Toyota sets out to challenge teenagers’ creativity and video-making skills every year with the TeenDrive365 Video Challenge. Closing out its fifth year, the challenge encourages teens to take a closer look at safe driving by putting together their very own public service announcements. This year, more submissions came in than ever before and the winner was everything but your average car safety commercial.
Matthew Post and John Caporaletti, students at Sherwood High School in Olney, Maryland, created the winning video. Titled “For the Whales,” the video compares driving a vehicle to driving a beluga whale. The humorous video makes quite a few good points and, at just a minute long, is definitely worth the watch.
For their video, the dynamic duo took home $15,000. In addition to that prize, a Discovery film crew will reshoot the ad and make it into a public service announcement that will run on Discovery networks.
Judges that represent Toyota and Discovery Education, a provider of digital content and development for students through high school, selected the winning video. In all, this year’s contest brought in more than 1,500 entries.
We here at Bill Walsh Toyota would like to congratulation Post and Caporaletti on a job well done!
With the winter season gone and with it the harsh weather, it’s time to prepare your car for the warm months ahead. Spring is finally here and getting your car ready can be done in a single afternoon. Here are a few things you need to do when preparing your car for spring from us here at Bill Walsh Toyota.
- Wipers – Ice can do a number on your wiper blades, which is why you should replace them at least once a year. Spring is a great time to do so as you have a full three seasons before winter strikes again. In addition to that, pristine wiper blades will ensure you can drive in heavy spring rains without sacrificing visibility.
- Tires – Keeping your tires inflated at the manufacturer-suggested pressure isn’t tough to do. The cold winter weather likely reduced your tire pressure and if you added air to compensate, you need to make sure your tires aren’t over-inflated. Warmer weather will cause tire pressure to increase.
- Suspension – Have a mechanic take a look at your suspension and alignment. Winter is hard on roads, often resulting in potholes and rocks that can do a number on your car. Make sure all of your components are up to par to ensure your safety during the warmer months. The last thing you want to do is wait on your car while it’s in for repairs on a nice spring day!
Toyota has made a name for itself among green car enthusiasts and environmentalists thanks to the brand’s pioneering efforts with the introduction of the Prius hybrid. Nowadays, hybrids as well as electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace, and it seems like almost every major auto manufacturer has a green car or two in its lineup. However, Toyota has chosen to look to the further again — this time, in the realm of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. However, early efforts to incorporate hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative source of fuel passed under the radar, so Toyota has gone back to the drawing board, choosing to introduce hydrogen fuel in different areas in order to slowly build demand.
The problem with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles parallels the initial problem with electric vehicles. Electric charging ports were rare because EVs themselves were rare, but nobody wanted to buy EVs because of their short range and shortage of charging ports. Hydrogen fueling stations are similarly scarce due to the lack of demand for vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel.
Consequently, Toyota is turning its attention (temporarily) away from the automobile market and targeting a more industrial demographic. The next vehicle from the company to be powered by hydrogen fuel cells will be none other than a forklift. These forklifts will be engineered to harness wind power to generate hydrogen to power them through small tasks like shuttling vegetables, beer, and other lightweight goods in the Tokyo Bay marketplace.
As demand for the hydrogen-powered forklifts grows, Toyota will slowly release more mainstream hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, with the plan being to eventually launch more passenger vehicles such as the Toyota Mirai. Additionally, Toyota is the world’s largest producer on forklifts, which means these forklifts may catch on sooner than one might think.
For the second year in a row, Toyota has decided to renew its partnership with Competitor Group, Inc. The organization is in charge of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, a marathon event that spans 30 different locations and 600,000 runners across the U.S. and combines the experience of running a marathon with headliner performances at finish line rock festivals. These festivals would not be possible without the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series.
In addition to providing the entertainment at the end of the marathon race, participating in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series gives Toyota a chance to engage with communities and customers in a more direct and interactive way. The brand has permission to host Toyota Ride and Drive events at select pre-race Health and Fitness Expos organized in advance of the marathon, at which runners are given the opportunity to experience Toyota vehicles for free. Plus, onsite activations and digital media engagement with the runners involved in the event add an extra level of interaction.
“Toyota has been a phenomenal partner to work with this past year, celebrating and inspiring a passion for the active lifestyle,” John Smith of Competitor Group, Inc. said regarding the partnership. “Both of our brands are committed to energizing communities around shared passions of music and fitness, providing customers with a memorable experience, whether it’s live entertainment on the course or the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series at the finish line.”
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is the largest sports platform in the United States, with a projected 600,000 runners expected to participate in the 2016 series. Toyota’s involvement with the event allows the brand to connect with marathon runners through a combination of fitness and musical entertainment.
Of all the great vehicles in our showroom, one vehicle stands out in particular for its extraordinary craftsmanship and beautiful yet rugged design. This is the 1978 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser belonging to our owner Bill Walsh.
This Land Cruiser has been fully restored. Its color design, Freeborn Red for the body and Cygnus White for the hardtop, is all original. Under the hood, there’s a powertrain outputting 135 horsepower, controlled by a 4-speed manual transmission.
The Willys M38 Jeep proved a very important vehicle to the war effort during World War II. Its tough and attractively austere design inspired Toyota to design and engineer the Land Cruiser, which emerged in the early 1950s.
Though the Land Rover was the established rival of the Toyota Land Cruiser, the latter outdid the former time and time again. The Land Cruiser featured a shorter wheelbase, making it more stable than its rival, and also required less maintenance.
A more family-friendly Land Cruiser SUV eventually replaced the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser in the United States in the early 1980s as Toyota stopped importing the original version.
The prestige of the original Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser has only grown and grown since that time. Stop in at Bill Walsh Toyota to see this historic model firsthand. Up close, there is no mystery as to why it has gained the reputation it has. This is a beautiful and dignified automobile.
Second to your house, your vehicle is probably your most valuable asset. Just as you do maintenance on your house to help maintain its value, you need to do the same with your vehicle. Here are a few tips to make your vehicle last…
Keep your eyes open and your ears perked!
After you purchase your new vehicle, it won’t take long for you to get used to how it drives, how it sounds, how it feels. If something doesn’t seem right, trust your perception and get it checked out. Waiting when your vehicle needs repair will only make it more expensive and harder on your vehicle.
Keep the routine!
Routine maintenance is arguably the most important thing you can do to ensure that your vehicle lasts a long time. Your owner’s manual is your friend. Use it to establish a good routine. Along with that, find a mechanic that you can trust for these routine maintenance tasks.
Buy a quality vehicle!
The bottom line is that your vehicle is not going to last if it is not designed well and doesn’t feature quality parts.
2015 was the best year for the automotive industry since 2000. A whopping total of 17.5 million vehicles were sold, effectively topping the previous record of 17.3 million vehicles set in 2000. Full-size trucks took hold of the top three spots and cars and crossovers finished out the top 10 bestselling vehicles of 2015. Three Toyota models broke the top 10, effectively setting their dominance over competitors.
The Toyota Camry sedan followed the full-size trucks to take the number four spot. It maintains its reign as the bestselling mid-size sedan in the United States for the 14th year running. Thanks to its excellent fuel efficiency and a starting price just under $23,000, over 429,355 Camrys were sold in 2015.
Coming in right hot on the Camry’s tires is the Toyota Corolla. Taking the number five spot with 363,332 sold, the Corolla is also the bestselling nameplate with over 40 million sold since the car’s debut. This most recent model year saw an increase of seven percent over 2014.
Only two crossovers broke into the top 10 and the Toyota RAV4 took the number 10 spot. After placing 13th in 2014, moving up three spots with 315,412 sold is quite an accomplishment. Coming standard with plenty of technology and a powerful, yet fuel efficient engine, it’s easy to see why.
We here at Bill Walsh Toyota are hoping for an even better year in 2016!
Toyota’s been leading the gas-electric hybrid market since 2000 with over 3.5 million hybrids sold globally. The result has been unanimous as other automakers have created hybrid versions of their popular vehicles in order to compete. Now Toyota is adding an eighth hybrid to its lineup.
The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has made its debut and runs on a full hybrid powertrain. Available in both front- and all-wheel drive, the RAV4 Hybrid is both powerful and fuel efficient.
The front wheel drive model runs on a 2.0-liter engine capable of 143 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. The all-wheel drive model runs on a 2.0-liter gasoline engine capable of pumping out 151 hp and 143 lb-ft of torque.
The RAV4 Hybrid also boasts better performance than non-hybrid models in addition to best-in-class fuel economy. The hybrid model hits 60 mph in 8.1 seconds while non-hybrid models take up to nine seconds.
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s ad campaign shows how extreme the model is. One ad depicts the RAV4 Hybrid thrown in with lumberjacks. Two other ads will feature a pack of wolves and Amazon tribe.
We here at Bill Walsh Toyota are ready to roll with the new RAV4 Hybrid!
The next-generation Toyota telematics system will implement SmartDeviceLink (SDL). SDL is a platform for smartphone apps and car connectivity that makes it easier for customers to use to apps in their car whether through voice recognition or through the touchscreen panel.
At the 2016 CES conference in Las Vegas, Toyota demonstrated how SDL integration would work in a future telematics system.
Toyota and Ford have already committed to using this platform in the future and hope it becomes an industry-wide standard. If this happens, app developers will be able to quickly make apps that would compatible across the industry, meaning more apps in less time.
Shigeki Terashi, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation, said, in a statement, “Developing a safer and more secure in-car smartphone connectivity service which better matches individual vehicle features is exactly the value and advantage an automaker can offer customers. We expect that many companies share our view and will participate in the industry SDL collaboration.”
Toyota has been testing the SDL platform since 2011 and found it to be the best option for a new telematics system. Toyota hasn’t said when SDL will first be incorporated into a production vehicle.
Here in northern Illinois, winter can be a pretty unforgiving time, especially if you need to do any driving. Here are a few tips on how to drive through snowy weather to help get you through this long, cold season.
- Get snow tires. Snow tires are specifically designed to cut through snow and slush and give your wheels more traction. If you do make the switch, make sure you swap out all four tires.
- AWD does not equal invincibility. Just because your vehicle has all-wheel or four-wheel-drive, that does not mean your car can tackle any road condition. It may help you start moving and stay moving through snow, but when it comes to stopping power, it won’t help you at all. Continue to drive cautiously even with the added traction.
- Stay home. When the roughest winter weather hits, stay home if you can. If you head out anyway and skid off the road you will, at the very least, be late; but things could end up being much worse.
- Practice. If you find yourself driving through heavy winter conditions year after year, find a way to practice your driving skills. Head to a large empty parking lot that and drive no faster than 25 mph to feel how your car reacts to a skid and practice controlling it. Or, you can spend some money on a professional driving school to learn some real skills.
Do you have any winter driving tips to share?