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 .
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
Filed under: Budget , Geneva Motor Show , Videos , Hatchback , Toyota Following the leaked pictures we showed you yesterday, we have the full battery of images and info of the all-new Toyota Aygo , in addition to our gallery of live photos from the floor of the Geneva Motor Show . Like its cousins from Peugeot and Citro
Filed under: Concept Cars , Convertible , Budget , Performance , Scion , Subaru , Toyota Hope may remain for a convertible version of the Scion FR-S , according to a report from Ward’s Auto . You’ll recall that rumors were swirling about the feasibility of a rear-drive Toyobaru convertible as early as October , and that back in November, Subaru – which makes the FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 – essentially nixed the idea of an open-topped variant . “We make the car, so if we don’t make it, it can’t happen,” brand chief Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told Automotive News , according to Ward’s , at the Tokyo Motor Show . “Our engineering department told me that losing the entire roof requires a complete redesign of the structure. It would need a big change.” Despite Yoshinaga-san’s arguments against a droptop variant, Toyota is apparently still considering the model. Speaking to media at the 2014 North American International Auto Show , Scion’s US vice president, Doug Murtha, hinted that the rear-drive droptop was in the works. “It’s something we’re looking at internally from both a manufacturing standpoint – where do we build something that’s relatively low-volume, if not at Subaru – and from an engineering standpoint: Where are those resources going to come from to do it?” Murtha said. For now, it appears as if Toyota is merely doing its homework on the feasibility of a production version of the FT-86 Open Concept from the 2013 Geneva and Tokyo shows (show above). “Everybody’s had to pony up their volumes and we’ll see if we can make it happen,” Murtha told Wards . Whether the volumes check out or not, the question of how Toyota will get around the engineering issues – making a convertible safe – and figuring out where to build it, mean that while our hopes for an FR-S Convertible are higher, the car still faces a rather rocky road before reaching production.
Filed under: Budget , Hybrid , Sedan , Plants/Manufacturing , Crossover , Hatchback , Lexus , Toyota , UAW/Unions , Canada , Luxury Toyota may be heading toward some labor issues in the Great White North, as employees at a pair of Canadian Toyota factories may be set for a certification vote. The Unifor union, which was the result of a merger last year between the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union, will be holding the vote. Over 40 percent of the employees at the Woodstock and Cambridge, Ontario factories have signed union cards, cresting the minimum percentage required to instigate a legal certification vote, according to Reuters . The Woodstock factory is responsible for RAV4 production, while Cambridge builds the Lexus RX350 and RX450h , as well as the Toyota Corolla . The two factories employ nearly 7,000 people. It’s unclear when the union will hold a certification vote at the two factories, but what is rather clear are the worker complaints. Employees are concerned about workers being hired on temporary contracts which lack the benefits of full employment, John Aman, head of organizing for Unifor, told Reuters . Toyota countered that argument. “First, people are hired on contract basis and only when we can make a long-term commitment to them, in terms of their employment security, do we transition them into permanent status,” spokesman Greig Mordue said. “Over the past 12 months or so we’ve hired 1,000 new team members and we’ve also made 900 contracts permanent.” Union to launch Toyota organization drive in Canada originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 12 Jan 2014 12:00:00 EST.
Filed under: Budget , Hybrid , Crossover , Toyota , Luxury We now have pricing for Toyota’s redesigned 2014 Highlander , which is seeing moderate price hikes across the board. Prices for the popular crossover have been bumped from less than 1 percent to less than 3 percent on lower-end models (anywhere from $125 to $890, depending on trim). Toyota has increased prices on higher-end XLE and Limited models more substantially – between 4.1 and 4.5 percent ($1,480 to $1,700). The Highlander Hybrid sees its price increase 2 percent ($930). The new model will be available in four different trims and with either front or all-wheel drive. The absolute cheapest member of the Highlander range, the base LE, with a four-cylinder and front-wheel drive starts at $30,075, an increase of just $195. The LE is also available with a V6 and all-wheel drive, with the bigger engine upping the price to $31,380. All-wheel drive models start at $32,840. A slightly pricier LE Plus starts at $33,600 for a V6 FWD model and $35,060 if you add all-wheel drive. Next up, we have the XLE, which starts at $36,900 for FWD models and moves up to $38,360 for AWD.
Filed under: Hybrid , Toyota , Quick Spins We don’t often come into contact with the Toyota Crown Hybrid , especially in colors other than pink . But when Toyota offered us the keys and a half-hour window to test out the Japanese version of the Lexus GS on US soil not long ago, we had to accept. Driving Notes: We’ll start with the start. The Crown Hybrid makes the friendliest, Japanese-iest sound when you turn it on. It’s like a high-fructose THX movie is starting. Considering this is a premium car, we were surprised the first time we turned it on, but then had to do it again and again. Purely for journalistic video-capturing reasons, of course, so you can watch and hear it below . We wish we had better-than-cellphone microphones to capture it. Compared to the Lexus GS 300h , which we drove immediately afterword along with the exact same route, it is clear the Crown is an executive’s car. The seats and suspension somehow made us feel privileged, not a feeling we’re used to in most hybrid cars.
Filed under: Budget , Sedan , Plants/Manufacturing , Subaru , Toyota Subaru may be set to end production of the Toyota Camry at its Lafayette, IN facility by 2017, according to a report from the Louisville Journal-Courier and a CBS affiliate in Columbia, South Carolina . Speaking to the plant’s Executive Vice President Tom Easterday, the whole affair sounds like a done deal. “Based on changes in Toyota’s production plans, they have decided that the award-winning Camry production contract will not be renewed,” Easterday said. Easterday was quick to emphasize that just because Camry production would end, doesn’t mean jobs will be lost. “There will be no loss of jobs at SIA as a result of this,” he said, before adding that the loss of Camry production will have no impact Subaru’s $400 million investment to ready the plant for Impreza production in 2016 . That said, adding a promised 900 jobs may take longer than originally planned, as Camry production staff are set to be retrained on Subaru production. SIA currently has the capacity to produce 100,000 Camrys per year, and began production of the family sedan in 2007 alongside production of the Subaru Outback , Legacy and eventually, the soon-to-be-discontinued Tribeca . We spoke via email with Toyota spokesperson Curt McAllister, who said, “We are not in position to discuss production plans at this time.” Subaru has not responded as of this writing, but we’ll update this post as soon we hear something. Subaru Indiana plant to stop building Toyota Camry originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 15 Nov 2013 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Car Buying , Budget , Sedan , Plants/Manufacturing , Honda , Toyota , Earnings/Financials The battle to claim October’s best-selling compact sedan title has been won by the Honda Civic . The Japanese four-door sold 27,328 units, leaving the Toyota Corolla – September’s title holder – in its wake with 23,637 units sold. In terms of year-to-date sales, the Civic sits at 280,899 units, with the Corolla trailing at 257,184 vehicles. Sitting in third place, separated by a significant gap from the leaders, is the Chevrolet Cruze with 16,087 units sold. The Ford Focus earned fourth, with 15,108 units moved out of showrooms. (It is interesting to note that while the Civic and Corolla have both enjoyed double-digit sales increases year-over-year, the Cruze and Focus have seen significant decreases during the same period.) Sales of the Hyundai Elantra hit 14,876 units, putting it in fifth place, with the Volkswagen Jetta earning sixth place with 11,710 units. Rounding out the ten top sellers were the Nissan Sentra (8,399 units), Mazda3 (7,647 units), Dodge Dart (5,617 units) and Subaru Impreza / WRX (4,923 units). The Kia Forte (4,706 units) and Volkswagen Golf (2,249 units), eleventh and twelfth respectively, have fallen behind. For complete US auto sales coverage, be sure to check out our By the Numbers articles, which we run at the end of every month. Honda Civic overtakes Toyota Corolla as America’s best-selling compact originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Nov 2013 08:43:00 EST.
Filed under: Budget , Sedan , Recalls , Safety , Crossover , Toyota , Luxury Toyota has announced plans to voluntarily recall 803,000 vehicles from model years 2012 and 2013, over concerns with the air conditioning condenser housing. The recall covers the Camry , Camry Hybrid , Avalon , Avalon Hybrid and Venza , although the exact split between affected models wasn’t available. According to Toyota, the condenser can leak onto an airbag control module, which in turn could cause a short circuit. In most cases, this will just lead to an airbag warning light, but in rarer instances, the airbags could fail to deploy or pop out of their own accord. There’s also a concern over a loss of power steering if the airbag control module develops a short. It’s unclear if there have been any injuries or crashes relating to the defects. Toyota will begin informing owners of affected vehicles via first class mail, and will ask them to report to dealerships for recall work, involving the installation of a cover on the condenser housing. Scroll down for the official press release from Toyota. Continue reading Toyota recalling 800k Camry, Avalon and Venza models for AC issue Toyota recalling 800k Camry, Avalon and Venza models for AC issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Oct 2013 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .