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Auto blogThu, 17 Jul 2014 09:02:00 EST
Don't you just hate when your neighbors' mess becomes your problem? Toyota certainly has good reason to be upset, after an dirty mishap at a steel mill delayed thousands of vehicle exports from its nearby port in Nagoya, Japan, (pictured above) by as much as a month.
The messy situation occurred on June 22 when the mill near the port lost power and had to burn off an excess buildup of coke oven gas - which isn't exactly a situation friendly to living beings or the environment. According to Automotive News, it caused a massive amount of smoke to emit from the plant that fell as soot and tar on about 23,000 vehicles that were waiting to be shipped out. Getting the models properly cleaned off has been quite a task. A team of 5,000 workers were at the port until this week getting them gleaming again.
Potential Toyota buyers in North America have no need to fret about getting a sullied car, though. A Toyota spokesperson told Automotive News that none of the vehicles were bound for this continent. The automaker is reportedly considering asking the mill's owners for reimbursement for the cost of the weeks of cleanup. Paying for the mistake is, after all, the neighborly thing to do.
The ES is Lexus' top-selling sedan, but the Japanese luxury marque has never manufactured it outside of Japan. In fact, Lexus has never made any cars in the United States, one of its largest markets worldwide. But that's about to change.
Yesterday, construction began in Georgetown, Kentucky, on the first Lexus assembly line in America, the first concrete (or steel) step in a $360-million expansion of Toyota's plant in the Bluegrass state that will create 750 new jobs. The expansion was announced last April by chief executive Akio Toyoda at the New York Auto Show.
Once the new assembly line gets online in the fall of next year, Toyota plans on building some 50,000 units of the ES each year. Lexus sold a record 72,581 examples of the ES in the United States last year - 30 percent more than the previous year - so Lexus will either have to import some more from overseas or leave some buyers disappointed.
Toyota has announced a rather small voluntary recall, affecting 5,650 Avalon and Camry sedans from model year 2014. Both gas and hybrid models are included in the action.
This recall focuses on the left front lower suspension arm, which may have a bad bolt connecting it to the ball joint. If the car hits a big enough pothole - a real concern as we head into winter - or suffers a major impact, the two components could separate, at which point steering control would more or less vanish.
According to Toyota, there have been no crashes, injuries or deaths due to this problem. Toyota is notifying owners, who will need to report to dealers for a free replacement lower suspension arm.