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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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MX700N General-purpose Large Size Robot Launched

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

 

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. today announced the launch of its MX700N general-purpose large size robot.

The MX700N is Kawasaki’s top-of-the-line large size M Series robot with a maximum payload of 700 kg. The new model features the largest wrist torque (fifth axis) in its class on the market today. It creates more possibilities for gripper designs and robot postures to provide better handling of heavyweight workpieces. The new robot model significantly boosts productivity with an increased payload that enables it to move multiple workpieces in a single cycle and handle pallet layers.

This newest addition brings the total number of M Series models up to seven, including the MX350L, MX420L, MX500N and MX700N floor mounting robots, the MT400N shelf mounting robots, and MD400N and MD500N palletizing robots. The M Series of models are built to meet today’s growing need for heavy-duty assembling and material handling operations.

1. Major features
(1) Compact profile
The innovative design of the advanced link mechanism employed on the robot’s third axis has enabled Kawasaki to create a compact profile without the use of a counterbalance. This cutting-edge design reduces interference and increases the work envelope for easier application.

(2) High wrist torque
Kawasaki was able to develop a high wrist torque of 5,488 N-m by utilizing the same high power motors used in the major axes. The improved wrist torque allows for better handling of extremely heavy materials and large-size workpieces.

(3) Safe design
Equipped with vibration suppression controls on its highly rigid arm as well as collision detection software, the robot can manipulate large payloads smoothly and safely.

(4) Wide range to choose from
The M Series offers a large array of models tailored to specific applications. There are four floor mounting models (350 – 700 kg) and a shelf mounting model (400 kg) that have been designed to meet a wide range of needs for high payload assembling and handling applications. Two additional models (400 kg and 500 kg) are also available for palletizing applications.

2. Specifications
Model: MX700N
Arm type: Vertical articulated
Degree of freedom: 6
Maximum reach: 2.540 mm
Payload: 700 kg
Repeatability: ±0.5 mm
Source: http://www.khi.co.jp/ba/2010data/ba_c3100113_1.html
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MHI Receives Order for Two Supercritical-Pressure Boiler/Steam Turbine Sets From Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited of India, Jointly with L&T

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has received an order for two sets of supercritical-pressure* coal-fired boiler (pressure-containing parts) and steam turbine/generator from Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited (JPVL) of India. The equipment will be delivered for the power generation plant Units 1 and 2, at 660 megawatts (MW) each, to be constructed by JPVL in Nigrie, in Madhya Pradesh state, as part of a project aimed at easing electricity shortages associated with the region’s robust economic growth. Delivery of both sets is slated for the fiscal year ending March 2012.

The boiler order was coordinated by L&T MHI Boilers Private Limited (LMBPL), a boiler manufacturing joint venture between MHI and Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T). The steam turbine/generator (STG) order was coordinated by L&T, which outsources the set from L&T MHI Turbine Generators Private Limited (LMTGPL), a turbine manufacturing JV between MHI & L&T. L&T is a high-technology driven engineering and construction organization and one of the largest companies in India’s private sector. LMBPL and LMTGPL, which were established in April and December 2007, respectively, operate under technology licensing from MHI.

Specifically MHI will supply core boiler components to LMBPL, and LMBPL will undertake boiler assembly – the first boiler to be produced by the company – for delivery to JPVL. For the STG sets, MHI and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation will manufacture and supply core components to LMTGPL, and LMTGPL will undertake assembly and delivery of the sets to L&T.

JPVL, is a power project implementing agency of Jaypee Group, an infrastructure conglomerate with annual turnover of USD 1.3 billion, and has a formidable presence in engineering & construction along with interests in power, cement, hospitality, real estate, expressways and education. JPVL is in the process of setting up this project in addition to other thermal and hydro projects and is poised to be 5,000 MW power entity by 2012.

Supercritical-pressure coal-fired power generation uses higher steam temperatures and pressures than subcritical-pressure power generation, and is more fuel-efficient and friendlier to the environment. By reducing coal consumption relative to power output, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can be reduced. However, supercritical type generation requires more sophisticated technology in equipment design to withstand the high temperature and pressure levels, and machining of high-strength component materials is more difficult. MHI has vast experience with these systems, having already delivered many units in Japan and abroad.

Thanks to the success of its economic deregulation policy introduced during the 1990’s, India achieved over 9% economic growth for three straight years from fiscal 2005 through 2007. The country continues its strong growth despite the global economic crisis, maintaining a high growth rate of 6.7% in fiscal 2008. Along with economic development, India’s gap between electricity supply and demand has become increasingly serious. To cope with this energy supply issue, many large-scale coal-fired power plant construction projects are under way in various regions of the country.

MHI has been responding to India’s energy situation through its aforementioned local JVs and through aggressive marketing activities in the country together with L&T. On the momentum gained through receipt of the latest order, going forward MHI will further strengthen its activities to develop the market for highly efficient supercritical-pressure steam turbines and boilers in India, where many projects to construct thermal power generation plants are planned. In this way, the company looks to contribute to the global effort to combat environmental issues.

Source: http://www.mhi.co.jp/en/news/story/1001121330.html

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