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Mon, 22 Jul 2013 11:01:00 EST
Toyota is going to be back in the spotlight, as the first of its unintended acceleration lawsuits is headed for trial. This case covers a Los Angeles sushi shop owner, Noriko Uno. According to the what the family told The Detroit News, Uno only put about 10,000 miles on her 2006 Toyota Camry in four years. Uno was apparently afraid of high speeds, avoiding the freeway and taking a route home along LA's surface streets to avoid them.
Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:01:00 EST
On August 28, 2009, Uno's Camry suddenly accelerated to 100 miles per hour, eventually striking a telephone poll and a tree and killing her. The family contends that Uno attempted to step on the brakes and pull the emergency brake, neither of which brought her speed under control, while Toyota maintains that improperly installed floormats and driver error have been behind the majority of the 80 cases expected to be heard in court.
In Uno's case, The Detroit News is expecting the trial to focus on the lack of an override if the gas and brake pedals were pressed at the same time. Brake overrides were installed on Toyota's European fleet. The Uno family attorney will need to prove to the jury that it wasn't driver error that killed Noriko Uno.
A reshuffle in the uppermost ranks of Lexus could see the Japanese luxury brand further energize its recent focus on design. Tokuo Fukuichi, Toyota's global design boss, is the new head of Lexus International.
Tue, 27 Aug 2013 18:00:00 EST
Fukuichi will retain his role as the overall head of design for Toyota, Lexus and Scion, and will assume his new position at the head of Lexus and on its board on April 1 (no fooling). This is going to be an interesting move for fans of design to watch, as Fukuichi has repeatedly been mentioned as a designer that enjoys pushing the edge of the envelope and experimenting. He is, after all, the man responsible for designing the most awesomely odd minivan of the 1990s, the mid-engined, rear-drive Toyota Previa, and more recently, he signed off on the controversial Lexus LF-NX concept, which is said to presage a new production small crossover.
"Regarding changes in design, no one has 100 percent confidence," Fukuichi told Forbes back in January 2013. "No one can really say with pure certainty that, 'In two years, this will sell well.'" As Akio Toyoda continues to demand more assertive, edgier designs, it's that point of view that should make Fukuichi a valuable addition to Lexus, as it continues to challenge the competition from Germany.
If you're in the market for a new electric vehicle, now is definitely the time to buy or lease. Following price drops on just about every other EV on the market, Toyota is looking to push a few more all-electric RAV4 crossovers out the door over the Labor Day weekend. The Detroit News is reporting that, through September 3, anyone looking to get into a RAV4 EV in Los Angeles or San Francisco, can get a deal: a $299 a month lease (no word on down payment, though) or zero-percent financing for 60 months for buyers.
The $49,800 RAV4 EV normally leases for twice as much - $599 a month - so this move could be an attempt to sell more of the 2,600 units Toyota has planned to produce. Or maybe, if you thought $599 was a fair price, you can now get two RAV4 Evs. Although temporary, the price drop comes at a time when many other EVs on the market have had their prices reduced, including the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Smart Fortwo ED and Honda Fit EV, not to mention already low prices for the Fiat 500e and Chevy Spark EV.
*Note: 2012 RAV4 EV pictured here