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Auto blogFri, 25 Jan 2013 10:00:00 EST
Back in June, Toyota and BMW announced a "memorandum of understanding" outlining plans for the two companies to join forces on future products and technology development. On Thursday, they signed a more formal and binding agreement that goes further into detail about the partnership, and it all sounds pretty exciting. The two announced they will work together in four main areas:
Joint development of a fuel cell system
"Set up a feasibility study to define a joint platform concept for a mid-size sports vehicle"
Depending on how you want to look at things, the US Attorney's Office $1.2-billion dollar settlement with Toyota in March over its unintended acceleration recall was either a big blow to the company or completely inconsequential. From January to March, net income fell five percent to 297 billion yen ($2.89 billion), compared to 313.9 billion yen ($3.05 billion) a year ago. However, the automaker still posted record full-year profits worldwide.
Operating profit also fell in the US by 9 percent to $498.1 million for the quarter, but sales were up by 6 percent to 581,261 vehicles. According to Automotive News, global revenue was still up from January to March by about 13 percent and vehicle sales were up 6 percent to 2.58 million units.
However, the payment to the feds did little to hold the company back last year. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, Toyota had net income of 1.82 trillion yen ($17.7 billion), compared to 962.1 billion yen ($9.5 billion) in the last fiscal year. Total vehicle sales were also up.
Now, hold on. This recall isn't quite as serious as it sounds. Yes, Toyota is recalling 11,489 FJ Cruiser models from the 2007 to 2013 model years, and yes, it's because the vehicles, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states, "fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, 'Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment.'" But read the fine print and you'll see the catch: This recall is only for vehicles fitted with the automaker's auxiliary lighting kit that can be mounted to the front bumper.
Basically, the auxiliary lamp assemblies use 55-watt bulbs, and when these are turned on in conjunction with the upper beam headlamps, it's a pretty blinding sight. NHTSA states that excessively bright lights can blind other drivers, increasing the risk for a crash.
To remedy the situation, Toyota will replace the 55-watt bulbs with cooler 35-watt units. The recall is expected to begin later this month. Scroll down for the full details in the NHTSA report.