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Toyota posted a media advisory yesterday saying that Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, and Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, would be making a production announcement tomorrow in New York City, and Automotive News reports that the automaker will be announcing a plan to domestically produce the Lexus ES. According to the report, numerous plants are competing to build the ES in North America, and the State of Kentucky has offered the automaker up to $146.5 million to build the luxury sedan at the Georgetown, KY assembly plant.
If Georgetown gets the ES, which has been built in Japan since its debut in 1989, it would be built alongside the Toyota Camry, which is somewhat ironic since in our review of the 2013 Lexus ES350, we wrote that this ES finally says "goodbye to its Camry roots." In order to get the whole amount offered, the article states that Toyota would have to invest $531.2 million and hire 570 full-time workers at the plant, which doesn't sound all that unreasonable since the plant would require an additional 50,000 units of annual production, not to mention the fact that the Georgetown facility is already at its capacity for building the Camry.
The idea of lifting a full-size pickup truck completely off the ground by hand might seem as likely as, say, said pickup truck towing a 150,000-pound space shuttle, but... hurray, physics! The same Toyota Tundra that towed the Space Shuttle Endeavour to its final resting place at the California Science Center is now on permanent display there as an exhibit that shows how a lever works.
Like all levers, this exhibit uses a fulcrum allowing people other than Superman to lift the 5,625-pound pickup (plus an extra 1,000 pounds for the rig). That's almost as impressive as the Tundra pulling 17 times its rated towing capacity back in October. Regardless, Toyota is once again cashing in on the publicity stunt and visitors to the science center get a live demonstration of a simple machine - we call that a win-win.
It's easy to poke a joke here and there about John Davis, the long-time host of MotorWeek. His voice is so monotonous that, from time to time, if you closed your eyes, you may think it's generated via a computer. But you have to give him and the rest of the show a lot of credit. The program has been on the air for decades, giving people direct, straight-down-the middle automotive reviews.
MotorWeek's massive back catalog of reviews are slowly making their way onto YouTube, and they provide a fascinating chance to look back on how performance cars rank against their contemporaries from back in the day. Two recent additions include the show's old looks at the 1986 Toyota Supra, the dawn of the third-generation model, and the now-iconic 1991 Acura NSX.
Both reviews are interesting in their own way. These days you hear nary a negative word about the original NSX, but MotorWeek isn't afraid to point out a few flaws. And the Supra really shows the progress of suspension tuning in the intervening decades because it has some serious body roll in the corners. Scroll down to check out both videos and get a blast from the automotive past.