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Ford Begins All-New Fiesta Production At Transformed Cuautitlan Plant Complex

Monday, May 17th, 2010

CUAUTITLAN IZCALLI, MEXICO, – Ford Motor Company today celebrates the start of production of the all-new 2011 Ford Fiesta at its Cuautitlán Stamping and Assembly Plant (CSAP), which has been transformed from a truck plant to a car plant producing the all-new Fiesta for North American customers.

The start of Fiesta production at Cuautitlán marks another milestone in the ONE Ford plan to deliver even more products people really want while better leveraging the company’s global product and manufacturing strengths.

“Our investment in Cuautitlán brings ‘ONE Ford’ global vehicles to life in North America and allows more customers to experience even more of our high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of Canada, Mexico and South America operations and Global Marketing. “Small cars are the fastest-growing product segment around the world, and Ford is answering the call with fun-to-drive new cars such as Fiesta, Fusion and the new Focus that is coming soon.”

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and the Governor of State of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto joined the Cuautitlan event to celebrate the start of production for the Fiesta, which starts arriving in North American dealerships this summer and is already a strong seller in Europe and Asia.

Eduardo Serrano Berry, President and CEO of Ford in Mexico, expressed his pride on the transformation of Ford’s plant in Cuautitlán, now one of the most advanced flexible manufacturing complexes in the world.

“This year, as Ford of Mexico celebrates 85 years of uninterrupted operations in our country, we feel honored for the trust the corporation has placed in our manufacturing capabilities,” he said. “Ford of Mexico has a great team and a strong track record for producing high-quality vehicles, and we are eager to deliver outstanding new cars for an entire continent of customers.”

New Fiesta: Above the rest
The all-new Fiesta features an expressive, vibrant design, fuel-efficient engine, high-quality materials and a number of features and technologies not found on competitive vehicles.

Fun to drive, the new Fiesta has a 1.6-liter DOHC I-4 engine that delivers 120 horsepower. This engine can be mated with either a five-speed manual transmission or Ford’s new advanced PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission, which is expected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy of 40 mpg highway.

Designed to be versatile, personal and adaptable, Fiesta is expected to deliver best-in-class safety, convenience and connectivity with segment-exclusive SYNC® voice-activated communications system, an expressive color palette and available graphics.

The new Fiesta is built off Ford’s global small car platform. By 2014, this vehicle platform will deliver up to 1.6 million global vehicles annually, including up to five separate vehicle lines and eight top hats.

Fiesta’s global track record
The Ford Fiesta was first introduced in Europe in 1976. Since then, it has become synonymous with outstanding driving performance, design and value.

In the U.S. and Canada, the Fiesta arrived as a 1978 model, equipped with a Kent OHV I-4 of 1.6 liter engine – the biggest engine offered in European markets.

The Fiesta went on sale in Mexico in 1998, selling more than 294,000 units.

Worldwide, Fiesta has sold more than 12 million units in the last 30 years.

The new Fiesta is off to a fast start, selling 750,000 units in its first 18 months on the market in Europe and Asia. The new car also has received a number of awards, including:

  • A prestigious ‘red dot’ design award for international product design
    o 28 leading designers and design experts from 19 countries called Fiesta one of the most stylish cars in the world, labeling its design “innovative and dynamic.”
    o The award showcases the fact that Fiesta delivers style, together with outstanding quality that consumers desire.
    o The red dot design awards, one of the world’s largest design recognition programs, are presented annually by Germany’s Essen-based Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen.
  • 2009 Car of the Year – The Sun Motors
  • 2009 Croatian Car of the Year – Croatian Car Association
  • 2009 Hellenic Car of the Year – Journalists from Autobild, Drive Autocar,
  • Woman’s Car 2009 – Hachette Filipacchi Editorial Group
  • 2008 Scottish Car of the Year – Association of Scottish Motoring Writers
  • The Best of the 2008 Geneva Show – Most Significant – Autoweek
  • Top Gear, Car, Car & Driver and 4 Wheels
  • 2008 Croatian Car of the Year – Croatian Car Association
  • 2008 Best Supermini – What Car? magazine

Cuautitlán: A tradition of manufacturing
Since 2008, Ford has invested $3 billion in its Mexican operations – including a diesel engine plant in Chihuahua, a new transmission plant in Guanajuato (a joint venture with Getrag) that will product the Fiesta’s new automatic transmission as well as the transformation and expansion at the Cuautitlán Plant.

Opened in November 1964, Ford’s Cuautitlán Plant now has become one of the world’s most advanced flexible manufacturing complexes.

Ford expanded the Cuautitlán plant by 25,800 m2, building in five new lines of high-productivity presses, 270 robots and in-line measuring systems, adjustable ergonomic platforms in the upholstery area and new paint facilities that are more efficient and environmentally friendly.

“All the major subassemblies of the body and final assembly will be completed in the plant,”said Eduardo Villegas, General Manager of CSAP. “This helps ensure a quality build and even greater productivity.”

Fiesta production at the site has created 2,000 direct jobs and at least 6,000 indirect jobs.

The Cuautitlán plant has produced more than 2.2 million vehicles during its 45-year history, including some iconic products. These include the Ford Mustang, LTD, Crown Victoria, Thunderbird, Taurus, Contour, Mercury Grand Marquis, Contour, Mystique and a variety of light- and medium-duty F-Series trucks.

Source: http://www.ford.com/about-ford/news-announcements/press-releases/press-releases-detail/pr-ford-begins-allnew-fiesta-32629

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Toyota Extends Brake Override Feature to Provide an Additional Measure of Customer Confidence

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Toyota Canada today announced that it will install a brake override system on an expanded range of customers’ vehicles to provide an additional measure of confidence. This braking system enhancement will automatically reduce engine power when the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions.

The following models have been added to the list of vehicles that will receive the brake override upgrade: 2005-2010 Tacoma and 2009-2010 Venza. In addition, Toyota Canada will provide the brake override system for owners of 2008-2010 Sequoia vehicles. Toyota previously announced that the system would be installed onto the 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, and the 2007-2010 Lexus ES 350, 2006-2010 IS 350 and 2006-2010 IS 250 models.

The brake override feature is not an integral part of the campaigns currently being undertaken by Toyota Canada which include Tacoma and Venza models but is being added as an extra measure of confidence for Toyota owners. It will be installed on Tacoma and Venza at the same time as the improvements previously announced for those models are performed. Notification to customers regarding brake override installation for Sequoia will be sent separately.

In addition to upgrades on existing vehicles, this feature is scheduled to be incorporated into future new production of most Toyota and Lexus models sold in Canada by the end of 2010.

Extension of the brake override system to the expanded range of models is the latest step in Toyota’s commitment to building the safest and most reliable vehicles on the road and to ensuring our customers are confident in the cars and trucks they drive.

Detailed information and answers to questions about issues related to these recalls are available to Toyota Customer Interaction Center at 1-888-TOYOTA-8.

SOURCE: http://www.lexus.ca/lexus/experience/en/home/whatsnew/whatsnew_news.jsp#recall2

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Testimony of TMS President and COO James Lentz to House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Chairman Waxman, Subcommittee Chairman Stupak, Ranking Members Barton and Walden, members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me here today. My name is Jim Lentz, and I am the President and Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Sales, USA.

In my testimony, I will address Toyota’s recent recalls and the decisive steps we are taking restore the trust of the tens of millions of Americans who purchase and drive our vehicles. two generations, we have provided Americans with cars and trucks that are safe and reliable. And we fully intend to produce even safer, high quality vehicles in the future, even as we the way with the next generation hybrid and electric vehicles that our society needs.

In recent months, we have not lived up to the high standards our customers and the public have come to expect from Toyota. Put simply, it has taken us too long to come to grips with a rare but serious set of safety issues, despite all of our good faith efforts. The problem has also been compounded by poor communications both within our company and with regulators and consumers. While all auto companies have recalls and all major auto companies have experienced complaints about unintended acceleration, Toyota’s recalls have caused concerns among our customers.

I would like to assure the Committee, and the American people, that nothing matters more to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. We are committed not only to fixing vehicles on the road and ensuring they are safe, but to making our new vehicles better and even more reliable through strict quality control, enhanced communication and a redoubled focus on putting our customers first.

Our 1,500 dealers are making extraordinary efforts to complete our recalls as quickly and conveniently as possible. Some dealers are staying open 24/7 and they are repairing vehicles at a rate of about 50,000 a day. To date, we have repaired close to a million vehicles.

We have rigorously tested our solutions and are confident that with these repairs, Toyota vehicles will be among the safest on the road today. Our engineers have identified two specific, mechanical causes of unintended acceleration covered by the recalls and we are currently addressing these through the open recalls. One involves floor mats that when loose

or improperly fitted can entrap the accelerator pedal. The other concerns accelerator pedals that can, over time, grow “sticky” with wear. The solutions we have developed are both effective and durable.

 

We are confident that no problems exist with the electronic throttle control system in our vehicles. We have designed our electronic throttle control system with multiple fail-safe mechanisms to shut off or reduce engine power in the event of a system failure. We have done extensive testing of this system and have never found a malfunction that caused unintended acceleration.

 

Additionally, in December we asked Exponent, a world-class engineering and scientific consulting firm, to conduct a comprehensive, independent analysis of our electronic throttle control system with an unlimited budget. Their interim report confirms that it works as designed. Toyota will make the results of this comprehensive evaluation available to the public when it is completed.

 

Why did it take so long to get to this point? With respect to pedal entrapment, Toyota conducted investigations of customer complaints which focused too narrowly on technical issues without taking full account of the way customers used our vehicles. And in the case of sticking accelerator pedals, we failed to promptly analyze and respond to information emerging from Europe and in the United States.

We acknowledge these mistakes, we apologize for them and we have learned from them. We now understand that we must think differently when investigating complaints and communicate faster, better and more effectively with our customers and our regulators. Our recent voluntary recalls of certain 2010 Prius and Lexus hybrids and of certain 2010 Tacoma trucks illustrate this new approach.

We are also going further. Our President Akio Toyoda has announced a top-to-bottom review of our operations that he will lead personally, with the support of new Chief Quality Officers for North America and our other principal regions. We will ask independent, outside experts to evaluate the findings to make sure we meet or exceed industry standards.

We are expanding our network of technical offices in the U.S. so we can gather information faster and respond more aggressively to incident reports. And, we will install advanced brake override systems in all our new models – making us one of the first full-line manufacturers to offer this customer confidence feature as standard equipment. Additionally, we are announcing that we will install this system on an expanded range of vehicles – including the Tacoma, Venza and Sequoia models – that are capable of accepting the new software. We had previously announced that the system would be installed onto the Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES 350, IS 350 and IS 250 models. These actions underscore that Toyota is going above and beyond making the necessary vehicle modifications and repairs to ensure that our customers can be completely confident in the safety and reliability of the cars and trucks they drive.

Chairman Waxman, Subcommittee Chairman Stupak, Ranking Members Barton and Walden, members of the Committee, these are only some of the steps Toyota is taking to earn back the confidence of Congress and the American people. Our 200,000 team members, dealership employees and suppliers in the United States are the backbone of that effort – and I am confident we will succeed in restoring customer trust in the quality, safety and reliability of our vehicles.

Thank you. I look forward to your questions.

Source: http://www.toyota.co.jp/announcement/0223.pdf

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Testimony of TMA President and COO, TMS Chairman and CEO Yoshimi Inaba to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Chairman Towns, Ranking Member Issa, members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. My name is Yoshimi Inaba, and I am the President and COO of Toyota Motor North America and Chairman and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

As you heard today from Toyota President Akio Toyoda, and as the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations heard yesterday from Jim Lentz, President and Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Toyota is taking decisive steps to restore the trust of the tens of millions of Americans who purchase and drive our vehicles.

Our 172,000 team members and dealers across North America are making extraordinary efforts to complete our current recalls as quickly and conveniently as possible. We have rigorously tested our solutions and are confident that with these repairs, Toyota vehicles will remain among the safest on the road today. We are also going further, by installing advanced brake override systems in all of our new North American vehicles before the end of 2010 and in an expanded range of existing models as a customer confidence measure, and taking comprehensive steps to ensure strict quality control and increased responsiveness to our customers and regulators in the future.

As you have heard, Mr. Toyoda is leading a top to bottom review of our global quality control processes, and will seek input from independent safety experts to ensure that our processes meet or exceed industry standards. As head of Toyota’s North American operations, I will be closely involved in this review. Working with our new Chief Quality Officer for North America, I also will take responsibility for ensuring that we improve our dialogue with U.S. safety regulators and that we take prompt action on any issues we identify to ensure the safety of American drivers.

In inviting me to testify today, the Committee asked me to address several issues with regard to our recent recalls. Let me summarize my answers here:

Our recent recalls address five separate issues that we have identified with certain Toyota vehicles. In total, some 5.3 million vehicles across 14 models are affected by one or more of these recalls in the United States.

The biggest recalls are for solutions our engineers have developed with regard to two specific mechanical causes of unintended acceleration. One involves all-weather or inappropriate accessory floor mats that when loose or improperly fitted can entrap the accelerator pedal. The other concerns accelerator pedals that can, over time, grow “sticky” with wear in rare instances. The solutions we have developed for both these issues are effective and durable.

With respect to possible accelerator pedal entrapment by the floor mats, Toyota recently designed a vehicle-based change that directly addresses the problem and announced the solution to the public in November 2009 as part of the safety campaign announced on September 29, 2009. Owners of affected vehicles can, in the meantime, drive safely by ensuring that they use only properly secured, appropriate floor mats.

With respect to sticking accelerator pedals, Toyota announced a safety recall in the United States in January to address this issue. The sticking condition does not occur suddenly and if it does, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes. We are confident that vehicles whose drivers are not experiencing any issues with their accelerator pedal are safe to drive, and Toyota dealers are rapidly completing the repairs on our customers’ vehicles.

In both of these cases, Toyota thoroughly and carefully evaluated the technical aspects of these issues. However, we now understand that we must think more from a customer first perspective rather than a technical perspective in investigating complaints, and that we must communicate faster, better and more effectively with our customers and our regulators. Our recent, smaller voluntary recalls of certain 2010 Prius and Lexus HS hybrids for a software update to the braking system, certain 2010 Camry cars to inspect a power steering hose, and certain 2010 Tacoma trucks to inspect the front drive shaft all illustrate this new approach.

Chairman Towns, Ranking Member Issa and members of the Committee, I assure you that nothing matters more to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. We are committed not only to fixing vehicles on the road and ensuring they are safe, but to making our new vehicles better and even more reliable through a redoubled focus on putting our customers first.

SOURCE: http://www.toyota.co.jp/announcement/0224_1.pdf

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Cadillac Unveils The XTS Platinum Concept

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Cadillac unveiled the XTS Platinum Concept at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, suggesting a new paradigm for the luxury sedan of the future. The concept showcases Cadillac’s emerging top-of-the-line Platinum series of models, emphasizing new expressions of luxury and technological features, including a plug-in hybrid propulsion system.

The XTS Platinum Concept was designed from the inside out, re-imagining the luxury sedan as a personal headquarters, built for efficiency, luxury and connectivity. The concept introduces a new approach to in-car electronics that improves the form and function of the car’s entertainment, navigation and information systems.

“The XTS Platinum concept is the next expression of Cadillac’s Art and Science execution philosophy, reflecting our drive to deliver the latest innovations in the most artful manner,” said Bryan Nesbitt, Cadillac general manager. “We envisioned this concept as an automotive personal headquarters, using advanced technology to enable new levels of connectivity and luxury.”

The XTS Platinum Concept uses Cadillac’s 3.6L V-6 Direct Injection gas engine, paired with a plug-in hybrid system. The plug-in technology enables the battery to fully charge from a standard electrical outlet, enabling pure electric propulsion in many driving situations, especially urban commutes in which fuel efficiency may double that of a conventional hybrid.

Traditional luxury sedans were defined by elegant interiors and Cadillac’s XTS Platinum Concept propels that formula into the future. It delivers new approaches to luxury within a design that combines fine craftsmanship with customer-driven innovation. Like the current Platinum Edition products, such as Escalade Platinum and the STS and DTS Platinum sedans, the interior is based on hand cut-and-sewn materials. The XTS Platinum Concept injects more contemporary forms and themes into the interior design, including the use of Organic Light-Emitting Diode (O-LED) displays in place of traditional gauges and screens.

The concept previews a new integration philosophy guiding the development of future models with respect to in-car electronics. The intent is to progress Cadillac’s intuitive in-car electronics systems, typified by the deployable touch-screen navigation system that has been highly acclaimed in the brand’s CTS and SRX product lines. The XTS Platinum Concept previews this strategy via the minimization of traditional buttons and switches. Designers blended the display screens into a flowing instrument panel. They call it a “dead front” design, because the panels appear black until the car is turned on and the screens illuminate. The instrument panel itself reflects the XTS Platinum’s other focus – uncompromising luxury and attention to detail on the interior.

“The Platinum distinction in Cadillac means the fullest extent of luxury and technology and we’ve tried to reach even further with this concept,” said Clay Dean, Cadillac design director. “Just as the technology pushes the boundaries of what a Cadillac can offer, so do the details that make the XTS Platinum Concept an uncompromising experience.”

The interior takes inspiration from nature, specifically the intricate layers of petals that combine to form an orchid. Cadillac designers translated that into a layered and detailed interior. Light cream is the cabin’s primary color and is contrasted with darker elements, such as the steering wheel and an overhead console motif that runs the length of interior’s roof. The console is made of a richly finished wood and houses lighting features.

Premium leather seats include a new style of automotive suede, with a laser-etched pattern. The patterned material adorns the center sections of the seats and accents the door trim. Thoughtfully detailed stitching is used throughout the interior, including the seats, instrument panel and door panels. Passengers in the spacious rear compartment of the XTS Platinum Concept also have access to the car’s connectivity feature, along with a range of infotainment choices.

“We never lost sight of the fact that a large luxury sedan needs to be spacious and accommodating,” said Dean. “Passengers will find generous headroom, legroom and knee space, along with the technology elements that make the drive more productive.”

A new proportion
The XTS Platinum Concept has a distinctive proportion that transcends the traditional aesthetic of luxury sedans and carries the brand’s Art and Science design in a more progressive manner. The unique proportion supports the “inside out” design priority, while creating a sleek profile that complements the car’s advanced technology elements and necessary aerodynamics.

“The XTS Platinum Concept design artfully conveys its focus on functionality through technology,” said Dean. “It is the antithesis of the conventional three-box sedan, suggesting the active evolution of Cadillac’s design language.”

A sweeping profile culminates in a short, high deck lid that meets the XTS Platinum Concept’s aerodynamic needs – including a rear spoiler mounted on the deck lid, incorporating the center high-mounted stop lamp. A high, sloping beltline gestures the vehicle forward, suggesting motion, while the fenders flare outward wrapping tightly around 20-inch wheels and tires. The wheel-to-body proportion was carefully tailored to visually communicate the car’s all-wheel-drive chassis.

Like the interior, the exterior elements are precisely tailored and elegantly detailed. Brushed billet aluminum trim is used selectively and the 20-inch, 11-spoke wheels feature a brushed aluminum face accented with bright inserts within the spokes. The wheels are wrapped with special Bridgestone tires that were created specifically for the XTS Platinum Concept.

Signature elements essential to Cadillac’s Art and Science design language include vertical headlamp and taillamps, with integrated light pipes and richly detailed lighting components. The headlamps feature light-emitting diode technology for bright illumination that requires less energy, as well as Cadillac’s Adaptive Forward Lighting technology, which turns the headlamps with the direction of the front wheels for greater visibility in turns.

Purposeful and efficient performance
The XTS Platinum concept’s plug-in hybrid electric propulsion system (PHEV) builds on the experience Cadillac has gained with the Escalade Hybrid and Escalade Platinum Hybrid flagship models. The plug-in capability boosts the car’s electric-only driving capability, offering additional battery energy capacity and enabling it to recharge from a standard external electrical outlet. The key benefit of external plug-in recharging is that in many situations – such as overnight parking – the battery can fully recharge in roughly five hours while the car is not in use. The plug-in system operates at maximum efficiency when operating on power the battery has drawn from the electric grid. In some conditions, such as urban commutes, drivers can experience efficiency that doubles that of conventional hybrids.

At higher speeds or when conditions demand it, such as brisk acceleration, a combination of engine power and electric power or engine power only, propels the vehicle. The combination of the Direct Injection V-6 engine and the PHEV system featuring fully electric variable drive provides a spirited driving experience. The system provides an estimated 350 horsepower (260 kW) and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (400 Nm).

Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) enables the XTS Platinum Concept to deliver superior road-holding performance while maintaining luxury car composure in “regular” driving conditions. It uses shocks controlled by advanced magneto-rheological technology, rather than mechanical valves, to greatly accelerate response time and precision.

MRC uses electronic sensors at all four wheels to literally “read the road” every millisecond, making constant adjustments to damping to create virtually instantaneous and extremely precise control of body motions.

An advanced, specially calibrated all-wheel-drive system ensures optimal traction in wet and slippery conditions, and helps deliver maximum traction while cornering. Four-wheel disc brakes, with four-channel ABS, StabiliTrak stability control and full-function traction control complete the drivetrain details.

“The XTS Platinum Concept was designed to deliver an engaging driving experience without compromising the functional features, space and comfort customers seek in a luxury car,” said Nesbitt. “It is a new vision of luxury that uses advanced technology to deliver functionality efficiently and rewardingly.”

Source: http://publish.media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/news/news_detail.brand_gm.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2010/Jan/NAIAS/Cadillac/0112_xts_concept

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