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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.
 |  Jan 28 2014, 7:29 PM

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The production Lexus LF-NX made an appearance during a presentation given at the SAA Automotive Outlook Conference by Toyota’s CEO Jim Lentz. 

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 |  Mar 12 2012, 1:01 PM

Toyota recently announced its North American leadership changes with current president and COO of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), Jim Lentz, becoming the first American CEO of TMS.

Lentz will make the official rise from COO to CEO on April 1st and has been one of the prominent faces of Toyota during their recent recall issues. Lentz was the public face during the interview rounds and even testified before Congress to address the recall situation.

The other major announcement was the naming of Shigeki Terashi to the role of president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMA). Mr. Terashi will also be Toyota’s chief regional officer for North America when he assumes his new role April 1st.

 |  May 28 2010, 9:12 AM

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With increased pressure from Congress in the wake of Toyota’s recall crisis, Honda has announced it will include a brake override feature in all of its models by the end of 2011.

“We are committed to applying Brake Priority Logic on 100 percent of Honda and Acura passenger vehicles produced for the North American market by the end of calendar-year 2011, with our first application coming to market in late August 2010,” the company said in a statement.

Honda’s Brake Priority Logic will first appear in a yet-unnamed model this August and trickle down throughout the rest of the range by the end of 2010.

Earlier this week, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. president Jim Lentz commented that Toyota would make a brake override system available across its North American lineup by the end of 2010 as well.

The move by both automakers may soon become irrelevant, however, as earlier this week a U.S. House committee passed a new bill that will see mandatory brake override systems in all vehicles. The bill also increases the amount the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can fine an automaker for taking too long to respond to a recall issue, upping it from $16.4 million to $200 million.

[Source: Inside Line]

 |  Mar 24 2010, 10:37 AM

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After Toyota recently debunked an ABC News report about sudden acceleration in its vehicles, the Japanese automaker has now decided to take on CNN, after the news outlet reported that Toyota knew about sudden acceleration issues as far back as 2002.

The story by CNN‘s special investigations unit reports that in a secret document Toyota admitted to electronic issues related to the throttle, even saying that in 2002, “Toyota had a sudden acceleration problem and that according to Toyota’s own technical service bulletin, the problem was electronic.”

Toyota has responded, essentially debunking the document and exposing CNN‘s faulty reporting; the “secret document” being a 2002 Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) published by Toyota and sent to all of its dealers as well as being publicly available online through several government and independent websites as well as through Toyota’s own site: https://techinfo.toyota.com. In fact, the 2002 TSB was discussed by Toyota Motor Sales USA President Jim Lentz during his appearance before the Congressional testimony looking into Toyota’s recall woes.

As for the content of the TSB, Toyota says that the issue was never sudden acceleration but rather, “a drivability issue at speeds of between 38 and 42 miles per hour at light throttle.” the TSB continues, “This condition was strictly related to a function internal to the transmission torque converter under certain throttle conditions.  It manifested as a slight rocking motion, or surge, while holding steady throttle at the specific speed window. This issue was in no way related to any kind of sustained acceleration.”

Toyota contests the misinterpretation of the word “surge” in the document, which is says has been taken out of context. Toyota’s statement says that, “The term surge has been used across the industry for many years to describe a condition where there is a very slight slow-down and speed-up perception (typically two miles per hour or less) while holding steady throttle at low to moderate speeds.” Toyota also says almost every other automaker has issued a similar TSB, with 80 such TSBs being published in the last 10 years.

It would appear as though CNN has now followed after ABC News, with horribly poor investigative journalism that puts ratings ahead of integrity, research and fact checking.

See the official Toyota release and CNNs original story after the jump:

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 |  Feb 23 2010, 12:00 PM

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In a prepared statement before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Toyota President Jim Lentz reiterated Toyota’s continued stand that the issue with its many recalled Toyota models is mechanical and not electronic. Lentz commented that Toyota hired Exponent, a top engineering and scientific consulting firm, to examine its electronic throttle system to see if there were any issues. Toyota gave Exponent an unlimited budget and no electronic problem was found.

Lentz also said that it is repairing recalled vehicles at 50,000 a day and has so far fixed one million vehicles.

In response to this statement during opening remarks during the hearing, Edward Markey, D-Mass., commented that the investigation was incomplete and that just six vehicles were examined and not all of them, as he would like and deems crucial.

Interestinly, congressman Phil Gingrey pointed out that while getting the facts is important, appearing impartial is also important, commenting that the government currently owns both General Motors and Chrysler and so has a vested interest in their success and the failure of competing automakers.

Get more Toyota Recall News at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub

Read Jim Lentz’s complete testimony after the jump:

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 |  Feb 03 2010, 12:10 PM

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Jim Lentz, Toytoa president of U.S. sales, denied his company is covering up problems related to unintended acceleration.

On a media blitz to contain the damage after a nine million vehicle recall, Lentz denied Toyota was hiding anything after government documents revealed the company first received reports of “runaway Toyotas” in March 2007.

“There is no cover-up,” Lentz said to ABC News.

A document dated Jan. 21 submitted by Toyota to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  states Toyota received field reports in March 2007 of accelerator pedals  on the Tundra having “rough operation or being slow to return to the idle position”.

Toyota received further reports in from December 2008 to August 2009 about related issues in other models. An investigation was started in March 2009. Additional reports came in October and the manufacturer announced a recall in January 2010.

“It’s a lot of detail that goes into this,” said Lentz. “We’ve been upfront. We’re taking care of customers right now. What’s most important is that our customers know there is a fix. They’re going to be able to get their cars repaired this week.”

Lentz also denied the problem with unintended acceleration was an electronic issue.

[Source: ABCNews]

 |  Feb 03 2010, 11:10 AM

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Toyota has offered to test Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s Prius after he claimed the vehicle’s electronics can cause it accelerate unintentionally.

Wozniak’s claims made headlines when he claimed his 2010 Prius’ accelerator “goes wild” under certain conditions. He says he can repeat the acceleration issue and suspected the Prius’ software as the culprit.

Toyota has long maintained is the acceleration problem is not a electronics-related issue. The Prius is not included in the company’s recent recall, however, so if Wozniak’s suspicions prove true, Toyota’s problems can only get worse.

Toyota, already under a storm for its trouble with unintended acceleration, is trying to contain the PR damage by offering to have a dealer borrow and test Wozniak’s Prius for a week. Toyota is trying to get Wozniak in touch with U.S. sales president Jim Lentz to help make arrangements.

[Source: Jalopnik]

 |  Feb 02 2010, 5:09 PM

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has now said it will look into electrical issues as a possible source for the unintended acceleration of Toyota products. Toyota recently recalled 2.3 million cars and trucks due to pedals that stick or are slow to return and has since announced a fix for the problem that it says is mechanical, not electronic.

According to an unnamed Transportation official, interviewed by Automotive News, the Federal government’s investigation into the pedal issue will include a look at Toyota’s electronics.

Shinichi Sasaki, Toyota’s to man in charge of quality today repeated Toyota’s position that the problem was mechanical and not electronic. The maker of the supposedly faulty pedal, CTS Corp, has said that it does not believe the problem originates with its product.

The accelerator pedal recall affects 2.3 million vehicles in North America, including eight models: 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia.

This news come on the day that Toyota launched an advertising blitz in U.S. newspapers, with Toyota U.S.A. president Jim Lentz quotes as saying, “We have launched a comprehensive plan to permanently fix the vehicles we’ve recalled because in rare instances, accelerator pedals can, over time, become slow to release or get stuck. We know what’s causing this and what we have to do to fix it.”

Apparently the Feds aren’t so sure.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Feb 01 2010, 10:02 AM

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In an effort to assure its customers (and its stockholders) Toyota has now officially announced details of its plan to fix potentially sticky accelerator pedals in 2.3 million recalled vehicles. Repairs to affected vehicles will begin this week.

A “fix” has been developed for the recalled vehicles that includes reinforcing the pedal mechanism to eliminate the friction that could have caused a sticking accelerator pedal. In addition, Toyota has worked with the pedal supplier to create a new pedal that will be used on newly-manufactured Toyota models.

Toyota will, however, continue as planned with the temporary closing of many of its North American plans for this week.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive,” said Jim Lentz, president and COO at Toyota USA.  “We deeply regret the concern that our recalls have caused for our customers and we are doing everything we can – as fast as we can – to make things right.  Stopping production is never an easy decision, but we are 100% confident it was the right decision.  We know what’s causing the sticking accelerator pedals, and we know what we have to do to fix it.  We also know it is most important to fix this problem in the cars on the road.”

Lentz also said that many dealerships will work 24 hours a day to fix potentially faulty accelerator pedals. “We want to demonstrate that our commitment to safety is as high as ever and that our commitment to our customers is unwavering,” he said.

The accelerator pedal recall affects 2.3 million vehicles in North America, including eight models: 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia.

No Camry, RAV4, Corolla or Highlander vehicles with VIN numbers that begin with J are affected, nor are any Lexus or Scion models.

In the event of a sticky gas pedal, Toyota advises to apply the brakes until the vehicle comes to a stop and to then turn the vehicle off. Experts also suggest that applying the brakes and then putting the vehicle into Neutral may help to slow the car.

Official release after the jump:

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 |  Jan 19 2010, 11:41 AM

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With 500,000 hybrids sold last year, Toyota aims to double that number by 2011. Japan’s largest automaker had announced plans to reach the one million goal early in this decade, but a report in Japan’s Nikkei suggests Toyota is now looking at very-early in this decade.

Part of the reason for Toyota’s optimism is the fact that in 2009 the Prius was the top selling car in Japan – helped significantly by government incentives. It’s also been a hit in North America.

Along with several other hybrid versions of Toyota platforms, the automaker is looking to introduce eight all new hybrids in the near future. One of these will be a new compact model, based on the FT-CH Hybrid Concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show (above). Toyota has said it will expand the Prius name to become an entire line of vehicles.

Another hybrid coming down the pipe include a hybrid Auris for the U.K.

During Toyota’s press conference at the Detroit Auto Show, Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales president, said that in the future hybrids will be the core powertrain technology for Toyota and that Toyota believes hybrid technology will become the staple throughout the auto industry.

[Source: Nikkei via LeftLaneNews]

 |  Nov 19 2009, 12:41 PM

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The Prius could surpass the Camry as Toyota’s best selling model in the U.S. in the next ten years says the head of Toyota’s sales department. Toyota Motor Sales boss Jim Lentz made the comments, stating that he sees the Prius gaining ground, rather than the Camry (the top selling passenger car in the U.S. for 11 of the past 12 years) shrinking.

The prediction, however, is a long way off from reality, as so far in 2009 Prius sales aren’t even half of Camry sales, with the former registering 118,290 units sold, while the Camry sits as 294,493 units sold. Both the Camry and Prius had their best sales years ever in 2007, when the Prius sold 181,221 units, compared to the Camry’s 473,108 units. Toyota is predicting 140,000 units for the Prius in ’09.

While Lentz’s prediction is based on increasing environmental awareness it may, however, depend on two other important factors. The first is if Toyota actually commits to building the Prius in the U.S., a move which could drastically reduce the cost of making the car. If Toyota could then sell the Prius for even less it would easily be even more of a dominant force in the hybrid marketplace, with “competitors” like the Honda Insight, (with its less impressive fuel economy and smaller interior room), priced only slightly lower than the current Prius. The second factor would be if the Prius nameplate was expanded to include additional models – like the a wagon or crossover, which recent reports have suggested will arrive soon.

Lentz has said he is pushing for more Prius models, but wouldn’t give any confirmation on the matter.

[Source: WardsAuto]

Official: Toyota CEO Confirms Toyobaru Sports car

New model will be fun, stylish and fuel-efficient

 |  Aug 07 2009, 9:50 AM

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Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has, for the first time, officially made clear that the automaker is in fact working on a joint project with Subaru to build an affordable sports car. Toyoda made the statements at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan

The new car will be stylish, yet fuel-efficient and affordable – a vehicle that customers (U.S. customers in particular) can get passionate about.

“You’re going to have to have passion in your products,” said Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, adding that obviously any Toyota would also be representative of the company’s focus on quality and value.

The project is an unconventional one for the Japanese automaker, but is part of a new direction that its new CEO, a self-proclaimed ‘car nut’, wants to take the company in. “I want to see Toyota build cars that are fun and exciting to drive,” he said, adding that the Toyobaru will be fast-tracked to market.

[Source: MSNBC]

Obama Proposes Significant Rise in Fuel-Efficiency Standards

Fleet average set at 35.5 mpg by 2016

 |  May 20 2009, 10:58 AM

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Yesterday President Obama announced a new proposal being put forward to increase fuel-economy standards across the board. If enacted, the legislation would see the fleet average for passenger vehicles rise to 35.5 mpg by 2016.

Currently automakers are facing an 8 percent increase in fuel-economy standards that would see fleet averages for light-vehicles (cars and trucks) at 27.3 mpg for 2011. Cars would have to achieve a fleet average of 30.2 mpg by that date.

The new legislation would see increases of 5 percent annually after that, with a fleet average of 35.5 mpg by 2016.

President Obama made the announcement at the White House yesterday and was joined by representatives of 10 supporting automakers and the UAW.  In attendance were GM CEO Fritz Henderson, Ford’s Alan Mullaly, Chrysler’s Bob Nardelli, Toyota’s Jim Lentz, Honda’s John Mendel, BMW’s Friedrich Eichiner, Nissan’s Dominique Thormann, Daimler’s Dieter Zetsche, Mazda’s Jim O’Sullivan, Volkswagen’s Stefan Jacoby and the UAW’s Ron Gettelfinger.

If enacted the proposal would reduce America’s fuel-consumption by 1.8 billion barrels of oil.

The agreement was arrived at with the consent of California, which will cease to have its own fuel-economy standards.

The cost of achieving the new fuel-economy standard is expected to be roughly $600 per vehicle, a tab that will no doubt be passed along to the consumer.

[Source: Automotive News]