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Auto blogSun, 23 Jun 2013 09:00:00 EST
Over the past two years, Toyota has invested more than $2 billion at its North American production facilities, and it apparently doesn't plan on stopping there. To keep up with recent strong sales, Toyota is investing an additional $200 million at its engine plants in the Southern US to increase production capacity of its V6 engines.
The bulk of this money ($150 million) will go to expand Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville, AL, which is currently responsible for supplying engines - four-cylinder, V6 and V8 - to eight of Toyota's 12 domestically produced vehicles. That includes the best-selling Toyota Camry (shown above).
Toyota didn't say exactly what improvements are being made to the plant, but this follows last year's $80 million investment in the plant that is set to be completed by next year raising the engine capacity to 750,000 annual units including 362,000 V6s. The remaining $50 million will go to the casting plants of Toyota-owned Bodine Aluminum in Missouri and Tennessee, which supply engine blocks and cylinder heads to the Huntsville engine plant as well as others in Kentucky and West Virginia. Scroll down below for the official press release.
When it rains, it pours. Toyota has announced a pair of separate but voluntary North America recalls covering approximately 235,000 vehicles built between 2006 and 2011. The larger of the two recalls targets Toyota's hybridized crossovers, the Lexus RX400h and Toyota Highlander Hybrid. 133,000 units, including 2006-2010 Highlander and 2006-2008 RX crossovers are covered in the campaign. The other recall affects 102,000 IS350 sedans, IS350C convertibles and GS350 sedans built between 2006 and 2011.
With the CUVs, the faults in the parallel circuits of the transistors can cause heat damage in the inverter assembly, triggering an abundance of warning lamps and sending the vehicle into limp mode. The Lexus sedans are being recalled due to loose bolts on the variable valve timing controller. Detected by unusual underhood sounds on startup, the issue can cause the engine to stop while driving. The inverter issue is also triggering similar recalls in Japan and Europe.
At the moment, it's unclear if any of these issues have caused any crashes or injuries. Toyota says it plans to notify owners of the recall via snail mail. Additional information for owners can be found on the recall sites for Toyota and Lexus or by calling Toyota's customer service line, at 1-800-331-4331. Scroll down for the complete recall notice from Toyota.
Don't let its supremely polarizing appearance fool you, this is not the Lexus LF-NX Concept that you (probably) had a strong reaction to when it debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The German version of the concept car featured a variant of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, while this LF-NX Turbo, well, it has "turbo" in the name, you see?
If fact, the namesake turbo would appear to be the first for Lexus; getting off the line in the forced-induction race with a 2.0T four-cylinder engine that "paves the way for the introduction of turbocharged powerplants in future Lexus models." Sounds good to us. The new turbo four has plenty of tricky tech, too. Lexus tells us that the engine makes use of an advanced high tumble port, fan spray fuel injection, VVT-iw variable valve timing, an exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head and, of course, a twin-scroll turbo with active wastegate valve. The result is said to be a blown engine that offers quick throttle response and "exhilarating" performance, along with excellent fuel economy and low tailpipe emissions.
As for the rest of the LF-NX Turbo concept? Well, you've seen this angular concept crossover before, basically. There's a slightly tweaked front end and new wheels sitting in slightly cleaned-up wheel wells. The boldest-yet version of the spindle grille still bears an uncanny resemblance to The Predator, and the slightly revised exterior visuals won't change your made-up-mind about this vision of Lexus' future.