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Toyota Partnership Could Give Connected Drivers All the Bandwidth They Can Use

New car-satellite antenna could be the answer to data-hungry connected cars.

by on Jan.12, 2016

Toyota is using a Mirai fuel-cell vehicle to test out the Kymeta satellite antennas.

Bandwidth. In an era of connected cars, you can never get enough. And the number of 1s and 0s tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles will consume could grow exponentially, according to technology specialists.

Even with 5G, the next generation of cellphone technology, looming on the horizon, that may not be enough. But Toyota thinks it may have found an answer in the form of Kymeta Corp., a Washington State-based technology company that is developing a new type of satellite antenna that could deliver massive amounts to data to moving vehicles.

Your Data Source!

The challenge is to come up with a “secure, high-bandwidth communications system” that will work in a car, said Toyota Senior Managing Director Shigeki Tomoyama, during a news conference at the North American International Auto Show.

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Toyota Plugs into Ford’s New SmartDeviceLink

New open-source software will increase access to smartphone apps.

by on Jan.04, 2016

Ford will soon have Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and its own AppLink in its vehicles,

The push for connected cars is making for some strange bedfellows. In its push to let users access more of their smartphone apps directly through their car’s infotainment system, Toyota is turning to Ford Motor Co. for help.

Toyota will become the first maker to use open source software dubbed SmartDeviceLink. It’s essentially the same technology developed by Ford for use in its vehicles under the proprietary name AppLink. Ford wants to bring even more partners onboard, betting that it can set an industry standard that will make it easier for both carmakers and car buyers alike to access smartphone apps like Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio.

Tech Talk!

Ford is planning to offer an updated version of AppLink on its own cars later this year, making it possible to use smartphone navigation software in cars not equipped with a built-in navi system. But Ford is also rolling out Apple CarPlay and the similar Android Auto systems as part of its updated Sync3 infotainment technology.

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Big Changes in Toyota Management

Top American exec expands role; maker appoints first woman as global PR chief.

by on Mar.04, 2015

Toyota Motor North America Chief Executive Officer Jim Lentz spoke at the groundbreaking of the company's new headquarters in Plano, Texas.

Toyota is making some big changes to its senior management, and while most of the moves focus on the critical North American market, the world’s largest automaker also plans to shatter Japan’s glass ceiling by promoting Julie Hamp to run its global public relations efforts.

The appointments come at a time when Toyota is making other big changes, including the move of its North American headquarters from California to a sprawling new campus in Plano, Texas.

Your Reliable Source!

“Bringing together an experienced and diverse team of executives with fresh perspectives, unique regional insights and a global mindset will help us better serve customers around the world,” said Toyota Motor Corp. Pres. Akio Toyoda, in a prepared statement.

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Consumer Reports Name Top Brands and Models

Japanese makers dominate again.

by on Feb.24, 2015

The Toyota Highlander was one of the top-ranked models according to Consumer Reports readers.

Consumer Reports’ latest list of top-ranked automotive brands and models contained some big surprises and reinforced some long-standing reputations. Notably, little battery-car start-up Tesla Motors had the top-ranked product overall in the form of its Model S sedan.

Toyota, a manufacturer long associated with high-quality products, managed to place two of its brands in the Top Ten, meanwhile. But Kia, a marque may traditionally associated with lowball pricing, also managed to place among the industry’s best, nudging aside BMW to take the ninth place spot in Consumer Reports’ annual automotive brands report card.

Top-Ranked!

Who led the list and who lagged behind? Here’s a quick look at some of the key findings from the study, which looked at how individual models scored in both road and crash tests, while also looking at what the magazine’s readers reported in terms of real world reliability.

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Takata Slapped with Second Class Action Suit

Latest filing in California also names Honda as defendant.

by on Oct.31, 2014

Takata's been hit with a second class action lawsuit and a fourth overall. The latest suit was filed in California.

Even before the dust has settled on the first class action suit against airbag maker Takata, the Japanese supplier has been slapped with a second class action suit. The suit was filed in California.

Hagens Berman, a national class-action law firm, filed suit against Takata as well as Honda Motor Co. alleging the two companies were more interested in their bottom lines than the safety of consumers.

The Automotive Journal of Record!

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claims that Takata may have cut corners to build cheaper airbags, and that Honda may have bought its airbags from Takata to reduce manufacturing costs. The result, according to the complaint, is that instead of saving lives, defective Takata airbags in Honda automobiles are killing and maiming drivers and passengers involved in otherwise minor and survivable accidents. (more…)

Toyota, Nissan and GM Take Top Honors in Motorist Choice Awards

Balancing customer satisfaction and cost of ownership.

by on Sep.24, 2014

Toyota's FJ Cruiser is the favorite SUV, according to IntelliChoice and AutoPacific's Motorist Choice Awards.

When it comes to the brands that best fit their lifestyle needs, U.S. drivers are pointing to Toyota, Nissan and General Motors, the three topping the charts in the new Motorist Choice Awards.

Compiled by data tracking service Intellichoice and automotive research firm AutoPacific, Inc., the awards are meant to reveal the vehicles that deliver the best combination of customer satisfaction and lower-than-expected operating costs.

Auto Insight!

“Buyers look for a vehicle based on their usage needs and emotional desires” said Daniel Hall, vice president of AutoPacific. “By paying attention to these buying patterns, and incorporating our satisfaction data and IntelliChoice’s cost of ownership insights, we can offer sound advice to consumers across all vehicle segments.” (more…)

Toyota Expects to Sell 100,000 More Cars in 2014

Strong fundamentals, redesigned Camry make the difference.

by on Aug.15, 2014

Toyota Vice President Bob Carter told a crowd last night in New York that the maker will sell 100,000 more vehicles this year.

Toyota expects industry-wide vehicle sales to hit 16.3 million units, an increase of just over 5% and expects to sell 100,000 more units this year than it did in 2013, according to Bob Carter, Toyota Motor Sales senior vice president for automotive operations.

During a speech in New York, Carter noted the growth this year is slightly slower than the past few years, but is being driven by stronger economic and market conditions and a hangover pent-up demand from the recession.

Auto Insight!

Moreover, 400,000 more customers than last year are expected to come off leases from all brands and most will turn around and buy or lease a new vehicle, helping push sales higher, Carter added. (more…)

Automakers Report Robust Results for July Sales

Despite impressive results, makers fall short of predictions.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Ford sales were led, once again, by the F-150, but supported by the Fusion and Escape. The maker reported a 10% increase in July.

U.S. automakers enjoyed a strong sales month in July, but fell short of lofty analyst expectations. Toyota and Ford were the only makers to surpass predictions with increases of 11.6% and 10% respectively.

New car sales got a lift during July thanks to an improving economy, ample financing and the appeal of new products. Several companies posted double-digit sales increases, including Chrysler (20%), Nissan (11.4%), Subaru (27%), Mazda (17.1%), Audi (11.9%), Porsche (12.6%), Mitsubishi (21.4%), Land Rover (15%) and last, but not least, Maserati, which was up 315%.

News You Can Trust!

“Incentive spending in July was above this year’s average, taking transaction prices down about one percent,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Other than GM and Nissan, every full-line automaker increased incentive spending over last year. With growing discounts and low-interest financing readily available, it’s a great time to buy a car.” (more…)

Toyota Counting on Diamond-Like Material to boost MPG of its Hybrids

New semiconductor chips could yield 10% better fuel economy.

by on May.21, 2014

Toyota believes new silicon carbide chips could improve the fuel economy of the Prius hybrid up to 10%.

It’s nearly as hard as a diamond, something that’s made silicon carbide a popular material for everything from abrasives to car brakes and even bulletproof vests. But Toyota thinks it’s found an alternative application that could yield huge benefits in hybrid vehicles, such as the popular Prius model.

By replacing silicon-only semiconductors in hybrid power control units, or PCUs, Toyota and partner Denso Corp. believe they can improve the fuel economy of vehicles like the Prius by as much as 10%.

Efficient Use of Your Time!

The maker says it will begin testing the new system on public roads in Japan “within a year.” It says it has already achieved a 5% increase in mileage in test vehicles but believes it can make additional gains before the technology is commercialized by 2020. (more…)

Toyota Delivers Major Mid-Cycle Update for Camry

Japanese giant aims to keep its king-of-the-hill status.

by on Apr.16, 2014

Bill Fay is group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., introduced the new Toyota Camry at the New York International Auto Show today.

This story has been updated to include new information.

Few vehicles have consistently dominated the competition as the Toyota Camry has, so one might traditionally expect it to deliver only the most modest of mid-cycle updates. But the 2015 Camry “refresh” is anything if conservative. The Japanese giant has rolled out an unexpectedly significant update that seems bound and determined to help Camry maintain its position as America’s best-selling passenger car.

Until recently, that dominance would seem hard to question, but Camry has been facing threats from a variety of fronts, including the Ford Fusion, the Nissan Altima – which actually claimed brief sales leadership in January and February – and from the Hyundai Sonata which is undergoing a major redesign that’s also debuting at this year’s New York Auto Show.

Auto Show News!

Toyota got a sign that the market was shifting when it launched the current version of the Camry in late 2011. It received an unexpectedly cold response from dealers who saw an early prototype barely 18 months before launch, a big chill severe enough to force the maker to rush through a number of exterior changes late in the game.

So, this time, the maker isn’t taking any chances, and claims to have “re-imagined nearly every exterior surface of the car,” to the point where the only carryover piece of sheet metal is the roof.

“This is the biggest segment in the industry and everybody is upping their game,” said Toyota division general manager Bill Fay, noting that almost 2,000 different parts have been changed for 2015.

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