NHTSA Findings on UA on Toyota.com

Toyota Statement in Response to NHTSA/NASA Study

Feb. 8, 2011 — In response to the publication by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of an extensive review of the electronic throttle control systems in Toyota and Lexus vehicles, conducted with the assistance of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s Chief Quality Officer for North America, said:
“Toyota welcomes the findings of NASA and NHTSA regarding our Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i) and we appreciate the thoroughness of their review.  We believe this rigorous scientific analysis by some of America’s foremost engineers should further reinforce confidence in the safety of Toyota and Lexus vehicles.  We hope this important study will help put to rest unsupported speculation about Toyota’s ETCS-i, which is well-designed and well-tested to ensure that a real world, un-commanded acceleration of the vehicle cannot occur.
“We will continue to develop and equip Toyota and Lexus vehicles with industry-leading safety technologies, including many based on breakthroughs in sophisticated electronics systems.  We will also continue to cooperate fully with NHTSA and respected outside experts in order to help ensure that our customers have the utmost confidence in the safety and reliability of our vehicles.  Everyone at Toyota – all 30,000 of our team members in the United States and the many thousands of Americans at our dealers and suppliers across the country – is focused on listening to our customers and constantly improving our products and service.”

Regarding the safety and reliability of Toyota vehicles with ETCS-i, the company also noted:

•    Electronic throttle control systems have long been standard across the automobile industry, and they provide great benefits to consumers.
•    Toyota’s ETCS-i has performed reliably in more than 40 million cars and trucks sold around the world, including more than 16 million in the United States.
•    This system has also made possible significant safety advances such as vehicle stability control and traction control, which are among the five sophisticated accident avoidance technologies in Toyota’s Star Safety System.
•    These enhancements, along with Toyota’s Smart Stop Technology braking system, are now standard on all the new vehicles Toyota manufactures for the North American market.
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2010 Toyota Prius vs. Honda Insight

Prius vs. Insight: A clash of corporate cultures

Hans Greimel
Automotive News
May 18, 2009 – 12:01 am ET

TOKYO — Few cars better embody the wide divergence in the corporate cultures of Toyota and Honda than these two hybrids.

In one corner is the Honda Insight — a case study in utilitarian expedience. It’s powered by a simplified four-banger with an electric motor adding just enough oomph to cut down on trips to the pump. It sports a plasticky, no-frills interior and poaches parts from sister models.

In the other corner is the redesigned Toyota Prius — a paragon of engineering excellence. It pushes the envelope with an ingenious planetary gear transmission, outstanding fuel economy and snazzy options such as solar panels. The car that made hybrids famous carries a first-class sticker price to match.

For better and worse, the redesigned Prius and Insight exude the distinct corporate identities that gave them birth. The result is as much a battle of the automakers’ business philosophies as a two-car rivalry.

Faultless Toyota Motor Corp. reached new technological heights but drifted into cost creep, a risky trend in a recession. Penny-pinching Honda Motor Co. did a lot with a little, churning out a low-budget hybrid that can’t match its rival’s specs.

Different strokes
The Insight and Prius highlight personality differences between Honda and Toyota.
Honda Insight Toyota Prius
Objective Affordable sticker Fuel-efficiency tour de force
Price No discounting No discounting
Drivetrain Simplify current engine Go high-tech for more power
Bottom line Practicality with compromise Perfection at a price
Pricing policies

image

2010 Toyota Prius

The redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius goes on sale in the United States in late May with a base price of $22,750, including freight. The price of the top-trim Prius will be $28,020. Later this year, a stripped-down base model will be offered for $21,750.

The Insight, by contrast, starts at $20,470 and climbs to $23,000, fully loaded. Toyota’s aggressive pricing of the third-generation Prius may pressure margins again. Says Takaki Nakanishi, an auto industry analyst at JPMorgan: “It will be difficult to make a profit at the lower grades.”

Honda and Toyota share a reverence for the principles of kaizen — or continuous improvement — and just-in-time manufacturing. But their subtle differences are best summed in Honda’s pragmatism vs. Toyota’s perfectionism.

Pragmatism vs. perfectionism

image

Honda Insight

“Honda always has to prioritize what they can and can’t do because they just don’t have the resources of Toyota,” says Tatsuo Yoshida, an auto analyst with UBS Securities in Tokyo. “If they tried to follow Toyota on development, it would be like committing suicide.”

Take mileage. Honda was satisfied with a respectable EPA rating of 40 mpg city/43 highway for the Insight. But the Prius reached for and attained an eye-popping 51/48.

Honda got there by simplifying an existing 1.3-liter engine to two modes of variable valve timing, instead of three. It chose a one-clutch drivetrain instead of a two-clutch version. That reduced the efficiency of regenerative braking but was cheaper.

The lowest trim-level Insight lacks such staples as cruise control and stability control.

In aerodynamics, the Insight has a 0.28 drag coefficient. Good, but not even as good as the Honda Civic‘s. Yasunari Seki, the chief engineer, was ordered to poach body structure from the Honda Fit compact, a move that limited aerodynamic improvements and also resulted in ho-hum styling. In fact, attention to styling is such an afterthought at Honda that the company doesn’t have a company wide design chief.

The pursuit of expedience is echoed in Honda’s aversion to full-sized trucks and V-8 Acura offerings. Honda can’t be all things to all people so it compromises with the car-based Honda Ridgeline and a V-6 Acura. They may not be best-in-class, but they leverage Honda’s strengths.

“We believe it fits with the culture of our company, where we want to build environmentally friendly cars that get good gas mileage,” says Dick Colliver, who retired recently as executive vice president of sales at American Honda Motor Co. “You don’t have to have a V-8 engine to be Tier 1.”

High-tech luxury

Meanwhile, Akihiko Otsuka, Toyota’s chief engineer, was striving to make his Prius the world’s greenest car. The solution was cutting-edge.

Otsuka used a bigger engine to get better mileage at high speeds. He eliminated drive belts for the air conditioning compressor and water pump, making them electric. He devised an exhaust-heat recapture system to help keep the engine operating at optimal efficiency.

Otsuka also improved drag to 0.25, from 0.26. The new Prius was the world’s slickest production car until Mercedes unveiled its new E-class coupe at 0.24.

The Prius brims with luxury features, most famously the gimmicky solar panels whose sole task is to run a ventilation system to cool the cabin when the car is parked in the sun.

Toyota’s approach mirrors the whole-hog ambition that thrust it into the full-sized pickup segment with the Toyota Tundra and into premium sedans with the Lexus lineup.

“It’s part of Toyota culture to always improve on what it’s already done,” says Chris Richter, of CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. “It wants to position itself as higher end.”

Honda re-engineered the Insight’s hybrid system to cost 40 percent less than the previous-generation hybrid drivetrain, used in the current Civic Hybrid. Toyota was able to shave 35 percent off the costs of the current generation. But Otsuka missed the internal target of halving the cost.

Cash For Clunkers Automotive Stimulus

I found an interesting read about a proposed bill about getting older, less fuel efficient vehicles off the road. I hope you enjoy the information.

Cash for Clunkers Car Buying Stimulus Bill//

Cash for Clunkers Car Buying Stimulus Bill

Cash for Clunkers FAQ
By Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor

The Cash for Clunkers bill is a proposed federal program that would encourage consumers to trade in gas-guzzlers for new cars that get better fuel economy. Modeled after several programs that have already been successfully implemented in Europe, similar legislation is currently making its way through the U.S. Congress. The program would offer vouchers for consumers, allowing them to save thousands of dollars on a new-car purchase if the new vehicle meets improved mpg requirements.

Edmunds.com has put together this Cash for Clunkers FAQ page to track the program as it comes to fruition, and we’ll be updating this space regularly as new information becomes available.

Though the legislation hasn’t yet passed, we’ve provided some details of the current version of the proposed Cash for Clunkers program making its way through the House. The program would offer vouchers that allow consumers to save up to $4,500 on a new-car purchase. There are also various credits, in the form of vouchers, for trucks and work trucks. The earlier versions of the program that received a lot of media coverage have been reworked, with several objectionable elements having been jettisoned. A former version of the bill stated that the used cars would be crushed, but now the engines and transmissions will be shredded.

Though information from Congress suggests that the program may stimulate anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million new-car purchases, Edmunds.com believes that if properly implemented, the program may stimulate up to 3 million new-car sales. The proposed bill still needs to pass through Congress (and it is likely to be modified again in the Senate), but the president has already expressed his approval of recent drafts of the bill. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has put together a fact sheet (see below) to detail the key elements of the proposed legislation. We’ve followed that with an FAQ that we will continue to update as details emerge.

Committee on Energy and Commerce Fact Sheet: Cash for Clunkers
Consumers may trade in their old, gas-guzzling vehicles and receive vouchers worth up to $4,500 to help pay for new, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks. The program will be authorized for up to one year and provide for approximately 1 million new car or truck purchases. The agreement divides these new cars and trucks into four categories. Miles-per-gallon figures below refer to EPA “window sticker” values.

Passenger car or minivan: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less city/highway combined. New passenger cars or minivans with mileage of at least 22 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new car is at least 4 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new car is at least 10 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $4,500.

Light-duty truck: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less city/highway combined. New light trucks or SUVs with mileage of at least 18 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 5 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $4,500.

Large light-duty truck: New large trucks (pickup trucks and vans weighing between 6,000 and 8,500 pounds) with mileage of at least 15 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new truck is at least 1 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new truck is at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $4,500.

Work truck: Under the agreement, consumers can trade in a pre-2002 work truck (defined as a pickup truck or cargo van weighing from 8,500-10,000 pounds) and receive a voucher worth $3,500 for a new work truck in the same or smaller weight class. There will be a finite number of these vouchers, based on this vehicle class’ market share. There are no EPA mileage measures for these trucks; however, because newer models are cleaner than older models, the age requirement ensures that the trade will improve environmental quality. Consumers can also “trade down,” receiving a $3,500 voucher for trading in an older work truck and purchasing a smaller light-duty truck weighing from 6,000-8,500 pounds.

Summary of Cash for Clunkers Agreement
Minimum Fuel Economy for New Vehicle $3,500 Voucher $4,500 Voucher
Passenger Car or minivan 22 mpg (EPA combined) Mileage improvement of at least 4 mpg Mileage improvement of at least 10 mpg
Light-duty truck 18 mpg (EPA combined) Mileage improvement of at least 2 mpg Mileage improvement of at least 5 mpg
Large light-duty truck
(6,000-8,500 pounds)
15 mpg (EPA combined) Mileage improvement of at least 1 mpg or trade-in of a work truck Mileage improvement of at least 2 mpg
Work truck
(8,500-10,000 pounds)
Trade-in must be at least pre-2002

FAQ

How much are the vouchers worth? This will depend on the car you are turning in and the type of car you buy. In general, if the improvement in fuel economy between your old car and the car you buy is 10 mpg (combined highway mileage according to the EPA), the maximum credit will be $4,500. The requirement for improvement in fuel economy for trucks is lower. For specifics, see the above chart.

How old does my car need to be? There is no age restriction on vehicles eligible for trade in. For work trucks however, it is any built before 2002.We anticipate that most cars traded in will likely be model-year 2000 and older.

What types of vehicles qualify? In general, this bill aims to take polluting gas-guzzlers off the road. The vehicle must have a federal combined city/highway fuel economy of 18 or less miles per gallon. This means that many American-made cars and trucks will be eligible for vouchers toward the purchase of new vehicles. The categories of vehicles that will qualify fall into four classes: passenger cars, light-duty trucks, large light-duty trucks (6,000-8,500 pounds) and work trucks (8,500-10,000 pounds).

What kind of mpg will the new vehicle need to get? Different levels of improvement are required for each type of vehicle. In passenger cars, if mileage is improved by 10 mpg, the $4,500 voucher is awarded; if fuel economy is improved by only 4 mpg, the $3,500 voucher is awarded. The mileage improvement levels and voucher amounts for the different classes of trucks are listed in the chart above.

The proposal mentions a one-year time limit. Is there a cap on the number of vehicles? The bill is written to provide vouchers for 1 million purchases. However, we are predicting that the program has the potential to stimulate up to 3 million sales. For this reason, it is important for consumers who are interested in taking advantage of this program to track the progress of the bill and apply for the program as soon as funds become available.

How long do I need to have owned the vehicle I’m trading in? The vehicle must be registered in your name and in use for at least one year.

If I have an older car that is in good running condition, or a classic car, is it mandatory for me to turn it in? No. This program is completely voluntary.

What happens to the car that you trade in? The old car is given to a salvage operator. Vital engine and transmission components, that would otherwise pollute more than a modern engine, are destroyed so that the car does not end up on the road again. The salvage operator can then sell off any remaining parts on the vehicle. The destroyed engine and transmission can also be sold to recyclers.

How will this affect used-car values? Since the “clunkers” will be taken off the road, there will be fewer older vehicles in the marketplace. However, our analysts don’t expect this program to drastically affect used-car values.

Where do I find the mpg numbers to see if my vehicle qualifies for the Cash for Clunkers vouchers? The EPA’s combined mileage will be used. This is a combination of the highway and city mileage for vehicles. Models prior to 2008 will use the converted MPG numbers which take into account the new EPA testing methods. This information can be found on the window sticker of the car or at fueleconomy.gov.

What kind of vehicles qualify as light-duty and large light-duty trucks? Trucks qualify based on class and vehicle weight. For example, the Ford F-150 would be considered a light-duty truck. If you are considering taking advantage of this program, look up your vehicle on Edmunds.com and determine its weight. If it is between 6,000 and 8,500 pounds and gets less than 15 mpg, you have a large light-duty truck and will need to buy a truck that improves your fuel economy by 1 mpg for a $3,500 voucher. If you select a truck that improves fuel economy by at least 2 mpg, you will qualify for the $4,500 voucher. A work truck is classified as being between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds. The only requirement for this class is that the trade-in vehicle needs to have been built before model-year 2002.

As the program details emerge, check back here for a complete list of eligible vehicles.

When is the program expected to go into effect, and will it be retroactive? The language of the bill hasn’t been finalized, but the program is expected to have a retroactive date of March 30, 2009. However, you must be able to prove that you were the registered owner of the vehicle and that the old car has been scrapped. Passage of this bill could come before June and the vouchers would be available shortly thereafter. The current House legislation has been folded into a broader energy package and will be in committee for another two weeks as of this writing. Then it goes to the Senate, where it undoubtedly will go through changes.

Where will the money for vouchers come from? Since President Obama wants this to move as quickly as possible, it is likely that the money will come from the already approved Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds and the economic stimulus package.

Does the voucher augment or replace what the dealer would give me for my trade-in? The money you receive from the Cash for Clunkers program will act as your trade in value. It cannot be combined with the dealer’s trade in offer. This program is primarily designed to inflate the value of older vehicles worth less than $4,500.

Is there a limit on the price of the vehicle purchased with Cash for Clunkers vouchers? Vehicles purchased with the vouchers must have an MSRP of $45,000 or less.

How will the program be tracked? Via dealers or the DMV? Little information has been made available on this aspect of the bill. It is likely, though, that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) will be the prime tool in verifying information on the trade-in vehicle such as model year, engine size and the corresponding EPA-rated fuel-economy levels. The government has numerous databases with information on cars that are tracked through their VIN.

How will you get the money toward the trade-in? An electronic transfer from the government to the dealer will be issued once a vehicle is determined to be qualified for the Cash for Clunkers program. The voucher amount would be credited as all or part of the down payment on a qualifying new car.

Will it apply to used-car purchases? The final details of the bill are not yet available. However, it has always been assumed that the vouchers will only apply to new car purchases.

What if you’re leasing a vehicle and wish to trade it in? Again, final details are not available. But it is unlikely that consumers who are currently leasing vehicles will qualify for this program.

What if you wish to lease the new vehicle? In this case, it appears likely that the voucher could be applied to a leased vehicle as a “capitalized cost adjustment.” This would lower the price of the vehicle and thus reduce the monthly payment of a lease.

Hybrid Article in Automotive News

Hybrids 101

Perplexed by plug-ins? Lost when it comes to lithium ion? Start with this sample from our extensive online guide

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Nearly every major automaker plans to roll out environmentally friendly vehicles or add to its current fleet of hybrids or hydrogen-powered cars.

Subscribe to Automotive News

If these plans come to fruition, by around 2012 consumers will be able to choose from:

— Battery-powered electric vehicles.

— Plug-in hybrids.

— Fuel cell vehicles that use hydrogen.

A century ago, cars powered by gasoline, steam and electricity battled for supremacy. Over the next decade, consumers once again will have a number of powertrains and fuels from which to choose. Back then, gasoline-fueled internal combustion engines emerged triumphant. This time there may be more than one winner.

Daimler AG’s Smart microcar shows how Americans’ car-buying patterns are evolving in an era of environmental concerns and fluctuating fuel prices. Smart has proved that some people will plunk down $13,000 to $20,000 for a small, highly maneuverable car best suited to cities rather than highway driving. First-year sales totaled about 25,000.

So a small battery-powered electric car such as the upcoming Mitsubishi i MiEV or Toyota FT-EV could find a place on American roads, even though the driving range will be limited to about 100 miles on a charge.

Hybrid Guide

Because so many automakers are working on advanced-propulsion vehicles and often giving different names to the same technologies, it is difficult to keep track of all that is going on.

So Automotive News has put together a Hybrid Guide explaining the powertrains of the future. We define the terms you see in automakers’ messages. We explain how the different types of hybrids work.

Also included is a list of major automakers’ plans for hybrids and electric vehicles with as much information as is known — such as what kind of hybrid, what kind of batteries it uses and when it will be available.

The full guide is available online at http://www.autonews.com/hybridguide. Here’s a small sampling.

Types of vehicles

Not all hybrids work the same way. There are two types of hybrids: full (or strong) and mild. There also are two different powertrain configurations: series and parallel.

Here’s how they work:

Full hybrid: Found in the Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion Hybrid and Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, it can be driven short distances by the electric motor alone. After a percentage of the battery’s charge is used or when the vehicle reaches a certain speed, the gasoline engine turns on, drives the wheels and recharges the battery pack. Under heavy acceleration, both the engine and the motor drive the wheels.

Mild hybrid: Found in the Honda Civic Hybrid, it uses the electric motor to supplement the gasoline engine. In other words, the electric motor reduces the load on the gasoline engine and acts as a stop-start system. The electric motor does not drive the vehicle by itself.

Mild hybrid powertrains are designed in two ways. The first has an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission, as in Honda Motor Co.’s Integrated Motor Assist. General Motors uses another approach in its Belt-Alternator Starter system. It has a combined motor/generator bolted to the front of the engine.

A mild hybrid can improve fuel economy by 20 to 30 percent in some driving conditions. The Saturn Vue offers a good example of how a mild hybrid can improve fuel efficiency. The Vue has a 2.4-liter engine and automatic transmission. The non-hybrid version is EPA rated at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway. The mild hybrid version, which also has a 2.4-liter engine and automatic transmission, carries EPA ratings of 25 city and 32 mpg highway.

Series hybrid: Propulsion comes entirely from the electric motor or motors. The onboard gasoline engine generates electricity directly for the motor and the battery pack. The Chevrolet Volt is an example of a series hybrid. After 40 miles, the charge in the battery pack runs down and the gasoline engine starts up, turning the generator which makes electricity for the motor and the battery pack. The gasoline engine does not drive the wheels and is not mechanically connected to the wheels. Its sole purpose is to generate electricity.

Parallel hybrid: Found in the hybrid versions of the Ford Escape and Chevrolet Tahoe, it uses both the gasoline engine and electric motor to provide mechanical propulsion to the wheels, either together or independently.

Hybrid terms

Belt-Alternator Starter system, or BAS: A combination of motor/generator that is bolted to the front of the engine and connected to the crankshaft by the fan belt. It provides a slight boost to acceleration, puts energy back into the battery pack on deceleration and gives the vehicle stop-start capability.

Plug-in hybrid: The initial charge for a plug-in hybrid comes from the grid and gives a hybrid vehicle a longer driving range on pure electric power only. Plug-ins are scheduled to be introduced late in 2010, with the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt leading the way. Plug-ins can be either series hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt or parallel hybrids such as the Toyota Prius.

Range extender: This is a hybrid vehicle that has to be plugged in for its initial charge and has an onboard source of electricity, such as a fuel cell or a gasoline engine that spins a generator. The Chevy Volt is a range-extended, gasoline-electric plug-in series hybrid. Some automakers want to classify their range-extended hybrids as electric cars because if driven 40 miles per day or less, the vehicle will not need its gasoline engine to generate electricity. But under the Society of Automotive Engineers’ definition of a hybrid, the vehicle has two sources of energy for propulsion stored onboard. So a range-extended vehicle is a hybrid.

Two Mode: The marketing name for a hybrid drive system developed by BMW, Chrysler LLC, Daimler and General Motors. Two different Two Mode transmissions have been developed, one for rear-drive vehicles and one for front-drive vehicles.

The Two Mode transmission has two electric motors and delivers the fuel economy advantages of hybrid driving in the city and on the highway. A regular one mode hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, uses the electric motor to drive the vehicle at low speeds and to assist the gasoline engine when accelerating. At highway speeds, the electric motor in the Prius does not drive the vehicle. The Two Mode uses its electric motors to drive the wheels all the time, sometimes in conjunction with the gasoline engine.

Advanced propulsion plans

Here are BMW’s plans for advanced-propulsion vehicles. The online guide examines 14 automakers’ plans.

BMW: The German automaker’s Mini brand is leasing 500 Mini E battery-powered electric cars to consumers now. This is an electric car that must be plugged in at night to recharge the lithium ion batteries. The test could lead to limited production in about 2011.

BMW plans to introduce the X6 crossover with a Two-Mode hybrid powertrain in late 2009 or early 2010. This will be a gasoline-powered hybrid that uses the Two Mode transmission developed by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler and GM. In this application, the Two Mode transmission is a four-speed rear-drive system that delivers the benefits of electric-assist hybrid propulsion in both city and highway driving and also can tow heavy loads.

On European vehicles, various BMWs are equipped with a stop-start system that uses lithium ion batteries.

BMW also is testing a fleet of 7-series sedans with an internal combustion engine that burns either gasoline or liquid hydrogen.

Stimulus Package Auto Tax Deduction Expires 12/31/2009

Update! The automotive sales tax deduction expires at the end of December! Read below for details!

So here is the official release of the Economic Stimulus Package regarding auto sales tax deductions. I hope you find all of the information you need and yes this does apply to new Toyotas!

February 17, 2009
CONSUMER AUTO INCENTIVE INCLUDED IN FINAL STIMULUS BILL (H.R. 1) “AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009”
***NOTE: INCENTIVE EFFECTIVE UPON PRESIDENT’S SIGNATURE***
Today, the President is expected to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Upon becoming law, car buyers will be permitted to deduct sales/excise tax from their yearly income tax bill for vehicles purchased before the end of this year.
What Taxes are Deductible? 1

State Motor Vehicle Sales

Local Motor Vehicle Sales

Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes
What Customers Qualify for the Deduction?

Individual customers with modified adjusted gross income of less than $125,000 or joint-filers making less than $250,000 a year in 2009 would qualify for the deduction.

Deductible as an “above the line” (for itemizers and non-itemizers) deduction on federal tax return.
Effective Date

New vehicle purchases shall apply to purchases on or after the date of enactment
(expected February 16, 2009) until Dec. 31st, 2009.
What New Vehicles Qualify for the Deduction?

Any new vehicle under 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight.

New vehicles of any model year – when the original use commences with the taxpayer.

Any vehicle sold for under $49,500 qualifies for the full deduction. Consumers may deduct sales taxes on the first $49,500 of any vehicle sold above this price.
THIS IS A GENERALIZED SUMMARY. For more specific information on eligible customers, taxes and applicability, dealers are encouraged to consult with a qualified tax attorney or professional.
1 “For purposes of this section, the term ‘qualified motor vehicle taxes’ means any state or local sales or excise tax imposed on the purchase of a qualified motor vehicle.”- (Text of H.R. 1)
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New Toyota Prius Features

Ok everybody, I have been away from the blog but I promise I will be here on a regular basis. Here is some cool stuff about the new Prius.


EMBARGO DATE: JANUARY 12, 2009 AT 11:30 A.M. EASTERN TIME

TMS – – 003 – – 09

TOYOTA REVEALS ALL-NEW PRIUS

DETROIT, January 12, 2009 — Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc.,

unveiled the all-new 50-mile-per gallon rated third-generation Prius hybrid vehicle

today at the 2009 North American International Auto show.

Celebrated as the benchmark for cars of the future, the Prius has

delivered superior fuel economy and ultra-low emissions to more than one million

owners worldwide for more than 10 years.

The midsize third-generation 2010 Prius will offer even better mileage

ratings, enhanced performance, and innovative design features. It will be quieter,

roomier, and equipped with advanced standard and available features such as a

moonroof with solar panels, four driving modes, Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA)

and steering wheel touch controls that display on the instrument panel.

An Eco-Icon

The first-generation Prius entered the market in 1997 as the world’s first

mass-produced hybrid. The name Prius, “to go before” in Latin, became symbolic

of a car that was launched even before environmental awareness had become a

mainstream social issue.

From the beginning, Toyota’s full-hybrid system was developed in-house

and has become a driving force behind advanced vehicle technology. The

company’s exclusive Hybrid Synergy Drive System was introduced in 2004 on

the second-generation Prius. Since then, more than 670,000 have been sold in

the U.S.

-more2010

Toyota Prius 2-2-2-2

In designing the new, third-generation Prius, Toyota engineers combined

a careful refinement of existing systems with an aggressive measure of new

technology necessary for the future of automobiles.

Fuel Economy and Environmental Performance

The new Prius will be built using processes that reduce pollution in every

stage of vehicle life, from production and driving, through to disposal.

The third-generation Prius extends its record of continuous improvement

in fuel economy. The first-generation Prius, which was rated 41 EPA combined

mpg, was replaced by the current model, which is EPA rated at 46 mpg,

combined city/highway. Using a combination of technologies, fuel efficiency was

increased to an estimated 50 miles per gallon for the new Prius.

A larger and more powerful 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine

will power the new Prius. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the larger engine

actually helps improve highway mileage. By making more torque, the new engine

can run at lower average rpm on the highway. When operating at lower rpm, the

new engine uses less fuel. Mileage is especially improved in cold-start conditions

and at higher speeds.

Use of an electric water pump and a new exhaust gas recirculation (EGR)

system also contribute to the engine’s efficiency. The 1.8-liter Prius engine is the

first Toyota power plant that requires no belts under the hood for better fuel

economy and less potential maintenance.

A multi-information display panel that monitors fuel and energy

consumption is standard. It provides feedback on the Prius’ efficiency using

three different displays to help the driver acquire economical driving habits.

Unlike most other hybrid vehicles available, Prius has been a “full” hybrid

since introduction. This allows it to run on engine alone, battery alone, or a

combination of both. The system blends the best of parallel hybrid and series

hybrid designs to achieve the ability to operate on the electric mode alone, and to

charge the batteries while the car is running.

-more2010

Toyota Prius 3-3-3-3

The patented Hybrid Synergy Drive system in the 2010 Prius is 90 percent

newly-developed with significant improvements over previous models.

The transaxle is lighter in weight and reduces torque losses by as much

as 20 percent compared to the previous model.

The inverter, which converts direct current to alternating current, has a

new direct cooling system to reduce size and weight.

Taken together, the inverter, motor and transaxle are smaller and 20

percent lighter.

A newly developed electronically controlled regenerative braking system

has been adopted, with control logic optimized to enhance regeneration.

The new Prius will offer three alternative driving modes. EV-Drive Mode

allows driving on battery power alone at low speeds for about a mile, if conditions

permit. There is also a Power Mode, which increases sensitivity to throttle input

for a sportier feel, and an Eco Mode, which helps the driver achieve their best

mileage.

Cutting Edge Styling

In designing the new Prius, aerodynamic performance was an important

factor. The goal was to create a beautiful silhouette, while not compromising

function. Designers preserved the dynamic triangle form of the

current model–instantly recognizable as a Prius–but made alterations to the

overall profile, pillar position and angle. The front pillar, extended forward, helps

refine the performance-focusing, shaped form.

The overall height of the Prius is the same, but the roof profile is altered by

moving the top of the roof 3.9 inches to the rear. This emphasizes the wedge

shape, and also allows for enhanced rear headroom and improved

aerodynamics.

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2010 Toyota Prius 4-4-4-4

The design of the new Prius’ front and rear corners are sharp, sporty and

aerodynamic. Strong side character lines, rising from front to rear, define the

glazed geometric shape. Viewed from the rear, wider rear treads provide a solid,

firmly rooted stance.

Dimensionally, the new Prius has the same wheelbase as the current

generation. Overall length is slightly increased by 0.6 inches, in part by moving

the front cowl forward.

World’s Lowest Cd

The new Prius received more wind tunnel hours of testing than any other

Toyota in history, resulting in the cleanest aerodynamic profile of any massproduced

vehicle in the world. By focusing on the shape of the body, underfloor,

wheelhouse liner and shape of the wheels, the designers of the new Prius were

able to reduce the coefficient of drag (Cd) value to 0.25, compared to 0.26 for the

previous model. The airflow under the car was studied extensively. Engineers

made changes to the shape of the fender liner, front surface of the underfloor,

and added a fin at the rear floor cover to increase linear stability.

Advanced Equipment For a New Era

An available sliding glass moonroof is packaged with solar panels, located

over the rear seating area, that power a new ventilation system. This solar

powered ventilation system uses an electrically powered air circulation fan that

does not require engine assist. The system prevents the interior air temperature

from rising while the vehicle is parked, making the cool-down time shorter when

the driver returns to the vehicle, thus reducing the use of air conditioning.

The remote air-conditioning system is the first system in the world to

function on battery-power alone and that can be remotely operated, so the driver

can adjust the interior temperature for comfort before getting in the car.

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2010 Toyota Prius 5-5-5-5

Reducing the vehicle’s power consumption, available LED (light emitting

diode) lamps are used for low beams and also in the tail and stop lamps. Air

conditioning, a major energy drain, has been re-engineered to increase efficiency

and cool-down performance. In addition, an exhaust heat recirculation system

reduces heat waste by warming engine coolant during cold startup, for improved

performance. It also heats up the passenger cabin more efficiently.

Enhanced Vehicle Performance

The next-generation Prius is built on a new platform, which enables

improved handling stability, quieter operation, and collision safety. The

suspension consists of front struts and a rear intermediate beam design, as

before, but handling stability is advanced by improving the stabilizer layout,

higher caster angle and tuning the bushing characteristics. Disc brakes are now

used on all four corners, replacing the front disc/rear drum brakes in the current

model.

Weight was saved through use of aluminum in the hood, rear hatch, front

suspension axle and brake caliper and super high-tensile steel in the rocker

inner, center pillar, and roof reinforcement. To meet customer expectations for

everyday performance, zero-to-60 acceleration has been improved to 9.8

seconds, more than a second faster, in internal testing.

Better-performing sound insulation, working with improved vibration

damping, has been installed in various locations to reduce road noise.

Functional Interior Is Bigger on the Inside

Proving that small changes add up to big gains, the cargo area of the new

Prius was expanded 0.4 inches in length and 2.2 inches in width by using a new

and an improved layout of the battery cooling unit.

Rear seat legroom is enhanced by a new space-saving contoured frontseat

design.

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2010 Toyota Prius 6-6-6-6

Viewed from the cockpit, the center cluster smoothly flows from the

instrument panel to the console. Handy storage space has been added under the

shift lever by taking advantage of the shift-by-wire system. Simple, fin-type air

vents are consistent with the cabin’s efficient appearance. Judicious use of silver

accents adds a finished, technical feel.

Touch sensors on the steering wheel switches are designed to reduce

driver eye movement for better concentration on the road. When the driver

touches the audio or info switch located on the steering wheel, a duplicate image

is displayed on the instrument panel, directly in front of the driver. This system,

called Touch Tracer, is the first system in the world to allow steering wheel

controls to read out on the instrument panel.

The ECO indicator on the Multi-Informational Display (MID) provides driver

feedback for lower fuel consumption.

In pursuit of developing various advanced technologies aimed at realizing

sustainable mobility, Toyota will use plant-derived, carbon-neutral plastics in the

2010 Prius. The newly-developed plastics, known as “ecological plastic,” will be

used in the seat cushion foam, cowl side trim, inner and outer scuff plates, and

deck trim cover. Ecological plastic emits less CO2 during a product lifecycle

(from manufacturing to disposal) than plastic made solely from petroleum; it also

helps reduce petroleum use.

Safety Enhancements

The new Prius was designed to comply with class-top level collision safety

performance in each global region of sale, and to accommodate increasingly

strict safety requirements in the future.

In addition to advanced driver and front passenger Supplemental Restraint

System (SRS) airbags front and rear side curtain airbags, driver and passenger

seat-mounted side airbags and driver’s knee airbag are standard equipment.

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2010 Toyota Prius 7-7-7-7

Active headrests are used in both front seats to reduce the possibility of

whiplash in a collision. Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake

Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), electronic traction control (TRAC) and

Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) are included with Toyota’s standard Star Safety

System.

Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system, using advanced millimeter wave

radar, is an available option. The system also enables Lane Keep Assist, which

helps the driver stay safely within the lane, and the Pre-Collision System, which

retracts seatbelts and applies the brakes in certain conditions when a crash is

unavoidable.

Next-generation Intelligent Parking Assist features simplified settings to

help guide the car into parking spaces.

A backup monitor, which provides a view of rear obstacles when reverse

is engaged, is available with an optional voice-activated navigation system.

Safety Connect, Toyota’s first safety and security service, includes automatic

collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and an SOS call button. Safety

Connect will be available a few months after launch.

The development of the Prius has required applications for over 1,000

patents filed across the world, of which 292 are U.S. applications.

Pricing for the 2010 Prius will be announced shortly before it goes on sale

late spring.

# # #

2010 Toyota Prius 8-8-8-8

2010 PRUIS PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS

POWERTRAIN

1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with VVT-i

Engine horsepower: 98 hp @ 5,200 rpm

Engine torque: 105 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm

Electric motor: Permanent magnet synchronous motor

Electric motor power output: 80 hp/153 lb-ft torque

Hybrid system net horsepower: 134 hp

Emission rating: SULEV (with AT-PZEV)

Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission

Drive System: Front-wheel-drive

Hybrid battery pack: Nickel-metal hydride

Estimated fuel economy: 50 mpg (combined)*

DIMENSIONS (inches)

Overall Length: 175.6

Overall Width: 68.7

Overall Height: 58.7

Wheelbase: 106.3

Ground clearance: 5.5

Coefficient of Drag: 0.25

Wheels: 15-inch alloy wheels

17-inch alloy wheels (optional)

Tire Size: 15-inch: 195/65R15

17-inch: 215/45R17 (optional)

Seating Capacity: 5

EPA class rating: Midsize

* Preliminary figure based on Toyota’s internal testing. Actual mileage will vary.

Really Interesting News

So I was looking at an article today in Automotive News. This publication requires a subscription and is a bit of inside information about what’s going on in the industry. Hope you like it!