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Toyota Spends 1.2 Billion Baht to Acquire Tasi


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Toyota Boshuku Japan, Toyota’s main automotive interior systems supplier, is spending 1.2 billion baht to purchase a local automotive seat producer, the Thai Automotive Seating and Interior Co (TASI).

Earlier, Toyota Boshuku held a stake of 50 percent in TASI. NHK Spring in Thailand with 35 percent and NHK Spring Japan are other stake holders. The deal has been made through Toyota Boshuku Asia Co., Toyota Boshuku’s Thai operation. Toyota Boshuku Asia general manager Akihiko Shimanouchi said that Toyota Boshuku Japan and Toyota Boshuku Asia would hold 50 percent each in TASI after the acquisition.

Toyota Boshuku Asia’s capital that would be raised to 210 million baht this month from 30 million would finance the investment. Operating cash flow and loans would also be the sources of 500 million baht funds.

Mr. Shimanouchi said that Toyota Boshuku Asia was mainly involved in research and development for automotive interior systems. Accordingly, it has revenue of 13.41 billion baht last year and is the group’s second-largest revenue contributor in Asia.

Two hundred ninety-two (292) billion baht was Toyota Boshuku Japan’s recorded total revenue in 2006 from its global operations. From these figures, 13.5 percent or 40 billion baht was earned from Asian operations.

With registered capital of 250 million baht, TASI recorded revenue of 3.5 billion baht last year, which were mainly from sales to Toyota for its passenger cars.

Every year, Toyota Motor Thailand produces nearly 140,000 passenger cars.

Mr. Shimanouchi continued that the acquisition would mark the Toyota Boshuku Asia as the group’s production base in Southeast Asia. Toyota, with total management control, could share its facilities and transfer technology from the parent company. It could also coordinate marketing initiatives.

He added that they envision a strong opportunity to grow in line with the automotive sector in Thailand. Furthermore, he said that all major car makers including Toyota have invested in large production in the country, which recently has made a big expansion. They also foresee an opportunity to take one step higher to take orders from other car makers aside from Toyota.

TBAS plans to invest more in research and development and production. Moreover, it plans to use TASI as a base to further export its products outside the country.

About Toyota

In 2006, Toyota, maker of quality Toyota cold air intake was engaged in several projects which were designed to solidify its foundations while continuing to grow.

Lexus, being the front product, launched its new flagship model – the LS – and the new global Camry went on sale. In Japan, a new Corolla range was introduced, highlighting the significance of this best-selling car.

As regards manufacturing, various new projects were initiated around the world. In May, manufacture of the Camry began in Guangzhou, China. Aside from this, the United States (Kentucky plant), which in October celebrated 20 years of production, began manufacturing the first Toyota hybrid vehicle to be built in North America – the Camry Hybrid. Furthermore, the Texas plant in November began producing the new Tundra truck, a key vehicle in Toyota’s North American lineup. And in Japan, the Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc. began full-scale operations at its engine factory, while Toyota Motor Tohoku Co., Ltd. augmented its manufacturing capacity.

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Toyota Use GPS Tracking In Their Warehouses


A company called Gulf States has managed to help Toyota keep track of their delivery of vehicles to car dealers in America. Toyota has over 190,000 vehicles going through their warehouse each year and it is a big job to organise this.

Using a vehicle tracking system called WhereNet they have been able to avoid extending their already huge warehouse facility. This was going to be a necessity, so that they could cope with the number of vehicles. Now they are so much more efficient due to the WhereNet GPS tracking system that they do not need to build new warehouses. This has saved Toyota a fortune. They can now cope with more vehicles than they are currently dealing with.

The reason for the increased efficiency is due to the fact that staff do not have to constantly walk the premises looking for different vehicles that need delivering to the dealers. They can simply track them throughout the warehouse from the office. Therefore they now know where all the vehicles are and can locate them in a fraction of the time.

GPS tracking is used for a whole host of activities, but this has to be one of the more unusual uses for the technology.


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Sales Lessons From the Auto Industry


Celica
Back in 2005, my little red Celica gave up the ghost. I loved that car, but after 178,000 miles in four years, it was time to get a new vehicle. Since it had been such a great car, I decided to simply get a new one. I walked into the Toyota dealership ready to buy. It was then that my nightmare began. Here’s what I learned:

1) Poor greetings anger the customer. I walked straight into the dealership, dressed nicely, with checkbook in hand. No one greeted me. Several salesmen avoided eye contact. I finally went to the sales manager’s desk (positioned to overlook the whole showroom like a prison guard) and he told me to wait, that someone would be with me in a minute and returned to his phone call. Hello! Show some enthusiasm, salespeople! I’m about to make a major purchase and you don’t seem to give a damn! Was it because I was a woman with no man to help poor little ‘ol me buy a car? Or was it because they didn’t know how to greet anyone? We’ll never know.

2) A lack of product knowledge can kill you. I knew exactly what I wanted – a brand new, red Celica. I was ready to pay cash. I just wanted to see the car. They said they didn’t have any on the lot. I said the 2005 had some features that were different from the 2000 and I wanted to see them. (I had done my homework). They didn’t even have a photograph of the 2005 Celica! When I asked about the wheels (some come with special alloy wheels) the salesman replied, “Well, they’re round.” Now I was really angry.

3) No one likes the hard sell and other tricky sales techniques. Well, I was pretty unhappy with these guys, but I wanted the Celica. Once I’d get angry with the salesman, they’d switch and send in the sales manager. I’d make them an offer and they’d keep me waiting while they went to see if they could get it approved. They were jerking me around and I knew it. My love of the Celica was the only thing keeping me there. Note to car salesmen – we know you are jerking us around and we don’t like it. You are making your customers your enemies. No one likes dealing with you.

4) The Internet changes everything. I escaped with my life (barely). I had to write up a sales order (noncommittal – no $) for them to agree to get the Celica on the lot so I could see it. In the meantime, I visited my Pop in Hilton Head. He got a quote over the Net for $1,000 less with no negotiation! The Internet took all the pain out of it – no switching people, no putting you in tiny rooms with finance guys. I decided I should use the ‘Net myself and got a quote on another car (I was pretty unhappy with Toyota) – the 350Z – one sweet ride if I say so myself. Vincent Elliott, the Internet Sales Manager at Michael Jordan Nissan, responded immediately to my e-mail with a good price on the Z. And he was enthusiastic about my inquiry! Yes, I felt it through his e-mail! I also should tell you some Nissan dealers didn’t even bother to respond to my request (too bad for them). The first time I walked into the dealership, Vincent was there (on his usual day off) with a big smile. I left driving a gorgeous, FireStar red 350Z.

Enthusiasm and honesty sell, tricks and high pressure cost you customers. When will salespeople (and sales managers) learn?

By: Toyota USA Blog

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Toyota Tundra Joining the List of America’s Most Popular US Made Vehicles


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An automotive sales index online has identified the Toyota Tundra as one of the best-selling vehicles built in America and its partly attributed to the new Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas Inc. plant in San Antonio.

And for the first time, the Tundra which was built at the facilities in Princeton, Ind., and San Antonio with parts made like the Toyota control arm bushing kits primarily in American factories has finally made it into Cars.com’s American Made Index.

Every year the American Made Index identifies the top 10 models of vehicles that are in essence American and that pertains to where parts are produced and also with regards to the vehicles popularity among cars.com buyers.

So far the top produced “American” vehicle according to the index is the Ford F-150 which is primarily assembled in Claycomo, Mo., and Dearborn, Mich. The Toyota Camry on the other hand which is assembled in Georgetown, Ky., and Lafayette, Ind., ranked second only.

The Fort Wayne Ind., and Pontiac, Mich.-built Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ranked third while the Lordstown, Ohio-built Chevrolet Cobalt ranked fourth and the Wayne, Mich.-built Ford Focus ranked fifth.

Toyota’s Tundra came in at 10th place on the list. The Chicago-based cars.com works with more than 200 newspapers, television stations and their Web sites to buy and sell new and used vehicles.

Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures LLC which is a company owned by media conglomerates Belo Corp., Gannett Co. Inc., The McClatchy Co., Tribune Co., and The Washington Post Co.

About Toyota

Toyota is a Japanese multinational corporation and the world’s largest automaker by sales revenue as of 2007 toppling General Motors in the position. Together with its half-owned subsidiary Daihatsu, the company was the second largest auto company by revenue of $179 billion and total vehicle production, making it as one of the most profitable automaker with net income of around $11 billion. Toyota was also the world’s eight largest company by revenue last 2006.

Toyota owns and operates Toyota, Lexus, Scion, and parts of Daihatsu brands, divisions, and companies. The company includes 522 subsidiaries.

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Toyota’s First Operating Loss Since 1938 Spells Trouble for Japanese Economy


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Joining a chorus of ailing U.S. automakers, Toyota Motor Co. (TM) yesterday (Monday) forecast its first operating loss in 71 years on plummeting demand and sharp appreciation of the Japanese yen. The announcement prompted Moody’s Investors Service to consider downgrading the company’s top-rated credit.

But the news may have bigger implications for Japan’s entire economy, as the country’s exports continue to take a beating from sagging worldwide demand for its products.

Japanese exports plunged 26.7% in November from a year ago. Shipments to the U.S. slid an unprecedented 34%, Japan’s Finance Ministry said. A strong yen, which makes Japanese goods more expensive, combined with deflated consumer spending, is hammering Japanese exporters.

Toyota will post a $1.7 billion (150 billion yen) loss in the year through March, it said in a statement, scrapping a previous forecast of a $6.6 billion. The last time Toyota posted an operating loss was in the year ended March 1938, spokesman Hideaki Homma told Bloomberg News.

The environment we’re in is extremely tough,” President Katsuaki Watanabe told reporters in Nagoya. “We’re facing an unprecedented emergency situation. Unfortunately, we can’t see the bottom.”

U.S. auto sales are down 16% this year, led by declines of 28% for Chrysler LLC, 22% for General Motors Corp. (GM) and 19% for Ford Motor Co. (F), Bloomberg News reported. The three U.S. automakers will close about 59 factories over the next month as they struggle to avoid bankruptcy.

It is difficult to envision any swift recovery from the present damage in the U.S., Toyota’s core market, and we anticipate increasing cuts in overseas local production,” wrote Barclays Capital (BCS) analyst Tsuyoshi Mochimaru in a research note on Dec. 19, according to MarketWatch.

Compounding the demand problem is a surging yen, which erodes overseas profits for Japanese exporters. The yen has gained 25% against the dollar this year.

But Toyota’s problems may just be the tip of the iceberg for Japan’s economy. The November export plunge was the biggest drop on record, as global demand for cars and electronics collapsed.

Earlier this month, Sony Corp. (ADR: SNE) announced it was cutting 8,000 jobs, or about 4% of its worldwide workforce. Sony recently blamed a 72% profit plunge in the third quarter partially on a resurgent yen. Electronics company Sanyo Electric Co. (OTC: SANYY), facing tough market conditions around the globe, agreed Friday to sell itself to rival Panasonic Corp. (PC).

“Japan’s economy has never weaned itself off of the overbearing reliance on exports, and especially to the U.S.,” said Kirby Daley, senior strategist and head of capital introductions at Newedge Group. “Japan did nothing to prepare itself” for the collapse in demand from abroad, he told Bloomberg News.

Like the U.S. Federal Reserve, The Bank of Japan has been hacking away at interest rates in an attempt to stanch the economic bleeding. Japan’s central bank lowered rates to 0.1% on Friday.  But the rate cuts haven’t been enough to kickstart the Japanese economy, as the yen has remained stubbornly strong.

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Toyota Donates Modified Vehicles to Young Veterans


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The New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) has already opened its doors and in connection with the opening ceremonies, Toyota showed its concern for the American soldiers who have fought in wars and places of chaos around the world.

At the opening ceremonies of this car show in the Big Apple, two modified Toyota vehicles were presented to two young veterans of the Iraqi war and both of these soldiers have sustained leg injuries. Both soldiers are wounded by IED or improvised explosive devices at some stage in their tour of duty in Iraq. The explosive devices caused leg amputation for the two young soldiers.

U.S. Army veteran Luis Puertas of Long Island City, Queens is one of the two young veterans presented with a modified Toyota vehicle. The 20-year old veteran lost both his legs while on tour of duty in Iraq when an improvised explosive device was detonated under his Humvee while he was stationed in Baghdad. Toyota presented him with a wheelchair-accessible 2007 Toyota Sienna Rampvan. The vehicle is modified to suit Luis’ need for mobility.

First, the vehicle’s floor was lowered by ten inches by the BraunAbility group. The mobility company also integrated a power wheelchair ramp to make the vehicle even more accessible to Luis in his wheelchair. Further, the J. Busani Inc. will also integrate a wheelchair dock to enable Luis to drive the vehicle on his own.

Hand controls will also be installed since the brake and accelerator foot pedals will not be of use to the young veteran. The Toyota Sienna with its modified amenities and stock parts like the Toyota window motors will surely increase Luis’ mobility.

U.S. Marine Ryan Donnelly is the second recipient of a modified Toyota vehicle. The 23 year old veteran from Manhattan received a 2007 Toyota Yaris during the opening ceremonies of the New York Auto Show. Ryan lost his right leg below the knee to an improvised explosive device on his second tour of Iraq. Due to the amputation of his right leg, the J. Busani Inc. modified the Toyota Yaris by transferring its accelerator foot pedals on the left side of the driver.

Ryan, just like Luis, is also fitted with prosthetic legs and with the modified Toyota Yaris, he can also increase his mobility and certainly go places.

The modified Toyota vehicles are part of Toyota’s Mobility Assistance Program. The program, aside from providing modified vehicles, also provides information to their disabled consumers. Their website gives out information where consumers can find rehabilitation specialists, driving instructors for person with disabilities, and other mobility equipment dealers. This program allows disabled motorists to continue driving even after suffering injuries such as that of the two veterans who received the modified Toyota vehicles.

The mobility equipment dealers that Toyota listed on their website not only install specialized equipments but also impart training to consumers on hoe to use the installed equipments.

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Toyota Pulled Out Its Account in Saatchi


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Toyota the producer of Toyota Tacoma parts has pulled out its £50m UK advertising business from Saatchi & Saatchi and transfers it to CHI & Partners. The Japanese automaker is Saatchi’s second-biggest global account next to Procter & Gamble with $2.5bn advertising expense per year with UK as its only biggest European market.

It was already expected that CHI which has sold 49.9 percent of its stake to WPP earlier this year will be given the majority of the UK business. CHI has been working out to get the Toyota account since 2004 when it was appointed to handle the launching of the Aygo model across Europe. And since then the agency has been given pan-European briefs for the Corolla and the Yaris.

It is also CHI that handles the promotion of Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus across Europe. However for this year the only UK project that it has won was Toyota’s tactical advertising business.

The news of Toyota’s transfer of its ad account came at the time when Saatchi is struggling find a new UK chief executive that could replace Lee Daley, who left Saatchi to join the Manchester United as commercial director last March. According to source familiar with the issue, Saatchi’s EMEA, Asia, and Latin America Chief Executive Jim O’Mahony who has been heading the search for Daley’s replacement could now be given the responsibility for the UK agency in addition to his other duties.

The decision of Toyota to move the majority of its UK account out of Saatchi follows the changes in the company’s senior team starting last year. Toyota’s former European marketing director Jon Williams has moved to Toyota GB as commercial director earlier this year in replacement of Paul Philpott who also left to join Kia UK as managing director. Similarly, Toyota GB’s long-serving managing director Graham Smith has also left to take on a new role in Toyota Europe last year.

A source close to WPP said that the company’s chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell has been keeping track of Toyota’s business for a couple of years now and the presence of CHI in the Japanese automaker’s roster was one of the primary reasons why he bought the stake in the agency.

But industry experts think that the Toyota news will not sit well with its rival automaker Ford that happens to be one of WPP’s biggest clients. Publicist-owned ZenithOptimedia is handling Toyota’s media planning and buying.

CHI founding partner Johnny Hornby refutes reports claiming that the agency has won the UK account and instead stated that the agency will take a more prominent role in Europe and also possibly in the US. He added, “As we understand it, it’s business as usual in the UK and we haven’t won the business in Europe or America, as much as we¹d love to one day.”

Toyota GB Marketing Director Mark Hall also said that they are still working with both Saatchi and CHI—at the moment there would be no changes.

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2 Millionth Pre-owned Toyota Sold


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Japanese automaker Toyota has been breaking records for a while now. It is set to become the largest automaker in the world by next year. On its way to being the largest company of its kind, Toyota has broken sales records and has celebrated milestone after milestone. Recently, the Japanese automaker celebrated yet another milestone as they have sold 2 million pre-owned Toyota vehicles in the United States since 1996.

The buyer of the 2 millionth Toyota Certified Used Vehicle is Mr. Brian Kabat of Bellevue, Washington. The two millionth Toyota Certified Used Vehicle sold to Mr. Kabat was a 2004 Toyota Sienna. Initially, Mr. Kabat was apprehensive about buying the vehicle because of the added cost of its luxury features. His grandchildren though made it easy for him to decide as they expressed their liking for the Sienna’s features.

Toyota celebrates the sale of the 2,000,000th used vehicle by reimbursing Mr. Kabat the $36,648 that he paid for the vehicle. Aside from that, Toyota will also be donating the same amount to Bellevue’s Youth Eastside Service (or YES) agency. The Japanese automaker has also earmarked $5,000 as donation to Bellevue’s Newport High School Band. All these will be handed out in a ceremony that will be held at the Bellevue dealership where the 2,000,000th used Toyota was sold earlier this year to Mr. Kabat.

Handing out the checks will be Norm Olson, the sales operation manager of Toyota Certified Used Vehicles. The YES agency is the selected charity by Bellevue dealership principal Bruce Broadus. The said organization aims to help kids and families coping with problems such as drug abuse and domestic violence. YES executive director Patti Skelton-McGougan will receive the check from Mr. Olson. For the Newport High Scholl Band, the school’s principal, Patty Siegwarth, along with band directors Matt Eisenhauaer and Ed George, will receive the donation.

“This is a landmark event,” said Olson. “No other manufacturer of a single line make has reached this sales milestone. Toyota was the first manufacturer to stipulate a vehicle history report as a part of its extensive certified used program, which includes a seven-year, 100,000 mile limited power-train warranty, roadside assistance and a 160-point inspection procedure.” Toyota’s reputation for being the manufacturer of reliable automobiles and auto parts as durable as EBC brake rotors is one of the key factors why the automaker has sold millions of used cars.

This year, more consumers are buying certified used cars from the Japanese automaker. For the first nine months of the year, sale of used cars for Toyota in the United States has increased by 5.5 percent. The automaker has sold 207,923 certified used vehicles from January to September this year.

“We have always had great experiences with Toyotas,” Mr. Kabat said. “The dealer’s commitment to service always brought us back,” he added. That goes to show that Toyota is not only depending on the reliability of their cars to attract car buyers but also makes an effort to make customers feel comfortable while dealing with them. Other perks awarded to Mr. Kabat includes a Toyota Certified Platinum service agreement, a $500 American Express gas card and a three year Toyota Car Care program.

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Highway to the Future: Mobile Hybrid Experience Offered by Toyota


Toyota Prius
The Nashville International Auto Show is about to open its doors to the public on the sixth of April. In connection with this, the Toyota Motor Corporation announced that they will be bringing their “Highway to the Future: Mobile Hybrid Experience” to the said event.

The Japanese car manufacturer announced the schedule of their tour on the 26th of March. The company says that the experience is aimed to let consumers experience driving their hybrid vehicles like the very popular Toyota Prius aside from the Camry and Highlander hybrid vehicles. These entire three models will come to feature and sport around the company’s Hybrid Synergy Drive System which allows them to make the most of the capability of the electric motor integrated into their vehicles.

Aside from the hands-on experience, Toyota will also be offering other interactive learning activities for the attendees. These four learning areas will be part of Toyota’s exhibit at the Nashville Auto Show. One of these four interactive educational exhibits is the “Alternative Fuel: Fueling the Future” exhibit. This interactive part of Toyota’s show tackles the different alternative fuels which may, one day, totally replace gasoline as the fuel of the world. Some of these alternative fuels are biodiesel, hydrogen, and bio-ethanol.

Aside from identifying these alternative fuels, Toyota will also be educating the attendees on how each and every one of these alternative fuels are produced.

Another interactive learning experience is the “Environment and Resources: Small Steps, Big Difference”. This, meanwhile, tackles the different ways how the attendees can help in the protection of the environment in their own little way. This shows Toyota’s concern for the environment and it seems to be already manifested in their lineup of fuel efficient vehicles. These vehicles are more fuel thrifty than a vehicle equipped with a Mercury cold air intake system.

The third interactive educational display at Toyota’s exhibit is the “Prius Driving Experience” and aside from the actual test drive, Toyota allows attendees of the event to take advantage of a Prius driving simulation. Another part of Toyota’s exhibit is the “Hybrid Technology: Not All Hybrids are Created Equal” and this one educates the attendees just about what hybrid technology is and where it is found and in what vehicle.

Aside from identifying the hybrid technologies employed by different vehicles, Toyota also highlights each technology’s benefit to the environment and the consumer.

The 2007 Nashville International Auto Show will start on the sixth of April and will run until the eighth of the month. Toyota’s hands-on exhibit will start from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on the dates April 6 and 7. On April 8, the driving experience for Toyota’s hybrid will run from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

The “Highway to the Future: Mobile Hybrid Experience will be held at the LP Field. To promote the driving experience to attendees of the motor show, a free shuttle service will be provided to take attendees to the LP Field.

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