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Ram Diesel, Toyota Highlander Hybrid Win Consumer Reports Nods

Both deliver unexpected mileage, magazine says.

by on Aug.27, 2014

The Ram EcoDiesel delivers sedan-like mileage, according to Consumer Reports testers.

Consumer Reports has placed Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500 EcoDiesel at the top of its full-size pickup truck ratings due to its performance in fuel-economy tests, while the influential magazine also lauded the Toyota Highlander SUV.

The choice of the Ram Diesel underscores the growing intensity of the competition in the full-size pickup segment, which is undergoing a technical revolution as truck makers roll out new, more fuel-efficient powertrains and make other significant improvements meant to boost fuel-economy.

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Ford Motor Co. will launch a new, aluminum-bodied F-150 this fall that sheds up to 700 pounds and is expected to gain significant mileage, but the all-new truck wasn’t included in this round of tests by Consumer Reports.


Toyota Shifting More Hybrid Production to U.S.

Prius could follow, says senior executive.

by on Feb.08, 2012

Toyota has big plans for its U.S. plants, says Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota Motors North America.

Toyota Motor Co. plans to move production of the hybrid version of its Highlander SUV from Japan to an assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana, the company’s top North American executive said during an appearance at the Chicago Auto Show.

The move will be part of a broader – and ongoing shift in production out of the Japanese home market. It is likely to transform the U.S. into a major export base for the Japanese giant and it could eventually result in Toyota bringing production of the popular Prius hybrid to the U.S. as well, said Yoshi Inaba, president and chief operating officer at Toyota Motor North America.

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That’s good news for the U.S. economy, in general, and the Princeton community, in particular.  Speaking to a special meeting of the Economic Club of Chicago, Inaba said that by moving the Highlander Hybrid to Indiana – while also expanding production of the conventionally powered van – Toyota will ill create an additional 400 jobs at the plant, which will undergo a $400 million upgrade.


Toyota Recalling 82,000 Hybrid SUVs

Announcement follows news Toyota’s debt downgraded.

by on Jun.29, 2011

The Lexus RX400h is one of two Toyota hybrid SUVs affected by the latest safety recall.

Toyota will recall more than 82,000 hybrid SUVs sold in the United States due to potential wiring defects.

The news is another setback for the Japanese giant, which has been struggling to regain control over its quality after a series of safety-related problems that led it to recall more than 10 million vehicles last year – and which have spurred a flurry of lawsuits now working their way through the courts.

The new recall comes as the credit rating agency Moody’s Investor Services downgrades Toyota’s debt and warns that the maker’s problems may be serious enough to warrant another downgrade in the coming months.  (Click Here for that story.)

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The latest recall involves 45,500 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUVs and 36,700 Lexus RX400h hybrid crossovers sold in the U.S. during the 2006 and 2007 model-years.

According to the maker, the hybrids may have computer boards with improperly soldered connections.  Under “high-load” driving conditions those connections could break.  In turn, a vehicle might either operate at reduced power for a short distance or coast to a stop.