Toyota takes top honors for Electric/Hybrid category at Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards

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This year the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime was named the Electric/Hybrid Best Buy of 2017. The car is being honored for being the best new-vehicle choice available in the U.S. market. The new Prius is doing what no other car has done before. Delivering 640 miles total full-charge/full-tank driving range. Along with a revolutionary design, advanced technology such as the 11.6-in. HD multimedia display and a well-documented history of reliability and low ownership costs. 

Read more about the new 2017 Prius Prime and why it was honored with the award on the official Toyota New website here.


Toyota could have it's own off road vehicle on the way!

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Just a little over a week ago, Toyota filed for a trademark on the name "Toyota FT-4X." With that discovery by AutoGuide, this could be the hint for a new off road vehicle from Toyota. It's very possible we may see more about this concept soon. Read on the AutoBlog more about what they have found:

http://www.autoblog.com/2016/10/18/toyota-ft-4x-fj-cruiser-concept-trademark/#slide-2764361


Engineers of Tomorrow: Toyota Helps Michigan Science Center ‘Catch ‘Em All’

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$1.44 Million Donation to Renovate Theater, Increase Reach of STEM Education

Detroit (July 21, 2016) -- Inspiring today’s students to become tomorrow’s science and engineering leaders is something Toyota believes is critical to society. Whether it’s autonomous cars, flying cars or something that has yet to be envisioned, the future of mobility depends on sparking children’s interests in engineering and science careers.

Likewise, as the region continues to face a shortage of STEM professionals, it is important to expose children to the different opportunities and career choices available to them. In support of creating that next generation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) professionals, Toyota has donated $1.44 million to Michigan Science Center (MiSci) located in Midtown Detroit. This donation is the latest of many efforts by Toyota to promote and expand STEM education initiatives.

“It’s critical to foster innovative thinking at a young age,” said Toyota Technical Center Senior Vice President Jeff Makarewicz. “Developing that interest early on can create great opportunities not only for students, but for the industry as well. We’re excited to make this donation, and for our continued partnership with the Michigan Science Center.”

The donation will be used to transform and upgrade the Toyota Engineering Theatre (TET). The TET is a unique, 4D multi-media experience that engages visitors with the transformative, dynamic and exciting world of engineers and engineering.

Since MiSci’s opening in 2012, the TET has hosted more than 94,000 students, families and curious minds of all ages. In the past 8 years however, engineering has changed and the STEM sector has continued to grow. With Toyota’s support, MiSci will be able to meet these new demands and upgrade the theater’s technology, creating a more robust experience. The upgrades will include a state-of-the-art HD projection system with 3D viewing capabilities; enhanced space and lighting for a more immersive experience, and the creation of universally designed videos that play in 4D theaters and standard digital media players.

The funding will also help MiSci expand its ability to foster STEM education by developing all-new programming and educational connected learning initiatives for both teachers and students.

“Toyota’s donation allows the Science Center to do more than just upgrade the TET. This is an opportunity for us to present STEM in a relatable and relevant way, while increasing student interest in STEM careers,” said Tonya Matthews, Michigan Science Center president and CEO. “This opportunity allows us to continue our mission of being a premier institute for STEM learning and experiences in Michigan.”

The Toyota Engineering Theatre and connected learning programs are designed to combat common misconceptions surrounding engineering by portraying engineering and the world of science and math in a fun, dynamic way.


Toyota Presents Community Stars

Fifteenth Annual STAR Awards Recognize Volunteer Transportation Services
 
Toyota Prius Awarded to the Senior Connection

PORTLAND, ORE. (May 24, 2016) - Through the passenger-side window, 83-year-old Ferne Fabis points with excitement at the new bakery set to open soon near her home in Rockville, Maryland. New people and places have always been Ferne’s passion – even after a leg injury forced her to give up her driver’s license.
 
Now, at least once a week, Ferne travels with volunteer drivers from the Senior Connection. Sometimes it’s to the grocery store, other times the doctor’s office, but every time Ferne says it’s the wonderful volunteers that make the difference. It’s this commitment to keeping seniors like Ferne connected to their community that has earned the Senior Connection national recognition and a new Toyota Prius.
 
Today, Toyota presented the 2015 STAR Awards for volunteer transportation service at the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) EXPO in Portland, Ore.  In addition to the Senior Connection’s Grand Star Award 2016 Toyota Prius, $50,000 in cash awards were presented to 15 award-winning volunteer transportation programs across America (see complete award recipient list below).  
 
“Mobility is about more than getting from A to B,” said Latondra Newton, Toyota Motor North America group vice president, social innovation. “Mobility is about connection - to loved ones, the community and needed services. The staff and volunteers of the Senior Connection aren’t just drivers, they are conductors of these community connections, as are all the STAR award winning organizations.”
 
This year’s Grand STAR Award winner, the Senior Connection, is the largest provider of free, volunteer transportation to seniors in Montgomery County, MD.  Since 2004, the Senior Connection has provided more than 280,000 services to over 7,000 seniors, with the help from more than 1,800 community volunteers.
 
“To know that organizations like Toyota recognize the importance of volunteer transportation and the power of what we are doing, it’s just huge,” said Tim Shaw, executive director of Senior Connection. “I really believe that this sort of support can drive change in communities across the country to do more to help seniors stay mobile and stay connected.”
 
2016 STAR Award applications are now available online= athttp://nationalvolunteertransportationcenter.org.  The 2016 Grand STAR Award Winner will receive a Toyota Mobility Sienna minivan. 
 
In their 15th year, the annual STAR Awards recognize outstanding volunteer transportation programs and enable winners to continue the involvement of their volunteer drivers in promoting and providing transportation services. The awards are organized by the National Volunteer Transportation Center (NVTC), an initiative of the CTAA. The NVTC provides technical and informational support to volunteer driver programs in the U.S.
 
2015 STAR AWARD WINNERS
 
GRAND STAR AWARD WINNER (2016 TOYOTA PRIUS)

  • The Senior Connection – Silver Spring, MD

 
STAR AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE ($10,000)

  • The Senior Care Volunteer Network – Crystal Lake, IL

 
STAR AWARDS FOR DISTINCTION ($7,500)

  • TASC – Hampton, NH
  • Hearts and Hands: Faith in Action – Getzville, NY

 
STAR AWARDS FOR QUALITY ($5,000)

  • Foothills Caring Corps – Carefree, AZ
  • Dial-a-Bus of Benton County – Corvallis, OR
  • Reach Out Morongo Basin – Twentynine Palms, CA

 
STAR AWARDS FOR INNOVATION ($2,500)

  • Elder Buddies – Bangor, ME
  • Friendly Visitor Program – Middletown, NY
  • Faith in Action Caregivers – Martins Ferry, OH
  • Indian River County Ambulance – Vero Beach, FL

 
STAR AWARDS FOR MERIT ($1,000)
ECCHO – Port Townsend, WA

  • Escorted Transportation Service NW – Arlington Heights, IL
  • Interfaith Caregivers of Haddonfield – Haddonfield, NJ
  • In Service of Seniors – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Interfaith Senior Programs – Waukesha, WI

 
HONORABLE MENTION AWARDS

  • Veteran and Countrywide Volunteer Transportation Program – Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • Rural Transit Service, Inc. – Brant, NY
  • RSVP of Dane County: Driver Services – Madison, WI
  • Patient Navigators – Framingham, MA
  • Kibbitz & Ride Volunteer Transportation Program – Delray Beach, FL
  • Silver Spring Village, Inc. – Silver Spring, MD
  • NORC Volunteer Transportation Services – Atlanta, GA
  • Catholic Charities – Honolulu, HI
  • Wet Mountain Valley Rotary Community Service – Westcliffe, CO
  • Red Cross Transportation Service – Grand Rapids, MI
  • Shepherd’s Center of Greater Tupelo – Tupelo, MS
  • St. Claire’s Catholic Social Services – Hyannis, MA

On the Road to Autonomous Driving, Toyota Establishes Ever Deeper Roots in Ann Arbor Tech Community with Third US Research Facility

Toyota Research Institute-ANN Will Fund Artificial Intelligence, Materials Science and Robotics Research at University of Michigan
 
Walking Distance to Campus, Facility Targets Staff of 50
 

SAN JOSE (April 7, 2016) -- Dr. Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), announced today that Toyota will establish its third TRI facility in the U.S. The new facility will be located in Ann Arbor, near the University of Michigan (U-M) campus where it will fund research in artificial intelligence, robotics and materials science.  Joining the TRI facility established last January in Palo Alto working with Stanford (TRI-PAL), and in Cambridge working with MIT (TRI-CAM), TRI-ANN is scheduled to open in June and target a staff of approximately 50.
 
“Beyond the extraordinary work that U-M is doing broadly in advancing automotive safety research—and in autonomous driving, in particular-- Toyota has deep roots in the Ann Arbor community,” said Pratt, in keynote remarks at the GPU Technology Conference today. “TRI was drawn to Ann Arbor because of the strength of the university; the utility of Mcity and the Mobility Transformation Center which we currently sponsor; the promise of the future American Center for Mobility at Willow Run; and the proximity to, and synergies with, our two well-established Toyota Technical Centers nearby.”
 
The Toyota Technical Centers have been conducting research in the area of autonomous cars for more than a decade.  A group of about 15 team members will transfer to the new TRI-ANN facility when it opens.  U-M Professors Ryan Eustice and Edwin Olson are joining TRI-ANN as the area leads for mapping/localization and perception, respectively. Both will be based at the Ann Arbor office, and will retain their U-M faculty positions. 
 
"Sensor hardware and algorithms are improving at a tremendous pace. TRI researchers will push the frontier even further, with the goal of providing safer vehicles and more helpful robots in the home," said Olson.  Eustice added, “Ann Arbor is a fantastic location for TRI to expand its autonomous driving efforts. We will benefit from Toyota’s existing team and U-M’s research talent and facilities where we can perform extreme-limit testing in a wide variety of environments.”
 
Although the focus of each of the three strategically located facilities will be broad, each will feature a different core discipline.  TRI-ANN will focus primarily on fully autonomous (chauffeured) driving.  TRI-PAL will work on what may be termed “guardian angel” driving, where the driver is always engaged but the vehicle assists as needed. TRI-CAM will dedicate a large portion of its work to simulation and deep learning.
 
The Toyota Research Institute is an enterprise designed to bridge the gap between fundamental research and product development.  With initial funding of $1 billion, it has four initial mandates.
 
First, it will strive to enhance the safety of automobiles with the ultimate goal of creating a car that is incapable of causing a crash, regardless of the skill or condition of the driver.
 
Second, it will work to increase access to cars to those who otherwise cannot drive, including seniors and those with special needs.
 
Third, it will help translate Toyota’s expertise in creating products for outdoor mobility into products for indoor mobility; moving people and goods across the country, across town, or across the room.
 
Finally, TRI will accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning, particularly in the area of materials science.  Using computation and machine learning, it hopes to accelerate scientific discovery in this area, lowering costs and improving performance of future mobility systems.
 
Beyond the projects it will engage in with the three universities (more than 30 are already underway at Stanford and MIT), TRI is enthusiastically pursuing collaboration with other automakers, IT companies, suppliers, research labs and universities to jointly develop autonomous technologies.
 
“Although the industry, including Toyota, has made great strides in the last five years, much of what we have collectively accomplished has been easy, because most driving is easy,” said Pratt.  “Where we need autonomy to help most is when the driving is difficult.  It’s this hard part that TRI intends to address. Toyota’s goal is safer mobility for all, at any time, in any place, and the tremendous improvements in quality of life that such universal mobility can bring.”


Environment: Watch It Like a Hawk

Toyota team members are creatures of habitat.
 
And a few who test vehicles for performance and reliability have become a part-time pit crew for red-tailed hawks at Toyota Arizona Proving Ground (TAPG) in Phoenix.
 
The situation took flight in June 2008 when a plumed pair built a nest on a utility pole at the facility. Unfortunately one of the adults died, leaving behind a chick.
 
“We called in the experts,” says Daryl Petry, TAPG senior specialist. “Liberty Wildlife brought the baby hawk to their rehabilitation center and nurtured it for six months then brought it back for release.”
 
Hawks often refurbish nests used in previous years, and team members hoped to entice the surviving parental unit to return. But for safety concerns – and to avoid power outages – team members put up a 15-meter pole and transferred the nest to it.
 
Giving the roost a boost worked. The high-traffic hatchery has been home to eight additional hawks, and team members continue to watch over them.  Earlier this year, they found a chick out of the nest, and again they called Liberty Wildlife, which rehabilitated the young hawk.
 
“Many thanks to the wildlife specialists for helping us make this a success,” says Petry.  “The hawks are amazing to watch.”
 
To see other ways Toyota and its people nurture nature, shake a tail feather over to Toyota’s 2015 North American Environmental Report. #ToyotaEnviroReport
 


Scrap That’s Not Crap

Toyota’s North American Parts Operation Gives New Life to Used Vehicle Parts 

Toyota has bumped up efforts to reduce waste by recycling old vehicle bumper covers and other scrap parts.

In partnership with Boles Parts Supply (BPS), Toyota created the National Scrap Program in 2014, a one-stop shop for all of Toyota’s North American Parts Operation’s (NAPO) recycling needs. Accepting the challenge to help Toyota recycle old bumper covers, BPS began shredding them into plastic pellets. The pellets are now sold to a vendor where they take on a second life as part of the materials used to create new plastic automotive parts. 

The program piloted with Toyota’s two largest parts centers – Ontario, Calif., and Hebron, Ky. – and in the first 15 months helped recycle over 40,000 pounds of cloth and foam, two materials previously incinerated or sent to landfills.

Between April 2014 and June 2015, it expanded to parts distribution centers in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland,  and more than doubled the amount of cloth, foam, glass and rubber recycled – over 88,000 pounds. Toyota is currently reviewing the program for potential roll-out to remaining parts distribution centers by the end of fiscal year 2017.

“We’ve been enormously pleased with the success of this program,” said Juliana Dee, manager of the program at NAPO. “Thanks to our partner BPS, we are giving a second life to things that used to be trash and making a real improvement in our recycling rate.”

To find out more about Toyota’s material efforts to minimize waste, roll over to the 2015 North American Environmental Report


 


Toyota Camry Hybrid Enforces More Law Per Gallon

ARKADELPHIA, Ark., Jan. 21, 2016 – On the surface, it’s just an environmental thing: A gas/electric hybrid is going to emit less pollutants than a gasoline-only power train. But it’s also going to use less fuel and get more mpg and at low speeds, it’s quieter than a gasoline engine.  Think of it as a “stealth mode” when running only on electric power.  For a cop car, that makes it easier to sneak up on the bad guys.  These are just a few of the advantages discovered by the Arkadelphia, Arkansas Police Department when they replaced 10 of their aging Crown Victorias with Toyota Camry Hybrids.
 
At first, “I was dead set against it,” says veteran officer Don Cleek.  “To me, a police car’s supposed to be rear wheel drive, V8 and can go through ditches.” In short, he didn’t believe the hybrids would be up to the job.  But that didn’t stop city manager Jimmy Bolt from pushing Chief of Police Al Harris to give the Camry Hybrids a try.  After a few months in the field, it was pretty clear:  The hybrids were doing every bit as well on the job as the Crown Vics.  What’s more, they were getting about 27 mpg in all-city driving (compared to about 12 to 14 mpg on the Crown Vics) AND thanks to the fuel savings and much lower maintenance costs, the city of Arkadelphia was saving itself about 3% of its annual budget.  In short, even Officer Cleek now agrees it’s a lot easier to be an environmentalist when you’re catching the crooks and saving money to boot!
 
You can see the whole story for yourself in a new short documentary by filmmaker Peter Byck, director of 2011’s Carbon Nation. Click here to watch the film. To learn more about Toyota’s Hybrid Technology, visit the Toyota display this week at the Washington, DC Auto Show, January 22-31, 2016, at the Washington Convention Center.


Environment: Watch It Like a Hawk

Toyota team members are creatures of habitat.
 
And a few who test vehicles for performance and reliability have become a part-time pit crew for red-tailed hawks at Toyota Arizona Proving Ground (TAPG) in Phoenix.
 
The situation took flight in June 2008 when a plumed pair built a nest on a utility pole at the facility. Unfortunately one of the adults died, leaving behind a chick.
 
“We called in the experts,” says Daryl Petry, TAPG senior specialist. “Liberty Wildlife brought the baby hawk to their rehabilitation center and nurtured it for six months then brought it back for release.”
 
Hawks often refurbish nests used in previous years, and team members hoped to entice the surviving parental unit to return. But for safety concerns – and to avoid power outages – team members put up a 15-meter pole and transferred the nest to it.
 
Giving the roost a boost worked. The high-traffic hatchery has been home to eight additional hawks, and team members continue to watch over them.  Earlier this year, they found a chick out of the nest, and again they called Liberty Wildlife, which rehabilitated the young hawk.
 
“Many thanks to the wildlife specialists for helping us make this a success,” says Petry.  “The hawks are amazing to watch.”
 
To see other ways Toyota and its people nurture nature, shake a tail feather over to Toyota’s 2015 North American Environmental Report. #ToyotaEnviroReport
 


Toyota Is Tops for Hispanic Consumers

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2016 Tacoma and 2016 Mirai Take Home Hispanic Motor Press Awards® at the Los Angeles Auto Show

 

Los Angeles (Nov. 20, 2015) – Highlighting a commitment to innovation, superior design and appeal to Hispanic families, the Hispanic Motor Press Awards® has named the 2016 Toyota Mirai and 2016 Toyota Tacoma among its Best Cars of 2016. The Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle was honored with the Innovation Award, while the Tacoma mid-size pickup was selected best Pickup L-Duty truck.
 
Jack Hollis, group vice president of Marketing, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., accepted the awards on behalf of the company at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday. Ricardo Rodriguez-Long, the jury director for the 6th annual awards, presented Hollis with these honors.
 
“Hispanic consumers represent a critically important market for Toyota, and we dedicate a great deal of time to understanding how we can design and market our vehicles to meet their needs,” said Hollis. “We’re thrilled to receive these awards today, and thank the jurors for recognizing two vehicles that we’re extremely proud to bring to customers.”
 
The jury for the 6th annual Hispanic Motor Press Awards® was made up of 15 Hispanic journalists who frequently cover the automotive industry. The vehicles are assessed for how well they match the needs of the Hispanic consumer, with a vetting process than includes test drives, market availability and affordability. They also factored in the design, comfort, safety, performance, functionality, accessory content, driver satisfaction, consumer final cost and overall value.

“After closely reviewing more than 100 vehicles this year, Toyota rose to the top among our jury panel for its commitment to innovation with the Mirai. This is a car that leads the industry towards the future. The new Tacoma raises the bar in the segment with superior mechanics and interior design,” said Rodriguez-Long. “Not only are these two vehicles best in class, they also offer great value to the Hispanic consumer, which represents a growing market for new vehicle sales.”
 
The Toyota Mirai is a mid-size sedan that uses no gasoline and emits nothing but water vapor. The innovative fuel cell vehicle is powered by hydrogen. The Mirai offers an EPA-estimated 67 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) city/highway/combined, and an EPA-estimated driving range of 312 miles on a single fill of hydrogen.
 
Toyota celebrated the official on-sale date of the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle on Oct. 21, with more than 2,000 consumers already raising their hands to purchase this all-new vehicle. Trailblazing customers across California have already started to receive their vehicles from the eight authorized Toyota California dealers.

The Toyota Tacoma, America’s best-selling mid-size pickup for 10 years running, was redesigned for 2016, taking into account ruggedness, design and performance in horsepower and fuel efficiency. The truck boasts a new powertrain and off-road technology. It also has premium interior features such as wireless charging and a GoPro® camera mount.