Friday, October 10, 2014

Boldness, Branding and B.B. King: Toyota Launches 2015 Camry Campaign

'One Bold Choice Leads to Another' Campaign Highlights Redesign of America’s Top-Selling Car

TORRANCE, Calif. (Oct. 6, 2014) – Leaving only its roofline unchanged, the redesigned 2015 Toyota Camry is showing drivers just how bold America’s best-selling car can be. To ensure this bold move leads to another, Toyota is launching a marketing campaign for the new Camry that challenges people from coast to coast to live inspired lives while taking them to places they’ve never been before.

The campaign—entitled ‘One Bold Choice Leads to Another’—is the first launch initiative under Total Toyota (T2), a total market model that creates a more cohesive marketing approach to Toyota’s paid, earned and owned media by unifying the efforts of previously separate agencies.

“The 2015 Camry launch campaign captures what the new Toyota brand is all about,” said Jack Hollis, Vice President, Marketing, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “When we created our new marketing model less than a year ago, our quest was to connect with guests in more exciting and relevant ways. This campaign is just the beginning, and we think our drivers will be able to feel the new energy we’re bringing to the brand.”

All of the T2 agencies (Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, Burrell Communications, Conill, InterTrend Communications and Zenith) came together under Saatchi LA’s leadership to arrive at a core idea for the campaign. Once established, the core idea served as the guide for all of the creative work, which targets the total market, including highly-targeted efforts in diversity segments.

The campaign reflects the increasingly diverse American landscape. Consumer research for this campaign uncovered insights that united the Generation X target across multiple ethnic markets. The result was an inspiring connection between a vehicle that's doing something unexpected with its bold new styling and a generation that likes to stand out as individuals. The respective media and creative departments within the T2 model also worked together to ensure that interesting content is delivered to consumers when and where it's relevant for their lifestyles.

“The campaign centers on a pivotal message: One bold choice leads to another,” said Jason Schragger, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi LA, who is leading the T2 creative process. “Through our research, we know buying a car today means buying the label that goes along with it. The boldness of the Camry’s new redesign communicates an unexpected, emotional thrill, and we wanted to capture that spirit of imagination and zest for life while connecting with consumers in meaningful and relevant ways.”

Elements of the campaign include mass reach media, custom programs that speak to guests’ passions with a bold twist, and collaborations with Toyota media partners.

A total of six broadcast spots were developed using multi-cultural insights aimed at a transcultural audience. The commercials share stories of drivers who make a series of bold life choices, each one ending with a touching human moment that aligns with Toyota’s Let’s Go Places tagline.

The :30 debut spot called “Guitar” shows a woman who goes to a storage auction and hits the jackpot (spoiler alert: “Guitar” stars blues legend B.B. King). Another :30 spot, named “Breakout,” features a young man who makes a daring decision at a wedding. A third :30 spot, “Bucket List,” tells the story of a man who takes the trip of a lifetime with someone he hasn’t seen in far too long.

Additionally, “Fix” features a husband’s bold driving skills while chasing a frozen yogurt truck in his new Camry to deliver a tasty treat to his very happy, pregnant wife. “Movie Premiere” follows a dapper man to a movie premiere. As he leaves in his Camry, the lead actress escapes the ensuing paparazzi, hops into the vehicle’s passenger side, and they drive off together. In “Park,” a husband and wife “sneak” into an amusement park after hours in their Camry for a surprise, romantic dinner to celebrate a special occasion.

The 2015 Camry also stars in print ads that communicate a series of adventurous decisions made by its drivers, ultimately inviting consumers to become bolder versions of themselves.

Toyota’s Camry iAd invites users to go inside the banner unit and become immersed in one driver’s big adventure. Using Apple’s gyroscope technology, the user experiences the situation from the driver’s seat through both audio and video components. Hotspots and Easter eggs increase engagement levels and provide more information about the vehicle.

Toyota will partner with Facebook to launch a data-driven creative campaign that leverages more than 50 pieces of content to deliver meaningful messages to users specifically based on their interests, preferences and car shopping habits.

The 2015 Camry will also find itself in the middle of a bold surprise with a few of YouTube’s biggest stars behind its wheel.

Building on this bold surprise and its excitement, Toyota will launch an action-packed interactive film on Instagram and other social video channels that will put social users in direct control.  Anchored by a well-known Latin-American celebrity behind the wheel of the bold new Camry, social users will select from among numerous bold decisions to create a unique storyline of events.

In addition, Toyota will bring together a diverse group of social influencers with various artistic backgrounds for a number of bold collaborations.  The program will tap into the power of their social communities by allowing fans and followers to help create a one-of-a-kind art project.

Another socially-driven initiative will document famous a chef as he visits well-known restaurants to find and share bold, new dishes. Fans can follow the culinary trail and share their own personal recipes.

Toyota will turn the Ride & Drive experience on its head for the new Camry, giving guests the opportunity to truly experience the vehicle’s boldness. Toyota will also sponsor the annual Drama Fever Awards, where fans will be able to enter for a chance to attend the event, meet the stars, and be part of the experience. Camry will award a new "Bold and Beautiful" category to a celebrity who has taken bold moves in his or her career.

One radio spot was produced for the campaign. It tells the story of a young man following the beat of a different drum. He makes bold moves in his new Camry as he deciphers Morse Code.

Background on 2015 Camry
The 2015 Camry made its global debut on April 16 at the New York International Auto Show. More aggressive than its predecessor, the vehicle features improved dynamic performance, a premium interior with a quieter cabin, and advanced safety technologies. The 2015 model 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 boldly designed in the United States, at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Every Camry sold in North America is built at Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, where more than 7,000 workers produce a Camry every 54 seconds.

Since the Camry first went on sale in 1983, Toyota has sold more than 10.2 million units in the United States alone (408,000 in 2013).  Of the Camry models sold in the last 20-plus years, nearly two-thirds of them remain on the road today.

Friday, September 12, 2014

New Toyota FT-1 Concept, Vision Gran Turismo Join GT6 Lineup

While Supra fanatics will have to keep waiting in the wings, the hungry sports-car masses can feast on two new Toyota FT-1 concept cars which will be featured as playable vehicles in Gran Turismo 6. One of the concepts is a real-life reimagined, premium-flavored version of the first Toyota FT-1 concept which premiered at the most recent Detroit auto show; the second is a track-focused racing FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo virtual concept car. The first Toyota FT-1 concept, in its attempt to impress upon the automotive world Toyota’s return to sports car design and engineering after years of boring cars, bore a flashy red paintjob and a performance-minded interior when it debuted at the 2014 Detroit auto show. This second, graphite-painted Toyota FT-1 is more understated in its character, adopting a premium natural-grain leather interior in place of the red FT-1’s black-and-red theme replete with exposed raw metal. The cockpit takes on a softer and more refined atmosphere, but the road-focused driver’s seat, flat-bottom steering wheel, and heads-up color display carry over. The concept exists both as a real-life vehicle as well as a virtual, playable option in Gran Turismo 6. The car debuts publicly this weekend at the festivities on the Monterey Peninsula in southern California. Otherwise, this graphite Toyota FT-1 is identical to its predecessor. We’re still left in the dark about what powers the enticing FT-1, but we do know that it is a high-output, naturally aspirated combustion engine delivering its power to the rear wheels. Many hope that the FT-1 design will birth a resurrected Toyota Supra, which enthusiasts fondly remember as a highly tunable sports coupe. Others predict that the next Supra will fall under the umbrella of the joint Toyota-BMW Silk Road hybrid sports car project which will also give rise to the upcoming BMW Z5. Toyota’s interpretation of a Vision Gran Turismo concept uses the Toyota FT-1 as its foundation, but the track-focused model looks to be very much transformed for ultimate performance. Designers were given carte blanche to envision the FT-1 as a proper track monster. “The design brief for this car was very simple,” Toyota Calty Design Research president Kevin Hunter explained in a video promotion for the concept, “Take the FT-1 concept car and turn it into the most kick-ass, bad-ass, super race car you can imagine.” Upgrades such as larger racing tires with accommodating wheel arches, exaggerated air intakes, a more aggressive rear wing, front aero fins, revised side mirrors, and an extended rear diffuser make for major performance upgrades. The result is better grip, increased cooling, more downforce, and reduced drag. Both the Toyota FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo and graphite FT-1 will be available as playable models in Gran Turismo 6, beginning in September. Previous Vision GT cars include the Mercedes-Benz Vision GT, BMW Vision GT, Nissan Concept 2020 Vision GT, and Volkswagen GTI Roadster Vision concept.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New 2015 Toyota Camry – The Best Just Got Better

The dynasty rolls on! For 12 consecutive years, and 16 of the past 17, the Toyota Camry mid-size sedan has worn the crown of “best-selling car in America.” One creates such a juggernaut by never resting on its laurels and the new 2015 Camry is a prime example of this philosophy.
Going on sale in late September, the 2015 Camry and Camry Hybrid has been remade with a bold new exterior design, improved dynamic performance, a premium and upscale interior, and offering new and innovative safety technologies.  All of this has been accomplished while retaining its excellent value through affordable pricing.

Making the Grades with Power and MPG
The 2015 Camry will be available in four models, the value-driven LE, the sporty SE, the new XSE and the premium XLE.  The new XSE builds on the success of the SE with an edgier look, enthusiastic driving dynamics and luxurious amenities, making it the sportiest Camry yet.

All Camry gas models will be powered by the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 178 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of peak torque.  It’s teamed with a standard six-speed automatic transmission with the combination offering EPA-estimated 25 MPG city/ 35 MPG highway/ 28 MPG combined fuel economy.  The XSE and XLE will also offer a 3.5-liter V6 with the six-speed automatic, generating 268 horsepower.

More For Your Money
The two most popular Camry models, LE and SE, receive pricing that is virtually unchanged from the 2014.5 model.  Both models are equipped with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder.  Each is each heavily equipped with standard convenience features and for 2015 add 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, shift lever boot with contrast stitching, satin chrome interior accents, passenger window auto up-down, chrome front upper grille and rear trunk garnish (smoked chrome on SE), and  heated outside mirrors.  The SE gas model also adds a standard 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display and direct tire pressure monitor system.

Camry XSE and XLE models equipped with the four-cylinder engine each add more standard features over the LE and SE, including leather-trimmed seating with multi-stage heated front seats and four-way power passenger seat on the XLE or leather-trimmed seating with Ultrasuede® inserts and multi-stage heated front seats and 4-way power passenger seat on the XSE.  Additional standard features include Entune Audio Plus multimedia system, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels with a super chrome finish on the XLE and 18-inch alloy wheels with machined face and black paint for the XSE.  In all, there is nearly $1,200 worth of added standard equipment for the XLE but an MSRP increase of only $340.

Camry V6 versions of the XSE and XLE add standard LED high and low headlights, Smart Key entry, Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite including a 7-inch High-Resolution Touch-Screen Display, power tilt/slide moonroof, Qi wireless charging capability and much more.

THE Camry Hybrid
Camry Hybrid will be available in three grades, the value driven LE, sporty SE and the premium XLE.  Each grade is equipped with more standard equipment than ever before.  Among the features now standard on the Camry Hybrid LE are 8-way power driver’s seat including power lumbar, and the 4.2-inch TFT multi information display.

The Camry Hybrid SE adds Sport fabric SofTex®-trimmed front seats with seatback pockets; 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support; Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic three-spoke steering wheel with Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio controls; and silver interior trim.

The Hybrid XLE grade adds standard leather-trimmed seating with multi-stage heated front seats and 4-way power passenger seat, LED daytime running lights, direct tire pressure monitor system and 17-inch alloy wheels with super chrome finish.

Safety First
All 2015 Camry models will come standard with best-in-class 10 airbags.  Like all current Toyota vehicles, the 2015 Camry comes standard with the STAR Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. It also features the Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.

The 2015 Camry also offers advanced safety features including Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Auto High Beam, and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The Camry LE receives a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $22,970 while the SE will carry a base price of $23,840.  The XSE and XLE models will carry identical MSRP’s of $26,150 for models equipped with the four-cylinder and $31,370 for the V6 versions.

Pricing for the Camry Hybrid will start at $26,790 for the LE model, $27,995 for the SE, and $29,980 for the premium XLE.

The MSRP for the 2015 Camry does not include the delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $825.  The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tundra Drivers Make History. Break NASCAR Record

“It’s great to be a part of this Toyota winning streak in the Truck Series,” says Jones, who guided his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) No. 51 Toyota Care Tundra to victory lane at the Phoenix one-mile oval, a win that made him the youngest race-winner in series history.  “Back in Phoenix last year, we were able to really get that streak going and carry it all the way through this year and it’s pretty awesome – especially for Toyota and everyone involved.”
In addition, the now 18-year-old Jones registered a win at Iowa Speedway on July 11, while Wallace picked up a first-place trophy at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14.
“It just shows what Toyota carries each and every weekend to the race track,” said the 20-year-old Wallace, who became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national series race in more than 50 years when he drove his KBM Tundra to victory lane at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway last October.  “To be able to go out and compete for Toyota is completely an honor and pretty much the backbone of my career ever since 2009.  To be a part of the win streak that we carried since November of last year is special.  It’s really, really an honor to be a part of that -- and for me to be able to continue the streak at St. Louis and again on the dirt at Eldora.  It’s really cool to see that Toyota is making a huge statement throughout the Truck Series, and to be a part of that is a lot of fun.  Toyota has been strong all year.”
Jones’ team owner, Kyle Busch, ended the 2013 season with a win in the series season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch also won all five Truck Series races he’s competed in this season: Daytona International Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.
While KBM drivers earned 10 of the 12 wins during the run, fellow Tundra team ThorSport Racing driver (and 2013 series champion) Matt Crafton took the top spot at Martinsville Speedway on March 30 and Texas Motor Speedway on June 6.
“It’s been amazing what all the Toyota teams have accomplished with this streak of wins,” said Crafton.  “I’m really proud to have been a part of a couple of the victories along the way.  It’s an impressive record that probably won’t be topped or matched for a long, long time.  It definitely showcases the support of TRD and the dedication that Toyota has to the Truck Series.”
The previous mark for consecutive wins in the NCWTS was eight – set by Chevrolet in 1995 and tied by Dodge in 2001.
Toyota began competing in the Truck Series with the Tundra in 2004.  In more than 10 years of competition in the series, Tundra drivers have registered 122 victories and 96 pole positions. Toyota also has claimed six manufacturer’s championships (2006-10 and 2013) and driver’s championships for Todd Bodine (2006 and 2010), Johnny Benson (2008) and Crafton (2013).
Although the winning streak came to an end at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway in early August, Tundra drivers look to start a new streak – and break their own record – when the series returns to action at the Michigan International Speedway two-mile oval this weekend. Truck on!
See original article.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Do A Double Take with Second Stunning Toyota FT-1 Sports Car Concept

Proof that its beauty lies on the inside and out, Toyota revealed today a second interior styling and exterior color for an upscale interpretation of its sensational FT-1 sports car concept. Developed by Calty Design Research in Newport Beach, California, the concept vehicle’s graphite exterior paint and light, saddle-colored leather went on display for the first time at the Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival gala held on California’s Monterey Peninsula.
The original FT-1 concept ignited sports car enthusiasts and the automotive world with its January debut at the North American International Auto Show. Labeled the spiritual pace car for the new direction of Toyota Global Design, the muscular, curved exterior builds on Toyota’s rich sports coupe heritage dating back to the 2000GT, Celica, Supra, MR2 and most recently Scion FR-S. That first vehicle stunned in a bold red, while this second FT-1 impresses with sophisticated graphite. Both share the deeply sculpted intakes and outlets that support its track-ready nature and the dramatic lines seemingly shaped by the wind. It’s a look that gets the heart racing.
The color of the upscale leather changes between the first and second FT-1 vehicles, and the visual difference is striking. The first car was dominated by bold, masculine black that keeps the driver focused on the road, while red painted edges and raw metals provide intriguing accents. In the second, the natural leather on the seat is supple with an all-natural grain, giving it an authentic appeal. The painted edges that are red in the first concept are now subtly blended brown in the second. The intention is to bring in a more sophisticated feel and authenticity through color choice, showcasing the versatility of the FT-1 sports car concept. Enthusiasts who desire a more pure high-performance experience might choose the black-red pairing, while others may desire the premium, athletic feel of the saddle leather.
“From the start of the FT-1 project, we wanted the driver to have a feeling of flow while at the wheel – to be able to focus on the road and nothing else,” said Sellene Lee, the Calty creative designer who proposed both color concepts. “In the color studio we help create the atmosphere of the vehicle, and our aim was to ensure everything supported the driver through efficient choices. The saddle leather maintains that same ‘in the zone’ driving intention, while bringing in a more premium feeling.”

Superhero Inspiration for the Interior
Sellene Lee drew inspiration for the FT-1 interior from the modern, high-tech performance materials used for today’s superhero costumes. A movie poster drew her attention to the modern shift from past heroes’ bright tights and colors to today’s performance fabrics and function. To achieve the FT-1’s advanced-looking, intricately detailed interior, Sellene Lee and the team compared leather thicknesses, grain sizes and textures to find the perfect combination. Raised metal mesh provides ventilation for the seats while lending a more textural, bold effect that beautifully matches with the metal accents. A dimensional embossed pattern on the instrument panel leather brings in a 3-D, technical look.
“From color and trim standpoint in the FT-1, there was a laser-like focus on staying true to function,” said Wendy Lee, studio chief designer at Calty. “This project was very special, as the FT-1 stands apart in its performance-driven, authentic purpose.”
Beyond her superhero performance material concept, Sellene Lee moved away from the typical stitching or piping edge treatment found in many vehicle interiors. The painted red edges on the welded leather and painted brown edges on the second FT-1 were inspired by high-end leather bags she found in an upscale department store. When drivers sit in FT-1, they can feel the difference in materials, textures and color choices that resulted from the team’s work.

Double the Fun in Gran Turismo 6
This September, two new versions of the FT-1 will be available for download virtually inside Gran Turismo 6 (GT6), the latest iteration of the best-selling racing franchise exclusively on PlayStation®3. Like the red FT-1 introduced in January, the graphite FT-1 concept roars onto the Gran Turismo 6 racetrack as a downloadable vehicle for a limited time. Additionally, in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Gran Turismo series, Calty has also designed an ultra high-performance race version of the FT-1 that inside the game is called the FT-1 “Vision GT.” This high-powered version interprets what a full-race FT-1 might achieve on the track. See how the FT-1 Vision GT came to life by watching this video:
The GT6 played an important role in helping key executives (including Toyota President Akio Toyoda) better experience the FT-1 concept prior to building the vehicle. Both virtual versions capture the same excitement, passion and performance the physical FT-1 vehicles inspire in those who see them.

See original article.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Three Reasons You Should Be Driving a Hybrid

You don’t have to be a pious Prius driver (but it sure helps) to enjoy the benefits of hybrid technology.

    3. Help others breathe a little easier. Since 2000, the Prius family of vehicles has saved an estimated 26.5 million tons of CO2 emissions in the U.S.

    2. Save gas. Prius family owners could drive around the earth 4.39 million times with the fuel saved.

    1. Save gas money. Over the last 14 years, the Prius family (compared to an average car) has saved Americans about $5 billion in fuel costs.

See original article.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Toyota Commits $1 Million to Help the City of Detroit and Secure the Future of the Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) announced today that Toyota Motor North America pledged $1 million toward the DIA’s commitment to raise $100 million as part of a “grand bargain” that will help the City of Detroit emerge from bankruptcy, support city pensioners and protect the museum’s art collection for the public.

“Toyota has demonstrated its commitment to Detroit and Michigan by doing its part to secure the DIA’s future while helping Detroit’s retirees,” said Eugene A. Gargaro Jr., DIA board chairman. "We are extremely grateful for Toyota’s generous support and know that it will motivate other donors and help pave the way for a bright future, both for the City of Detroit and the DIA.”

“Detroit and the surrounding areas are vitally important to the automotive community. They deserve our support,” said Simon Nagata, president of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc.  “Together we can find solutions to help Detroit become the healthy and vibrant community that reflects the spirit of its people. This commitment is a way to demonstrate our gratitude to the people who have built this industry and support us every day.”

The grand bargain will provide Detroit’s pensioners more than $800 million from the DIA, local and national foundations and the State of Michigan over a 20-year period. The funds will be directed to a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and then disbursed for city pension payments over the next 20 years. As part of the grand bargain, the City of Detroit will transfer ownership of the DIA’s collection, building and related assets to the private nonprofit corporation that currently operates the museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Inc.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Special Edition Prius Takes on a New Persona for 2015

The best-selling hybrid in America is taking style to a new level. The 2015 Prius Persona Series Special Edition is tailored with elegant exterior and interior touches that make it unique. The special edition model will begin arriving in dealerships in September.

The Prius Persona Series Special Edition model adds exterior changes and equipment to a Prius Three to create a distinct visual package. Persona Series includes 17-inch alloy wheels with a premium dark metallic finish. The special edition also comes equipped with premium heated power mirrors with turn signal indicators. The Persona model will be available in two exterior colors, Blizzard Pearl, and for the first time ever on this model, Absolutely Red. A “Persona Series” exterior badge on the rear of the vehicle also helps differentiate the model.

The Persona’s interior is trimmed in black SofTex® with gray stitching. The steering wheel is also trimmed in SofTex® material and includes a dark chrome bezel that complements the new model’s dark chrome shift knob ring and door grips. To add to the luxurious visuals, Persona Series features blue driver and front-passenger foot area illumination. The new Persona Special Edition has a MSRP of $26,985. Blizzard Pearl exterior paint is accompanied by an additional $395 fee.

The MSRP for the 2015 Prius Persona Series Special Edition does not include the delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $825. The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

See original article.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

From Here to Outer Space: 2015 Toyota Sienna Inspires Unexpected Adventures

A toddler rockets into space. A family’s imagination runs wild. A father begins a curious conversation. With a little creativity, some CGI effects and a bit of ironic humor, the redesigned 2015 Toyota Sienna is the star of the show. For the first time, Toyota is revealing a new vehicle completely online, introducing the 2015 Sienna van today through the eyes of three creative, social media-savvy parents. In a series of custom videos, these parents bring to life the everyday and sometimes unexpected adventures possible in and around the Sienna.

Creative parents have lit up the Internet with modern takes on kids’ antics, family experiences and the world around them. To show how the spirit of the 2015 Sienna inspires real families in their daily lives, Toyota enlisted parents from the “Action Movie Kid,” “Eh Bee Family,” and “Convos with My 2-Year-Old” to spend time in the new Sienna “Swagger Wagon” and create their own unexpected adventures.

“Today’s parents are embracing their life stage and those relatable family moments that make us laugh and feel connected,” said Jack Hollis, vice president of Toyota Division marketing at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “The 2015 Toyota Sienna seizes that same spirit of fun, everyday experiences with family and fits into the modern family dynamic. That is why Toyota chose to introduce the newest ‘Swagger Wagon’ to the world through a creative lens.”

The 2015 Sienna offers something for everyone with a more upscale interior, better handling and family-focused, smart technology. The available Driver Easy Speak feature uses the vehicle's built-in microphone to amplify the driver's voice through the rear speakers so parents don’t have to shout to passengers in the back. The available Dual-View, Blu-Ray rear seat entertainment system makes the Sienna a kid-favorite destination. More soft touch materials throughout and an optional black leather interior help families embrace the minivan lifestyle.

View all the Sienna reveal content from the Toyota-sponsored families on the Toyota YouTube channel at

Sienna is One of the Family

To showcase the updated Swagger Wagon, Toyota partnered with creative parents and invited them to debut the Sienna’s new features and functionality using their own brands of imaginative storytelling.

The “Eh Bee” family of Andres, Rosanna, Gabriela and Roberto post six-second Vine videos that have earned them social media fame. The snappy mix of family dynamics, humor and wholesome parodies poke fun at modern parenthood. When the Eh Bee Family tried out the Sienna, they created funny moments about falling in love with “Sienna” and an over-eagerness to take it on a road trip.

“We loved goofing off in the Sienna and exploring the funny ways family vehicles fit into our daily lives,” said dad Andres. “Our videos embrace all the hilarity that comes with being a family in today’s world, and the Sienna fit right into those stories.”

Dreamworks after-effects artist Daniel “Hashi” Hashimoto transforms home videos of his son, James, into the viral YouTube sensation “Action Movie Kid.” Special effects allow James to perform virtual stunts like jumping over hot lava and wielding a working lightsaber. The adventures only got better when Hashi used the Sienna to virtually take his son into space and underwater.

“Working with the Sienna inspired me to imagine how James might look at everyday driving adventures and share that fun perspective with other parents,” said Hashi. “As a dad, I love watching my son explore his world, and the Sienna gave us a new avenue to check out.”

“Convos with My 2-Year-Old” took the Internet by storm when dad Matthew Clarke re-enacted conversations with his two-year-old daughter Coco, replacing her in videos with a grown man. The series documents chats about cookies, princess dolls and the ever-present desire to press the elevator button. Clarke and creative partner David Milchard reimagined the current format for a series of three videos titled “Conversations with My Sienna,” bringing the absurd tone to the minivan experience.

“It’s amazing how many people love the random conversations I have with my daughter, so it was fun to bring that sense of humor to the Sienna,” Clarke said. “Being a parent has made me much more observant of the little details in life and this campaign made me realize how much a vehicle is really an extension of the family.”

In addition to the reveal video series, the Sienna marketing campaign will center on social video content featuring the redesigned model as it rolls through the streets and cul-de-sacs of America.

Getting Inside the New Sienna

Even more parents will have the opportunity to meet the 2015 Sienna when it goes on display for the first time at Artscape in Baltimore. The free arts festival will be held July 18-20 and will host a collection of artists, exhibitions, outdoor sculpture, children's entertainers and street theater. Visitors will be able to take in all of the vehicle’s newest features, including:
  • An optional 4.2-inch, color multi-information display can put turn-by-turn directions right in the driver’s instrument panel for the best viewing.
  • Available LED daytime running lights and headlights contribute to the redesigned front grill.
  • Capacitive switches on the optional 7-inch touchscreen allow users to swipe items on and off. It’s also customizable to place selected features on the home screen, such as music channels, available Driver Easy Speak and optional navigation.
  • An optional pull-down, conversation mirror lets the driver check on passengers without turning around.
  • Available black leather interior with white contrast stitching.
  • Gauges in the instrument panel have a new, modern look.
Safety remains a top priority for families, and the 2015 Sienna brings features to help provide peace-of-mind. With eight airbags, the 2015 Sienna has the most airbags in its class. The available panoramic backup camera now comes standard and has virtual guidelines to help navigate the driveway with greater confidence. It’s also easier to securely install children’s car seats with four LATCH locations.

See original article.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Next Toyota Prius May Get Optional All-Wheel Drive

We've been hearing rumors about the next generation of the Toyota Prius for the last couple of years on a pretty regular basis. From the expectation of lithium-ion battery packs with more capacity for electric-only miles to wireless charging and more emotional styling, there's been no shortage of talking points for the car that's expected to see its first light of day at the very end of 2015 (we hope). But one thing we've yet to hear about, until now that is, is all-wheel drive.

According to a report from Automotive News, Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of powertrain development of the Prius, said in an interview last week, "I think we will possibly do [all-wheel drive]" for the car's next generation. There isn't any further indication on how the AWD system would work, but we'd put our money on something similar, at least in principle, to the E-Four system that just debuted on the 2015 Lexus NX 300h, which uses an electric motor mounted at the rear to power the car's back wheels when the front wheels lose traction.

The AN report also repeats a rumor we've heard before – that Toyota may offer two different battery pack options in its next Prius, one using lithium-ion chemistry and one using the nickel metal hydride technology that the Prius has featured from its very beginning. While the automaker has yet to talk efficiency, it's natural to expect more capacity for EV driving from newer lithium-based technology over that of nickel-based packs to go along with what we'd also expect would be a somewhat higher price.

We're sure you're just as curious about the next Prius as much as we are, and so we'll leave you with these words, again from Saga: "The batteries will be renewed. Everything will be revised. And I think we will come up with a fuel economy that will surprise everyone."

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser Ultimate Edition

Introduced at the end of 2006, this is the last year for the Toyota FJ Cruiser, the reincarnated FJ40-series Land Cruiser that will shortly journey to Takama-ga-hara, the Plain of High Heaven. In its first model year, we drove it to SEMA and found it, shall we say, coarse. It bobbled on the freeway and droned in the cabin, its boxy interior providing four bounce-boards for unpleasant frequencies. Tall mirrors helped one work around the eclipse of vision aft of the B-pillars, but navigating traffic required forethought and technique. Its turning circle was measured in kilometers. For the first two years of its life, it needed premium gas. It may have been fun to look at, but we couldn't wait to get out of it.

That's not the case anymore, and now the FJ Cruiser is poised to join a long list of vehicles that got better and better, then got axed.

Driving Notes

        The current FJ is rugged, and surprisingly it's not really all that coarse dynamically. We drove into the California desert, spent nearly a week playing around off-road, drove it back and then did a lazy Sunday drive to Santa Barbara, all in amiable comfort. That could have to do with our Ultimate Edition being fitted lots of Toyota Racing Development parts, like the TRD coils wrapped about Bilstein shocks affixed to handsome 16-inch TRD wheels on 265/75 R16 BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A tires. The bellow from the TRD-engraved tailpipe is totally copacetic at steady throttle, but gets a touch frenzied if you bury the accelerator.

        Moving is not a problem, though. The 4.0-liter V6 puts out 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet, not a raging amount of go for a 4,343-pound truck, but plenty to do whatever you need to do as long as you remember you're in an SUV. (When the FJ first came along, it had 239 hp / 278 lb-ft).

        Beyond its quadratic styling – that we still think looks good – the FJ remains full of quirks, like the three miniature windshield wipers, the sun visors for the side windows, the backup camera screen in the rearview mirror, the fact it's available in two-wheel drive and, on the 4x4 versions, with a six-speed manual transmission.

        It still feels like Toyota knew this was only going to be a fling and not a love story, so it didn't lavish its heart nor its wallet on the relationship. The FJ Cruiser only ever received incremental improvements, the interior is barely different now than it was in 2007. You can't get factory navigation or automatic climate control, the audio system's dot matrix and glowing orange display take us back to 90s-era Sony Walkmans, and the giant HVAC dials are useful for those who wear wearing welder's gloves while they drive.

        The interior is likely a big part of the reason sales have declined from more than 56,000 in its first year to just over 13,000 for the last two years. It can't be the off-road ability – the FJ digs dirt like hippos love mud. In addition to the trail-specific suspension, there's a two-speed transfer case, locking rear differential, hill descent control, a quarter-inch aluminum skid plate and rock rails outside, the triptych of compass, clock and inclinometer completing the feature set inside. It will do its fair share of rock crawling, and it will happily dine on rocky stretches of desert and covers pure desert ground with the calm of an ostrich.

        We'd take the manual, preferring to have full control in the tricky bits, but the five-speed automatic puts on a good performance.

        Many complain about interior room, but we didn't find it problematic. Once you get past the shoebox ambience, it's easy to get in through the giant front doors, and although your grandfather might make a mess of getting into the back seats, we couldn't see how it would be a problem for anyone purchasing the FJ Cruiser for its intended purpose – off-roading. Open the rear-hinged back doors, slide the front seats up, haul in. A deep cutout in the back of the front seat left swinging-knee room for us, and that was with the front seat as far back as it would go. Bonus points for the genuinely adjustable armrest on the driver's seat, a feature we're not used to seeing outside of a Land Rover.

        There are only 2,500 Ultimate Edition FJ Cruisers on offer this year, all in Heritage Blue and sporting the white headlight surround mimicking the FJ40 face that launched a squillion off-road adventures.

With the Hummer H3 gone and the FJ Cruiser in hospice, the Jeep Wrangler will once again be left alone in the US market as the ideal post-nuclear, go-anywhere truck for the misanthropic survivalist. One of the most popular games in the off-road party is to take sides as vehemently as Union and Confederate when it comes to one's choice in rig, but no matter which side you're on the party is a lot more fun when there's more choice. For that reason and more, and turning 180 degrees from our first experience in 2006, we say it's a shame the FJ has to go.

See the original article.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Car Coming to U.S. in 2015

Toyota today revealed the exterior design of its hydrogen fuel-cell sedan, expected to launch in the U.S. and Europe next summer.

Toyota unveiled the concept car at last year's Tokyo Motor Show, and today gave the media a full look at its finalized design.

The vehicle will hit Japanese lots before April, priced at around 7 million yen ($68,660). Initial sales will be limited to those regions where hydrogen refueling infrastructure is available.

Toyota has been developing fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) in-house for more than 20 years, following three principles for environmentally friendly automobiles: embrace diverse energy sources, develop efficient, low-emission vehicles, and drive change by popularizing these cars. Nextcar Bug artHydrogen is a particularly promising alternative fuel, according to Toyota, thanks to its easy accessibility via solar and wind power, not to mention the fact that, when compressed, it boasts a higher energy density than batteries, and is easier to store and transport. The Japan-based manufacturing giant has made great strides since it began leasing a fuel-cell hybrid SUV (Toyota FCHV) in 2002. The sedan revealed today, for instance, features performance similar to that of a gasoline-engine vehicle, with a cruising range of 700 km (435 miles) and a refueling time of about three minutes. To boot, the running vehicle emits only the water vapor produced by a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, which generates the electricity to power the vehicle.

Toyota has been eyeing the sale of electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells since early this year. In January, the car maker showcased two demo FCVs at the Consumer Electronics Show—including the blue four-door sedan that was officially unveiled today. This isn't Toyota's only hydrogen-related effort, though. The company is also testing fuel cells for use in homes, as well as developing fuel-cell-based forklifts and buses.

Take a closer look at Toyota's yet-unnamed fuel-cell vehicle in the video below. Earlier this month, Hyundai debuted its first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in the United States. The carmaker handed the keys over to California resident Timothy Bush, who will pay $499 per month to drive the green vehicle. See original article.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2015 Toyota Camry 2.0 turbo could add some zest to the company's leading seller

Toyota has confirmed both a new Camry design, and separately, a new 2.0 liter turbocharged engine in the Lexus family. This is could be a match made in heaven.

Automakers in the US market struggle to make space between their models and the 2015 Toyota Camry will be no different. Luckily for Toyota its Camry is front wheel drive and its similarly sized Lexus models are rear, or all-wheel drive. When it arrives late fall the new Camry will have a dashing new design crafted after the new Corolla and new Avalon, both of which saw sales gains after the styling changes were applied. However, Toyota has not (yet) announced any new engines for the Camry. That could soon change.

New Turbo Engine First Appears this Fall In Lexus
In just a few short months the 2015 Lexus NX 200t compact/mid-size crossover will begin sales in the US market. This vehicle will be the first in the Toyota/Lexus/Scion to use the company’s new 4-cylinder, 2.0 liter turbocharged engine. Toyota and Lexus executives have made it no secret that the engine will eventually migrate to other models and brands in the family. This new engine in the Toyota Camry would fill a need the company has recently created.

New Trims Already Announced In 2015 Camry
The 2015 Toyota Camry will have a new model trim that combines the popular sporty look of the SE and the plush and powerful XLE with its available V6 engine. Called XSE, the trim will provide customers with an option for both sporty looks and comfort. However, this leaves space for a dedicated sporty Camry that does not intrude on the Lexus IS line of rear-drive, V6 compact sport sedans. If Toyota were to offer a new trim level with the Camry SE looks and turbocharged engine, the model might stand alone well in the line-up.

Camry Turbo Could Be a Great Family Addition
A Camry SE turbo in 2015 or 2016, priced below the V6 XSE, might draw in customers from the Scion family looking to step up to a family car, but not give up driving excitement. If the 2.0 Turbo Camry has better fuel efficiency than the current V6, and we assume it would, the car could make sense economically as well as stylistically.

Torque News is scheduled to drive the new NX 200t crossover in July and we will issue a full report. Our full attention will be on the NX, but we will try to also consider our impressions of this new high-toque engine and its possible applications in Toyota’s most popular vehicle.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Toyota Considers Building an Actual Hover Car

 ^^ A concept model of Toyota's fuel cell vehicle at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It's not exactly The Jetsons, but it's close.
Toyota's managing officer Hiroyoshi Yoshiki said at Bloomberg's Next Big Thing conference in Sausalito, California on Tuesday that the company may build a hover car in the future.

The reasoning behind the concept is that a hover car would combat road friction and enhance efficiency, Yoshiki said. He didn't elaborate on what fuel source would power the vehicle.
Although no solid plans have been made to build a prototype, the concept has been bandied about among Toyota's research and development teams, he added.
The news comes nearly six months after Toyota first announced at the 2014 International CES that its fuel cell vehicle electric concept car will hit the market in 2015.

See original article here

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more collaborating to increase fuel efficiency

Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Daihatsu have announced an alliance that will see a push to improve fuel economy from both gas-powered and diesel-powered engines by as much as 30 percent before the end of the decade.

The newly assembled Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines put the roughly $20-million project together, with the Japanese government committing to half the cost while the eight manufacturers will chip in the rest.

According to Automotive News, the automakers will team up and share basic research on internal-combustion engines in a bid to cut costs. Eventually, the results of the research will find its way into a production vehicle, although it's unclear just when we'll see the fruits of this partnership on the road.

While the manufacturers have aimed to make improvements by 2020, that goal is part of a larger, 10-year road map, which aims to improve the thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines to 50 percent. Currently, thermal efficiency in gas engines is at 39 percent while diesel is at 42.

The actual targets of improvements will be quite different based on the type of engine. Diesel mills, traditionally a weak point for Japanese manufacturers, will see a focus on reducing NOX emissions and particulate matter, while gas engines will aim for more complete combustion cycles while reducing knock.

Dog Trainer | Toyota Service Centers

Monday, May 19, 2014

Toyota's Texas move could boost state's economy by $7.2B in 10 years

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and apparently that includes the Toyota's effect on the economy. The giant Japanese automaker's new headquarters in Plano, TX, will add an estimated $7.2 billion to the state over the next 10 years, according to a new study commissioned by the city and cited by Bloomberg.

The benefits appear to be an absolute steal compared to the direct incentives that Plano and the state are giving Toyota. The report finds that by the time the automaker's campus is complete in 2018, it could have 3,650 full-time workers there at an average salary of $104,000. The city has prepared $6.75 million in grants, plus property tax discounts, according to Bloomberg. In addition to that, the state is offering the business $40 million in incentives from its Texas Enterprise Fund. This is still a fraction of what Toyota is estimated to bring in.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Toyota Financial Services Awards New Toyota to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year Winner

Toyota Financial Services (TFS), as part of its Making Life Easier for YOUth initiative, recently awarded a new Corolla to the 2013-14 Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) National Youth of the Year Winner Kiana Knolland.  The vehicle presentation took place at Eddy’s Toyota in Wichita, Kansas, on March 12.  Representatives from TFS, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), and BGCA were in attendance, as well as teens from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City and Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas, where Knolland was a longstanding member.

National Youth of the Year is BGCA’s premier recognition for teen Club members who have made outstanding contributions to their family, school, community, and local Club while overcoming personal obstacles.  Nominations begin at the Club and continue through the state, regional, and national levels.  Participants are chosen on local and state levels, with five regional winners meeting each September in Washington, D.C., to compete for the National Youth of the Year title.  Five judges individually interview each candidate, and select the national winner.

“Kiana’s achievements are truly inspiring, and we are excited about the extraordinary future that awaits her,” said Al Smith, Group Vice President, TFS Service Operations & Corporate Planning.  “At Toyota, we relentlessly strive to do and be the best each day, and to improve our communities along the way… and we feel that Kiana’s character and determination represent those same values.”

Knolland was introduced to Boys & Girls Clubs at the age of 5, and she attributes her confidence and drive to the lessons she learned during her time there.  Hers was a difficult childhood, lacking many of the opportunities and advantages most young people have.  But Knolland never lost sight of her goal of becoming an attorney, and she knew that she had to take steps to secure her education.  This included writing to the admissions director of a private school, a school she knew her single mother could not afford, and explaining her reasons for wanting to attend; her initiative earned her a full scholarship for her junior and seniors years.

“It has been such a pleasure watching Kiana grow from a confused child into a focused young adult,” said Jeff Jacobs, Chief Professional Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas, and one of Kiana’s mentors.  “Kiana is one of the finest young women I have ever known and we’re all so very proud of her.”

Knolland now attends Howard University in Washington, D.C., and plans to pursue a career in the legal field.

“The Boys & Girls Club has been an integral part of my life,” said Knolland.  “I am honored to represent an organization that has had such a tremendous impact on my character and well-being.”