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Toyota Recalling 3.4 Mil Prius Hybrids, Other Models

Worldwide effort targets airbags, faulty emissions systems.

by on Jun.29, 2016

A 2012 Toyota Prius. Some versions of the popular hybrid suffer from both of the defects.

Toyota Motor Co. will recall 3.37 million vehicles due to a series of safety and emissions problems, the world’s largest automaker announced on Wednesday.

The global service action includes 2.87 million vehicles with faulty emissions control units. A faulty airbag inflator was installed in 1.43 million cars. Some of the popular Toyota Prius hybrids suffer from both problems which is why the actual total number of vehicles affected by the recall comes in at 3.37 million.

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The airbag problem involves a faulty system that may partially inflate without a crash, creating the risk of injury. Toyota noted that the defective system was provided Autoliv, and not by Takata Corp., the Japanese airbag supplier now responsible for the largest recall in automotive history.

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Toyota Tells Dealers Not to Hide Future Takata Recalls

Several makers continue using defective airbags due to shortage of new inflators.

by on Jun.13, 2016

The Toyota 4Runner is one of the models the maker builds still using the suspect Takata airbags.

Stung by critics who revealed it is still using potentially defective Takata airbags in some of its new products, Toyota has told U.S. dealers they must disclose to buyers which vehicles will be subject to recall by 2018.

At least four automakers have continued using Takata inflators in some of their vehicles because of a shortage of new airbags using a safer design. The shortage has created a major problem for the industry, delaying repairs and forcing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to announce a phased recall of additional Takata airbags.

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Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who disclosed the problem last month, has been urging automakers, at the least, to disclose when they sell vehicles that will ultimately be subject to a known recall over the next two years.

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Toyota Production Again Disrupted by Supplier Problems

Impact likely to be short-term this time.

by on Jun.03, 2016

Once again, Toyota vehicle production is hampered by an event beyond its control. An explosion at a brake supplier has left it scrambling for parts.

Toyota has suspended production on a trio of Japanese assembly plants due to an explosion at one of its key supplier’s factories.

The incident occurred on Monday at a facility operated by brake manufacturer Aisin Advics on a paint line. Four people were taken to the hospital, forcing both Aisin and Toyota to go scrambling to find alternative sources for key brake parts.

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The incident has impacted several manufacturers, including minicar maker Suzuki, but Toyota appears to have taken the biggest hit, and the temporary shutdown comes as the third time this year the Japanese giant’s domestic factories have been idled by various natural and man-made disasters. (more…)

Automakers Continue to Install Defective Takata Airbags on New Vehicles

And 2.1 mil defective inflators have been installed as replacements in older vehicles.

by on Jun.01, 2016

A Takata airbag after a crash.

(This story has been revised to include comments by FCA and Toyota.)

Even as federal safety regulators expand the ongoing recall of defective Takata airbags, four major automakers continue to install some of the potentially deadly devices on their newest vehicles, according to a new Senate report.

A number of manufacturers also are using defective Takata inflators as replacements for older airbags in about 2.1 million recalled vehicles. Federal regulators have approved that move as a temporary measure due to a shortage of replacements parts using newer, safer designs.

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The four manufacturers that acknowledge they are continuing to use defective Takata bags in new products are Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen, according to the report released today by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee.

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Toyota, VW Announce Major Ride-Sharing Partnerships

Japanese maker teaming up with Uber; German carmaker pumps $300 mil into Gett.

by on May.25, 2016

Toyota and Volkswagen are the latest makers to announce deals with ride-sharing companies. Toyota is teaming with Uber.

The number of major automakers entering the ride-sharing realm continues to grow, Toyota and Volkswagen just the two latest.

The Japanese maker has announced a broad alliance with Uber, the world’s largest ride-sharing service, with a $1 billion investment. Volkswagen, meanwhile, is investing $300 million in Gett, a global ride-hailing service. The two announcements come just months after General Motors said it would launch car-sharing service Maven and invest $500 million in Uber’s largest competitor, Lyft.

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“Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota and president of its new subsidiary, the Connected Company. “Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers.” (more…)

Toyota, FCA Recall About 2 Mil Vehicles for Faulty Airbags

Takata defect not the only problem.

by on May.24, 2016

The 2010 Lexus GX is part of the most recent airbag-related recall for Toyota.

Nearly 2 million more vehicles are being recalled by Toyota and Fiat Chrysler due to a series of airbag problems, the vast majority of them involving defective Takata airbag inflators.

Designed to enhance crash safety, airbags have become a major headache for automakers around the world due to design and manufacturing issues. The Takata problem alone has already become the largest recall in U.S. automotive history, impacting as many as 20 different automakers.

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The largest of the two new recalls involves 1.6 million Toyota vehicles equipped with Takata airbags. The service action affects both the driver and passenger front airbags on vehicles as much as a decade old and sold through the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. (more…)

Toyota Teams Up to Develop iBot Motorized Wheelchair

iBot capable of rising up on two wheels and climbing stairs.

by on May.23, 2016

iBot inventor Dean Kamen shows off the wheelchair's ability to ride on just two wheels.

Toyota is lending its support to DEKA Research to complete the development of the iBot motorized wheelchair.

The brainchild of Dean Kamen, the inventor of the two-wheeled Segway PT, the iBot is designed to overcome the traditional limits of the wheelchair. Among other things, it can climb up and down stairs, and even rise from a standard, seating position to about six feet in height.

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“Toyota and DEKA share the same vision of making mobility available to people of every kind of ability,” said DEKA founder Dean Kamen. “We are excited about this new relationship and excited about what it means for making that dream a reality.”

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Toyota Opens New Brazil Plant – Hopes to Prop up Latin American Sales

Fiat Chrysler also betting on Brazilian economic rebound.

by on May.11, 2016

Toyota's CEO Akio Toyoda announced a profitable quarter for the automaker, then the company announced its new $170 million engine plant in Brazil.

Toyota, which Wednesday announced yet another record annual profit, has opened a new engine manufacturing plant in Brazil that it hopes will bolster the automaker’s operations throughout Latin America.

But the debut of the new factory comes at an unusually tough time for the Japanese giant. Even while earning a record $21 billion for the fiscal year that ended March 31, Toyota warned it would see as much as a 35% decline in the coming fiscal year. And one reason is weak sales in Latin America.

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Things have gotten particularly dire in Brazil, a country in the midst of its worst recession in decades, as well as a political upheaval that is considered increasingly likely to result in the ouster of its embattled president. (more…)

Toyota Earnings Up – But Outlook Bleak Going Forward

Japanese giant forecasts 35% profit plunge for current fiscal year.

by on May.11, 2016

Toyota's record earnings were overshadowed by some serious concerns going forward.

Even while celebrating yet another record annual profit officials at Toyota Motor Corp. put a bleak face on, warning that profits for the current fiscal year are likely to fall by 35% or more.

The auto industry’s sales leader expects to be hit hard by the growing strength of the Japanese yen. And it also could feel the brunt of plant closures and cutbacks caused by the damaging earthquake that hit the southwestern part of the country last month.

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The automaker had been able to drive profits to record levels three years in a row largely due to the “tailwind” of a weak yen said Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda. “Since the start of the year, the tide has changed,” he added.

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Despite Diesel Dilemma, VW Snatches Global Sales Lead from Toyota

Toyota loses momentum due to production snags.

by on Apr.27, 2016

Despite some serious problems, VW could retain the sales lead during the second quarter.

It’s had to suspend sales of its popular diesels in the U.S. market, and it’s already taken an $18 billion hit in the wake of its ongoing diesel emissions scandal, but not all is doom-and-gloom for Volkswagen AG.

The embattled automaker can celebrate the fact that it surged into the global sales lead for the first quarter of 2016, narrowly squeaking by Japanese giant Toyota which has had its own problems in recent months. General Motors continued to hold down the third spot in the global sales sweepstakes.

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Whether VW can hold the lead for the rest of the year is far from certain. It was, in fact, the top-seller for the first half of 2016, only to slip behind Toyota once again as the diesel disaster began to take its toll. But wildcard factors have a way of upsetting the industry’s apple cart, and Toyota is currently dealing with problems that will likely scuttle its chances of regaining the sales crown for at least another quarter.

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