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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Buckle Up for Life Releases New Holiday Traditions for Child Passenger Safety

National Injury Prevention Program from Cincinnati Children’s and Toyota Helps Protect Children During Busiest Travel Season of the Year

Every family has their own holiday traditions – it’s one of the reasons this time of year is so special. On the cusp of the busiest travel season of the year, Buckle Up for Life, the national injury prevention program from Cincinnati Children’s and Toyota, is releasing “New Holiday Traditions for Child Passenger Safety” to help keep kids safe this holiday season and beyond.
According to AAA, nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving. Millions more will hit the road between then and the New Year. While cars and trucks are safer than ever, crashes are still the leading cause of death for children. Car seats can prevent or greatly reduce injuries in the event of a crash, but they must be installed properly – an alarming three out of four are not.  
“Whether you’re traveling far this holiday season or staying local, no trip with small children is complete without a properly installed car seat,” said Gloria Del Castillo, child passenger safety expert at Cincinnati Children’s and senior outreach specialist for Buckle Up for Life. “Our goal with these traditions is to offer simple ways to make child passenger safety a part of every family’s routine - during the holidays and throughout the year.”
Buckle Up for Life’s New Holiday Traditions for Child Passenger Safety
  1. Make it a family affair. The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family near and far. However, older generations may have had different approaches to keeping kids safe in cars. If relatives help chauffer children, make sure everyone understands the latest practices for car seats, booster seats and seat belts.

  1. Ban re-gifting.  It may be tempting to accept a used car seat, but this is one item that should never be re-gifted. It’s not bad manners – it’s safety. You can’t necessarily know the history of the seat and a past crash or even normal wear-and-tear may have compromised its ability to protect your little one.  

  1. Remember that car seats expire, just like Thanksgiving leftovers.  Many families are surprised to learn that car seats – like food – have a shelf life and must be replaced. Establish a new habit this year: when you clean out your refrigerator after Thanksgiving, check the expiration date on your car seat too.  

  1. Booster seats – they aren’t just for the holiday table. We all know booster seats can help young children enjoy special meals this time of year with the rest of the family. But don’t forget about booster seats for your car – all year round. Children under 4’9” should always sit in these special seats, which raise them up so that seat belts can protect them correctly.

  1. Look forward to the New Year, but make sure young children look back. This is one of the most common questions that perplexes parents and caregivers – when do I turn the car seat around to face forward? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in rear-facing car seats until age two, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for the car seat. 
“We know the holidays are a happy – and hectic – time, especially when traveling with children,” said Jennifer Pelky, vehicle safety engineer at Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America and certified child passenger safety technician. “We want all families to embrace these traditions and make child passenger safety a habit this holiday season and year-round.” 
For additional child passenger safety tips and advice, including animated car seat installation videos, visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@BuckleUpforLife).

Friday, November 27, 2015

Toyota Family Learning Programs Lead Communities in National Family Literacy Month® celebrations

The research is clear – a strong support system helps children excel in the classroom and beyond.

This month the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) and 10 Toyota Family Learning programs are celebrating National Family Literacy Month® by focusing on the immense influence families have on a child’s education, future success and well-being.
The events range from celebrations and fairs focusing on healthy living and eating to encouraging wonder and curiosity about the world. There are family community service projects – from raising money to increase an elementary school library collection to organizing a food drive to collect items for refugees. Toyota Family Learning families are engaging their communities in an effort to share what they’ve learned through the program.
Toyota Family Learning empowers parents and caregivers, as well as their children, to become engaged in their schools and communities. During the 2014-15 program year, parents and children in the 10 partner cities spent nearly 17,500 hours learning together; 1,600 of those hours were spent doing 67 Family Service Learning projects. Nearly 80 percent of the families in the program were English language learners.

“When parents and children come together to learn and serve, relationships among family members, neighbors and communities are all strengthened,” said Sharon Darling, president and founder of NCFL. “The time commitment is big, but families see this as a worthwhile investment.”

NCFL’s independent evaluators at Penn State University found that among families graduating from Toyota Family Learning programs
  • 90%  of parents increased their engagement in their children’s education
  • 96% of parents became better teachers to their children
  • 75% of parents increased their English language skills
  • 34% of parents got a better job
Toyota has partnered with NCFL to launch Toyota Family Learning programs in cities across the U.S. Each partner organization received a three-year $175,000 grant for the Toyota and NCFL model program.
“Families across the country are creating better lives for themselves and feeling empowered to become engaged community members thanks to this two-generation literacy model,” said Mike Goss, vice president of external affairs for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. “Toyota Family Learning helps bridge the gap between classroom and lifelong learning that is relevant to real life situations.”
NCFL is a leader in family learning initiatives and developed Toyota Family Learning, a two-generation solution to educational challenges that is being employed across the United States. It partners with organizations in Bronx, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Denver, Colo.; Detroit, Mich.; Houston, Texas; Lincoln, Neb.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Providence, R.I.; San Mateo, Calif.; and, San Pedro, Calif. Health and financial literacy, reading, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)-based education and Family Service Learning projects are all part of Toyota Family Learning. To learn more about these organizations and their events, and follow @NCFL on Twitter.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday Deals at Burien Toyota Goes Through November 30!

If you're looking for some great Black Friday deals on new vehicles, Burien Toyota has some great deals for you...and these offers are in addition to all other current offers! Now that's something to give thanks for!

Watch it HERE!

o   NEW RAV4 - 2015 MODEL YEAR
Offer Valid through NOVEMBER 30, 2015 ONLY!
*Must be approved and finance or lease through Toyota Financial Services to receive the $500 Bonus Cash offer. Not all customers will qualify.

That's right, combining Toyota cash with all other offers IS the better way this Black Friday. And, remember, all deals go through November 30, so don't let these offers slip past you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Toyota Turns Compost Into Cars

Toyota’s Georgetown Plant Contributes to Global Environmental Goal
Landfill Gas Generator to Produce One Million Watts for Vehicle Production

Toyota is working to help everyone breathe a little easier.
The company recently announced its intent to virtually eliminate CO2 emissions from its factories and vehicles, and it’s about to flip the switch on a very tangible example of this effort. Toyota’s Georgetown, Ky., manufacturing plant will begin generating electricity from methane, a byproduct of trash decomposition at the nearby Central Kentucky Landfill on Nov. 23, 2015. 
“We will generate one megawatt (1 million watts) per hour at the site,” said Toyota’s environmental strategies manager Dave Absher. “That’s enough annual energy generation to produce approximately 10,000 vehicles. The system can eventually be scaled up to 10 megawatts per hour.”
Toyota’s global headquarters recently announced a very aggressive goal of largely eliminating CO2 emissions from its vehicles and manufacturing plants by 2050. The launch of the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle this year; making its fuel cell patents available to other automakers; and developing manufacturing technologies that use hydrogen as a power source are specific initiatives mentioned within the plan.  Alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and locally produced renewable energy also will be required to achieve the goal.
“The landfill gas generator represents the kind of thinking that our company is asking us to do to reduce our carbon footprint over the next 35 years,” said Kevin Butt, Toyota’s general manager for environment strategies. “It’s a small step, but a significant one. These types of changes to our manufacturing operations coupled with other global initiatives will help us reach this very aggressive goal.”
The project is a collaboration between Toyota’s Georgetown manufacturing plant and the Central Kentucky Landfill owned and operated by Waste Services of the Bluegrass. Landfills are required to monitor methane levels and report these levels to the EPA. Capturing and burning the methane has been determined by the EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Toyota Georgetown’s project began in 2010 when the two companies met to discuss the potential. Last fall, Waste Services began installing a methane collection system and Toyota began installing the generator at the site. An underground electric transmission line runs from the landfill approximately 6.5 miles to deliver the electricity to the plant. 
“This project was a true collaboration between the two companies,” said Absher. “There was also a tremendous amount of support from the local community, public utilities and elected officials to get the project off the ground.”
More information about Toyota’s environmental initiatives is available in the North American Environmental Report which was released this week.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Electrifying Development: Refreshed 2016 RAV4 Line Offers Toyota's Eighth Hybrid

-     New 2016 RAV4 Offers Eighth Hybrid in Toyota Lineup
-     Hybrid is Most Powerful and Fuel-Efficient RAV4
-     Refreshed Exterior Styling and Updated Interior Across the RAV4 Lineup
-     New SE Grade Provides Sport-Tuned Suspension and Sportier Styling

Looking at the expansive crossover landscape today, Toyota can proudly point to the first RAV4 as the pioneering model two decades ago. The RAV4 was a new kind of vehicle that combined SUV versatility with car-like handling, ride comfort and fuel economy. What began as a niche exploded into a category, with the RAV4 remaining one of its leaders. That leadership shows once again for 2016 with the introduction of the first RAV4 Hybrid as part of a refreshed RAV4 line that also includes a sporty new SE grade.

A few years after the first RAV4 arrived, Toyota began offering what would become the world’s best-selling hybrid vehicle, the Prius. The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid brings the number of Toyota hybrid models to eight (plus six more in the Lexus luxury division). The RAV4 Hybrid is a no compromise vehicle aimed at active young couples who put high fuel economy at the top of a priority list that also includes utility, style, versatility and capability. The fuel economy estimates are expected to be high, as Toyota anticipates to receive EPA ratings of 34 mpg city / 31 mpg highway / 33 mpg combined for both 2016 RAV4 Hybrid models. The RAV4 Hybrid comes in two premium grades: XLE and Limited. The RAV4 gas version comes in four grades: LE, XLE, Limited and the new SE.

Drives Great, Less Fill-Ups
Whoever chooses a 2016 RAV4 Hybrid -- couples, singles or small families -- will be enjoying a more powerful and quicker-accelerating RAV4. The all-weather capability is there, too, as both Hybrid grades come equipped with an Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive System with intelligence (AWD-i) as standard. A second, independent electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction.

Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive has long been the platinum standard for seamless hybrid performance, high efficiency and exemplary dependability. Drivers love the way it works, because they cannot feel it working, and that’s the point. The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid combines output from a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and a small high-torque electric motor through its unique transaxle. The RAV4 Hybrid delivers a jolt of performance from a combined 194 system horsepower. The system varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both as needed, all seamlessly.

The versatile RAV4 Hybrid will zoom from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds (nearly one second quicker than its gas counterparts), yet what feels most impressive is the response from 206 lb.-ft. of total system torque in everyday driving. Regenerative braking changes the electric motor to a generator that captures the kinetic energy of the still-turning wheels when the brake is applied, storing it in the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) hybrid battery pack.

The RAV4 Hybrid driver can play an active role in conserving fuel by selecting one of the several operating modes. Choosing ECO mode (on Hybrid and Gas models) optimizes throttle response and air conditioning output to help prioritize fuel economy. In EV mode, the RAV4 Hybrid, under certain conditions, will run solely on the electric motor for up to 0.6 miles at lower speeds (below approximately 25 mph). A Hybrid System Indicator and fuel consumption indicator, located in a 4.2-inch TFT screen, helps coach the driver to operate the vehicle as economically as possible.

New Look Outside
The 2016 RAV4 line ushers in refreshed exterior styling that lends the vehicle a sleeker, more dynamic stance.  A bolder looking front fascia seems to come alive when equipped with the available LED combo of headlights, daytime running lights and Hi-Lo Headlights. The new rocker panels sharpen the sides and tie in restyled front and rear bumpers for a more flowing profile. Available LED taillights add a premium touch.

New front and rear silver skid plate garnishes on most models, new wheel designs and a standard shark fin antenna on all grades further accent the freshened look of the 2016 RAV4. Capping the restyle in high style are three additions to the color palette: Silver Sky Metallic, Black Currant Metallic and Electric Storm Blue.

On some grades, the revised gauge cluster contains an available 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display, and a 7-inch touch-sensitive display audio touch screen is also available. Among new conveniences are LED illumination on the lower center console, a 12V power outlet added to the rear area, and a revised cup holder design to hold tall mugs with handles. There’s also a new holder for sunglasses.

New Safety Tech Everywhere
The 2016 RAV4 will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS, which is standard on 2016 RAV4 Limited grades (gas and Hybrid) and available on XLE (gas and Hybrid) and SE grades, bundles cutting edge safety technologies including Pre-Collision System (with Forward Collision Warning and automatic emergency brake), Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, Pedestrian Pre-Collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. In addition to TSS, RAV4 LE gas and XLE gas and hybrid models will feature a standard Blind Spot Mirror and the SE gas and Limited gas and hybrid grades have a standard Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The 2016 RAV4 debuts new technologies to bolster convenience, entertainment and information. Smart Key, standard on SE and Limited (gas and Hybrid) grades, and a Homelink® garage door opener (standard on Limited gas and Hybrid grades), add convenience and security. Available front and rear parking sonar helps make parking easy and safe, and now the RAV4 offers the ultimate technology for that purpose, a new Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan. This Toyota-first technology employs four cameras that are mounted on the front, the side mirrors and rear of the vehicle to project a panoramic view of the vehicle’s surroundings on the central seven-inch touch display. The system offers drivers assistance when parallel parking, and when pulling in and out of parking spaces. The Bird’s Eye View Monitor system also debuts a Toyota-first feature called Perimeter Scan, which provides a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle, helping the driver to see potential obstacles.

For 2016, the RAV4 XLE and SE feature the standard Scout® GPS Link cell phone-based navigation system (available on LE). And for entertainment, RAV4 XLE, SE and Limited models come equipped with SiriusXM All-Access Radio with a 3-month complimentary trial subscription.

RAV4 SE: Sporty New Look and Attitude
Gaining the versatility of a crossover shouldn't have to mean giving up on sporty driving. The refreshed 2016 Toyota RAV4 line adds an athletic new member to the family, the SE, featuring sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and paddle shifters for the six-speed automatic transmission. While providing a more dynamic and responsive driving experience, the RAV4 SE shows off its sporty attitude with LED headlights and taillights and exclusive bumper and lower grill design. Its most distinctive exterior feature is the S-Code paint design, which combines one of three available upper colors (Super White, Black Sand Pearl and Electric Storm Blue) over Classic Silver Metallic on the vehicle’s lower trim.

The SE continues the sporty, upscale theme inside with SofTex®-trimmed seats featuring a power driver’s seat (also on Limited) and contrast stitching, and a choice of two interior colors (Black and Black/Cinnamon), along with a Black headliner, Black A&B-pillar covers, sport floor mats and door sill protectors and Gunmetal Gray trim.

The SE instrument panel features twin dials with red illumination and red pointers, along with a standard 4.2-inch color TFT multi-information display.

Where Practicality Meets Fun
The RAV4 gets down the road with authority from a 2.5-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine that smoothly delivers 176 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm. It’s teamed to a standard six-speed automatic transmission, and the combination yields EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 24 mpg city / 31 mpg highway/26 mpg combined. With Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive, the EPA estimates are 22/29/25 mpg.

As seen on premium vehicles, the Toyota RAV4 comes with driver-selectable operating modes. Select Eco mode and the RAV4 optimizes powertrain operation to maximize fuel economy. Switch to Sport mode, and you’ll experience sharpened shift timing, throttle response and steering feel.  Downshifting will “blip” the throttle, as the driver in a stick-shift vehicle would do to maintain driving smoothness. On RAV4 models with Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive, Sport mode also alters torque distribution to enhance agility.

Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
With standard front-drive, the RAV4 gas model has a special traction helper called Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD).  Essentially a second layer of computer logic in the Traction Control system, Auto LSD can be engaged at speeds below 25 mph to provide the function of a mechanical limited-slip differential. Unlike Traction Control, it doesn’t cut into engine power.  This helps give the driver control and distributes power where it’s most effective.  On all RAV4 gas models, standard Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) helps prevent the vehicle from rolling backward when starting off on an incline when the brake pedal is released.  All RAV4 models (except SE) are equipped with standard Trailer Sway Control.  A function of Vehicle Stability Control, Trailer Sway Control helps counteract handling forces that can cause trailer sway during towing by applying brakes to individual wheels.

For maximum traction capability in all conditions, the RAV4 gas models offer the sophisticated Dynamic Torque Control AWD system that’s also offered on the larger Highlander model. Taking input from various sensors (vehicle speed, steering speed and angle, throttle angle and yaw rate), Dynamic Torque Control continuously monitors and actively governs torque distribution to the rear wheels, as needed, via an electromagnetically controlled coupling positioned in the rear differential. Front to rear torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with front-wheel drive automatically engaged under normal driving conditions to help reduce fuel consumption.

When accelerating, Dynamic Torque Control automatically shifts to AWD to help prevent front wheel slippage, or when sensors detect wheel slippage.  New for 2016, torque transfer to the rear wheels starts from the moment the steering wheel is turned to reduce the load on the front tires in all Drive Modes (previously only in Sport Mode on 2015 AWD RAV4s). If wheel slip occurs, the system transfers up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels to reduce front tire loading, thereby enhancing lateral grip. Pushing an AWD Lock button fixes torque distribution at 50:50 at speeds up to about 25 mph to help maximize grip for off-pavement driving or slippery conditions. Above that speed, the system reverts to Auto mode.

Inner Strength
A body structure that makes extensive use of high-strength steel provides a robust and stiff, yet light platform and is the foundation for the RAV4’s smooth ride, handling agility and cabin quietness. The rear suspension member has increased spots welds and support mounts to help enhance rigidity and reduce vibration transfer to the vehicle occupants. The MacPherson strut front suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension let the RAV4 absorb bumps, ruts and railroad crossings with composure. A strut tower bar links the tops of the front strut towers to the main bulkhead, helping to increase torsional rigidity.

Front and rear shock absorbers and coils have been retuned in all RAV4 grades to help enhance stability and increase comfort. The SE grade receives unique sport-tuned shock absorbers and coils for enhanced sport driving composure.

Vehicle-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion electric power steering provides precision feel and quick response, and it has no messy hydraulic fluid to be checked or changed. The RAV4 LE rolls on standard 17-inch steel wheels with wheel covers and P225/65R17 all-season tires. The XLE Hybrid upgrades to unique 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels with 225/65R17 tires and XLE gas rides on 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels with 235/55R18 tires, while the Limited and SE grades get 18-inch alloy wheels with P235/55R18 all-season tires.

Cavernous Cabin
The easy-to-maneuver, easy-to-park RAV4 takes up little space outside but offers cavernous space inside. There’s ample room for five adults, including competitive 37.2 inches of rear legroom and, behind the rear seat, 38.4 cu. ft. of cargo capacity (35.6 cu. ft. for Hybrid). With the 60/40 split rear seats folded, that space expands to 73.4 cu. ft. (70.6 cu. ft. for Hybrid). The rear seatbacks recline several degrees for added passenger comfort, and rear privacy glass is standard on all RAV4 models.

The RAV4 Limited brings in the luxury SofTex-trimmed seats, dash and door panels. The driver gets an eight-way power seat with memory and lumbar adjustment, and the front seats are two-stage heated. Added conveniences include the Smart Key system with push button start, remote power liftgate, a frameless auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Homelink® and SofTex-covered sliding center armrest with a console storage compartment.

Special attention was directed towards improving cabin quietness with the addition of sound insulation materials in the rear cargo area, floor pan, and side and rear doors to help reduce road noise and create a premium feel.

Tune in With Entune
There’s no shortage of music and information choices in the 2016 RAV4, thanks to a line of four available Entune™ audio systems. In the RAV4 LE, the standard Entune Audio system features a 6.1-in. touchscreen, AM/FM/CD, Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming,  iPod® connectivity and control, USB 2.0, AUX mini-jack, Advanced Voice Recognition, and six speakers. Siri® Eyes Free is also new for 2016.  The Entune touchscreen, which also serves as the display for the standard backup camera, allows the driver and front passenger to operate the audio system, and more.

Standard on XLE grade, Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation App adds high-resolution to the 6.1-inch touch screen, HD Radio® with iTunes® tagging, SiriusXM® Satellite (with 3-month complimentary All Access Trial), HD Radio® Traffic/Weather (metro areas only), Connected Navigation via Scout® GPS Link app (includes cell-phone driven navigation, voice activated search, traffic-based commute information, and more) operated through a 6.1-inch high resolution touch screen with Customizable Home Screen.  In the RAV4 Limited (and optional for the XLE), Entune Premium Audio adds a 7.0-inch high resolution touchscreen with Customizable Home Screen, Integrated Navigation and the subscription-free Entune® App Suite.  Entune Premium Audio adds AM/FM Cache Radio pairs with the user’s mobile smartphone to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with fully integrated access to navigation, music and information services. Mobile apps include Destination Search, iHeartRadio,, OpenTable®, Yelp, Facebook Places, Slacker Radio, and Pandora®, plus real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks. Customers can also download available Entune updates.

Reserved as an option for the Limited and SE, the Entune Premium JBL® Audio with Navigation system brings your music to life with 576 watts (maximum) pumped through 11 JBL®GreenEdge™ Technology speakers in seven locations, including a subwoofer and JBL amplifier. The eight-channel amplifier and Green Edge speakers reduce electrical draw on the vehicle compared to other systems of comparable output.

Star Safety
Like every 2016 Toyota, RAV4 is equipped with the Star Safety System™ that includes: Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Brake Assist (BA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Smart Stop Technology (SST). Eight standard airbags include dual stage advanced driver and front passenger airbags; front seat-mounted airbags; first and second row side curtain airbags; driver knee airbag and a front passenger seat cushion airbag. Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seats are designed to help support the driver’s and front passenger’s heads during certain types of rear-end collisions.

Value Pricing
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2016 RAV4 gas models will range from $24,350 for the LE 2WD to $32,910 for the AWD Limited.

The MSRP for the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid will be $28,370 for the AWD XLE and $33,610 for the AWD Limited.

The MSRP for all RAV4 models does not include the delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $900.  The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

Limited Warranty
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation.

The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles. In applicable states hybrid-related component coverage is 15 years/150,000 miles with the exception of the hybrid battery, which is covered for 10 years/150,000 miles.

The 2016 RAV4 also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

2016 RAV4 Pricing
Model #ModelDriveTransmissionGradeMSRP

Model #ModelDriveTransmissionGradeMSRP
All prices listed above exclude the Delivery, Processing, and Handling (DPH) fee.  Fleet models excluded.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

For 740+ Kentucky Veterans, Toyota is a Great Place to Call Home

The desert is a long way from home. 7,098 miles to be exact.

It’s been 25 years since Sgt. Tony Hendrichs stepped onto the sands of Saudi Arabia, where he spent eight months during Operation Desert Storm. As one of the first National Guard units to deploy from Kentucky, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect while serving his country overseas.

But one thing he could expect was a job to come home to.

As a newly hired team member at Toyota’s Georgetown, Ky. plant, Hendrichs traded in Camrys for camouflage in October of 1990. During the months that followed, fellow plant workers sent care packages and support letters, while his Toyota paychecks and benefits continued as usual. Welcome relief for a husband and dad.

While deployed, Hendrichs and his family had plenty of worries, but the security of his job at home was never one of them. He returned to work at Toyota in the summer of 1991.

Fast forward to 2015 and Hendrichs, who is still employed at the Georgetown plant and currently chairs the Toyota Veterans Association, will tell you not every soldier has the kind of homecoming he had. “It’s an honor to serve our country, but it’s not easy to pack up and leave for eight months,” Hendrichs said. “Toyota was a huge support system for my family through the whole process. Not everyone in my unit had that, and that’s what inspired me to help other soldiers in their journey.”

The Toyota Veterans Association aids Toyota team members who have served in the Armed Forces by providing information about veterans’ benefits, offering support to soldiers returning to civilian life and supporting military families during deployment.

“With about 10 percent of our workforce in Georgetown having served in the military or currently active in the reserves, there is considerable need for this kind of effort,” said Wil James, president of Toyota’s Georgetown, Ky. plant. “It takes a strong, happy, healthy team to build great cars, but more importantly, we’re a community here. And that means providing for our team members beyond a paycheck.”

To support veterans returning home to Kentucky’s three military bases, in 2011, Toyota pledged to actively recruit and maintain a dedicated percentage of military employees in its local workforce. Today, more than 740 veterans are employed at the Georgetown plant.

This Veterans’ Day, a ceremony was held to honor these employees, which included remarks from Kentucky Veterans Affairs’ Commissioner Heather French Henry. “In countless ceremonies –– repeated across the land –– Americans will pause to honor our veterans,” Henry said. “For those of us who work at the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, every day is Veterans Day.  My staff and I are proud to recognize men, women and organizations like Toyota who go above and beyond their day-to-day responsibilities to serve and honor veterans and their families”.

During the program, 10 Toyota team members received a special recognition for service during the Vietnam War, which marked its 50th anniversary this year.

As for Hendrichs, the 25 years since his deployment have been about more than building cars at Toyota.

“This is more than a job,” he said. “It’s a family.”

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Toyota Will Establish New Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Company

$1 Billion Investment Over the Next Five Years Headquarters Located in Silicon Valley

At a press conference today, Toyota Motor Corporation announced it will establish a new company, Toyota Research Institute Inc. (TRI), as an R&D enterprise with an initial focus on artificial intelligence and robotics. The headquarters will be located in Silicon Valley near Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, U.S.A. A second facility will be located near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. The new company will begin operations in January 2016.

Toyota believes artificial intelligence has significant potential to support future industrial technologies and the creation of an entirely new industry. To underscore this belief, it is making an initial investment of $1 billion over the next five years, to establish and staff the two initial locations and conduct operations. The investment is in addition to the $50 million investment over the next five years with MIT and Stanford to establish joint fundamental artificial intelligence research centers at each university.

TRI will help bridge the gap between fundamental research and product development. Its primary mission is to accelerate R&D in a range of fields to help resolve society’s future challenges by using artificial intelligence and big data. Thereby, contributing to a sustainable future where everyone can experience a safer, freer, and unconstrained life.

Directed by Dr. Gill Pratt, Toyota’s Executive Technical Advisor and the Chief Executive Officer of the new enterprise, TRI will hire leading researchers and engineers to support its wide range of activities.

Dr. Pratt said, “Our initial goals are to: 1) improve safety by continuously decreasing the likelihood that a car will be involved in an accident; 2) make driving accessible to everyone, regardless of ability; and 3) apply Toyota technology used for outdoor mobility to indoor environments, particularly for the support of seniors. We also plan to apply our work more broadly, for example to improve production efficiency and accelerate scientific discovery in materials.”

Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation, said, “As technology continues to progress, so does our ability to improve products. At Toyota, we do not pursue innovation simply because we can; we pursue it because we should. It is our responsibility to make life better for our customers, and society as a whole. I want to work with Gill, not just because he is a great researcher, but because I believe that his goals and motivations are the same as ours.”

TRI Outline

NameToyota Research Institute, Inc.
HeadquartersPalo Alto, California, United States of America
Date of EstablishmentJanuary 2016
BusinessAdvanced research and product planning with an initial focus on artificial intelligence and robotics
Initial Investment$1 billion / 5 yr.
Number of employeesApproximately 200 (plan)

Reference: Dr. Gill Pratt’s career 

  • Born in the U.S.A. in 1961.
  • Obtained a Doctorate degree from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at MIT, and taught at MIT and Olin College as Associate Professor and Professor, respectively.
  • Established three startups between 1983 and 2005, and helped found Olin College.
  • As a DARPA Program Manager, led projects in Neuromorphic Systems and Robotics, including the DARPA Robotics Challenge, from 2010 to 2015.
  • Significantly influenced robotics research by leading the DARPA Robotics Challenge, where humans and robots collaborated for disaster response.

Reference: Awards Dr. Gill Pratt has won
  • DARPA Program Manager of the Year 2014
  • DARPA Results That Matter 2013
  • NSF (National Science Foundation) Career 1998
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