Vote to unionize Toyota Canada plant faces delay

Vote to unionize Toyota Canada plant faces delay

April 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Toyota , UAW/Unions , Canada Volkswagen isn’t the only automaker with high-profile unionization efforts afoot at one of its North American factories. Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, is attempting to organize Toyota’s factories in Ontario, reports Reuters . A vote was originally set for next week, but Unifor has apparently found more workers eligible to vote, delaying the proceedings. It hasn’t rescheduled the ballot yet, but claims there are 7,500 employees with the right to vote, with over 3,000 having already signed union cards. Toyota is pushing against organizing, saying that workers already have a payment and benefits near the top of the industry, and noting that it has never laid off a permanent employee in Canada. Unifor has reportedly countered by saying that about a quarter of the workforce is operating under a temporary contract, which receives lower benefits. The automaker has three factories in Ontario – two in Cambridge and one in Woodstock. To form a union, a majority of eligible employees must vote to join Unifor. If successful, they would be the first wholly owned Toyota plants in North America to be organized. Previous attempts to unionize the Japanese automaker’s Canadian factories in 2001 and 2008 failed due to lack of support.

Toyota plans biggest stock buyback in over a decade

Toyota plans biggest stock buyback in over a decade

April 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Toyota , Earnings/Financials At the end of December, 2013 Toyota had a cash stockpile of 1.8 trillion yen ($17.5B US). As of March 31, at the end of its current financial year, company coffers are expected to swallow another 1.9 trillion yen ($18.4B US) in net profit – said to be a record sum for the Japanese automaker. In a gesture signaling a turnaround from the horrors of the global recession, Bloomberg reports that Toyota will buy back 60 million shares of its stock, as much as 1.89 percent of the company, for something like 360 billion yen ($3.5B US). It’s the first buyback since 2009 and the largest buyback since 2003, when it spent roughly 390 billion yen ($3.8B US) repurchasing shares. Company president Akio Toyoda founded the Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF), a non-profit that will support international groups working on transportation issues in emerging markets. Half of the stock that Toyota buys, 30 million shares, will be sold to the foundation via the Japanese Trustee Services Bank for one yen per share, the dividend providing the foundation’s initial funding. The other 30 million shares will be canceled, a company spokesman telling Reuters that the company wants to reward shareholders. Industry analysts have been asking Toyota to either return money to shareholders or invest in new factories, but Toyota has ruled out the latter. After getting burned with excess capacity when the financial crisis came, the company is focused on extracting efficiencies from the plants it already has. Toyota has said it plans to complete the buyback by June of this year.

General Motors became second-largest US advertiser in 2013

General Motors became second-largest US advertiser in 2013

March 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising , GM , Toyota General Motors might be mired in several recalls , as well as the ongoing investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Congress into the automaker’s response to those recalls. However, the company can celebrate taking the title of the US’ second-largest advertiser in 2013. According to Ad Week examining a recently released study, total advertising spending in the US posted its fourth consecutive year of rising expenditures with 0.9-percent growth to $140.2 billion. Of that, the auto industry spent $15.2 billion to promote its goods in 2013, up 3.8 percent. The country’s biggest advertiser was Procter and Gamble, which dropped $3.17 billion in 2013, an increase of 11.8 percent. GM became the nation’s second largest promoter with $1.794 billion in spending, up 10 percent. The biggest proportion of that money went to sell Cadillac and GMC . AT&T barely lost out with $1.793 billion in advertising, 15.2 percent growth. The 10 businesses with the highest ad investments spent a cumulative $15.9 billion during the year, 6.6 percent higher than 2012. Toyota came in eighth place making it the only other automaker to rank in the top 10.

Heavily updated 2015 Toyota Camry to bow in New York

Heavily updated 2015 Toyota Camry to bow in New York

March 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Budget , Sedan , Toyota Looks like the new, ” more emotional ” Toyota Camry designer Kevin Hunter talked about back in January is going to arrive very soon, with news that Toyota’s bread-and-butter sedan will be getting an update in just a few weeks time at the 2014 New York Auto Show . “On April 16 at the New York International Auto Show, we will make an important announcement about America’s best-selling car, the Toyota Camry,” said Curt McAllister, Toyota product news manager, in an emailed statement. Considering the high-profile nature of the NYAS – not to mention the competition that will be shown there – it makes sense that Toyota would choose to unveil something as significant as a major refresh at the Javits Center. We wish we had more to tell you than this, but unfortunately, that’s about all we’ve got to go on at this time. Of course, we’ll have much more for you during the lead up to NYAS, including any leaks of the refreshed Camry. Stay tuned. Heavily updated 2015 Toyota Camry to bow in New York originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Mar 2014 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Legal approach in $1.2 billion Toyota settlement could impact handling of GM recall cases

Legal approach in $1.2 billion Toyota settlement could impact handling of GM recall cases

March 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , GM , Toyota In the past, if an automaker did something wrong, they were usually prosecuted by the US government through something called the TREAD Act. Short for Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, it basically requires automakers to report recalls in other countries, along with any and all serious injuries or deaths, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration . Failing to report or attempting to conceal anything when there’s been a death or serious injury constitutes a criminal liability. The idea is that this setup puts the onus on manufacturers to keep NHTSA apprised of safety related issues before they become a problem in the US, thereby allowing the regulator to better protect consumers. In theory, it sounds like a relatively airtight set of rules for dealing with misbehaving automakers. That didn’t stop the US Department of Justice from ignoring TREAD in its prosecution of Toyota’s handling of the unintended acceleration recall, though. The result of this new approach, which charged Toyota with wire fraud, was a $1.2 billion settlement . Now, the wire-fraud approach could be used for the expected case between the US government and General Motors , based on the statements of Attorney General Eric Holder , who specifically mentioned “similarly situated companies” when discussing Toyota. In order to make wire fraud stick, US prosecutors would need to prove criminal intent. As explained by Reuters , that means there needs to be evidence that GM actively misled either regulators like NHTSA, or the general public, all in a bid to maintain sales.

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.

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.

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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