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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Special Olympics Flame of Hope Arrives at Toyota Headquarters

DFW athletes and Toyota Pioneers Help Ignite Special Olympics World Games 

En route to the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, Toyota celebrates the Flame of Hope arriving at the temporary Toyota headquarters (TCAL) Friday afternoon as part of the Unified Relay Across America. Toyota’s Steve Curtis, vice president of corporate communications; and Terri Von Lehmden, national manager, PMO & talent acquisition, made the half-mile torch run down Legacy Drive in Plano, Texas. As Curtis and Von Lehmden arrived at headquarters, they were greeted by local Special Olympics athletes and their families, Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor North America chief executive officer, and one-hundred of the first Toyota employees who have moved to Texas.

As the Flame of Hope was carried onto Toyota soil, Lentz addressed the crowd in attendance reiterating Toyota’s commitment to Special Olympics USA, what it means for Toyota to be a part of the World Games Los Angeles 2015, as well as the Unified Relay Across America.

“Today is a truly gratifying and humbling experience for Toyota,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor North America, chief executive officer. “Toyota is proud to play a supporting role in the World Games and Special Olympics USA. Toyota will continue to celebrate and support the abilities of Special Olympics athletes and the overall mission of this great organization.”

Curtis and Von Lehmden concluded Friday’s festivities as they departed TCAL with another half-mile run down the route and handed the torch off to a waiting Toyota vehicle, which will help deliver the torch to the next stop in Arlington.

Friday’s ceremony is part of an ongoing celebration from Toyota as the Official Automotive Sponsor of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, taking place in Los Angeles from July 25 to August 2. With more than 7,000 athletes, 177 represented countries and 30,000 volunteers, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event this year. Toyota is raising awareness and support around the Special Olympics World Games, and joining in its mission of acceptance, inclusion and embracing diversity.

“Toyota has been a tremendous partner of the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 and throughout many segments of the Unified Relay Across America, said Chris Hahn, Head of Delegation for Special Olympics USA, adding, “We are particularly thankful for their support of Special Olympics USA.”

The Special Olympics event is just one example of how Toyota is engaged philanthropically in the state of Texas. Toyota has made numerous investments since 1991, which includes $3.9 billion into the state’s economy and $17.9 million in nonprofit contributions. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Travel Safety 102: Stay on Your Toes and Keep Your Eyes on the Road

Ah, the summer road trip…a perfect time to relax as you rock and roll toward the family vacation. But if you’re sampling the latest mocha offering from an omnipresent coffee chain or arguing with your teen about whether Tame Impala is the new Beatles, driving should be you not.

According to a 2006 study, driver inattention – from fatigue or a driving distraction -- was a contributing factor in nearly 80 percent of crashes.1  Nearly 80 percent. Or four out of five.

A driving distraction is anything that takes your eyes (visual) or your mind (cognitive) off the road or your hands off the wheel (manual).2  And some of the more dangerous distractions are a combination, such as texting, which involves all three.

But there are a lot of behaviors that distract or make us inattentive. Here are some to avoid:

Eating and drinking – Chomping down a burger on the way home from work? This seemingly innocent activity is not only a visual and manual distraction, it also happens with extreme frequency, making it more of a hazard. And according to, some foods are more dangerous than others.3 Top no-no consumables in the car: hot coffee and soup, tacos, chili, hamburgers, barbecued food, fried chicken and jelly donuts.

Grooming – Other not-so-innocent distractions. Save shaving for the shower and lay off putting on lipstick behind the wheel.

Talking with passengers – Restricting this behavior can be difficult, especially with inquisitive children in the vehicle. A quick tip: be sure they are properly and safely buckled up and give them books, toys or games to occupy their time.
Adjusting the radio or climate controls – Adjust vehicle controls, such as mirrors, heat or air conditioning, before you begin your trip. Take advantage of normal stops to adjust controls or ask your passenger to adjust controls.
Fatigue – Driving while drowsy results in a four- to six-times higher near-crash/crash risk.Long trips can be tough on children and you. Plan to stop along the way to take a group stretch, get something to eat and drink, return any calls or text messages, and change drivers if you’re feeling tired or drowsy.
Using a cell phone – Of course, using a cell phone remains one of the most dangerous distractions. Activities performed when completing a phone call (reaching for a phone, looking up a contact and dialing the number) increased crash risk by three times.4 Put another way, taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds is like driving the length of an entire football field at 55 mph wearing a blindfold.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Slim Jims and Side Curtains: Toyota Celebrates 20 Years of Patented North American Innovation

In 1995, breaking into a car wasn’t all that complicated. Slide a “slim jim” between the doorframe and the glass, give it a tug and that’s all she wrote. Over time, carmakers developed countermeasures to keep would-be bandits at bay. Some worked and some didn’t...but they all added cost to the vehicles and complexity to the manufacturing process.

Toyota engineer Norm Kerr, III, had a better idea.

It was a simple, off-the-shelf solution that saved time on the assembly line and realized a significant cost savings. While the implementation of Kerr’s idea was short-lived (Side-impact safety regulations resulted in completely re-engineered vehicle doors), the idea itself became symbolic. Not as an advance in anti-theft mechanisms but as the first patent issued to a Toyota Technical Center (TTC) engineer.

Fast forward 20 years and another TTC engineer, Nora Arellano, was awarded a patent for side curtain airbags used in the Toyota Tundra. Her idea, which can protect occupants during several different crash scenarios, resulted in the 1000th patent issued to Toyota’s North American Manufacturing and Engineering headquarters.

At a June 11th event, held in the Toyota Engineering Theater at the Michigan Science Center, Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz recognized the achievements of Kerr, Arellano and 114 other Toyota engineers and researchers who earned patents during the previous fiscal year.

“These patents represent your brainpower, your innovation, your diligence, your hard work and your passion,” Lentz said. “Patents were essential in creating Toyota in 1937 and are equally important today in protecting the innovative products and processes you invent to make our customers’ experience the best in the business.”

Five Toyota Technical Center engineers have over 20 patents to their name, including Mindy Zhang who has been awarded 29 patents, the most of any Toyota North American team member.

After his initial patent, slim-jim-thwarting Kerr has been awarded several others, including two this year. As for Arellano, she has seven other patents and was recently named one of Corp! Magazine’s “Michigan’s Most Valuable Millenials.”

Toyota’s North American engineers and researchers and their efforts have resulted in Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, North America, Inc (TEMA) being the third largest patent-holding company in Michigan.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Toyota Captures Top Non-Luxury Brand Award in 'Best Retained Value Awards'

Four Toyota Models Top Their Segments for Best Resale Value

Toyota was named the top non-luxury brand in the fifth annual’s Best Retained Value® Awards.  The awards “recognize the brands and 2015 models that have the highest projected residual values after five years based on their average True Market Value® (TMV®) price when sold new.”

“Earning the ‘Best Retained Value®’ award is a great honor and a testament to Toyota’s commitment to quality, durability and reliability, all key ingredients for great value,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division.

Four Toyota models also took home the top prize in their segments for best resale value, more than any other brand.  They were:
  • Tacoma Pickup – Midsize Truck
  • Tundra Pickup – Large Truck
  • Highlander – Midsize SUV
  • Avalon – Large Car

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hey Dad: Happy Father’s Day from Toyota

Automaker Continues to Celebrate Dads after Successful Super Bowl Camry Campaign

The day to celebrate dads is almost here, and Toyota Camry is driving them into the limelight.
The Father’s Day campaign, like the “One Bold Choice Leads to Another” marketing campaign for Super Bowl XLIX, uses targeted social media content to share a single, meaningful message. The new effort also features an experiential element nestled within one of Southern California’s top tourist locations.

“We were excited to hear that we really got Americans to think about their dads during this year’s Super Bowl,” said Jack Hollis, group vice president of marketing, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “What better way to continue that connection than by starting a timely, new conversation on Father’s Day.”

A main element of the new campaign is an online video (link) titled “Father’s Day Redo.” Last month Toyota paired up with director Ivan Cash to conduct “man on the street” interviews in Los Angeles. Every day people were asked what they had planned for Father’s Day.

Responses ranged from quizzical to comical to heart-wrenching. And one respondent, Phil Eastman, was given the unexpected opportunity to return home to Hyattville, Wyoming (population 75) to surprise his father, courtesy of Toyota.

In addition to the digital content, Toyota will temporarily erect a monument to dads on the world-famous Santa Monica Beach Pier in Southern California. The I (Heart) Dad structure stands 15 feet tall at its apex and nearly 30 feet long. To help passersby celebrate their own dads, Toyota also installed Instaprint, a technology that allows visitors to instantly print their Instagram photos on-site by adding #OneBoldChoice.

Designed by DJ Neff and built with reclaimed and natural wood sourced in California, the monument will be unveiled on Tuesday, June 16 and will remain on the pier until Monday, June 22.

Lastly, 30-second versions of the two spots Toyota aired during the Super Bowl will appear on major broadcast and cable networks in June, reinforcing Toyota’s commitment to fathers. Some of the program the spots will air in are CBS This Morning, The Tonight Show, Castle and Modern Family.

Background on the 2015 Camry
The 2015 Toyota Camry ensures that the driver gets noticed for all the right reasons, and there’s an emotional thrill in surprising others with an unexpected side. It was designed by CALTY and engineered at Toyota Technical Center, both in Ann Arbor, Michigan. All Camrys sold in North America are built at Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky and Lafayette, Ind. For more information on the bold 2015 Camry, visit

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Travel Safety Alert: Five Must-Know Car Seat Tips for Child Passengers

Heading out for a road trip with your family this summer? Got your sunscreen? Check. Road tunes? Check. Sunglasses? Check. A properly installed car seat?  The answer may not be as simple as you think.

In fact, many people are surprised to learn that a staggering three out of four car seats are incorrectly installed. This is so alarming because motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death among children. However, a properly installed car seat can dramatically reduce injury and prevent death.

That’s why as travel season heats up, Buckle Up for Life, the national child passenger safety program from Cincinnati Children’s and Toyota, released the following must-know tips for keeping child passengers safe this summer:
  1. Always use the “Inch Test” and the “Pinch Test”.  Pinch the car seat strap near the child’s shoulder; if you can pinch a wrinkle in the fabric, tighten the strap until it is snug. For the “Inch Test,” grab the car seat from the back and bottom and tug from side to side and front to back.  If the seat moves more than an inch in either direction, tighten it.
  1. Never add towels or extra layers between the seat and your child. Car seats can get hot in summer weather, and sticky treats like ice cream can cause spills – but don’t be tempted to pile up towels in your child’s seat to keep them cool or tidy. Extra material could interfere with the seat’s ability to restrain the child in the event of a crash, so it is important to only use accessories and products specifically approved for use by the seat’s manufacturer.
  1. Take time to cool off; then buckle up. If the car seat is hot because of high summer temperatures, take some extra time to cool the car down before placing your child in the seat. Open the windows, turn on the air conditioner, and test to ensure plastic or metal buckles are not hot. Once the seat’s temperature has reached a comfortable level, always buckle your child in as usual – even for short trips. Never leave children alone in the car, especially in the summer, when temperatures can escalate dangerously in a matter of minutes.
  1. Don’t rent a car seat. If you are renting a car this summer, use your own car seat. When you rent a seat you don’t know important facts about its history that could affect its ability to protect your child (e.g., expiration date, crash history, etc.)  The good news is that most airlines allow you to check your car seat for free.
  1. Secure loose items in the car. Make sure all loose items – particularly summer travel essentials such as beach chairs, coolers, umbrellas and suitcases – are tightly secured in your vehicle. These objects could become projectiles in the event of a crash.

“Summer is a wonderful time to travel with your family and build memories that will last a lifetime, but it’s important that parents and caregivers do all they can to make sure their littlest passengers are protected,” said Gloria DelCastillo, child passenger safety expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and national program manager for Buckle Up for Life. “This summer, we hope all families will put these safety precautions in place before getting on the road.”

The tips are part of Buckle Up for Life’s mission to educate families about the proper use of car seats and seat belts and provide free car seats to families in need. Over the last ten years, Buckle Up for Life has grown to include a network of 14 of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals and has educated more than 17,000 people. Toyota’s sponsorship has provided funding for over 40,000 car seats for families in need. To learn more visit
About Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Newsweek Names Toyota One of the World’s Greenest Companies

Toyota Moves up 57 Spots from Last Year

Newsweek has named a car company as one of the world’s greenest companies, ahead of highly-regarded brand like Microsoft, Google, Nike and Coke. Toyota moved up 57 spots in Newsweek’s annual green ranking to #35 in the Global 500 and #2 in autos.   
Newsweek in partnership with Corporate Knights Capital and HIP Investor evaluated the world's largest publicly-traded companies, using eight metrics to measure environmental performance. Companies were scored against their industry peers on each metric, including energy, water and waste levels. 

“We are proud to be recognized as one of the world’s greenest companies,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor North America chief executive officer. “Through continuous improvement, our global teams have made great strides in reducing our environmental impact. From hybrids to fuel cells, Toyota is at the forefront of developing energy efficient technologies. We are deeply committed to contributing to the environment, our communities, and to leading the future of sustainable mobility.”

The world’s largest automaker is being recognized for its commitment to sustainable practices and its efforts to develop green vehicles, including the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, which emits only water vapor. Toyota’s green initiatives saved over 93 million gallons of water in North America and reduced  energy use by 22% in Toyota’s North American manufacturing plants. And Toyota Financial Services issued the auto industry’s first-ever Asset-Backed Green Bond to finance the purchase of almost 40,000 green vehicles.

The full Newsweek Green Rankings list is available now on Newsweek’s website at and on newsstands June 5.
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