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TOYOTA|COROLLA|TOYOTA FOCUSES ON SMALLER VEHICLES, BUILD COROLLA IN MISSISSIPPI

Monday, June 28th, 2010
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Toyota’s decision to build the Corolla in Mississippi is a smart move, especially as competition looks to heat up in the smaller-vehicle market, analysts say.corolla-5million_500x375

Toyota announced last week it will build the Corolla, the compact segment’s top-selling vehicle, starting next fall at its plant under construction in Blue Springs, Ms.

With automotive sales showing signs of recovery, Toyota is wise to focus its newest U.S. production facility on a staple of its lineup. “Given Corolla’s importance in the Toyota world, it’s important for them to increase capacity,” analysts say.

The Corolla follows only the Camry in U.S. sales for the world’s largest automaker and is the number 1 selling car in the world.

Corolla production was shipped to Japan when the company shuttered a California plant last year.

Toyota officials said Thursday that the Blue Springs plant gives them the best opportunity to quickly restart production domestically. Toyota will be ramping up Corolla production at a time when other automakers are taking bolder steps into the smaller-vehicle market.

In addition to regular competitors such as the Honda Civic, a new version of the Hyundai Elantra is coming this year, while the Ford Fiesta and Focus and the Chevrolet Cruze also will be major players among smaller cars. Toyota is challenged in that they’re introducing an older vehicle (among) a lot of flashy new vehicles. They are also in a vulnerable position because you have the domestics, Ford and General Motors that are feeling strong right now with Hyundai, Kia and VW in Chattanooga trying to nip at their heels.

Toyota keeps redesign schedules close to the vest, but it is estimated that a totally new Corolla to be released in 2013. There are reports that say the Corolla produced next fall in Blue Springs will likely have a new front and other design updates.

From January to May, 110,132 Corollas were sold in the United States, besting the competition. Honda was a close second with 109,643 Civics sold in the same period. Honda will launch a new generation Civic next year.

Corolla is the third vehicle planned for Blue Springs. Originally, the plant was to build the Highlander SUV then the Prius hybrid. But the small-vehicle sector has greater growth potential than the hybrid sector, in large part because of increased competition. Between now and 2014, those sales should grow by about 5 million units. The hybrid market’s fortunes are linked to the cost of gas.

When fuel prices climbed above $4 two summers ago, hybrid vehicles got long looks from car buyers and Toyota Dealers werre stacked up with sales orders. With prices below $2.50 in Mississippi and elsewhere, though, emotions have cooled and they’ve lost some luster.

Toyota officials said Thursday that Prius production will remain centered in Japan.

The automaker also will have to successfully market its 44-year-old Corolla brand to a younger breed of car buyer who isn’t as loyal to a particular make and model as boomer-age buyers. The Corolla, does sell well among younger buyers. But could it be seen as representing “their parents’ brand” as those buyers look for the most quality and up-to-date features at the lowest price?

A LITTLE HOUSE CLEANING OF TOYOTA NEWS AUGUST 2009

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
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The Cash for Clunkers program was a big success for Toyota! That’s great Toyota News August 2009. The program generated 690,000 car sales, with Toyota accounting for 19.4 percent of all sales the U.S. Department of Transportation stated during the last week of August 2009.

The Toyota Corolla was the top seller under Cash for Clunkers, closely followed by Toyota Camry and Toyota Prius. Even recently retired Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) traded in his 1991 Chevrolet Suburban for a brand-new Toyota Prius, joking, “You don’t see a lot of Republicans driving a Prius.”

About 84 percent of participating consumers traded in trucks with 59% purchasing more fuel-efficient passenger cars such as Toyota Corolla. More great Toyota News August 2009.

You may have heard that Toyota is recalling about 95,700 Toyota and Scion models in 19 Cold-Weather States because of a possible brake problem. Those models covered are some 2009 and 2010 Corolla and Matrix models as well as some 2008 and 2009 Scion XD models with the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine.

Toyota told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that at “extremely low ambient temperatures”, around -22 degrees F. and lower,  it is possible the brakes could lose their power-assist which would “lead to lengthened vehicle stopping distances.”

The States covered in this recall are Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming…. 

In a announcement of a different matter and direction, Toyota Motor said Monday it was developing Anti-Drunk Driving Equipment that would lock the ignition of a vehicle if high levels of alcohol are detected in the driver. This Next Generation Ignition Interlock System is very difficult for Drunk Drivers to Fool!
The system features a hand-held breathalyser, equipped with a digital camera, that detects alcohol consumption and photographs the driver’s face for identification, a company statement said.

If the driver tests positive, the system either warns him or her, or locks the vehicle’s ignition depending on the level of alcohol detected, Toyota said.

The carmaker is conducting tests with affiliate truck maker Hino Motors, and will install the equipment in selected trucks and other vehicles of fleet customers that include companies and government organizations.

The device will alert fleet administrators if the driver is detected with excessive alcohol levels, Toyota said.

Stay-Tuned for New 2010 Introductions, New Features, and an All New 2010 4Runner!…