Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota , Earnings/Financials A jury has decided that faulty software was to blame for a crash involving a 2005 Toyota Camry that killed one woman and injured another. This is the first time Toyota has been found liable by a jury in a lawsuit involving sudden acceleration claims. Toyota has maintained that driver error is the most likely cause for cases of sudden acceleration. Shortly after the jury in the case, which took place in Oklahoma and centered around a crash that injured 76-year-old Jean Bookout and killed her passenger, Barbara Schwarz, reached a verdict that would see Toyota paying $3 million in compensatory damages, a confidential settlement was reached. The jury, which had found Toyota liable for “reckless disregard” for public safety, had yet to decide what punitive damages Toyota would face. Toyota said in a statement, “While we strongly disagree with the verdict, we are satisfied that the parties reached a mutually acceptable agreement to settle this case. We will continue to defend our products vigorously at trial in other legal venues.” This verdict could have widespread implications for several more cases that have yet to be heard in court where lawyers are expected to argue that software was to blame for sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles. These cases fall into a different legal category than the ones Toyota settled for $1.4 billion earlier this year. Toyota’s brief statement can be found below . Continue reading Toyota settles for $3M after being found liable in sudden acceleration case Toyota settles for $3M after being found liable in sudden acceleration case originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 26 Oct 2013 09:55:00 EST.
Filed under: Concept Cars , Lexus , Scion , Toyota , Design/Style “In the future, out of 100 customers, we want to excite ten of them instead of not offending all 100.” Almost all of the details about the Toyota New Group Architecture (TNGA) strategy have come out since the initiative was first reported on in March of this year, but Autoblog did learn a few new things about it on a recent trip to Japan. Probably the second-most important detail is that each new segment platform will be based around a common hip point to create an “optimal driving position architecture.” Previously, each car was conceived on its own, so Toyota couldn’t extract savings from cars that were close in size. The Etios , sold in Latin America and India, is not much smaller than the Corolla , but the two compacts had two different lead engineers, so they have different hip points and require different manufacturing processes and different kinds of commodity parts like seat belt equipment. A common hip point and driving position, as well as other moves like the an R&D reorganization and the switch to parts engineered for global approval and pooled buying, will allow Toyota to harmonize parts like airbags, pedal boxes and seat belts to save money. The company expects to save 15 to 20 percent on manufacturing using TNGA, and 20 to 30 percent overall once development is included. Toyota also says it will use the efficiencies gained and money saved to make those commodity parts better, and they will have longer life cycles; while the lifespan of a Corolla won’t change, a pedal box might carry over from one generation into a brand new generation. Three new front-wheel-drive cars are expected to ride on the platform in 2015, the Prius being one of them, and its advance estimate of 55 miles per gallon is said to be aided by the TNGA. Another important objective of the streamlined development programs and common parts is allowing the designers to actually, you know, design a car instead of wrapping a platform in meek metal. Said company CEO Akio Toyoda earlier this year, “Instead of developing what customers would want next, we were making cars that would rake in sales” – cars that were just as popular as they were boring. That brings us to what we think might be the most important advance provided by the TNGA, revealed in a presentation by company design chief Tokuo Fukuichi: “Before, we made cars so as not to be disliked by anyone.
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota , New Car Reviews People, us included, make a big stink about the importance of family sedans. There’s no doubt they’re critical – they represent a huge slice of the market’s annual sales and profits. However, despite accounting for far fewer transactions than the midsize sedan segment, the fullsize sedan is getting attention from manufacturers now that our market’s entire lineup of those (slightly) smaller four-doors has turned over in the last two years or so. As most of the fullsize segment’s mainstays derive a fair bit of their platform and powertrain technologies from their midsize cousins, these larger four-doors offer the potential for fatter profit margins, too. And with the newly stylish duds found on many of the industry’s most successful midsize sedans, it’s only right that automakers no longer think about fullsizers as big, squishy, vanilla family haulers with flat seats, vague steering and a thin layer of ‘luxury’ in the form of faux wood trim. As manufacturers have again started diving into large sedans feet-first, the cars themselves have become sharper. The interiors are now of a higher quality and loaded with tech, while the exteriors have become further extensions of each manufacturer’s design language. There’s perhaps no greater example of this than the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus , two models that evolved from subpar offerings into market leaders. This segment-wide transformation happened quite quickly, whether because of coincidental timing or because manufacturers are trying to get more out of their big cars, recognizing they account for a small portion of overall sales (just 3.5 percent of the new-car market in the first half of 2013). The 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is one such vehicle.
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 .
Filed under: Budget , Government/Legal , Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Hyundai , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury The government shutdown is eroding consumer confidence in the auto market, says John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai’s US sales unit, and could lower October sales by as much as 10 percent, Automotive News reports . “It’s that anxiety that keeps customers, potential buyers, on the sidelines when making a big purchase like an automobile,” Krafcik says, adding that industry sales could be off by five to 10 percent in October compared to September. The fourth quarter, which started October 1, usually consists of increased auto sales as dealerships clear their lots to make room for the next year’s models. Leading up to the fourth quarter this year, the auto industry was doing well in the fragile, recovering US economy, although September deliveries decreased by 4.2 percent, due in part to this year’s Labor Day sales being recorded for August. To help its customers, Hyundai announced it is deferring new-car loan and lease payments for furloughed federal workers until they’re called back to work and also offering them a three-month payment deferral if they buy a new Hyundai in October. “We have already had requests from over a thousand people to have their payments deferred,” Krafcik says. Toyota and Nissan joined Hyundai as the latest automakers to provide financial relief to customers affected by the federal employee furloughs. Krafcik says US Gov. shutdown is slowing Oct. auto sales originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Oct 2013 19:01:00 EST.
Filed under: Technology , Toyota Turbocharging isn’t really Toyota’s specialty, and the Japanese automaker isn’t being shy about acknowledging it. Koei Saga, a senior managing officer in charge of drivetrain research and development, says that eschewing turbos and increasing displacement of engines using the Atkinson cycle can produce better power gains without sacrificing fuel economy, Automotive News reports . Toyota is investing heavily in larger-displacement Atkinson-cycle engines in addition to turbocharged engines, but Saga doesn’t think the automaker will use turbocharging across many product lines. He apparently remains unconvinced that the technology “makes the world better.” In Toyota’s eyes then, Atkinson cycle engines do make the world better, and here’s how . Their pistons complete four processes – intake, compression, power and exhaust – in one revolution of the crankshaft, and the power stroke is longer than the compression stroke. Traditional Otto cycle engines require two crankshaft revolutions to accomplish those same four operations and have equal-length compression and power strokes. Atkinson cycle engines are more efficient, but less power dense, though increasing displacement can offset that shortfall. In addition to the aforementioned technologies, Toyota is also investing more in continuously variable and fixed-gear automatic transmissions, as well as its fuel-cell vehicle program. As for electric vehicles? Saga is skeptical of them, stating that Toyota wouldn’t have developed the RAV4 EV if it weren’t forced to comply with California Air Resource Board regulations.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Safety , Toyota Toyota has already paid out millions and billions of dollars in settlements surrounding unintended acceleration , but the first lawsuit in the matter , which headed to a California court in July, has reached a verdict. Following the 2009 death of Noriko Uno, whose 2006 Camry was hit by another car and then sped out of control before crashing into a tree, the jury found that Toyota was not at fault in the crash. Even though the 2006 Camry (shown above) wasn’t involved in any of the unintended acceleration-related recalls and it was not equipped with a brake override, Automotive News reports that the jury’s verdict says there was no defect in the car and actually blames the entire incident on the driver that ran into Uno’s car – to the tune of $10 million. The accident started when the other driver ran a stop sign and hit Uno’s car, and the report says that medical conditions (including diabetes) caused Uno to fail to stop her Camry. The AN article also states that this lawsuit was a bellwether case for around 85 other personal-injury and wrongful-death suits against Toyota, but there are still many impending suits across the country. Scroll down for an official statement on this particular case from Toyota. Continue reading Toyota found not at fault in alleged unintended acceleration crash Toyota found not at fault in alleged unintended acceleration crash originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Oct 2013 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Japan , Toyota , Electric The wacky, three-wheeled Toyota i-Road we saw in Geneva earlier this year will be heading to production. But before you run down to your local Toyota dealer looking for one of these all-electric “personal mobility” vehicles, chances are, you’ll never actually see one unless you visit Japan. Announced at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies ( CEATEC ) expo last week, Toyota said that the i-Road would be used as a part of the Ha:Mo car-sharing system in Japan. Weighing in at around 661 pounds, with a 28-mile-per-hour top speed and a two-passenger seating arrangement, the i-Road seems more like a fully enclosed scooter than a car, but it does offer a 30-mile driving range and has a nifty articulating front suspension that leans into corners. As for Ha:Mo, Toyota says that the number of cars in the program will increase from 10 prior to October 1 to 100 by the middle of this month, and the number of stations will almost double from 13 up to 21. Toyota has more details about the car and Ha:Mo in the press release posted below . Continue reading Toyota confirms i-Road electric trike for production Toyota confirms i-Road electric trike for production originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Oct 2013 08:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
The Lexus ES sedan line has a history of reshaping the entry-luxury segment, and the sixth-generation ES models introduced for 2013 raised the benchmark again, with increased interior room, a new hybrid, higher fuel efficiency in the V6 model and even more flagship-type amenities.