March, 2010 browsing by month



Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Toyota sales surged over 40% in March compared with last year after the automaker offered some of its deepest discounts ever to cope with the fallout of millions of recalls.camry grille The incentives were scheduled to end April 5, but Toyota says some will continue into the spring, including an offer of free maintenance for return Toyota customers.

“When you look at what retail consumers are buying, many more retail consumers are going to be buying Toyotas in the month of March than any other brand,” Toyota spokes-personel have stated at the New York International Auto Show, which kicked off with press previews on Wednesday.

Toyota will provide updates on its incentive programs on Monday, but changes should be small. “We’ll tweak them, adjust them, but don’t expect much of a strategic change,” Toyota says. “They’re working very well.

Toyota dealers have so far repaired about 2 million recalled cars and trucks in the U.S. Dealers are repairing about 50,000 vehicles a day, by adding metal shims to the accelerators and shaving down pedals to prevent them from sticking or getting trapped under floor mats.

Automakers are scheduled to report March sales on Thursday. Toyota’s sales fell 9% in February while the broader industry saw sales climb 13%.

One big seller in March was the RAV4 small SUV, which saw sales more than triple from February to about 24,000. Those sales got a boost from trade-ins from rival automakers and brisk business from young families, who like how the vehicle combines elements of a sedan and SUV.

A small percentage of Toyota’s March sales increase was due to customers who would have bought Toyotas in later months. A large number of buyers remain “on the fence” about buying Toyotas and will make their purchase once the media frenzy over quality dies down.

Toyota welcomes government investigations into any ties between electronics in Toyota vehicles and cases of unintended acceleration.

The Company has repeatedly denied that its electronics are to blame for unintended acceleration, blaming faulty gas pedals or pedal entrapment under floor mats.

The Science of Tomorrow’s Cars Just Around The Corner

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Our cars and trucks are being transformed through technology in ways that could never have been imagined even a decade ago.  jetsonToday state-of-the-art electronics, safety systems, Hybrid powertrain technologies, and infotainment devices that help keep drivers connected, are providing consumers with innovative technologies that meet our needs in todays world.

“Science and engineering are at the heart of today’s vehicle development and the auto industry is transforming itself to be at the leading-edge by investing billions of dollars each year. The auto industry is among top investors in research and development globally. 

Here are some of the Latest Advancements that are transforming the way we drive:


For many years, auto engineers have been developing new technologies to make vehicles more fuel efficient — testing and refining them — and the results are now coming to market.  This year, 50+ technologies will be on sale that reduce emissions, increase mileage and run on clean fuels.   Consumers can buy 130+ models that achieve 30 MPG or more (highway), including 27 models of hybrids and 8 clean diesel autos.  

Stop-Start Technology: One of the clearest motoring trends to emerge from Europe in the past year is the growth of Stop-Start technology. The technology conserves energy by shutting off the engine whenever the car stops, such as at a traffic light. The decrease in fuel consumption results in savings of up to 12 percent, and lower CO2 emissions.


In-Car Connectivity:  The car of tomorrow that’s just around the corner combines a variety of technologies into one powerful, intuitive connected driver experience.  This new in-vehicle connectivity experience will include intuitive “Hot Spots” for wireless devices demonstrated in a Toyota Avalon recently, internet connection, and dashboard displays that operate much like display touch-screen buttons on an I-phone replacing many of the traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges. With more voice commands, clear, crisp LCD screens that can be customized with intuitive buttons, drivers can choose which information is front and center through a button click, voice command or touch-screen tap.

Google Earth will be available for the first time in a production vehicle in the new Audi A8. The state-of-the-art online services allow the new A8 to retrieve up-to-date information from the internet via an optional integrated GPRS/EDGE modem in the latest generation MMI navigation plus. The user can search online with Google for points-of-interest directly from within the MMI. With Google Earth on the MMI’s 8 inch LCD display the new Audi A8 allows its occupants to discover the world from above through high resolution three-dimensional satellite and aerial imagery for the entire globe. The Google Earth imagery and 3D terrain model are combined with the detailed street network from the onboard navigation database in a seamless integration of online and offline content.

Making Scents of Smells:  Infiniti’s Forest Air system helps reduce the intrusion of unpleasant odors into the cabin and provides a more natural breeze-like airflow.


Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake is a groundbreaking technological solution found on the all-new Volvo S60. It can detect pedestrians who walk into the road in front of the car, warn the driver – and automatically apply full braking power if the driver does not respond in time.  The system can avoid a collision with a pedestrian when driving at speeds of up to 22 mph.  In an emergency situation the driver first receives an audible warning combined with a flashing light in the windscreen’s head-up display. At the same time, the car’s brakes are pre-charged. If the driver does not react to the warning and an accident is imminent, full braking power is automatically applied.  

World First Rear-Seat Center Airbag: Toyota has developed a world first rear-seat centre airbag to help reduce the severity of passenger injuries in side-on collisions. The new Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbag is fitted in a large, fixed, rear-seat centre console and will feature in particular Toyota models to be released in the near future.  When the vehicle is hit side-on, the airbag deploys from the top of the console to act as a barrier that helps lessen injuries caused by passengers colliding with each other or into the console.


Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

WASHINGTON — NASA and the National Academy of Sciences are joining the government’s effort to figure out what caused the sudden acceleration problems that led to Toyota’s massive recalls.

NASA scientists with expertise in electronics will help the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study potential electronic ties to unintended acceleration in Toyotas. NASA’s knowledge of electronics, computer hardware and software and hazard analysis will ensure a comprehensive review, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday.

In a separate study, the National Academy of Sciences will examine unwanted acceleration and electronic vehicle controls in cars from around the auto industry, LaHood said. The National Academy is an independent organization chartered by Congress.

These studies taking about 15 months will cost about $3 million, including the expense of buying cars that have allegedly had unintended acceleration. Both studies will be peer reviewed by scientific experts, the Transportation Department said.

Toyota said in a statement it was “confident in our vehicles and in our electronics” and would cooperate with the government review.

“These studies are just the kind of science-based examination we have been calling for. Bringing some sunshine to this subject is bound to separate fact from fiction, which will be good for Toyota, the industry and the motoring public,” the company said.

“Carmakers have entered the electronics era, but NHTSA seems stuck in a mechanical mindset,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said last month. “We need to make sure the federal safety agency has the tools and resources it needs to ensure the safety of the electronic controls and on-board computers that run today’s automobiles.”

Toyota has attributed the problem to sticking gas pedals and accelerators that can become jammed in floor mats, and has cited no evidence of an electrical problem. The company has noted that other manufacturers also have had reports of cars surging forward.

Reviews of some recent high-profile crashes have failed to find a mechanical or electronic problem…

A police investigation of a March 9 accident in suburban New York involving a 2005 Prius found that the driver, not the car, was to blame. Tests following a March 8 incident in San Diego in which a driver reported the gas pedal on his 2008 Prius got stuck, leading to a 94 mph ride on a freeway, found that the hybrid’s gas pedal, backup safety system and electronics were working fine. NHTSA’s review of Toyota’s electronic throttle control systems is expected to be completed by late summer. The safety agency, with NASA’s help, is looking at electronic systems used in Toyotas and whether they have flaws that would warrant a defect investigation.

The National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council will review industry and government efforts to identify possible sources of unintended acceleration, including electronic vehicle controls, human error, mechanical failure and interference with accelerator systems.

The experts will look at software, computer hardware design, electromagnetic compatibility and electromagnetic interference. They will make recommendations to NHTSA in mid-2011 on how the government agency’s rulemaking, research and defect investigations could help ensure the safety of vehicle electronic control systems.


Monday, March 29th, 2010

Here is a brief Tutorial for Programming Toyota Door Locks with Programming Options Linked to Driver’s Door, Shift Lever, and Vehicle Speed…  a lock switch

Automatic Door Unlocking-Linked To The Driver’s Door

This will program all the doors to automatically unlock whenever the driver’s door is opened within 10 seconds after the ignition is turned from “ON” to the “ACCESSORY” or “OFF” position.

  1. Set the Parking Brake
  2. Make sure all doors are closed
  3. Place the ignition switch in the “ON” position
  4. Automatic Transmission Models Only– place the transmission gear selector in the “N” position (NEUTRAL)
  5. Within 10 seconds of turning the ignition to the “ON” position, press and hold the driver’s side power door lock switch in the unlock position (rear of the switch) for 5 seconds
  • All doors will lock and unlock to indicate that the programming was successful.
  • To cancel the programming, repeat the steps.

Automatic Door Unlocking – Linked To Shift Lever (Automatic Transmission Models Only)

This Will Program All The Doors To Unlock Whenever The Shift Lever Placed In PARK.

  1. Set The Parking Brake
  2. Make Sure All Doors Are Closed
  3. Place The Ignition Switch In The “ON” position
  4. Place The Transmission Gear Selection In The “P” position (PARK)
  5. Within 10 Seconds Of Turning The Ignition To The “ON” Position, Press And Hold The Driver’s Side Power Door Lock Switch In The Unlock Position (Rear Of The Switch) For 5 Seconds
  • All Doors Will Lock And Unlock To Indicate That The Programming Was Successful.
  • To Cancel The Programming, Repeat The Steps.

Automatic Door Locking – Linked To Vehicle Speed

This Will Program All The Doors To Lock Whenever The Vehicle Reaches A Speed Of About 12 mph.

  1. Set the Parking Brake
  2. Make sure all doors are closed
  3. Place the ignition switch in the “ON” position
  4. Automatic Transmission Models Only– place the transmission gear selector in the “N” position (NEUTRAL)
  5. Within 10 seconds of turning the ignition to the “ON” position, press and hold the driver’s side power door lock switch in the unlock position (front of the switch) for 5 seconds and then release
  • All doors will lock and unlock to indicate that the programming was successful.
  • To cancel the programming, repeat the steps.


Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

We’re driving down the road  busy talking on the cell phone, yelling at the driver in front of us and jotting notes on our calendar and then all of a sudden CRASH!!!crash

Driving is a serious task that we exercise daily and whether a new driver or a seasoned one, we all forget the dangers that lurk at all times.

Here are the five worst driving errors–the ones that could kill you or someone else as identified by the insurance industry.

Never Do These Five Things While Driving:

No. 1. Multitasking

When you turn on the car, turn off the gadgets. No matter how busy your day is, when you’re on the road, focus only on driving. Catch up on other activities later and avoid unnecessary accidents.

No. 2. Follow too closely

Count: One thousand one. One thousand two. That’s about two seconds, and that’s the cushion that should be between you and the vehicle ahead. It could not only save your bumper, but also your life. Make sure to double or triple that time when the weather is bad or the pavement is slick.

No. 3. Failure to yield on a left-hand turn

Check the flow before you go. Also, look at the street onto which you are turning to make sure there are no vehicles or pedestrians in your path.

No. 4. Incorrect merging

That yield sign means just that: Yield–not stop. Accidents often occur when you are stuck behind a driver entering a highway who interprets yield as a dead stop. Don’t be the guilty party. Use the ramp as a means for merging into traffic, not causing it to back up.

No. 5. Backing up without looking

You don’t have eyes in the back of your head so look over your shoulder when you put the car in reverse. Remember, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Your side and rearview mirrors have a margin of error, so don’t rely on them alone. Look over your shoulder before backing up.


Sunday, March 21st, 2010

With gas prices edging up toward $4 per gallon, car colors can be an indicator of a driver’s emotional character and which drivers are keeping a  cheerful attitude these days.automobile-color

Well, if there are any cheerful drivers out there, chances are they’re driving a Green car. Really?

People who own Emerald Green automobiles, it turns out, have the most positive attitude about the course of their own lives. Dark Blue and Silver are other colors chosen by upbeat optimistic people.
Red supposedly connotes an aggressive, high-speed personality, while Yellow, theoretically, is for folks with sunny dispositions. But survey data show that people who drive red or yellow cars have below-average confidence. And Black cars, supposedly a sign of power and elegance, are driven by the most gloomy drivers of all.

The automotive color-coding comes from CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore., which asked nearly 1,900 Americans about their attitudes toward their own lives at several points over the course of a year. CNW also asked each respondent the color of the car they drive most often, which allowed the researchers to develop a kind of color-confidence index. According to CNW, here’s what the color of a car says about the person who bought it:

Since the folks at CNW got a range of answers for each respondent over time, they were also able to calculate the “moodiness” of drivers — how widely their confidence varied from one extreme to the other, in the course of a year.

Sedate colors, not surprisingly, correlate with consistent moods. But if a primary color suddenly fills your rear-view mirror — well, it’s probably best to get out of the way…

Certainly there are better clinical indicators of mental health, but CNW says car color can be a useful “people-matching” tool. “Your accountant should drive something silver,” he advises. And odds are pretty good that he does: Silver, white, and black — more stable hues — are the most common car colors, according to DuPont, which publishes an annual color popularity report. More moody colors account for about 17 percent of cars. If only they had their own roads.


Sunday, March 21st, 2010

 CIVIC AND COROLLAIt’s Springtime and another round of teenage drivers will be hitting the roads for their first time in their first car or truck. Teenagers and parents tend to have different objectives, priorities, and visions when it comes to first cars. In this article, let’s try to look at the subject of first cars from both points of view.

What Teens Want
Most teenagers place considerable importance on a car’s style (sporty), appearance (cool), performance (fast), size (room for friends), and accessories (customization). Girls like “cute” cars and place less importance on performance than boys..

An automobile is a projection of a teen’s personality, social status, sense of freedom, and desire for peer approval — as well as possibly serving a practical need for getting back and forth to school or job.

What Parents Want
Parents want safe cars for their teens. Parents also place importance on economy (low purchase cost, low operation cost with great gas mileage, and low maintenance cost), reliability/dependability, and low insurance cost.

Teens who are expected to pay their own way may also place importance on many of the same factors as their parents.

Cost is a Factor
The first issue that most young drivers and their parents usually struggle with when deciding on a first car is that of cost, which typically leads to the issue of used-versus-new.

An older car is generally going to cost less than a brand new model. However, older used cars will generally be less reliable, may develop unexpected repair expenses, have fewer safety features, and not be as attractive as a newer model. On the other hand, insurance cost and taxes can be less. Used cars older than 5 years are generally sold “as-is” without warranties.

A brand new car can be more expensive — although not necessarily so (see below) — but will have the latest features and safety equipment, be under manufacturer’s warranty for 3-5 years, be protected by lemon laws, and will have new-car reliability — and a new-car smell.

You can get free price quotes on any new car from the following sources: Edmunds, CarsDirect, and Yahoo! Autos . The quotes you receive will automatically include any factory rebates and dealer discounts.

Be aware that when you fill out the form specifying a make and model, in most cases you will not be asked about which year model you are interested in. If you are interested in last year’s left over models, you’ll have to specify that when you actually talk to the responding dealers.

Best First Cars for Teenagers – Top Recommendations
Because of the wide variations in availability and characteristics of used cars, we’ll stick to a discussion of new cars. However, used cars tend to have many of the same characteristics of new cars of the same make and model.

  • Toyota Corolla – This Toyota vehicle considered to be the number one selling car in the world and is a favorite among teenagers as both a new and used vehicle. It’s reliable, with good performance, has plenty of room inside, and there are many options from after-market companies for styling and performance improvements. Buyers of this vehicle, receive the Toyota “Star Safety System” which is one of the best safety systems being offered on cars today. The Corolla is priced at about $17,700 for base models and is standard with vehicle stability control as part of the “Star Safety System”. If the Corolla is not quite large enough, look at the Toyota Camry, one the best-selling cars in America for the last few years.
  • Toyota Camry – The Camry is considered to be the number one selling car in America and is a roomy mid-size car known for it’s Quality, Reliabilty, Durability, and Resale Value. The new 2010 model has a new 169 hp 2.5 liter engine coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission and gets 37 mpg on the highway, 26 mpg around town. The Toyota “Star Safety System” is standard equipment on the Camry and includes VSC, and 7 air bags with an exclusive driver knee bag.
  • Scion – Toyota has created a line of popular vehicles that specifically targets young drivers. The Scion is full of standard features, and optional features, that appeal to teens, is relatively inexpensive, and has a good-performing and fuel-efficient engine. It also has a great reliability record with some great safety options such as side air bags. Scion models, TC, xB, and xD are typical Toyota high-quality vehicles at base prices that start at about $17,570 for the xB, $16,650 for the xD, and $18,000 for the tC. The economical xA model is no longer made, but is available as a used car.
  • Honda Civic – This is a popular car among teens — and parents. This car has almost all of the qualities desired by both teens and parents: economy, style, safety, reliability, performance, low insurance rates, and good size for passengers. The ride is a bit rough though compared to a Corolla. There are tons of accessories, custom appearance products, and performance options for the Honda Civic. Base price for a new Civic is about $17,500. The new re-styled model has won Motor Trend magazine’s “Car of the Year” award and is a Consumer Reports Magazine Top Pick. Honda also produces a fuel-efficient hybrid version of this vehicle, at a slightly higher cost. Used models of the Honda Civic are readily available, reliable, and hold their value very well.
  • Honda Fit – This small 4-door hatchback is a good combination of Honda reliability, interior space, features, and safety equipment — and a resonable 34 miles per gallon of gas on the highway. It’s a fun car that also will haul a teenager’s stuff. It is also safe and relatively cheap to insure and maintain.
  • Nissan Sentra -This is a sensible car for teens, having many of the attributes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but a little less style. It’s comfortable, but with a harsh ride and little room in the rear seat. However, it gets good gas mileage, is reliable, enjoys relatively low insurance rates, and is priced at about $14,700. Used models can be found at good prices.
  • Ford Focus – This is a fun and sporty car that teenagers like. It has a firm but comfortable ride and a number of engine options. Interior material quality appears cheap but functional. There are no less than 12 different variations of this model that should allow almost any teen to be satisfied. Prices start at about $15,300 for base models. Ford’s reliability has improved dramatically in the last few years. You can’t go wrong with this nice little car.
  • Mazda 3 – This vehicle is an excellent small car with good interior space, good performance, and good quality. It comes in both a hatchback and sedan and starts at about $15,700. New models are very stylish and youth-oriented. Prices for used Mazdas are very reasonable.

When Costs Are Not The Biggest Factor and teens can consider a near luxury used vehicle for their first car, here are some good choices:

  • BMW 3-Series – This is one of the most popular of all sporty luxury cars, for a good reason. It’s fun to drive, is a great performer, and fuel economy is good — and it looks good, as a “bimmer” should. It’s available as a coupe, sedan, or a convertible. Used models are available for good prices.
  • Mercedes C-Class – This is a popular small sports sedan with young people who like a car that’s fun to drive and exudes luxury and class. It’s comfortable, roomy, and handles well on the street or highway. It also enjoys a good safety rating and is relatively economical to own.
  • Acura TL – This car is consistently rated very high as having the best blend of all characteristics that one would want in a car. It mixes luxury features with comfort, performance, handling, and sportiness. It’s one of the most reliable models on the road.
  • Audi A4 – This vehicle is available as a sedan and convertible. It is luxurious and stylish with excellent driving characteristics. A wide range of features, options, and transmission choices are available. Crash-test results are impressive. Reliability is average.
  • Lexus IS – It’s a Lexus with all the quality and luxury that Lexus offers, but it’s not the Lexus that grandfather drives. It is a small safe sports sedan that has the performance, looks, and comfort that young people enjoy. A high-performance V8 version is available but watch out for high insurance rates.


Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The Foresight of Futurists Seventy Years Ago may have led to many of the Technological Marvels that we enjoy with awe today. 3-D MOVIE

The vivid illustration above is from 1943 suggesting to movie-goers that they might go to 3-D movies “more thrilling than any you ever dreamed of!” In 1943, the movie shown involves fighter jets soaring above the audience and soldiers stomping right through it. It looks like the person to the left dressed like “Flash Gordon” is an usher, not part of the spectacle … but you never know. All of this some 67 years before “Avatar”. Check out the Sports Bar below:

FLAT TV 1946

This One’s Pretty Uncanny — the illustration predicted the rise of the sports bar, down to the fact that they’d eventually be festooned with Giant Flat-Screen TVs! Take the foresight used here, move it sideways, and you have the New Wide-Screen DVD Screen in the 2011 Sienna…       sienna dvdBut back to the illustration;…The scene is dead-on, however, during the early Forties, it was mistakenly believed that said bars would be filled with natty proto-Mad Men sipping whiskey, instead of brawny bloats chuggin beer. And Imagine that!…  they’re all actually watching Hockey….


Sunday, March 14th, 2010

3 more yarisWe’ve heard from several buyers this week who after checking out financing offers from other automakers, said they were now seriously considering buying the Toyota Yaris.

 With lawmakers and the media trained on the company’s every move, Well Informed Buyers with Foresight believe that Toyota will be selling only the best cars available. Indeed, Toyota announced its North American sales overall jumped more than 50% over the first eight days of March compared with the same period in 2009.

Truly Buyers in the Yaris economy car segment are looking to maximize every dollar, motivated largely by economic conditions presently. Low Price and Maximum Value matter…The 2010 Yaris delivers on both fronts, combining attractive price, impressive fuel efficiency (Over 40 MPG Achievable) and low over-all cost of ownership (Almost 0% Incidence of Repair). Plus, there is a full array of comfort, convenience, and safety features (“The Star Safety System” is standard equipment);-all in a fun package for Forward Thinking Buyers with Foresight.

According to IntelliChoice 5-year Estimated Ownership Costs, Yaris could cost up to $1,971 less than Honda Fit after 5 years of owership and up to $5,199 less than Hyundai Accent after 5 years of ownership. 

Toyota Yaris is available in a flexible range of Body Styles:

  • Yaris 3-Door Liftback: Base and S models
  • Yaris 5-Door Liftback: Base and S models
  • Yaris 4-Door Sedan: Base and S models 

Toyota Yaris…The Smart Choice of the Well Informed Buyer With Foresight!


Friday, March 12th, 2010

Years ago when somone used the term traction aids they were referring to weights and pulleys to put tension on a displaced bone or joint. The reference still exists in medical vernacular. Today, traction aid is a buzz term for any of the new technologies for cars and trucks that help guide them along their path safely with driver control.traction control

Most of the new systems are seamless and mostly automatic to offer the driver options for dealing with just about any low-traction situation. As with many new technologies, there can be confusion as to what they do and when they should be employed.


Maximum traction is not always the desired result. There is a problem designing a system for both optimum control and maximum traction. The reason is that tires are required to generate both traction forces and cornering forces. Although they can do both at the same time, they cannot generate 100 percent of both at the same time. If a tire is asked to maximize traction, its cornering capability will be significantly reduced, and visa versa. This is the main reason Auto LSD works separately from TRAC. TRAC is geared more toward control, while Auto LSD is all about traction. So what are the differences?

VSC is the default mode on many Toyota vehicles and incorporates TRAC. It is referred to as VSC+TRAC. These two systems are functional in 2WD  vehicles, or 4WD vehicles in 2WD mode.

TRAC – Helps improve traction by limiting rear wheel-spin with throttle reduction and/or by applying the rear brakes. It is programmed to help improve traction and limit the chance of losing control of the vehicle due to too much rear wheel-spin say as you drive along a wet road.

A-TRAC– Is TRAC for 4WD vehicles. When in 4WD, A-TRAC monitors wheel-spin on each axle. It uses the brakes to limit wheel-spin on opposing tires, thus transferring torque from the spinning wheel to the non-spinning wheel, helping to improve traction on that axle.

VSC– Helps control the vehicle during cornering and has virtually nothing to do with traction. It is designed to counter-steer the vehicle in case of loss of control in a cornering situation by applying individual brakes. This helps the vehicle stay along its intended path. The steering effect is much like steering a wheelchair by grabbing /braking one of the wheels.

VSC OFF- Helps give the driver control over wheel-spin for conditions that require more slip, such as deep snow with tire chains. It also allows “rocking” of the vehicle if stuck. This is accomplishing by holding in the VSC Off button for more than three seconds. Both the VSC Off and slip indicator light will illuminate. VSC can be turned on again by simply pushing the VSC Off button.

AUTO LSD Designed for maximum longitudinal tire traction, is only functional in 2WD vehicles or 4WD vehicles in 2WD mode. The electronic programming of Auto LSD uses the brakes to slow a spinning rear tire which redirects the power to the tire with grip, just like TRAC, but without power reduction. Auto LSD need only be used when the VSC-TRAC system is not sufficient for conditions such as pulling a boat up a wet ramp.

The system can be engaged any time by tapping the “VSC OFF” switch. An “Auto LSD” light appears in the gauge cluster. Auto LSD only functions below about 30 mph; above that, TRAC takes over regardless of the indicator lights. To turn Auto LSD off, simply tap the switch again.

Whether the goal is improving control or traction, these systems do an outstanding job and are standard on many Toyota vehicles, Tundra and Tacoma.


Sunday, March 7th, 2010

There are those who think that Toyota has taken a  nose-dive  that could take years to bounce back from. …We’re thinking a month or so.

Even with mysterious gas-pedal issues, claims of deadly “sudden acceleration” incidents, and the global recall of more than 8 million vehicles, millions of drivers continue to consider Toyota the gold standard for automobiles, with quality and reliability that exceeds others.

What’s different about Toyota, though, is that it knows how to recover quickly. The automaker has deep pockets and tons of talent. Executives work around the clock to  lead Toyota through the worst crisis in its history, and sooner rather than later the company will regain control and get back on the pavement. It will end up a better company than before. Meanwhile, Toyota automobiles could be a smart buy, with dealers offering discounts and other incentives to get things moving. If the price seems right, there are several other good reasons to buy a Toyota:

Safety concerns are exaggerated. The problems are serious, but political posturing in Washington and media hype have created the impression that every Toyota is dangerous. That’s ridiculous. The sudden-acceleration incidents at the center of the controversy have been “linked” to 34 deaths over the past decade or so. Toyota has sold more than 20 million vehicles in the United States during that time. By those numbers, rough math suggests the odds of a sudden-acceleration fatality in a Toyota vehicle are on the order of 1 in 600,000–not exactly a death wish for somebody buying a Toyota. And those odds could end up much lower. Deaths now considered linked to sudden acceleration could later be proved to have been caused by something else–including drivers who were pressing the gas pedal instead of the brake. No driver wants to admit doing that, but the fact is, it happens.

None of that is meant to disparage people who have been killed or hurt in a Toyota, and recent revelations depict a company that seemed unsympathetic to genuine complaints from customers. But the acceleration problem could turn out to be far less widespread than current hysteria suggests. It’s worth recalling that the Audi sudden-acceleration incidents in the 1980s–at first thought to be related to vehicle flaws–were later proved to be entirely the fault of drivers. Meanwhile, by virtue of its woes, Toyota is probably paying more attention to safety right now than any other automaker, to include the extraordinary step of shutting down factories to retool the gas-pedal assembly in many popular models. Toyotas coming off the assembly line these days are probably subject to more quality control than most other cars on the market.

Recalls aren’t the whole story. Being forced to recall millions of vehicles is a big deal, but Toyota still seems to perform better than other automakers when it comes to the kinds of complaints that lead to recalls. Data analyzed by, for example, show that there have been many more complaints lodged against Toyota for sudden acceleration since 2005 than for any other automaker. But overall, Toyota has drawn far fewer complaints than most competitors, which is consistent with its once sterling reputation. Edmunds found that over the past 10 years, Toyota accounted for just 9.1 percent of all complaints filed with the government, even though it racked up 13.5 percent of all car sales. So despite the acceleration issue, Toyota still performs better than most in terms of complaints.

Toyota’s not alone. Internal documents showing that Toyota boasted of saving $100 million by avoiding a series of recalls make the Japanese automaker seem singularly sinister. But all automakers try to avoid recalls. Toyota just happens to be the one that got caught boasting about it, since it’s the company under investigation right now–and subject to subpoena. And all carmakers know that the Obama administration is “not industry friendly,” as another embarrassing Toyota document put it. Obama, like Bush, is requiring steep improvement in fuel economy, which will force all automakers to invest heavily in new engine technologies. That arguably hurts the Detroit automakers most, since their fleets get the worst gas mileage and they have the farthest to go. And anybody who still has doubts should ask Rick Wagoner or Fritz Henderson if the Obama administration is industry friendly; they were both forced to resign as CEO of General Motors, in the midst of the company’s bankruptcy and federal bailout.

The cars are still good. Of 18 Toyota vehicles, seven rank in the top three in their category in the U.S. News Best Car and Truck rankings, including the Avalon sedan, Sienna minivan, Sequoia SUV, and Venza crossover. Five of 12 Lexus vehicles rank in the top three. In its latest quality ratings, J. D. Power & Associates ranks Lexus first and Toyota seventh, out of 37 automotive brands. Consumer Reports named the Toyota Prius one of its 10 “Best Picks” for 2010, despite a recall involving brakes. And CR is poised to restore its coveted “recommended” status to eight vehicles it suspended from its ranking in the midst of the mushrooming recall controversy: the Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Sequoia, and Tundra. Toyota’s overall quality has slipped from the stratospheric highs of a few years ago, but there are still few automakers that can match its record across their entire fleet.

White-glove treatment. To win back customers and alleviate safety concerns, Toyota will pick up and return some recalled cars, so worried owners don’t have to drive to the dealership. Toyota is also offering rental cars or rides to work to some owners getting their cars fixed. And CEO Toyoda has said that the company must start paying more attention to customers. Toyota certainly has room to rise: It ranks 17th out of 23 on J. D. Power’s customer-service index. If Toyota is serious about rebuilding its business, it has to start by wooing skeptical consumers. That’s a boon for buyers.

Lifetime Warranty Available. Select Toyota dealers around the country sell New Toyota vehicles with an Exclusive Lifetime Warranty with Unlimited Miles and Unlimited Time honorable anywhere in the United States. Find out more about Lifetime Warranty below:


Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Tacoma and Tundra Owners spend more money per vehicle modifying their trucks than Ford, Chevy, GMC and Dodge owners according to Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA),tacoma modified

The information can be found in SEMA’s 2008 Light Truck Report. SEMA surveyed more than 1,600 light-truck owners to determine the amount of money spent on different products and accessories. All the respondents owned or leased a 2007 or 2008 model-year pickup. The range of products asked about included suspension lift kits, audio upgrades, bedliners and more. Here are the results:

pickup list 1

 pickup list 2

The Cadillac Escalade EXT is skewed quite high because it is a low-volume truck (about 4,700 units sold in 2008) and it’s a popular urban ride, so expensive 24- and 26-inch rims are quite common. More than 70% of Escalade owners earn over $100,000 annually. That’s the highest percentage of wealthy owners for any pickup, according to SEMA.

SEMA says all full-size truck owners spent an average of $1,831 on accessories while compact truck owners spent an average of $835 on aftermarket equipment.

Previous SEMA surveys show that cold-air intake systems, exhaust kits, bedliners, performance fluids and window tinting are among the most popular modifications for pickup owners. Tundra owners have also indicated that supercharger kits, winches and grille brush guards are popular items. Tacoma owners are into ski racks, wheel flares, upgraded brakes and lift kits in addition to the more traditional modifications.


Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

How badly did Toyota’s recalls and Media pounding impact its sales? Only 8.7% …and that was less than what even conservative industry analysts predicted as Toyota’s big sellers still sold.
Nearly every other automaker saw sharp sales increases, most likely at Toyota’a expense. Chrysler remained flat, selling a few hundred more vehicles than it did last February. Ford was the big winner, shooting up 43%. GM was up 11.5%, but that included its four defunct brands. The four remaining brands saw sales increase 32%.

Nissan sales were up 29.4%, and Honda was up 12.2%. Subaru and Kia had record-setting February sales, up 38% and up 9%, respectively. Luxury automakers also did well, with Audi, BMW and Mercedes all seeing sales increases of 33.6%, 13.7% and 8.4%, respectively.

How did the top 10 cars list shake out? The Toyota Corolla and Camry both moved up! The Corolla moved from No. 5 to No. 4, and the Camry moved from No. 7 to No. 5. What other cars could do that under such a bombastic pounding. The Honda Accord, took the No. 2 spot from the Chevy Silverado.  The Ford Fusion and Honda Civic also made gains at the expense of the Nissan Altima and Chevy Malibu. The full list is below.
1. Ford F-Series: 32,895
2. Honda Accord: 22,456 (including 2,432 Crosstours)
3. Chevy Silverado: 19,822
4. Toyota Corolla: 16,996
5. Toyota Camry: 16,552
6. Honda Civic: 16,471
7. Ford Fusion: 16,459
8. Nissan Altima: 16,198
9. Ford Escape: 15,156