Toyota Introduces 2015 Camry Racecar


Toyota is known for a multitude of things. In the racing world, this happens to be the Japanese carmaker’s Camry racecar. To keep up with the competition next season, Toyota has finally revealed the 2015 Camry racecar and it’s sure to make a lasting impression both on the track and off.

“We’re thrilled to finally be able to show off our new 2015 Camry race car – becoming the first manufacturer to update the ‘Gen-6’ model that was introduced before the start of the 2013 season,” said Ed Laukes, TMS vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience.  “We anticipate that fans will appreciate the development behind this bold Camry design—both on the race track and the showroom floor.  Fans will have the chance to get an up close look at our new 2015 Camry in our NASCAR activation and fan engagement activities.”

The new 2015 Camry racecar will showcase a more aggressive front end and grille area, while a change to the quarter windows has created an overall sleeker look. The vehicle will officially debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during February’s “Speedweeks” at Daytona International Speedway.

For your own Camry racecar (or at least, a Camry you can pretend is a racecar) stop into Empire Toyota today!

Toyota and National Public Lands Day


At Empire Toyota, we’re always happy to see people come together and work toward a common goal. As part of National Public Lands Day (NPLD), more than 175,000 volunteers in all 50 states generously donated their time and effort to improving public lands.

More than 100 of these volunteers were from Toyota Alabama. They turned their attention to John Hunt Park and planted trees, cleared trails, built fences, and more – all to help the park achieve its goal of becoming a focal point in Huntsville.

The long-term goal is to include tree-lined walking, jogging and biking paths, a splash park and children’s playground, picnic areas, green space, additional tennis courts, and more. In addition to the volunteer help, Toyota contributed $10,000 in order to make it happen.

“Giving back to the communities where our team members work and live is extremely important to Toyota,” said Jim Bolte, president of Toyota Alabama. “NPLD is a great opportunity for our team members to support an environmentally focused activity, which is also a priority for Toyota.”

Why the 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser Is Still Great In 2015

2015 is fast approaching, which means new cars coming to Toyota lots all over the country. But last year’s models are still ready to be your family’s new safe and reliable mode of transportation. Today, we’ll take a look back at the 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser and discuss why it might just be the best deal for you.

The 2014 Land Cruiser seats 8 people and has one trim level, but that trim level is equipped with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from this high-end vehicle. It’s equipped with an interior that features leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, and heated front seats, for a stylish and comfortable driving experience.

The engine is a 5.7 liter, 381 horsepower V8. It’s got a haul capacity of 8,500 lb and it yields a combined EPA rating of 15 mpg. Along with that, the 2014 Land Cruiser is bringing advanced safety features like automatic collision notifications and an emergency safety button so that help is always a push away.

Additional technology includes adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera and a built-in navigation system to make your long trips easy. The fun part of the trip in the Land Cruiser comes with your 14-speaker sound system equipped with access to any music you can imagine.

The 2014 model of the Land Cruiser is a great car to get you, your family or your friends anywhere you need to go, and Empire Toyota is the place to get your best deal on it.

Toyota Supports STEM Education


One of the most important things we can do as a society is to make sure the next generation gets a strong education. Toyota supports tomorrow’s leaders by providing more than $5 million in grants to support programs that focus on Science, Technology, Environmental Science, and Math (STEM).

These grants will support STEM education programs across the country in grades K-12. Some of the sponsored programs include a robotics competition in Detroit, an outdoor learning lab in South Dakota, mobile workshops for STEM careers in New York, and a program to help promote math proficiency among high-need students in California.

“At Toyota, we believe that when we provide young people with exciting opportunities in STEM we can help cultivate the next generation of engineers, scientists and technologists – and that benefits all of us,” said Michael Rouse, Toyota U.S.A. Foundation President, in a press release.  “This year’s grant recipients are among the most innovative education programs in the country.  We are inspired by their work and look forward to seeing what their students will accomplish, both this school year and beyond.”

This year, the Toyota U.S.A. Foundation distributed grants to 23 organizations across the country. Here at Empire Toyota, we are proud to see Toyota supporting the next generation with valuable programs.

Toyota’s New Headquarters Will Be Green

Toyota's Going Green
A few months ago, Toyota surprised us all by announcing it was moving its North American headquarters from California to Plano, Texas. Now, we learn that sustainable design firm Corgan will be in charge of designing Toyota’s new headquarters.

“After a search that included some of the finest architectural firms in the world, we are thrilled to welcome Corgan as designers of our North American headquarters in Plano, Texas,” said Doug Beebe, corporate manager of Administrative Services at Toyota, in a statement. “Corgan is a world-class firm that has designed many beautiful corporate campuses and other projects, both here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and around the world. We are looking forward to seeing the design elements of this campus that Corgan will deliver to provide a collaborative and innovative workspace.”

Corgan has designed corporate facilities for many leading corporations, including Southwest Airlines, Bulova, and State Farm, among others. Many of their projects either are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) registered or LEED certified.

Here at Empire Toyota, we are excited by Toyota’s move and can’t wait to see what kinds of exciting new products come from this big change.

Toyota U-Squared Concept is the Perfect Urban Adventure Vehicle


If you live in the city, but love to go on adventures and explore the wide world, finding a vehicle that will work for both situations can be difficult. Until now, that is. Take a look at Toyota’s U-squared concept. This incredibly flexible Toyota vehicle is inspired by urban dwellers who love to do their own thing, whether that is being an urban homesteader, brewing their own beer, or making their own soap.

The U-squared made its debut during a panel discussion in San Francisco hosted by the magazine Make. It will then make its public debut on September 20 at the World Maker Faire in New York City.

With the exception of the checkerboard design, the exterior of the U-squared isn’t remarkably different from any other panel van, but it’s the inside that really counts.

The U-squared has an entirely flexible interior that can change from seating for four down to just the driver’s seat. Carrying a tall load? Just roll back the roof to make room. If you’re loading something heavy with wheels, simply lower the rear hatch and it turns into a loading ramp.

Designed by Toyota’s Calty Design Research center in California, they had makers in mind when creating this unique vehicle. “Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle based on increasing re-urbanization of our cities and urban drivers’ desire for flexibility, fun and maneuverability,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty, in a statement.

Will you be making the drive down to New York to see check out the U-squared at the Maker Faire? Let us know in the comments!

Toyota’s Future Safety Technology Keeps Drivers at the Wheel


You may imagine a future where your car drives itself to work and you can kick back and enjoy a cup of coffee while you catch up on the morning news. While this may happen eventually, Toyota says its future safety technology will still require a driver in control at the steering wheel.

On September 4, Toyota said it will have collision-prevention technology as part of its complete U.S. lineup by 2017. These systems will allow cars to steer themselves to stay in the center of a highway lane and will be able to detect if the drivers eyes leave the road or hands come off the steering wheel and then issue a warning.

Ken Koibunchi, general manager of Toyota’s intelligent vehicle division described the system as a “full-time back-seat driver,” in a statement.

Toyota executives went on to say that they do not see a future where humans won’t have a critical position behind the wheel. Seigo Kuzumaki, the company’s deputy chief safety technology offer added, “Toyota will not be developing a driverless car.”

It’s interesting to see that while Google and other automakers are pushing for driverless technologies, Toyota is keeping humans in the mix. This reminds us of Toyota’s manufacturing move earlier this year where it actually replaced some of its assembly line robots with real people, insisting that the human touch was necessary for the best production.

What do you think? Will our future ever include driverless vehicles or will we forever be stuck behind the steering wheel?

New Toyota Ann Arbor Facility Adds Jobs


Toyota already has a strong presence in Michigan with its Toyota Technical Center. Now, however it is working on a new Toyota Ann Arbor facility that will bring in 250 new employees. This new addition represents a $32.5 million investment from Toyota.

“The Toyota Technical Center has been the driving force behind our engineering and R&D activities in North America for more than 35 years, so I am pleased and proud that we will continue to grow these operations, said Osamu Nagata, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, in a statement. “We look forward to strengthening our ties with Michigan even further and making continued investments that will help drive the success of Toyota, our supplier partners, and the state for many years to come.”

This expansion is part of Toyota’s ongoing efforts to consolidate its North American operations, including moving its U.S. headquarters to Plano, Texas. The Toyota Technical Center was the only U.S. location spared from the consolidation move to Texas.

Here at Empire Toyota, we are excited by the changes Toyota is making and look forward to many exciting, new models in the future.

Toyota FT-1 Concept Gets a Luxurious Boost at Pebble Beach

This January, Toyota impressed the world with its stunning, dynamic FT-1 Concept. It had a sporty look with bright red paint and a two-tone red and black interior. At the recent Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Toyota FT-1 Concept got a bit of a luxurious treatment.

The concept was on display with a dramatic, shiny graphite exterior and a luxurious tan leather interior with exposed metal highlights.

“From the start of the FT-1 project, we wanted the driver to have a feeling of flow while at the wheel, to be able to focus on the road and nothing else,” said Sellene Lee, a creative designer at Toyota’s Newport Beach Calty design studio, in a statement. “Our aim was to ensure everything supported the driver through efficient choices. The saddle leather maintains that same ‘in-the-zone’ driving intention, while bringing in a more premium feeling.”

With the release of this sophisticated concept, it fuels more speculation about whether or not Toyota is bringing this beauty to production.

Which Toyota FT-1 Concept design do you prefer?

Toyota Is Helping Detroit with $1 Million Donation

Toyota is helping Detroit Institute of ArtToyota may call Japan home, but it still has a soft spot for Detroit. We all feel the pain that Detroit is going through right now as it faces bankruptcy. Toyota is helping Detroit with a $1 million donation for the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

This donation is part of a “grand bargain” where the DIA has committed to raise $100 million to help support the city’s pensioners and protect the museum’s valuable art collection for the public.

“Detroit and the surrounding areas are vitally important to the automotive community. They
deserve our support,” said Simon Nagata, president of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc, in a statement.  “Together we can find solutions to help Detroit become the healthy and vibrant community that reflects the spirit of its people. This commitment is a way to demonstrate our gratitude to the people who have built this industry and support us every day.”

Along with the DIA’s $100 million commitment, other contributors in the “grand bargain,” including local and national organizations, and the state of Michigan, will help provide more than $800 million to support the city’s pensioners for 20 years.

Here at Empire Toyota, we are proud to see Toyota play such a big role in helping to restore Detroit’s future.