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European car sales up 8% in February

European car sales up 8% in February

March 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Europe , BMW , Ford , GM , Mercedes-Benz , Toyota , Volkswagen , Renault , Peugeot , Citro

Toyota temporarily idles pair of Indian plants due to labor unrest

Toyota temporarily idles pair of Indian plants due to labor unrest

March 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Budget , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , UAW/Unions , India The Detroit News reported today that Toyota will restart production at two Indian plants, following a shutdown on Monday. Factory labor, management and police in Asia engage in the kind of violent altercations that we’re not used to, having almost entirely walked away from the overtly brutal relations epitomized by the Pinkerton Detective Agency and the Flint Sit-Down Strike . In India, a plant owned by a Ford transmission supplier plant was shut down in 2009 after incidents between workers and armed men around the same time as Ssangyong workers occupied a factory in South Korea , in 2012 Suzuki Maruti workers rioted over wages around the same time upset employees beat a ceramics factory president to death in retaliation for a labor leader’s killing. Toyota is the latest to company trying to avoid that road. The Detroit Free Press reported earlier this week that it shut down two plants in India after 11 months of acrimonious wage negotiations and arbitration have gone nowhere. Toyota said the plant workers in Bidadi, near Bangalore, had deliberately stopped production at times over the past 45 days and threatened management. The workers said they wanted their wages raised by an amount already agreed to by management, but that management had reneged; news reports weren’t clear on the amount, some saying nearly 10,000 rupees ($165 US) more per month, another saying 4,000 rupees ($65 US), but reports agree that Toyota has said it will only go as high as 3,050 rupees ($50 US). Terms of today’s resolution have not been released, but we do know that production will begin again on Monday, March 24. Toyota temporarily idles pair of Indian plants due to labor unrest originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Mar 2014 18:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

Toyota reaches $1.2B unintended acceleration settlement in criminal probe

Toyota reaches $1.2B unintended acceleration settlement in criminal probe

March 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Toyota , Earnings/Financials UPDATE: Just like that, Toyota has released an official statement confirming its $1.2-billion dollar settlement with the US Attorney’s Office. Our story has been updated to reflect this development and the automaker’s official statement has been added below . Toyota has reached a settlement over the criminal probe into its unintended acceleration problems, and the outcome is more expensive than first expected. The Japanese automaker has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to close the investigation among other settlement terms. The criminal inquiry focused on whether the company kept information from regulators and how it handled drivers’ complaints about the problems, according to the sources. Between 2009 and 2010, Toyota ended up recalling over 10 million vehicles worldwide over sudden acceleration fears. Fixes include modifying floor mats, gas pedals, and installing brake override software on affected models. In addition, Toyota made the latter standard on all of its new vehicles. The first rumblings of a settlement broke last month when “people familiar with the matter” revealed a possible billion-dollar agreement . That rumor suggested that the deal would also include criminal deferred prosecution arrangement that would force Toyota to accept responsibility but let it avoid federal criminal convictions.

Toyota tops Consumer Reports best, worst used car values

Toyota tops Consumer Reports best, worst used car values

March 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Acura , Ford , Honda , Hyundai , Subaru , Toyota We often mock Toyota for building boring, soulless cars, but a new study by Consumer Reports suggests that regardless of whether that’s true, the company has some of the best used cars on the market. In its report on used cars from 2004-2013, the Japanese automaker had 11 vehicles among its brands on the list – more than any other automaker. CR breaks the list down by cost and vehicle size, and Toyota has at least one entry at every price point and in nearly every segment. To score a recommendation, a vehicle had to perform well in the magazine’s initial tests and score above-average reliability results. It also tried to only suggest cars with electronic stability control. Of the 28 recommended vehicles, Honda / Acura had the second most mentions at six, and Ford , Hyundai and Subaru managed two each. The Detroit brands also made it to the list, but not in a positive way. Consumer Reports compiled a list of 22 vehicles it wouldn’t recommend because “they have multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability.” General Motors had the most unrecommended models on the list at six, but Chrysler and Ford weren’t far behind, with five cars each from their brands not making the grade. The full list of recommendations is available on CR ‘s website . Toyota tops Consumer Reports best, worst used car values originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:14:00 EST.

This is why blindfold slalom racing is a bad idea

This is why blindfold slalom racing is a bad idea

March 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Motorsports , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Toyota Blindfold slalom racing sounds like a really dumb, albeit entertaining, idea. The concept is quite simple: blindfold a driver, find a co-driver to bark orders and see who can negotiate a set course the quickest. Of course, any time you have someone behind the wheel who has no idea where the car is going, there’s the potential for crashes, and this short video delivers. This video demonstrates how blindfolded slalom is supposed to go, as well as what it looks like when things go wrong. You even get a glimpse at the aftermath. It seems like it would be a lot more fun with beater cars you didn’t care about, not what looks like a pretty clean third-generation Toyota Supra . By running this event on a drag strip with retaining walls, these guys are putting themselves and some nice cars in harm’s way. That said, the video below would also appear to be a good reminder of one of life’s key tenets: Always pick a good co-driver. Fair Warning: the video contains some mildly explicit language. Scroll down to check it out, and let us know in Comments if you’d be willing to try blindfold slalom racing.

Toyota raises Japanese base wages for first time since 2008

Toyota raises Japanese base wages for first time since 2008

March 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota is on track for record profits, and in return, its Japanese workers are receiving their first increase in base wages since 2008, plus higher pay based on seniority and a larger bonus for 2014. The Japanese automaker predicts the average laborer will net a 2.9 percent income gain. The average Toyota employee will earn 2,700 yen ($26.28) more each month, a 0.8 percent increase from last year. Workers will also receive about 7,300 yen ($71.09) more monthly based on seniority and promotions. Finally, the company’s union pushed through a median bonus of 2.44 million yen ($23,768) for 2014, the highest in 6 years. The pay boost comes as Toyota forecasts a record 1.9-trillion yen ($18.5 billion) profit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, according to Bloomberg . It has been helped by the Japanese government’s efforts to weaken the yen on international markets and expand inflation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been asking businesses to increase compensation to end years of deflation and offset upcoming higher sales taxes. Honda and Nissan have also raised their wages there in recent months. Toyota raises Japanese base wages for first time since 2008 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:29:00 EST.

Toyota expects hybrids will soon reach 20-percent sales volume globally

Toyota expects hybrids will soon reach 20-percent sales volume globally

March 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Electric Hybrids have come quite a long way from their roots as dull, slow, boring ecomobiles. Today, Porsche sells three hybrid models, one of which is the amazing 918 Spyder . BMW will soon sell four, including a low-slung, two-seat sports car . Even Ferrari and McLaren , full-fledged hypercar manufacturers, are embracing the tech. And all of these cars are sold alongside the same sort of boring cars that popularized hybrids in the first place. According to Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada , though, we should see an even bigger increase in the number of hybrid vehicles in the coming years. “I foresee hybrid models pretty soon reaching 20 percent of global sales from about 13 percent to 14 percent now,” Uchiyamada-san told Automotive News . Uchiyamada is the man behind the original Prius , which gives him some degree of authority on making predictions about hybrid adoption. What’s remarkable, though, is that the 20-percent figure doesn’t include plug-in hybrids, just gas- and diesel-electric models. “Suppliers need higher volumes to slash costs of components specific to plug-in models, including batteries that should be bigger and more capable than the ones used in traditional hybrids,” Uchiyamada told AN.

Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene

Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene

March 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Motorsports , Performance , Videos , Lexus , Toyota , Racing We all know that street racing is dangerous, and that motorsports are best left on the track or drag strip. However, that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t some outlaw allure among enthusiasts of racing on public roads. In this video, Vice Japan profiles Eikichi Nagayoshi of Japan’s island of Okinawa. He is a used car dealer by day and an illegal racer by night. Nagayoshi has a deep love for his highly customized Toyota Aristo (better known to us as a first-generation Lexus GS ) that he claims produces over 1,000 horsepower and has hit 205 miles per hour. He races his car both on drag strips and in drifting competitions, but says that he often has to ship the car to mainland Japan to compete. In the absence of those opportunities, he sometimes gathers friends and takes the racing to the public roads. While we’re not down with street racing, this Vice video is an intriguing personality piece, as well as a look into Japan’s fabled underground racing scene. Scroll down to check out the video, but make sure you have the “CC” button clicked, because several portions are subtitled. Continue reading Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:45:00 EST.

Remember when C-segment cars were supposed to be hot stuff? Yeah, about that…

Remember when C-segment cars were supposed to be hot stuff? Yeah, about that…

March 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Chevrolet , Dodge , Ford , GM , Honda , Hyundai , Kia , Mazda , Subaru , Toyota , Volkswagen What do the Dodge Dart , Ford Focus , Honda Civic , Mazda3 , Subaru Impreza , Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Jetta all have in common? Well, actually, lots. They are all four-door sedans that fall into the so-called C-segment, and they are all trending downward in sales. This data comes courtesy of Wards Auto , and, while not all such vehicles are down – the Hyunai Elantra has been trending upward – the deficit reportedly rings in at six-percent overall for the segment. Where are all those compact sedan buyers going? To compact SUVs, at least in part. Wards cites data showing that sales of small SUVs and crossovers are up big over the last several months. Vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 are all showing sales increases as buyers shift from sedans to utility vehicles, says Wards . Still, it’s way too early for automakers to give up on C-segment sedans. Though down, sales of popular models like the Civic and Corolla are good enough to put them well into the top 10 sales chart (in ninth and sixth place, respectively).

2014 Toyota Highlander recalled over seatbelt anchors

2014 Toyota Highlander recalled over seatbelt anchors

March 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Budget , Recalls , Safety , Crossover , Toyota Toyota has announced a small recall of its redesigned, 2014 Highlander over issues with one of its seat belts. The affected vehicles, which were built from November 20, 2013 to January 18, 2014, could have a seatbelt assembly in the middle seat of the third row that wasn’t properly secured to a floor anchorage at the factory. In total, 7,067 of the new Highlanders are included in the recall, which was discovered not after a crash, but during a post-build inspection at the factory. It’s unclear if there have been any injuries as a result of the faulty seat belts. Toyota is set to inform owners of the affected vehicles as well as dealers with the recalled Highlander models in their inventory. Naturally, repairs will be performed free of charge. For the full bulletin form the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , scroll down. Continue reading 2014 Toyota Highlander recalled over seatbelt anchors 2014 Toyota Highlander recalled over seatbelt anchors originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

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