AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
If you are currently driving a recalled Toyota model, you shouldn’t be, says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (above). In a statement given at a House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, looking into the recent Toyota recalls, LaHood told owners to, “stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it.”
Toyota currently has two major recalls, the first being a floor mat entrapment issue for 5.5 million vehicles, and the second is a sticking gas pedal recall for 2.3 million vehicles.
LaHood urged owners of recalled cars to contact their dealer and, “exercise caution until repairs can be made.”
Toyota recently announced a fix for the 2.3 million recalled models, which include the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia. The automaker has insisted that the recall is due to a mechanical fault, saying in a statement that:
“After many years of exhaustive testing—by us and other outside agencies—we have found no evidence of a problem with our electronic throttle control system that could have caused unwanted acceleration. Our vehicles go through extensive electromagnetic radiation testing dynamically. We have our own test facility in Japan, we are also building one in Ann Arbor. The testing examines microwave radiation and every other type of magnetic wave and we have never been able to force our systems to fail through any of the tests that are done on them. There are many redundancies and fail safes that are built into our system. If the accelerator pedal and the throttle on the engine don’t match in their communication to each other the throttle returns to an idle position.”
The U.S. Ministry of Transportation has also been investigating electronic throttle issues and unintended acceleration issues on Toyota and Lexus vehicles for years but has never been able to find a problem. The Ministry of Transportation, has now said it will look at the possibility that unintended acceleration is related to electronics and not a mechanical issue with the pedal.
For more information on Toyota recalls, visit the automaker’s new recall website:
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Almost immediately after Toyota put a halt on sales and production of the 2.3 million vehicles involved in the latest recall, we brought you news that part supplier CTS had a solution. Now we have more information on just what the fix is, as Toyota has now officially said it has both temporary and permanent solutions.
In a statement Toyota has said that, “Pedals featuring the revised design are now in full production at CTS to support Toyota’s needs. Meanwhile, we are also working with them to test effective modifications to existing pedals in the field that will be rolled out as quickly as possible.”
According to Automotive News the “modifications” include a metal shim inserted in a gap on the pedal assembly that will reduce friction and thereby prevent the possibility of a pedal sticking. Toyota representatives have said that the new parts are being manufactured and some have already been sent to Toyota’s manufacturing facilities, while the “fix” for vehicles already on the road should be available to dealers starting next week.
Toyota continues to comment on the rarity of a gas pedal actually sticking in one of its vehicles and insists that owners continue to drive their car. Those worried about driving one of the eight recalled vehicles (including the Camry, Corolla, RAV4, Matrix, Avalon, Highlander, Tundra and Sequoia) should know that the best way to stop a car with a sticking gas pedal is to apply the brakes and put the transmission into neutral. Then, once the vehicle is stopped, turn off the engine.
Official Toyota statement after the jump:
One of the most surprising vehicles a this year’s SEMA show (and a refreshing change from the excessive number of Camaros) was the dry carbon widebody Nissan GT-R. Hidden away on the back side of the 3T Motorsport booth, the car was built by AIT Racing, which specializes in aerodynamics for a long list of vehicles.
On display, the AIT car sorted a set of HRE wheels with racing slicks, but the car’s street tires measure 335 in the rear!
In speaking with a 3T rep, he told us that the car is mostly stock under the hood. There is, however, a KW suspension setup, and those HRE wheels.
We look forward to hearing more about this car in the future.
GALLERY: AIT Racing Carbon Fiber Widebody Nissan GT-R
Ahead of its official debut later today at the 2009 SEMA Show, Toyota has revealed a single photo of its Hot Rod Tundra. Build by Phoenix-based motorcycle shop Sucker Punch Sally’s, the Tundra gets a long list of design cues from the hot rods of the 1950s and ’60s.
The Regular Cab 4×2 gets some matte black paint, red flames and Bonneville moon hubcaps, along with a custom 1950′s Toyota logo on the grille. There’s also a classic cherry bomb exhaust.
The interior gets a long list of custom items like a bench seat, while Fender Guitars was sourced to build custom hand-turned brass control knobs, as well as a polished maple wood cargo deck.
Official release after the jump:
As seemingly impossible as it sounds, Nissan is contemplating bringing its Land Glider concept to North America and badging it as an Infiniti. The half-car, half-motorcycle electric vehicle concept is set to debut tomorrow (October 21st) at the Tokyo Auto Show and is certainly seems like the sort of wild one-off creation that is used to inspire production models, rather than become one itself.
Then again, it wouldn’t be alone in the marketplace with Volkswagen already having announced plans to bring its two-seater, diesel-hybrid L1 to the streets. Perhaps it would be an ideal competitor to the Toyota iQ-based Aston Martin Cygnet.
Let’s just say we have our doubts, but Nissan is serious about being on the cusp of the green car revolution, having invested heavily in electric cars already with its Leaf EV, which is set to be the first mass-produced electric car on American roads.
GALLERY: Nissan Land Glider Concept
[Source: Autmotive News via Autoblog]
Fox Marketing is back up to its old tricks again, as the company is now part-way through building a turbocharged, wide body Lexus IS350C for the 2009 SEMA Show. Fox built a burn copper IS-F for SEMA 2008 and so this new model gets a metallic green pain job called Carizzma Foxy Green.
Once completed, the custom Lexus will also feature a set of iForged 20-inch Sprint wheels, Toyota R1R tires and plenty of Seibon carbon fiber body parts (along with a long list of custom parts).
Much of the car has already been completed and we suspect a massively powerful Artisan turbo to go on the V6 engine just prior to the show. We’ll be sure to bring you more on the car, live from the SEMA Show in Las Vegas starting November 3rd.
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GALLERY: Fox Marketing Lexus IS350C
Nissan has just released a teaser-image of the 2010 Altima, which will receive a mid-cycle redesign – although it’s hard to tell. New headlights are a part of the package, but it would take a serious Altima-nut to notice the rest. We image a full reveal will show more changes, with a new grille a strong possibility.
According to a report on Autoblog the 2.5 Premium IS CVT Plus model will get a 4.3-inch display screen with an iPod interface and USB capability, while the 2.5 S M6 and 3.5 SR M6 IS will get Xenon headlights added to the Premium Package. The Tech Package will also get a 9.3 gig music server with DVD playback, Bluetooth streaming audio and a new input jack that replaces the auxiliary input.
The 2.5 S M6 model will get sporty additions, including Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) and traction control as well as a manually adjustable lumbar support for the driver. A set of 17-inch wheels and 215/55/17 tires will also be included.
We’ll have to wait on official details (expected soon) for the rest.
Corolla-based hatchback to get Prius powerplant
Notoriously good at keeping secrets, Toyota has decided to blow its own cover and has released a smattering of details on the Auris HSD Concept that will debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show tomorrow (September 15th).
Designed specifically for the U.K.,the Auris HSD Concept uses the same Hybrid Synergy Drive powerplant as found in the current third-generation Prius. With a 1.8-liter gasoline engine and electric motor, power output should be about the same with 134 ponies under the hood. With a slightly heavier package acceleration should be close with a 10 second 0-60 mph time. Fuel-economy is expected to be similar as well, but not quite as high as the Prius, due in part to a drag coefficient that isn’t quite as good as 0.28 cd, as compared to the Prius’s 0.25 cd rating. The Prius gets a rating of 51/48 mpg, so even a close rating will still be impressive.
Aerodynamic enhancements have been made over the current Auris, however, with different front and rear bumpers, underbody panels, a larger rear spoiler, a ride height that has been lowered by 20mm, low rolling resistance tires and special 18-inch wheels that cut air turbulence in the wheel arches.
Like the Prius, the Auris HSD Concept will get four driving modes, including ECO, Power and EV mode. The EV mode will allow the car to travel 1.25 miles or 2 km on just electric power at speeds up to 31 mph.
Another similar feature between the two cars are solar panels on the roof which work to power the fans in order to keep the car cool when parked. Toyota says it continues to look into ways to expand the use of solar panels on its hybrids and shows an example on the Auris HSD with solar panels on the dash that can be used to power cellular phones.
Toyota plans to bring a production model of the Auris HSD Concept to market in the U.K. in the second half of 2010 and will build the hybrid at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) in Burnaston, U.K. The launch of this new model will usher in a new era for Toyota in Europe as it plans to offer all of its models with hybrid technology by 2020.
As the Auris is based on the Corolla platform, can a hybrid Corolla be far behind?
GALLERY: Toyota Auris HSD Concept
Official release after the jump: