Posts tagged with "Toyota"

After forcing Toyota U-turn, Lincoln Project warns other corporate political donors

July 12, 2021

After the Lincoln Project released an ad targeting Toyota for its political donations to Congressional lawmakers who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, the Japan-based automaker announced on Thursday, July 8, that it would halt those contributions.

Now, the Lincoln Project is putting other corporate political donors on warning, Newsweek reports. Indeed, after their targeted ad proved successful in reversing Toyota’s contributions after less than one day of airing, the organization is primed to take on its next corporate target.

A Lincoln Project spokesperson was clear Thursday that the organization planned to continue its strategy of shining light on companies’ controversial political donations.

“Toyota made the right choice today. They put democracy ahead of transactional politics,” said RC Di Mezzo, political communications strategist for the Lincoln Project. “We hope that the rest of Corporate America will follow their lead — we’ll be there to make sure of it. We’re just getting warmed up.”

In response to questions regarding what future corporations may be targeted, Di Mezzo told Newsweek, “All I can say is we’re just getting started.”

Earlier on Thursday, The Lincoln Project announced that they planned a series of ads aimed at corporations, starting with Toyota, that had given contributions to members of Congress who voted against certifying then-candidate Joe Biden as the winner in certain states.

“Why would Toyota support politicians who try to overthrow the very system that’s been so profitable for them?” a narrator in the ad said. “Toyota has given more money than any company to the seditious politicians who voted to overturn the election results.”

Axios reported in June that Toyota gave a total of $56,000 to 37 of the 147 Republicans who voted against Biden’s electoral certification— the most any company directly contributed to lawmakers who opposed Biden’s certification.

Other companies on Axios’ list include Koch Industries with six donations, Cubic with eight, and Applied Research Associates with six donations.

Research contact: @Newsweek

Toyota invests $210M to expand W. Virginia engine production; plans to add 100 jobs

February 19, 2021

Toyota announced on February 18 that it is investing $210 million to expand engine production in West Virginia and add 100 new jobs, according to Reuters.

The Japanese automaker said it would boost capacity by 70,000 engines a year at the Buffalo, West Virginia plant—up from the nearly oneW million transmissions and engines it produces annually for vehicles assembled in North America.

The investment will increase assembly capacity of its four-cylinder engine line. The plant makes four- and six-cylinder engines for Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Lexus ES, Lexus RX350, RAV4, and Sienna.

Reuters notes that the investment comes as automakers around the world are shifting more focus to electric vehicles—and away from vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.

Toyota says hybrid vehicles—which include internal combustion engines—will be a key part of its vehicle strategy in the coming decade; as other automakers focus more heavily on battery electric vehicles, which only run on electric power.

Toyota said last week that 16% of its U.S. sales were of hybrid vehicles in 2020, a figure that will jump to at least 20% in 2021.

Research contact: @Reuters

Car dealerships offer manicures and movies to draw in maintenance customers

June 17, 2019

Most people who bring a car into the dealership for a tune-up or a repair come prepared with a book or a laptop, a cup of upscale coffee or tea, a smartphone, and as much patience as they possibly can muster.

Progress reports are few and far between, asking plaintive questions at the intake area of the auto service department is frowned upon, and the hours stretch ahead—time you will never get back, but will pay for (in big bucks, for labor and parts).

And the waiting rooms, themselves? They tend to be forlorn places, with cable news on a glitchy TV and last year’s copy of Newsweek, if you’re lucky.

But now, all that is changing, The New York Times reports. Today, you can get blackened chicken or grilled salmon on the lunch menu at Honda of Fort Worth, or a complimentary workout at the fitness center attached to the Lincoln-Mercury/Land Rover-Jaguar store in Merritt Island, Florida, the news outlet informs us—assuming you wouldn’t rather play pool or watch a movie.

This amenity-laden shift can be traced straight to dealers’ bottom lines. Vehicle sales may be down this year, but service revenues continue to be reliable—and promise to grow, if dealers can make vehicle maintenance a more engaging experience.

Already, at the end of 2018, half a typical dealer’s gross profits came from the service department, according to Patrick Manzi, senior economist at the National Automobile Dealers Association.

 “Service and parts are very important to dealerships right now,” Mr. Manzi told the Times. “Cars are selling on the internet, and there’s more competition and more access to vehicle prices than ever before. Margins from selling new cars have been consistently on the decline, so dealers are focusing on service. They’ve realized they can help grow customer loyalty by standing out in the amenities.”

According to the Times report, Lexus might be the pacesetter in this cushy new world— and women are being specially targeted and pampered, with beauty services and childcare.

“In one of our stores in San Antonio, Texas, we have a free coffee bar with snacks, a manicurist and a masseuse,” Kimberly Sherron, the dealer facilities manager and design leader at Lexus, told the news outlet “In Wichita, Kansas, you can drop your vehicle off at the service department, get taken to the airport and then picked up when you come back. In the Tampa area, we have a store that features a manned barista bar, with free macchiatos, croissants, and sandwiches.”

Ms. Sherron added, “They go above and beyond.”

That may be understatement, but this new twist on the waiting room is not just for luxury brands like Lexus. A range of dealerships have been adding amenities.

Toyota— a notch downscale from the same Japanese company—has a play area for children in its Chesapeake, Virginia dealership, as well as (can you believe it?) a movie theater, a hair salon and a shoeshine area. On Wednesdays, it provides free manicures.

What’s more, the Times reports, automakers also are supporting their brands with “experience centers” that are even more over the top. At Intersect by Lexus—dubbed “An Immersive Cultural Space”—in Manhattan, which opened last fall after similar centers in Dubai and Tokyo, there’s an auto parts wall installation, fine dining with rotating chefs (currently, one cooking avant-garde tapas from Chile), a circular bar featuring the same leather used on Lexus car seats, and a third-floor exhibition space.

“It’s an homage to the cars,” Kirk Edmondson, the general manager, told the newspaper. “We reference the brand’s legacy of hospitality, design and craftsmanship — but we don’t scream about it.”

Research contact: @nytimes