When It Comes to the Great Turbocharger Debate, Toyota Wins Either Way

•July 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

From our revolutionary hybrids to our consistently reliable gasoline vehicles, Toyota has always been an industry leader when it comes to mpg. Some of our competitors have countered with their own hybrids, but there’s also an increasing trend toward various forms of turbochargers, which are supposed to provide better mpg without sacrificing power. But do they really deliver? A recent report in Automotive News took a closer look.

Ford has been arguably the most prominent automaker when it comes to the new wave of turbocharger technology, with more than 600,000 units of its EcoBoost vehicles sold. About 400,000 of those have been F-150s, which get an EPA-estimated 22 mpg on the highway. Escape gets an estimated 33 highway mpg, and Chevy’s Cruze Eco is boasting an estimated 42 mpg on the highway.

But, the report said, real-world results are markedly different, partially because of how the EPA conducts its testing, but mostly because typical drivers negate any additional mpg a turbocharger would provide while they’re enjoying all that extra power.

As for the testing, it lasts 12 minutes, with a top speed of 60 mph and an average speed of 43.8 mph. But in a real-world road test, the Dodge Dart, which has an EPA rating of 39 mpg on the highway, ended up getting more like 33 mpg. In fact, one industry publication road-tested 11 turbocharged cars, and every one of them came in under its EPA highway rating.

On top of everything else, most turbochargers add at least $1,000 to the price of a car or truck. So for buyers looking to get extra mpg, help them get around all the guesswork by selling them a Toyota. Whether they go the hybrid route with something from the Prius family, or decide they want something sporty like a Corolla that can still give them great gas mileage, they really can’t lose.

New Study Shows Increasing Brand Loyalty among New Car Buyers

•June 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

At Toyota, we’re never surprised when old customers come back to us for their next car. But a new study released last week says that brand loyalty among car owners in general is on the rise, and Toyota is among those leading the way.

Toyota was among 13 brands that exceeded the industry average in the study, which was conducted by auto-industry data company Polk and which was based on actual new-vehicle registration information from all 50 states in the U.S. and Washington, D.C. The study compared brand loyalty from the first quarter of 2012 with that of the first quarter of 2013, and Toyota saw an increase of 3.4 percent, placing it in the No. 10 spot. Porsche was No. 1 with an increase of 9.5 percent.

According to at least one representative from Polk, this sort of brand loyalty is often driven by particular models within the brand. In the case of Porsche, the Cayenne was cited as the model that contributed to the majority of the company’s brand loyalty. Cadillac kept drivers coming back for more with the CTS, and Mazda owners were loyal to the Mazda3.

When it comes to models that keep loyal drivers coming back to the brand, Toyota certainly has more than its share with Camry, Corolla and Prius, just for starters. Studies like this show us that there’s opportunity to create lifetime relationships with drivers, so let them know that our brand of value and dependability is worth coming back to again and again.

2013 Toyota Camry Vs. 2013 Honda Accord

•June 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Key Takeaways

  • Performance on all Models: Every gasoline-powered Camry comes standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission. For Accord, Honda only offers an automatic transmission for the bigger V6 models
  • More Rear Passenger Comfort: Camry’s rear passengers have a more spacious seating compartment than Accord
  • Additional Convenience Features: Camry LE offers optional features such as a power driver seat and power sunroof that aren’t available on Accord LX

  • Peace of Mind: Camry comes standard with complimentary Toyota Care4 (2 years or 25,000 miles) with 24/7 roadside assistance. Accord doesn’t offer a comparable service

Challenges

  • More front and rear head room, and front leg room
  • Greater overall passenger volume

New Report Dings Ford for Hybrid Mileage Claims

•June 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

New Report Dings Ford for Hybrid Mileage Claims

Ford has certainly been getting its share of extra attention lately, much of it well-deserved on account of some pretty sleek improvement to the Focus and Fusions. But, as Forbes is reporting this week, Ford is also getting the wrong kind of attention from at least one outlet, Consumer Reports, due to the ongoing back-and-forth over hybrid mileage claims.

The story first took hold about a month ago, when several C-Max and Fusion hybrid owners in Pennsylvania got together to sue Ford over the mileage claims. The latest reports reiterate the gap, citing an 8 mpg difference for Fusion and a 10 mpg difference for C-Max. The Forbes report also cited rumblings about potentially unfair comparisons between the C-Max Hybrid and our much larger Prius v, as well as continued problems with the MyFord Touch in-car technology.

It’s always a good idea to stay on top of these sorts of issues and make sure potential buyers get the whole story. This one’s been in the news for a while, and now an unbiased source has come forward to voice its opinion. People love Toyota because of our value and reliability, and we love Toyota because we know we can beat the competition fair and square.

Quality, Durability, Reliability: Testing

•June 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Would you purchase food, medicine, a safety helmet for your child, or anything else without it being thoroughly tested first? Why would you purchase a vehicle that does not have strict testing standards? Here is why and what makes Toyota the safest, most reliable vehicle on the roads today.

One of the keys to our success in quality, durability and reliability is in our testing methods and criteria.

It takes 1.5 million swipes to be a Toyota windshield wiper.

Not only are Toyota windshield wiper systems required to survive 1.5 million cycles, but some of those cycles include semi-dry wipes that put more strain on the motor. This kind of testing means it might take decades of rainy weather and dirty glass to tire a Toyota windshield wiper system.

Toyota engines must survive 200,000 trips to the redline.

One of Toyota’s most rigorous engine tests takes randomly selected engines and revs them from idle to 6000 rpm 200,000 times. A car would have to make 50,000 full-throttle runs up a freeway on-ramp or spend 10 years at the hands of a taxi driver to repeat such a torturous process. Although most drivers would never subject their own car to such stress, Toyota knows that a tough engine is a more reliable engine.

Toyota builds parts up and then tears them down again.

In order to test the quality of assembly line welding, riveting and bolting, Toyota sub-assemblies like suspensions, fuel tanks and body parts are randomly selected to be torn apart with an air chisel. This process checks the strength of welded parts, the security of bolted components and the integrity of riveted steel. If the air chisel doesn’t reveal a weakness, then years of driving shouldn’t, either.

Toyota dashboards can take the heat.

Toyota dashboards are put through a 230-degree durability test to make sure they can handle the blazing summer sun. Prototype dashboards are precisely measured and then placed in a heat chamber that simulates extended direct summer sun exposure. The dashboards are then carefully monitored for distortion, cracks and shrinkage. If the dashboard coordinates change due to the heat, the dashboard is modified for better heat resistance.

Engine parts are spot-checked for a tight fit.

As engine components move down the assembly line, certain parts will be randomly pulled off the line and measured for variations in size. In some cases, Toyota is checking for variations that are much smaller than the diameter of a human hair. This quality control procedure helps to ensure that critical engine parts are machined to very strict specifications. If the selected part is slightly smaller or larger than the one that came before it, the entire batch of parts is purged from the line and the machine that makes them is adjusted for accuracy.

Toyota fuel tanks are double-tested to guard against leaks.

Few people think about the quality of their vehicle’s fuel tank, but a leaking tank can be a safety issue and a repair headache. To help avoid these potential problems, Toyota fuel tanks are submerged in liquid to test for leaks. The test confirms the quality of the welding and the strength of the seals. Next, the tank is coated with rust-inhibiting PVC. For the final check, the tank is re-submerged in liquid and double-checked for leaks. It’s a lengthy procedure, but a great hedge against leaks.

Toyota interior evaluations run hot and cold.

Toyota interior components are tested at extremely high temperatures. The components are also tested at very low temperatures. If the parts and materials survive the hot and cold testing, they are then subjected to eight continuous days of temperature swings from -20 to +120 degrees. If the parts don’t shrink, swell, warp or crack, then they are finally approved for use in a new Toyota vehicle.

Toyota interiors have to survive the big chill.

Cold weather is just as tough on an interior as hot weather, so Toyota tests interior parts like door panels, arm rests and dash components at temperatures below -20 degrees. The parts are checked for cracking, shrinkage and the ability to remain durable and flexible in extremely cold weather. Some plastics become brittle in cold temperatures and Toyota wants to make sure that these materials don’t show up in their cars.

Toyota shock absorbers hit millions of potholes.

The shock absorbers and struts used in Toyota vehicles are put through a shocking test that includes up to 10 million virtual potholes. To make the test even tougher, the load on the shocks is increased and decreased and the temperature in the test facility is raised and lowered to copy extreme weather conditions. After the test, the shocks and struts are cut apart and evaluated to make sure they can handle the ups and downs of daily driving.

Toyota puts the pedal-to-the-metal when testing engines

Toyota randomly selects completed engines and subjects them to 180 hours of full-throttle operation. This test is equivalent to driving a vehicle at maximum speed for 7.5 days-non-stop. The test checks the strength and durability of parts like the crankshaft, bearings, connecting rods, pistons, valves and camshafts. If the engine can survive 180 hours of high-rpm abuse, then years of commuting will seem like a walk in the park.

Toyota pistons are X-rayed for accuracy.

The pistons in a Toyota engine are covered with an anti-friction coating that helps them glide up and down smoothly inside the cylinder. However, this coating must be evenly applied to help ensure longer engine life and smoother performance. That’s why Toyota randomly checks pistons to make sure they have a precise layer of the protective covering. And the method for checking the uniform thickness of the low-friction coating? A close inspection with an X-ray machine.

Toyota seats have to take a 750,000-step test.

Before a new seat is approved for use in a Toyota, the design and materials have to pass a complex 750,000-cycle wear test that pushes, pulls, pounds and twists the seat surfaces. The test simulates years and years of heavy-duty use. If the seat survives without premature wear and the materials don’t rip, fray, crack or crumble, then they are considered strong and supportive enough for a new Toyota.

Toyota is waging a war on rust

During the two-year period when a vehicle is being prepared for production, metal prototype parts are placed in a special chamber and sprayed with salt water. The salt chamber is a haven for rust, and engineers can evaluate the metal part’s ability to resist corrosion over an extended period. If a component succumbs to rust in this intense environment, then it is redesigned or re-coated to be more durable.

Power windows must pass a “10-year” test to make the grade for Toyota.

Power windows are run up and down thousands of times to test their durability. To make the test harder, a solution of dirty water is periodically sprayed on the windows so that real-world grit and grime are added to the equation. Toyota power window mechanisms can handle endless daily use because they have already been tested to withstand 10 years of abuse.

Corolla, Camry Hybrid and RAV4 Touted Among Most Mom-Friendly Cars

•June 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment

From Toyota eshowroom.

As a single mother of four, the value and the safety of a vehicle are among the most important reasons I would purchase a vehicle. I am sure we, as parents are all in the same frame of mind there! Next would be fuel economy, with the prices of gas, I want a vehicle that will get the kids and I around without costing me a fortune. This is why I choose Toyota. Now and forever. They get it. Here are a few proofs:

Every car company wants to grab its share of the all-important Mom demographic, and Toyota is certainly no exception. But what’s the best way to do it? A new report from Yahoo Autos might provide you with some new perspective.

Before we look at the overall picture of what makes a great family-friendly car, you’ll be happy (although not surprised) to know that Toyota had a car at or near the top of the heap in each category. Corolla finished second among the small cars, Camry Hybrid tied for first among family cars, and RAV4 topped the SUV category.

The survey looked at vehicles that earned an IIHS safety rating of Good or better in the moderate-overlap frontal crash test, side impact, rollover, and rear tests. Then to factor in value, the study calculated cost of ownership based on the usual suspects: depreciation, fuel, interest on financing, insurance, sales tax, and average maintenance and repair costs.

For the family angle, the study highlighted factors like car-seat compatibility, visibility for smaller passengers, space for gear, and even which cars would be best when handed down to younger drivers. The study evaluated these factors for small kids, school-age kids and teens.

All told, Toyota performed as well as we’d all expect. Corolla’s cost over five years came out to $5,550, and Camry Hybrid’s came in at $6,500 with both cars getting a thumbs-up for all three age groups. RAV4’s five-year cost came in at $7,000, and it got the thumbs up for school-age kids as well as teens.

All in all, it’s a fresh new look at what makes for a great family-friendly car, but with the same great results for Toyota’s cars.

The four reasons to buy a Toyota Prius right now. Gas prices being over $4.00 per gallon is only the biggest reason!

•June 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

From Toyotaeshowroom.

As the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, Prius is much more than a symbol of Toyota’s leadership in hybrid technologies, it’s a global icon. Seamlessly integrating advanced technology, top-class efficiency and striking design, Prius is instantly recognizable as THE hybrid vehicle.

As there is no reason to mess with success, the 2013 Prius is largely a carry-over from the previous year, save for the addition of the Prius Persona Series special edition.

  1. Renowned Fuel Economy

    Without question, the core competency of a hybrid vehicle is energy efficiency. Prius continues to show its strength in this area, with EPA ratings of 51 mpg in the city, 48 mpg on the highway and 50 mpg combined1

  2. Comfort of a Midsize

    Defeating stereotypes that economy and efficiency mean compact and cramped, Prius provides buyers with a spacious, comfortable interior. With the generous dimensions of the rear seat, and the size and versatility of the cargo area accessed via the hatchback, Prius provides occupants with the space and cargo capacity of a typical midsized sedan

  3. Brimming with Technology

    And, if the core technology of the vehicle itself wasn’t impressive enough, buyers will find intelligent engineering throughout, from the Touch Tracer Display and steering wheel-mounted controls, to the available Solar Powered Ventilation System.2 And, for the discriminating technophile, opting for the available Prius Five Advanced Technology Package will provide a rolling showcase of Toyota’s advanced technologies. The Heart of Prius – Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive. As patriarch of the Prius Family, which includes Prius v, Prius c and Prius Plug-in, Prius carries Toyota’s reputation as a leader in hybrid automotive technologies. And with that comes a series of intrinsic qualities that inspire customer confidence: great fuel economy, an excellent reputation for reliability and advanced technologies

  4. Iconic Styling. Prius’ wind-cheating exterior design, with its clean lines and tapered silhouette, is not only attractive, but instantly recognizable. It also can make a statement about the owner’s interest in environmental consciousness.