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Auto blogFri, 02 May 2014 18:40:00 EST
Toyota's North American CEO Jim Lentz has already given us a rough idea of what prompted the company's surprise move to the Dallas suburb of Plano, TX from its longstanding headquarters in Torrance, CA. A new story from The Los Angeles Times, though, delivers even more detail from Lentz on the reasoning for the move, what other cities were considered and why the company's current host city wasn't even in the running.
Of course, one of the more popular reasons being bandied about includes the $40 million Texas was set to give the company for the move, as well as the state's generous tax rates. According to Lentz, though, the reason Toyota chose Plano over a group of finalists made up of Atlanta, Charlotte and Denver, was far simpler than that - it was about consolidating its marketing, sales, engineering and production teams in a region that's closer to the company's seat of manufacturing in the south.
"It doesn't make sense to have oversight of manufacturing 2,000 miles away from where the cars were made," Lentz told The Times. "Geography is the reason not to have our headquarters in California."
Four months have passed since Toyota ended its relationship with Tesla Motors, in which the electric-vehicle specialist supplied full lithium-ion battery packs to the Japanese behemoth for its RAV4 EV rollout, of which 2,500 vehicles will be completed. Now, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has been heard suggesting that a future collaboration is likely within the next two to three years, and that it will probably be much larger than the last one.
Both Tesla and Toyota have sung each other's praises in the not-too-distant past, Toyota telling Autoblog back in May, "We have a good relationship with Tesla and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects." According to Automotive News, Musk said of the Japanese giant, "We love working with Toyota... We have a huge amount of respect for them as a company and certainly much to learn."
Interestingly, though, the two automakers have rather divergent strategies for eco-friendly automobiles. Toyota, as you're surely aware, is the clear-cut leader in hybrids and has thrown its massive support in the direction of hydrogen fuel cells, while Tesla has invested heavily in battery-electric technology and high-speed charging stations.
Was your Toyota inspected under the company's recall campaign for faulty airbag inflators last year? You might have another trip ahead to have it repaired again. The automotive giant says that it found "the involved serial numbers provided by the supplier were incomplete, and did not include all of the potentially involved inflators," according to its official announcement. That means more replacements are needed.
Toyota's April 2013 inflator recall covered the Corolla, Matrix and Tundra from the 2003 and 2004 model years, the Sequoia from 2002 to 2004 and the Lexus SC 430 from 2002 to 2004. At the time, the company said it would need to inspect about 510,000 vehicles in the US but only expected to replace around 170,000 inflators.
However, the latest announcement increases that figure to about 766,300 vehicles in the US. Toyota spokesperson Cindy Knight told Autoblog that the new amount is the combination of owners who need to have their vehicle looked at again and those who didn't come in for the initial recall. The company learned about the problem when Takata, the supplier, provided it with an improved list of the faulty part's serial numbers. According to The Detroit News, the latest recall affects about 2.27 million vehicles from them worldwide. Knight said owners would receive notification of the problem around the end of the month but repairs would come in phases because the automaker doesn't have all of the necessary parts at the moment.