Toyota Mirai: Previewing the Latest in Toyota Fuel-Cell Technology


Toyota is opening its doors to the public, showcasing the production of the new Mirai in a series of videos. People now have an opportunity to see how Toyota’s first production fuel-cell vehicle is manufactured, an incredibly complex and interesting process.

The videos show a surprisingly small staff in Toyota City, Japan putting together the new Mirai, essentially by hand. This is to ensure that there are no flaws on the hydrogen powered sedan, said Toyota. Although it means that only about three cars per day are made, this is enough to keep up with the limited release.

“For us, [the Mirai] marks a new start,” said Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda. “This is not to reflect on the past, but rather to celebrate Toyota’s new start, where we take a fresh step towards the future.”

The Mirai represents the culmination of Toyota fuel-cell technology. Right now, only select parts of the world have the infrastructure for hydrogen cars (a.k.a. hydrogen filling stations) such as certain regions of California. As soon as more places embrace this new eco-friendly technology, Toyota can hit the ground running with the revolutionary Mirai.

Toyota Camry, Highlander, and Sienna Named Best Family Cars of 2015

best family cars of 2015

Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com recruited families and brought its usual host of expert editors to determine this year’s list of the 15 Best Family Cars of 2015. Among the chosen winners were the Camry midsize sedan, the Highlander midsize crossover, and the Sienna minivan.

Selecting the winners is no small task. KBB.com gathered “23 of the latest and greatest different vehicles from a variety of manufacturers” and put them all to real-world tests. Evaluations were based on comfort, driving feel, safety, child seats, cargo space, rear-seat entertainment, and other extra features like advanced electronics and ease-of-access.

The new Camry was a clear contender from the beginning thanks to its total redesign for the 2015 model year. It’s the most attractive Camry to date (at least we think so at Bill Walsh Toyota) and quite roomy and comfortable to boot, which should help it remain the best-selling car in the US, as it has been for the past 12 years.

The Highlander and Sienna were just as convincing. The former is just the right size and full of storage places, and the latter’s entertainment and Drive Easy Speak system make it really easy to keep the kids under control.

Two New Special Edition Toyotas Debut in Chicago

Two new special edition Toyotas based on the brand’s best-selling sedans were introduced the 2015 Chicago Auto Show: the 2016 Camry Special Edition and the 2016 Corolla Special Edition.

For the Camry, getting that special edition badge means getting 18-inch alloy wheels with gloss black-painted accents, smoked tail lamps, high-contrast blue stitching throughout the interior, premium audio and navigation systems, and push-button start. It’ll come in Blizzard Pearl and Blue Streak Metallic colors.

Meanwhile, the special edition Toyota Corolla receives new 17-inch alloy wheels with gloss black finish, a black interior with red contrast stitching, enhanced audio and navigation systems, a power moonroof, and push-button start. Colors will include Absolutely Red, Black Sand Pearl, and Super White.

Only 12,000 special-edition Camrys and 8,000 Corollas will be produced. The former will be available between August 2015 and January 2016 and the latter between August 2015 and December 2015 at Bill Walsh Toyota. We’ll see you then!

Toyota iRoad Prototype Takes on California

Toyota is stepping outside of its box, bringing its latest contraption—a  three-wheeled, one-person motor vehicle—to California. Born in Japan, the Toyota iRoad is tiny, electric, and most importantly, it’s fun. Like, really fun. Take one look at this driver taking the iRoad for a test spin, and you’ll want in on the action, too.

Toyota is putting the iRoad to the test, asking drivers in Japan, France, and now San Francisco to take the little electric car for a spin.  In cities where traffic is brutal, gas prices are high, and commuters just want to get to their destination already, the simple, efficient, and ridiculously-cool iRoad could be just the thing drivers are looking for.

The iRoad is powered by a lithium cell battery, which offers a driving range of 30 miles, goes a top speed of about 37 mph, and can be fully recharged in three hours. Just over three feet wide, the iRoad can comfortably fit the driver, and claims to have room for a small to medium-sized person behind the driver’s seat. In reality, it looks like there might be just enough room for your bag, but that’s about it.

So far, the iRoad has been incredibly well-received. Toyota business development manager Jason Schulz points out that “Every single person, their first reaction is, ‘This is fun!’ You can actually watch people start to grin.” While we admit that “fun” is a long way from “practical,” here at Bill Walsh Toyota, we can’t help but love the idea of these little cars getting us to and from work.

Toyota USA Foundation

Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places” doesn’t just apply to the automaker’s vehicles. Toyota also drives education forward through the Toyota USA Foundation. The Foundation is “committed to enhancing the quality of education by supporting innovative programs…dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” according to the foundation’s mission statement. Organizations can apply for a grant if they’re charitable, open to the public, and aid in learning.

Founded in 1987, the Toyota USA Foundation has been around a little less than three decades. In that time, it’s awarded nonprofit organizations around the United States over $52 million. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy created a wide need for food in the hardest hit areas of New York City. Partnering with a food bank, Meals Per Hour was born. The packaging process was streamlined, meaning more meals could fit on a single truck and more families were fed. The project became a documentary and for every view, a meal was donated.

In the past, Toyota USA Foundation has funded the rebuilding of New Orleans, trained American Red Cross volunteers, increased Herman Miller cabinet production, and donated 100 cars to 100 nonprofit organizations. All nonprofits recognized as charitable are eligible for a grant. Involved in a nonprofit? What do you have to lose? Apply!

Toyota One Bold Choice Campaign Continues at Super Bowl

Toyota continued its One Bold Choice campaign at the Super Bowl, where it aired two commercials that both celebrated living a life full of bold choices and developing bold lifestyle habits. One of the commercials continued to highlight the efforts of bold, inspiring dads, but another one took the campaign in a new direction. This new commercial features Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy doing all kinds of strenuous activities, from running to ballroom dancing.

The commercial also features Muhammad Ali, narrating his famous “How Great I Am” speech. The message of the commercial: “One Bold Choice Leads to Another.” “We’re very proud of the message our commercial sends about not only making bold choices, but living a bold life, and Amy Purdy represents that in everything she does. Amy inspires us, and to have her make her Super Bowl commercial debut with Toyota is something we’re thrilled about,” said Jack Hollis, group vice president of marketing, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

These Toyota ads are special because they go far beyond a simple decision to buy a car. They reach deep inside us, to inspire us and remind us of how much we can accomplish if we choose to make bold choices. Here at Bill Walsh Toyota, we’re simply excited to be part of a brand so committed to these values. Come see us today!

Toyota Distracted Driving Simulator Shows Dangers of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the main causes of accidents, especially for new, teenage drivers. Though many parents take preventative measures to keep their children safe, teenagers are often distracted while driving, whether it is by a cell phone, a passenger, or the radio. To help teenagers see the dangers of distracted driving, Toyota has created the Toyota Distracted Driving Simulator, a brand new technology that uses Oculus Rift to make these dangers a reality for teens.

“Oculus Rift provides a virtual reality driving experience that mirrors real life behind the wheel, giving us a powerful, one-of-a-kind way to show parents and teens how everyday distractions can affect their ability to drive safely,” said Marjorie Schussel, Corporate Marketing Director for Toyota. “This is the most innovative example of how we’re helping teens and parents become safer drivers together through our ongoing Toyota TeenDrive365 initiative.”

The simulator puts drivers in the virtual reality of driving down a busy city street. During the simulation, each participant is challenged to drive safely with the car’s steering wheel and pedals, while navigating a series of common distractions, such as traffic noises, the radio, text messages, and virtual passengers.

Toyota will have the simulator free of charge at auto shows across the country throughout the year. For a safe, fuel-efficient vehicle for your teen driver, stop in to Bill Walsh Toyota!

All-New Toyota Tacoma Debut in Detroit

Toyota Tacoma debut
The All-New Toyota Tacoma debuted in Detroit this month.

On January 12, the all-new Toyota Tacoma finally made its appearance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We have been waiting for the Toyota Tacoma debut for months and are incredibly excited by what we saw.

Toyota engineers started rebuilding the Tacoma from scratch. For starters, it has a new, high-strength steel frame that not only will make the Tacoma stronger, but will reduce its weight, too. A retuned suspension will also make the midsize truck smoother on paved roads and more capable off of them.

“For the past 50 years adventure-seeking Americans have relied on Toyota trucks to take them places, on and off-road,” said Bill Fay, group vice president & general manager, Toyota Division, in a statement.  “The all-new homegrown Tacoma is a tough truck designed, developed and built for lifestyles of the young and young-at-heart.”

Powering the new Tacoma will be a choice of two engines—a 2.7-liter four-cylinder and a segment-first 3.5-liter V6 with both direct and port fuel injection. These engines both come with six-speed automatic transmissions.

As for styling, the Tacoma was designed to look and feel like a well-trained athlete. Up front you’ll see a chiseled hex grille similar to the larger Tundra pickup and then large wheel flares and a more muscular hood.

The all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma will be coming to Bill Walsh Toyota later this year.

Lexus NX Crossover Campaign Begins Online, On TV

Lexus announced in a statement last week that it will be launching a new marketing campaign for its upcoming luxury crossover, the Lexus NX. The company is boasting the 2015 NX’s ability to go beyond the “typical” capabilities of a standard SUV.

Additionally, the 2015 NX will be aimed at a younger driving audience, one which is socially engaged, environmentally conscious, and constantly moving. Lexus aims to capture this market with app technology and the latest production techniques.

A handful of new TV spots will showcase the new campaign, across multiple major television stations at different times. Keep your eyes peeled for these new ads, which feature a variety of stories and music.

To get involved with the Lexus NX crossover campaign social conversation, follow the trend with #LexusNX.

Keep in touch with us for more information on new Lexus models, or visit us at Bill Walsh Toyota to check out one of our available models.

Consumer Reports 2015 Best Value Goes To Toyota Camry Hybrid

consumer reports 2015 best value

The Camry has picked up so many awards over the years that we’re no longer surprised to hear about new ones. We here at Bill Walsh Toyota have come to sort of just expect it. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the Camry’s accolades! The latest attention Consumer Reports heaped upon Toyota’s classic sedan is definitely worth putting up on the fridge. But there is an interesting twist: it’s for the hybrid version.

That’s right. The Consumer Reports 2015 Best Value Award went to the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Torque News helps us look a little closer at this prestigious award. We learn that Consumer Reports not only looks at five-year cost of ownership, but also gives contenders a road test.

CR certainly did not hold back when it came to praising the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid. They called it “stone cold reliable,” while remarking of its “comfort and all-around functionality.” And naturally, the Camry’s fuel economy, at 38 mpg, didn’t hurt its chances of winning, either.

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