thousands of men and women at Toyota operations worldwide — including the 172,000 team members and dealers in North America — are among the best in the auto industry. Whatever problems have occurred within our company, the strength and commitment to fix them resides within our company as well.

You have my commitment that Toyota will revitalize the simple but powerful principle that has guided us for 50 years: Toyota will build the highest-quality, safest and most reliable automobiles in the world.

The writer is president of Toyota Motor Co.

TOYOTA IS CONFIDENT AND SAYS RECALL SOLUTIONS GOING WELL

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner
Toyota is Confident in Recall Soutions and reports that the repair campaign is going well at the Dealer level.
 
Toyota’s recall for Prius brakes is in response to some Prius and Lexus HS250 owners experiencing inconsistent brake feel on rough road surfaces such as potholes.
 
This recall will allow dealers to perform a anti-lock brake software update on cars sold prior to the running production change made recently … and Toyota Dealers have already started this process. Toyota will begin mailing notification letters to Prius owners this week and HS250 owners within the next few weeks.
 
Toyota engineers have developed a solution to eliminate the sticking accelerator pedal on affected models.  Toyota states they have complete confidence in the solution.
 
The solution is …
• effective,
• simple,
• and lasts the life of the vehicle. 
 
All Toyota dealers nationwide … have received the parts, tools and training they need … and have begun repairing the vehicles involved.
The repair can be completed at Toyota dealerships in about 30 minutes … depending on the dealers’ work flow.
 
Toyota officials state that the most important thing now … is to fix the cars already on the road.
We’re doing everything we can to make this as trouble-free as possible … and will work day and night with our dealers to make this happen.
 
If a customer experiences any issues with their accelerator pedal … we’re asking them to please contact their dealer immediately, officials say.
 
Toyota Dealers are the best dealers in the country… and they’re proving it by providing extraordinary service and care for the customers.
Dealers nationwide are going the extra mile for Customer Service…Some are staying open 24 hours a day … seven days a week … and a few are even using remote facilities dedicated to repairing vehicles. These efforts are paying off. In only a few days … dealers have reinforced the accelerator pedal on more than 220,000 vehicles …and are now running at a pace of more than 50,000 units a day. 
 
Toyota stands behind Owners and their vehicles. Some customers are very concerned, some customers are upset…both reactions are understandable.
However … what’s been most surprising according to company officials, is the amount of support being received from so many owners.
 
They’ve put their trust and faith in Toyota … and we’re doing everything in our power …to prove to them …that their trust has not been misplaced, Toyota says…

YES VIRGINIA, HERE IS THE NEW 2011 AVALON

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner
2011-Toyota-Avalon1Here is the Avalon, New for 2011. It continues the tradition set by its successful predecessors. 
 
Yes Virginia, Avalon provides…
• the spacious cabin,
• smooth driving dynamics,
• and convenient technologies …that premium full-size sedan buyers want.
 
Re-styled at Calty Design Centers in California and Michigan … and engineered at Toyota technical center in Ann Arbor … Avalon will continue to be built at our plant in Georgetown, Kentucky. 
 
Calty gave Avalon an aggressive new look. 
 
A new grille features distinctive headlamps…and the rear is accented by LED tail lights and integrated dual exhaust.
 
Both the head lamps and tail lamps…feature unique light piping for an added signature look. Tasteful Lexus Chrome accents along the sides add to the upscale distinction.
 
The base Avalon now has standard 17-inch wheels with a new finish … while the Limited grade has a new, contemporary wheel design.
 
Inside … the Avalon provides key luxury features that are important to its buyers.
 
The new dash offers a driver-oriented experience.2011-Toyota-Avalon7 
 
Sight lines flow to the redesigned center stack … providing easier use for both the driver and passenger.
 
The segment’s only reclining rear seats provide unmatched passenger comfort. 
 
And …a power rear sunshade protects rear-seat passengers.
 
The Avalon continues to be powered by the 3.5-liter V6 engine … mated to a multi-mode six-speed automatic transmission.
 
Producing 268 horsepower … which is among the best in the segment … it also achieves 20 plus miles-per-gallon in the city …and 29 plus on the highway.
 
The Avalon also has many of our latest technologies … like the Gen 6 Navigation System with …
• XM NavTraffic,
• Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity,
• and wireless audio music streaming.
 
A standard back-up camera has a segment-first 3.3-inch display in the rear-view mirror … and also offers color guide lines to help the driver back into or out of parking spots…Very Nice!
 
Standard audio features include …a USB port for direct iPod control via the sound system or steering-wheel controls…and XM satellite radio! An optional JBL sound system feeds 660-watts through 12 speakers…including a two-coil subwoofer.
 
Pricing will be very similar to the current model.The New 2011 Avalon hits Dealers in the Spring.2011-Toyota-Avalon2

2010 SUPER BOWL SHOOTING IN NEW ORLEANS EASIER THAN ACCELERATION IN A TOYOTA..BUT WHO CARES

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

We recently read that New Orleans Police are investigating the shooting injuries of a man and two women in the French Quarter during the Super Bowl 2010 celebration.gun shot

The Super Bowl shooting  in New Orleans occurred at approximately 12 a.m. Monday at the intersection of Iberville and Bourbon Streets.

A 25-year old man sustained a wound to his right ankle and two women, both in their 30s, were shot in their left legs. Police say all the victims were treated and released.

It’s interesting that the odds of getting shot in a crowd in New Orleans are considered to be 1,199 to 1. The odds of experiencing rapid acceleration in a Toyota are 13,500 to 1.

The Super Bowl Shooting in New Orleans is barely anywhere in the news at 1,199 to 1 odds. However, Toyota acceleration at 13,500 to 1 odds is being pounded in the media almost every hour….

Something Wrong Here….

Toyota Electric Power Steering (EPS)

Sunday, February 7th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Electric Power Steering (EPS) is replacing hydraulic power steering in many new vehicles today. epss

One of the advantages of electric power steering is that it eliminates the power steering pump, which can use as much as 8 to 10 horsepower under load. This improves fuel economy while also eliminating the weight and bulk of the power steering pump and hoses. Getting rid of the hydraulics also does away with fluid leaks and the need to check the power steering fluid. Electric power steering is also quieter than hydraulic systems because there is no pump noise and no fluid flowing through hoses and valves. But the most noticeable difference is in handling and steering refinement.

Electric power steering can be fine tuned with a precision that is hard to match with hydraulic controls. By monitoring the driver’s steering inputs, vehicle speed, and other suspension dynamics, the system can provide just the right amount of steering feel and effort to match rapidly changing driving conditions. EPS can deliver extra effort when you need it, and reduce steering effort when you do not need it. It can even provide steering assist when the engine is off.

ELECTRIC POWER STEERING APPLICATIONS
 
Electric Power Steering can be found on the  new Avalon, Venza, Camry, Corolla,  Prius, RAV4, New Sienna, and Scions in the Toyota product line.
 
HOW ELECTRIC POWER STEERING OPERATES
 
Though some of the older electric power steering systems were actually “electro-hydraulic,” and used an electric motor to drive a conventional hydraulic pump, the latest generation of EPS is all electric/electronic. The steering gear itself is a manual rack with an electric motor mounted on the steering column or the rack.

When the driver turns the wheel, a steering sensor detects the position and rate of rotation of the steering wheel. This information along with input from a steering torque sensor mounted in the steering shaft is fed to the power steering control module. Other inputs such as vehicle speed and inputs from the traction control or stability control systems are factored in to determine how much steering assist is required. The control module then commands the motor to rotate a certain amount, and a sensor on the motor provides feedback to the control module so it can monitor the motor’s position.

Better yet, because an EPS system is software driven, it is possible to tap into the steering module and modify steering effort and feel. This can be done with a factory scan tool on some applications, and with aftermarket “tuner” scan tools and software.

electric_steering_toyota_prius

TOYOTA QUALITY…WHAT NOBODY’S SAYING!

Saturday, February 6th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Toyota Quality Is Legendary. Is Toyota Quality slipping? The attached shows how few recalls Toyota has had in the last 20 years compared to the Big 3.  All of this was done while surpassing them in Sales. People Need To See This!…Share This Information!

toyota scoreboard

THANK YOU TOYOTA! A COLUMNIST’S POINT OF VIEW

Friday, February 5th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

Thank you, Toyota!
By Greg Brown, columnist

I am not an employee of Toyota, neither am I an investor. I am simply one of those millions of Americans’ who drive a Toyota, and am red, white and blue proud of it.

I do happen to have social networks in Alabama, Indiana, Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky who benefit from Toyota manufacturing in their states. And though I have no friends in West Virginia, I am sure there are plenty of Americans there, as well, who are proud to build Corollas and Camrys, make good salaries and pay plenty of taxes.

I not only have one Toyota, silver Camry. I have two. One of them is afflicted with the viral accelerator pedal … the deadly pedal on 2.1 million vehicles that has resulted in six (yes, six) accidents. That’s right, I said six … sechs, seis, sei, sest. Whether pronounced in German, Portuguese, Spanish or Italian, the number still denotes a five-fingered hand plus one. Even if you’re an enemy of Toyota, it’s difficult to clap with that.

I still remember where I was when I became a fan of Toyota. It was 1997 and I was tromping around in the desperate terrain of Uganda, negotiating the landscape between Kampala and “The Bush.. Riding on roads that most bicycles could not safely traverse, I saw one Toyota after another, not just surviving, but quite apparently, thriving in the bucking rodeo of Uganda’s twisted roads. How those cars and trucks survived the rising and falling slopes, the dark contorted pot holes, I will never know. I still remember my pained hips, my twisted back and bruised skull, from riding on those roads with 20 other people stuffed in a van. I wrote in a prayer journal one night, that the skeleton of a man was no match for the chassis of a Toyota truck. I asked our Ugandan translator why the only truck I seemed to see in the bush was a Toyota. Revealing the reach of Darwin, he simply said: “Survival of the fittest.”

When I came home, I told my wife that the next car I was going to buy was a Toyota. I have been faithful, and I have not been disappointed. In fact, I am not bothered a bit by this national, knee-jerk reaction. I wish the congressional committee forming to investigate would summon me. I am humored by it. Selfish human that I am, I also calculate that if the skeptics are successful, I will just get a better deal on the next Toyota I buy … a little discount, maybe.

I write this article today, because I am bothered by the media hype surrounding the recent recall. The last TV hype that matched this was two weeks ago, when a weather report from Atlanta zoomed in on snow flakes collecting on the top rail of a bridge, somewhere near Buford. I mourn, not only, for the loss of good sense in the public discourse, but for the financial injury done to good, decent, hard-working people. Like those folks who work for Toyota.

So, I want to say thank you. A hearty thank you. You guys are doing a great job. Keep doing it. All I have done in the last 14 years with my Camrys is take them in for normal service. That’s all. And the service at my Toyota dealership is so professional, so inexpensive, so dependable and so good, I would get my lawnmower and bicycle tuned up there, if I could.

BLUE HARMONY, AUTOMOTIVE “INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM”

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
468x60_staticbanner

DENSO has developed Blue Harmony, an in-vehicle communication and entertainment system or, using the current key buzz-word,  ” Infotainment System”.BLUE HARMONY It allows drivers to manage music, directions, e-mail, Internet radio, news headlines and other infotainment options through voice commands. It is displayed on a touch-screen mounted in the center of the dashboard and  allows users to customize the touch-screen layout, and download Denso-developed applications to run services like Pandora Internet radio, social networking Web site Facebook and photo sharing Web site Flickr.

We recently showed an appliction of the Qi Wireless Technology displayed in the dash of an upcoming Toyota Avalon, an illustration of things to come. Blue Harmony technology expands these technologies in multiple directions.

Unlike some voice-activated infotainment systems on the market now, Blue Harmony does not require several specific prompts to play a particular song over the vehicle’s sound system.

For example, a Blue Harmony prototype demo at the 2010 North American International Auto Show allowed the creation of a new station on customizable Internet radio station Pandora by saying “I want to make a new Pandora station.”

Still in development, the Blue Harmony system promises to have USB ports for connecting different types of devices, and use 802.11 WLAN technology to service customers’ portable devices as a Wi-Fi hotspot and to get data from other Wi-Fi networks into the vehicle. DENSO said it is working on a Bluetooth protocol to integrate navigation applications from portable devices into the car.

The system is expected to go to production in 2011.