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Friday, May 27, 2016

Worldwide Sales of Toyota Hybrids Surpass 9 Million Units

Toyota Motor Corporation is proud to announce that the cumulative figures for global sales of its hybrid vehicles reached 9.014 million units as of April 30, surpassing the 9 million unit mark1. This latest million-unit milestone was achieved in just nine months.

Helping to mitigate the environmental effects of automobiles is a priority for Toyota. Based on the stance that eco-friendly vehicles can only truly have a significant positive impact if they are widely used, Toyota has endeavored to encourage the mass-market adoption of hybrid vehicles across the globe.

In 2015, Toyota added a hybrid model of the popular minivan, the Sienta and began selling the latest hybrid icon: the fourth-generation Prius. Overseas, Toyota introduced the Corolla and Levin hybrid models in China -- with locally-produced hybrid systems -- and added a hybrid model of the RAV4 to its ever-increasing hybrid line-up. As of the end of April 2016, Toyota is selling 33 hybrid passenger car models and one plug-in hybrid (PHV) model in more than 90 countries and regions.

Toyota announced the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 in October of last year, setting challenges that it will undertake in order to reduce the negative impacts automobiles have on global environmental health to as close to zero as possible, and to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society. In order to fulfill these challenges, Toyota is working to expand its lineup of hybrid vehicles even further and will work to contribute to the environment by achieving annual sales of 1.5 million units, and cumulative sales of 15 million units by 2020.

Toyota calculates that as of April 30, the use of Toyota hybrid vehicles2 in lieu of conventional vehicles of similar size and driving performance has resulted in approximately 67 million fewer tons3 of CO2 emissions  -- believed to be a cause of global warming. Toyota also estimates that its hybrid vehicles have saved approximately 25 million kiloliters of gasoline compared to the amount used by gasoline-powered vehicles in the same class.

Toyota launched the Coaster Hybrid EV in August 1997 and the Prius?the world's first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle?in December of the same year. Since then, Toyota hybrid vehicles have received tremendous support from consumers around the world.

Toyota has positioned hybrid technologies, which encompass all of the component technologies necessary for the development of environment-friendly cars and which facilitate the use of different fuel combinations, as core environmental technologies for the twenty-first century. Toyota is committed to continuing its work to enhance performance, reduce costs, and expand its product lineup to create vehicles that are ever-more popular with consumers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Driving to Make a Difference

Toyota and National Volunteer Transportation Center Outline Partnership

On a rainy day in Rockville, Md., Larry Korb parks his Toyota Camry and hurries to open the passenger door and hold an umbrella over 77-year-old Sondra Wasserman.
As a driver at the Senior Connection in nearby Silver Spring, this is the sort of trip Korb made more than 200 times the last year - volunteering his time and vehicle to pick up senior citizens and take them to doctor’s appointments, shopping trips and community events. The National Volunteer Transportation Center (NVTC) supports thousands of drivers like Korb, and organizations like the Senior Connection, that enable the freedom of mobility.  And now NVTC has a new supporter, Toyota.     
Toyota is launching a comprehensive, multi-phased partnership with NVTC to improve accessibility and efficiency of transportation solutions for the elderly and disabled. The National Volunteer Transportation Center (NVTC), an initiative of the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), promotes and supports more than 800 volunteer driver programs in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
“Toyota is focused on products and services that bring personal mobility to everyone, everywhere,” said Latondra Newton, Toyota Motor North America group vice president, Social Innovation. “Partnering with volunteer organizations like NVTC allows Toyota to support increased mobility and access to resources for community members in need across the nation.”
Phase one of the partnership includes a $400,000, multi-year grant from Toyota to support NVTC/CTAA programs, including the annual STAR awards, annual CTAA conference sponsorship, in-kind resources and additional mobility initiatives, currently in development. Toyota also will donate two vehicles – a 2016 Toyota Prius and a 2016 Mobility Sienna – to volunteer driver programs.  In addition, Toyota will offer a special fleet purchase program for the more than 4,000 CTAA member organizations and 145,000 individual non-emergency medical transportation providers.   
“The thousands of volunteer drivers in America provide more than a ride to an appointment or activity,” said Helen Kerschner, NVTC director.  “They provide a connection, to friends and family, to needed services and life enriching experiences.” 
By gathering volunteer transportation program information, connecting communities, and sharing volunteer best practices and resources, NVTC unites volunteer transportation initiatives in the U.S.  Moving forward, the partnership will evolve to include multiple Toyota divisions and partners supporting volunteer drivers in new ways, facilitating connections and creating new opportunities for both Toyota and NVTC. 

Toyota and Uber to Explore Ridesharing Collaboration

Toyota Motor Corporation, an automotive company aiming for safer, more efficient and convenient mobility, and Uber, a technology platform that is evolving the way the world moves, are announcing a partnership. The companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore collaboration, starting with trials, in the world of ridesharing in countries where ridesharing is expanding, taking various factors into account such as regulations, business conditions, and customer needs. As part of the partnership, Toyota Financial Services Corporation and Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership are making a strategic investment in Uber.
Against the backdrop of rapidly evolving car usage trends in recent years, the development of mobility services in new areas, including ridesharing and car-sharing, has gathered pace on a global scale. Through this agreement on the trials, Toyota and Uber will accelerate further talks in aiming to establish new services and to offer new value to customers.
As part of today’s partnership, the companies will create new leasing options in which car purchasers can lease their vehicles from Toyota Financial Services and cover their payments through earnings generated as Uber drivers. The leasing period will be flexible and based on driver needs. This initiative builds on Uber’s current Vehicle Solutions program.
“Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility. Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation and president of the Connected Company, one of Toyota Motor Corporation’s recently created in-house companies.
“We’re excited that Toyota, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, is making a strategic investment in Uber as part of a broader global partnership. Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide and we look forward to collaborating with Toyota in multiple ways going forward, starting with the expansion of our vehicle financing efforts,” said Emil Michael, chief business officer of Uber.
Toyota and Uber also will explore collaboration in a variety of other areas, such as developing in-car apps that support Uber drivers, sharing knowledge and accelerating their respective research efforts, and establishing a special fleet program to sell Toyota and Lexus vehicles to Uber drivers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Toyota No. 1 Retail Brand in April 2016

  • Toyota division light trucks post record sales for sixth consecutive month
  • RAV4, Highlander and 4Runner have best-ever month
  • Lexus LUV sales up 20.5 percent

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported April 2016 sales of 211,125 units, an increase of 3.8 percent from April 2015 on a volume basis. With one more selling day in April 2016 compared to April 2015, sales were flat (zero percent) on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. 
Toyota division posted April 2016 sales of 186,243 units, up 5.0 percent on a volume basis and 1.1 percent on a DSR basis.   
"The industry had its strongest April in more than 10 years, possibly a best-ever month." said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. "Toyota division enjoyed its sixth consecutive month of best-ever light truck sales, helped by record Highlander, RAV4 and 4Runner sales."
Lexus posted sales of 24,882 units, down 3.8 percent on a volume basis and 7.4 percent on a DSR basis. 
“Not surprisingly, the industry’s strong sales results in April are powered by consumer demand for luxury utility vehicles, said Jeff Bracken Lexus group vice president and general manager. “On the heels of four consecutive best-ever sales months for Lexus’ LUV and crossover models, we feel confident that our range of models, especially the RX and NX, are very well positioned to meet the shifting consumer demand in the luxury market.”
April 2016 Highlights:
  • Camry posts sales of more than 34,000 units
  • Corolla posts sales of 32,111 units
  • Toyota division posts record April for light truck sales; up almost 13 percent for the month
  • RAV4 sales rose 31.6 percent; a best-ever April
  • Highlander up 9.3 percent; a best-ever April
  • 4Runner up more than 36 percent; a best-ever April
  • Sequoia and Land Cruiser up 18 percent and 78 percent respectively
  • Tacoma up almost 16 percent for the month
  • Lexus luxury utility vehicles up more than percent for the month
  • NX up 11.5 percent for the month
  • RX posts sales of 8,767 units, up nearly 29 percent for the month
  • LX up nearly 64 percent for the month
*Note:  Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Charging Ahead

Toyota Scientists Make Breakthrough on Safer, Smarter Batteries

For anyone (i.e. everyone) who’s ever panicked when their mobile device chirped, “low battery,” the future could be far less stressful, thanks to the advanced battery research of scientists at the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA). A new breakthrough involving magnesium batteries may soon open the doors for smaller, longer-lasting batteries for everything from cars to cell phones.
What’s the Big Deal with Magnesium?
Magnesium metal has long been theorized as a much safer and more energy-dense alternative to current lithium battery technology. Lithium metal, in its natural state, is unstable and can ignite when exposed to air. In order to make lithium metal safe for batteries, ions are taken from the lithium metal and embedded into graphite rods, which are then used in batteries. That lack of actual metal, however, limits the amount of power a battery can store. Magnesium, on the other hand, is a very stable metal with the potential to store much more energy. But until now, research on magnesium-based batteries was limited because a magnesium-friendly electrolyte did not exist.
Close Collaboration Leads to Discovery
Enter Toyota principal scientist and chemical engineer Rana Mohtadi. Mohtadi was researching hydrogen storage materials and their application to fuel cell technology; upon hearing her fellow researchers discussing the challenges of developing an electrolyte for a practical magnesium battery, Mohtadi realized her hydrogen storage material might just solve the longstanding problem. With further experimentation and the help of fellow researchers, her theory proved correct.
“We were able to take a material that was only used in hydrogen storage and we made it practical and very competitive for magnesium battery chemistry,” said Mohtadi. “It was exciting.”
Just as exciting as the discovery itself is how Toyota’s culture of diversity and collaboration played a key role.
“The results really speak to the strength in our group,” said Energy Storage Group Manager Paul Fanson. “We try to put people from diverse backgrounds and diverse technologies together and allow them to collaborate. This is a great example of that working very successfully.”
Don’t Toss Your LiPo Just Yet
While it’s easy to get caught up in the potential of a dramatically improved battery, it could take 20 years of research and development before magnesium batteries reach the consumer market. To help move the process along, Toyota’s scientists aren’t keeping their discovery to themselves. Fellow researcher Oscar Tutusaus, who collaborated with Mohtadi on the discovery, said, “We want to make this electrolyte a standard for magnesium batteries… and we want other researchers to develop it further so these batteries can see the light of day.”
A paper detailing their discovery entitled, “An Efficient Halogen-Free Electrolyte for Use in Rechargeable Magnesium Batteries,” was recently published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition (Vol. 54, Issue 27).

Sunday, April 24, 2016

TMMTX Manufactures Clean Water, Power . . . and Trucks

At Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX), Earth Day is every day. The plant, which builds both the Tundra and Tacoma trucks, recycles 1.2 million gallons of water. Every. Day. By cleaning the water received from San Antonio Water Systems, using it, then cleaning it again, TMMTX has been returning better quality water than it received from the system since 2007. While that amount of water recycling is a tremendous achievement, it is not the stopping point for sustainability at TMMTX.
TMMTX’s newest project, a partnership with CPS Energy, will see two acres of solar panels installed on the TMMTX campus. The solar panels will be located near the plant’s Visitor and Education Center, providing an education opportunity for the thousand-plus visitors who tour the plant monthly.
With two acres of solar panels on the site, TMMTX will generate about 200 kilowatt hours (KWH) of energy. That is a whopping cost savings of $12,000 a year.
Previous projects focused on water and energy savings. One project recovers water from the coils of heating ventilation and provides 14.5 million gallons of make-up water to the plant’s cooling tower each year, reducing dependence on public water. Another project to improve air compressor controls saved over two million KWHs annually. Finally, boiler efficiency improvements generated a savings of over 22 million cubic feet of natural gas – enough energy to power 450 homes for a year.
TMMTX’s future continues to look green, with an LED light replacement project continuing throughout the plant and an ultrafiltration project planned to help reclaim even more water and the continuation of TMMTX’s zero-landfill goal.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Toyota Motor N.A. Inspires K-College Students with a $1 Million Gift to SAE International’s AWIM 'LearnTwice' STEM Initiatives

  • This sponsorship strengthens the AWIM STEM experience into K-8 classrooms where Toyota team members live and work.
  • There are currently over 110,000 K-8 students enrolled in AWIM in all 50 states.
  • The AWIM “LearnTwice” initiative will provide a memorable learning experience for K-8 students, as well as university students participating in the SAE Colligate Design Series.
Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) announced a gift of $1 million to strengthen and expand access to “A World in Motion,” (AWIM), the Society of Automotive Engineers’ high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education program.
Toyota’s investment also supports the AWIM “LearnTwice” initiative” by creating a pathway for university students to participate in AWIM classrooms throughout the U.S.
“SAE International is honored and humbled by Toyota’s generosity and its confidence in our STEM programs,” said David L. Schutt, PhD, SAE International chief executive officer. “As a leader and long-time partner in the STEM community, Toyota’s gift to the SAE International Foundation will allow us to further invest in our entire K-16 STEM portfolio that supports the next generation of engineers through their educational journey.”
The AWIM “LearnTwice” initiative is based on the notion that to teach is to learn twice. Asking university students to teach and mentor younger learners on STEM concepts allows them to gain a better understanding of how these concepts are integrated and applied to their own studies. Additionally, this opportunity allows university students to give back to their local community and will also meet community service hours that an increasing number of universities are requiring for graduation. 
“I am particularly excited that Toyota’s support will enable university students to become role models and mentors for K-12 students as they discover the wonder and the possibilities of science, engineering and mathematics and begin dreaming of careers in the mobility industry,” said Latondra Newton, chief social innovation officer at Toyota Motor North America.  “We are proud to partner with SAE, an organization committed to educating, training and inspiring the next generation of automotive leaders.”
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