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Monday, September 26, 2016

Buckle Up for Life Announces Top Tips for Car Seat Safety and Expands to 11 New Markets

National Education Program from Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Also Launches “Gift of Safety” Program to Distribute 5,000 Car Seats to Families in Need

Whether you’re a first-time parent, doting grandparent or seasoned baby sitter, car seats are not always the easiest things to figure out. In fact, 75 percent of seats in the U.S. are not used correctly.1 That’s why Buckle Up for Life, the national car seat education program from Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s, is sharing its top safety tips, just in time for Child Passenger Safety Week (September 18-24). The program is also announcing an expansion to 11 new markets to help keep even more children safe.
"An alarming three out of four car seats are not installed properly. We can and must do better for our children," said Gloria Del Castillo, child passenger safety expert at Cincinnati Children’s and specialist of community engagement for Buckle Up for Life. "We know that proper use of car seats and booster seats can help prevent many child injuries and deaths. That’s why Buckle Up for Life teaches parents, caregivers and children about the proper use of car seats and provides free seats to families in need."

Buckle Up for Life’s Top Tips for Car Seat Safety To Help You Do-It-Yourself – and Do It Right 
  1. Vintage isn’t always a good look: purchase your own new car seat. When it comes to car seats, safety experts agree that it’s best to purchase a new seat. This lets you know the seat’s full history. For example, if it has been through a crash, its ability to protect your child may be compromised. Additionally, the plastic can degrade over time. If you do have a used car seat, check its expiration date, which can usually be found on a sticker affixed to the seat.
  2. Measure twice: check for fit and wrinkles in car seat straps. After you’ve buckled your child in, pinch the car seat strap near their shoulders. If you can pinch a wrinkle in the fabric, tighten the strap until it is snug. Then grab the car seat at the bottom where it is attached to the car and tug from side to side and front to back. If the seat moves more than an inch in either direction, tighten it.
  3. Focus on inner beauty: all car seats sold in the U.S. meet the same federal safety standards. Some seats may be more expensive than others based on fabric, padding or other bells and whistles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are any safer. All car seats sold in the U.S. must meet the same federal child restraint safety standards.
  4. Give them a boost: children shorter than 4’9” need booster seats. Little ones can be eager to sit like big kids. However, seat belts often don’t fit young children properly and can ride up around their waists or necks, potentially causing injury during a crash. Children under 4’9” should sit in booster seats, which elevate them so that seat belts can fit properly.
  5. Call in the experts: there are many resources to help you get it right. Don’t hesitate to check out expert resources for additional tips and advice, such as the car seat installation videos found on The site also offers links to car seat inspection stations or child passenger safety technicians in your community. 
Buckle Up for Life Expands To 11 New Markets and Launches the “Gift of Safety” Program

This fall, Buckle Up for Life will expand to trusted partners in 11 new cities:
  • American Family Children's Hospital, Madison, WI
  • Cardon Children's Medical Center, Mesa, AZ
  • City of Rocky Mount Fire Department, Rocky Mount, NC
  • Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Sacramento, CA
  • Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, Portland, OR
  • Safe Kids Grand Forks - Altru Health System, Grand Forks, ND
  • Safe Kids Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, CT
  • Trustees of Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN
  • University Health System San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
  • Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, Detroit, MI
Also this fall, Buckle Up for Life will launch the “Gift of Safety” program, which will provide an additional 50 non-profit organizations across the country with 100 car seats each for families in their communities. Each parent or caregiver who receives a seat will also receive safety education and assistance from a certified child passenger safety technician.

“Cincinnati Children’s has been a fantastic partner for more than a dozen years now. Together, we’ve made a real difference in improving child passenger safety across the country – one family at a time,” said Mike Goss, General Manager, Social Innovation, Toyota Motor North America. “We look forward to helping even more children get places safely with Buckle Up for Life.”

 Since 2004, Buckle Up for Life has reached thousands of people with critical passenger safety information. Organizations that offered the program observed a marked improvement in members’ auto safety behaviors, including:
  • The average rate of children unrestrained in cars (i.e., not in a car seat or booster seat or fastened in a seat belt) decreased from one in four to fewer than one in 20;
  • The average rate of children in car seats increased from roughly one in four to one in two; and
  • The use of seat belts by adults increased by an average of 13 percent, from 68 percent to 81 percent.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Toyota Announces 2017 Mirai Pricing

Toyota Mirai drivers – COME ON DOWN!! While drivers may not see the trailblazing Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle in a game show showcase anytime soon, they can see every day value in new model year pricing. Toyota Mirai 2017 model year offers competitive, flexible pricing options and the opportunity to be a part of automotive history.
The Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle combines hydrogen and oxygen to make electricity onboard, while emitting nothing but water vapor. It is a zero emission vehicle with an EPA estimated driving range of 312 miles, and refuels in around five minutes.
MY17 MSRP remains $57,500 plus an $865 destination fee. Mirai customers also may qualify for an $8,000 federal tax credit and $5,000 potential California rebate along with access to the coveted California HOV carpool lane.
To recognize our Mirai drivers leading the way, qualified customers will be eligible for the Mirai trailblazer support program. The trailblazer program enhances the purchase and ownership experience with the following choices:
  • Trailblazer Lease: $349 per month for 36 months, $2,499 due at signing* with 12,000/year  mileage allowance
  • Trailblazer APR Support: 0% for 60 months or 1.9% for 72 months and
  • Trailblazer Purchase Support of $7,500
*Excludes official fees, taxes and dealer charges. See participating Authorized Mirai Toyota Dealer for details.
The new model year brings with it a new color option – Atmospheric Blue – to complement the existing Celestial Black, Elemental Silver and Nautical Blue Mirai color choices.
The Mirai comprehensive, ownership experience remains unchanged for MY17, boasting a range of world class services, including:
  • Three years’ worth of complimentary fuel [1]
  • Three years complimentary Safety Connect and Entune, including hydrogen station finder app.
  • Three years of 24/7 customer call support.
  • Mirai Complimentary Rental Experience for seven days per year for three years.[2]
  • ToyotaCare[3], our standard no cost service plan and roadside assistance, is enhanced for Mirai and includes:
    • No cost scheduled maintenance for three years, or 35,000 miles, whichever comes first[4]
    • No cost enhanced roadside assistance[5] for three years, regardless of mileage, including expedited towing service and trip interruption reimbursement at a maximum of $500 per day for up to 5 days per incident.[6]
  • 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on key fuel cell vehicle components including the FC stack and power control unit; FC hydrogen tanks; hybrid battery pack and ECU; FC air compressor, boost converter and ECU; hybrid control module (power management control module); and hydrogen fueling ECU.[4]
California customers can request a Mirai by visiting Production of the Mirai is limited and vehicles will be placed with select, eligible customers. After placing a request, potential Mirai drivers are contacted directly by a Toyota representative to discuss ownership and next steps.
Mirai customers take delivery from one of the eight authorized California dealers of their choosing. In Southern California, Longo Toyota, Toyota of Orange, Toyota of Santa Monica or Tustin Toyota will take care of Mirai trailblazers. Customers in Northern California will visit Roseville Toyota, San Francisco Toyota, Stevens Creek Toyota or Toyota Sunnyvale.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Toyota Disrupts TechCrunch with Technology Trifecta ‘The Impossible Quest’

Master Visual Futurist Syd Mead, Emmy-Award Winning Director Jason Zada Deliver 4-D VR Experience to Support West Coast Debut of All-New Toyota Prius Prime
Take emerging virtual reality technologies, add one of the world’s most recognized visual architects and mix in an Emmy-award winning director and the most technologically advanced hybrid vehicle in Toyota’s lineup.

This is the recipe for disrupting TechCrunch Disrupt.

“The Impossible Quest” is a sensory overload VR event that incorporates users’ creations using a custom-engineered proprietary 3-D design tool with a world design inspired by Syd Mead (the visual futurist on Tron and Blade Runner) and a story by Emmy-award winner Jason Zada of MediaMonks, who directed feature film “The Forest” and is responsible for the pop-culture phenomenon “Take This Lollipop” and “Elf Yourself.” “The Impossible Quest” supports of the official west coast debut of the Toyota Prius Prime, the most technologically advanced Prius yet. And the place for this high-tech experience to make its world debut: TechCrunch Disrupt.

“The Impossible Quest” will kick-off with a guided 3-D design experience using a custom-built VR painting tool, dubbed the “Prius Prime Studio” to create elements for the VR universe. These user-generated creations are incorporated into the world in real time, as the user dons the VR goggles and is dropped into a futuristic world developed in conjunction with Syd Mead.

“TechCrunch Disrupt is about game-changing technology, which is consistent with the Prius Prime’s combined feature set of hybrid and in-vehicle technologies, so having the Prime make its west coast debut here seemed appropriate,” said Doug Coleman, Toyota national marketing and communications manager. “This is an audience that’s looking for innovation and that’s a promise on which the Prius Prime delivers.”

For the 3-D creation element of “The Impossible Quest,” designers from Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles and MediaMonks developed custom-coded proprietary software in order to achieve the desired real-time results.

“For ‘The Impossible Quest’, we wanted to create something more than innovative -- something that felt beyond possible,” said Dwayne Koh, executive creative director for Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles. “We stretched current VR applications beyond their limits to create a unique, real-time experience that’s both compelling and highlights the way the Prius Prime is also stretching the limits of consumer expectations.”

During “The Impossible Quest,” users will virtually experience the benefits of the all-new Prius Prime, and once the experience is completed, TechCrunch attendees will be able to experience “the new possible” vehicle in-person…before it’s available to the general public. The Prime delivers a manufacturer’s projected EPA estimated 600 miles of range and 120 MPGe along with an 11.6-in. multimedia touch-screen.  The hybrid goes on sale this fall.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Truck Whisperer

Mike Sweers and His Sweat Equity in Tundra and Tacoma

At the Toyota Technical Center in York Township, Mich., Mike Sweers serves as the chief engineer for both the Tundra and Tacoma.  Take a ride to Southeastern Michigan to find out a little more about the life of a chief engineer and what goes into making Toyota trucks the toughest on the road. 

Exactly what do you do?
A chief engineer’s responsibility is really the vehicle from the start to the finish of its life cycle. What I mean by that is as we start with the vehicle concept, looking at what the customer wants, needs, desires, and how that vehicle fits into their daily life and how we – as Akio Toyoda would say – make our customer smile. So that involves collecting data from Product Planning, Marketing and other groups.

We meet with evaluation groups so we can understand how a customer would use the vehicle in the segment. Since I’m in charge of trucks, it’s how would a full-sized truck customer use this truck instead of a compact truck customer. What do they do with them? From a daily driver, to weekends, to the guy who goes out and races his truck in the desert or rock climbs. How do we fit each one of those customers’ needs? Or do we pick a specific portion of that segment and focus our product on them?

From there we have to work out the investment, figure out the business case for the vehicle and get it approved by the board of directors.
So before we can ever start designing the vehicle, we go through all these steps.

So when it starts, you have nothing really?
It depends. If it’s a brand new concept vehicle or a brand new segment, it’s different. We have to understand what we’re trying to sell. Trucks are a very well established segment. And how you treat that segment or how you break into that segment may be completely different. For Tundra, it’s more of what we call a niche truck. The opposite of that is Tacoma. We are the leader in that segment. And how we approach each vehicle is a little different. We can be a little polarizing, a little daring on Tundra because it’s a niche vehicle. With Tacoma, we need to make sure we are satisfying that segment so we remain the leader in that segment itself. So we’re looking at the demographics, making sure we’re meeting our customers’ needs. For me, I’m a truck guy, so I have a personal interest in it because I always drive trucks. So it’s very important to me that I have a product that we’re putting out that I’m excited to drive as well.

So what is the difference between a Tundra customer and an F-150 customer?
A Tundra customer is really buying the truck because they know that truck is going to last. It has the lowest cost of ownership. It has the highest residual value in the market. And that supports the fact that the customer will get a high-quality product. In the full-sized segment, the number one reason is capability, “What can I tow? What can I haul?” But it’s also kind of a reflection of the owner itself. Tundra owners are saying, “I bought the best. I can do whatever my neighbor’s F-150 can do, but I know it’s going to last forever.”

Do sales factor into how you approach these things?
Sales factor in all the time. At the end of the day, we have to sell our product. We’re going up against the best-selling vehicle in the country, but how we do it is with QDR, styling, by making sure we’re meeting our customers’ requirements for wants needs and desire.

What is the design process like?
As we move into design, we get into daily activities with the engineers. How are we going to put the vehicle together? What combinations go together? We work with TEMA production engineering. We work with purchasing every day, cost planning every day. We need to make sure we’re hitting design targets. And we’re still working with styling, and the goal is that the initial sketch everyone agreed to is what we want to hit. So trying to find new ways of manufacturing and making sure we can still build the product.

Then we go into tooling. Once we move into tooling, we go to the plant and ask if they can build it. The last thing we want to do is give them something that is not easily built or can’t be built repeatedly. That affects our quality. Or a big area we have to be cautious of, especially with the plants in Baja and Texas that are running full capacity, is that we’re not creating ergonomic issues for the line operator. We don’t want anyone to get hurt putting our vehicles together.

It’s a big team effort. But if we consider ourselves an orchestra, my role is the conductor: getting people from all parts of the company to talk together. Everybody does their job, but I need to make sure everyone is doing their job with consideration of everyone else’s job.

What’s important to doing your job well?
To me, the key to being a good chief engineer is to be a customer. So if I have to change the oil, can I get to the oil filter without running oil all over the place? We had a van when my kids were young and I had to make everyone go inside when I’d change the oil on it because it was a 90-minute affair and an hour of that was cleaning up the oil. It would infuriate me, and that’s something I think about. Even when we go down to the plant, one thing I tell our engineers is, “If you wouldn’t want to do that job for eight hours a day, then don’t ask somebody else to do that job.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

RAV4 'Top of the Class' for Car Seat Installation, According to

Toyota’s compact SUV one of only six vehicles named to Car Seat Honor Roll 

Child safety. It’s a leading concern for parents every time they strap a little one into a protective safety seat and drive down the road. Effective protection by a child restraint in a crash, however, is dependent upon proper installation. Toyota designers and engineers have been working to make child safety seat mounts easy to access and use, and for the second time this month, it is being recognized for the efforts. has named the 2016 Toyota RAV4 to its Car Seat Honor Roll. RAV4 is one of only six vehicles, out of 84 model-year 2016 and 2017 vehicles tested, to receive this distinction. According to, the RAV4 earned a perfect score in each category of the test, which was performed by certified child passenger safety technicians using an infant seat, convertible seat and booster seat. says that “when it comes to car seats, the RAV4 is at the top of the class,” praising a large backseat to accommodate rear-facing baby seats.
The accolade comes on the heels of high marks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to Toyota for two other models. The IIHS bestowed the best rating possible—Good+—in its LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) ease-of-use ratings for both the Toyota Prius and Lexus RX.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into making installation of child safety seats easier, and we’re glad to see that it’s working,” said Jennifer Pelky, senior safety engineer at Toyota’s North American R&D Headquarters. “I have two young boys myself, and child passenger safety is of the utmost importance to me, both as a mother and an engineering professional that has an active role in LATCH development on Toyota vehicles.”
Complete information on the car seat check evaluation process and details on the RAV4 receiving top honors is available at:

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Toyota Engineers Easier Access for Child Safety Seat Mounts

New Design Results in Improved IIHS Child Safety Rating

Toyota already has more vehicles rated as Top Safety Pick andTop Safety Pick + by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) than any other automaker1, but now they have yet another rating to add to the list of accolades, an IIHS Good+ rating for Child Safety Seat Ease-of-Use.
In 2015, IIHS established the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) rating program to encourage automakers to design LATCH hardware that meets those ease-of-use criteria. While child restraints can be installed properly using vehicle safety belts, LATCH is intended to make correct installation easier.2  Toyota listened to IIHS and took quick action.
We began by going through our North American vehicles one by one, identifying the issues and prioritizing the solutions that had the biggest impact and could be implemented quickly,” said Jennifer Pelky, senior engineer at the Toyota Technical Center and a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. “Some of the biggest challenges we faced were balancing ease-of-use with safety regulation requirements, comfort, and aesthetics.” The dedication of Toyota’s engineers resulted in many of Toyota’s North American vehicles achieving improved ratings.
Due to the timing of the LATCH protocol release and the development timing of the Prius, the Toyota seat design team chose to focus on the seat itself, rather than the lower anchor wires to improve usability. The goal of the Toyota designers and engineers was to find a way to make the lower anchors as easy to use as the lower anchors in other “good” rated vehicles, such as the Lexus RX. Ultimately they found that deeper anchors could be as easy to use as closer anchors if the access to them was large enough. Through this activity, the Prius open-access concept was born.  As a result of their efforts to improve ease-of-use, the Toyota Prius received the best rating possible by IIHS—Good+. 

“As a safety engineer and a mother of two young boys, I understand that installing a child safety seat is not always the easiest task,” said Pelky. “I’m proud to have played a role in making that part of parenting a bit easier.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Do You Know What Your Toyota Indicator Lights Mean?

We have all had it happen to us: we turn on our car and notice a new light lit up on your dash, but we don't know what it means. So, in our hurry, we ignore it and try to forget about it. Mostly because we don't want to take the time to figure out what it means.

So Burien Toyota has created a guide for every dashboard that may light up in your Toyota! Do you need to take your car into Burien Toyota maintenance department if the "BSM" indicator lights up? Yes, you do! Do you know what the exclamation mark indicator means? Get your tire pressure checked!

Find out what all of these and more look like and mean HERE! If any of these light up in your vehicle, call Burien Toyota and we'll get you in as soon as possible.
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