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.

Toyota Sets Global Sales Record for First Half of the Year

Toyota breaks global sales record

Toyota just set a global sales record by selling 5.1 million vehicles in the first half of 2014. This was a 3.8 percent jump over last year’s sales and was strong enough for Toyota to keep the crown as the worldwide automotive sales leader.

Outside its home market of Japan, sales reached 3.7 million, a 3.0 percent gain. Helping those numbers were strong SUV sales here in the U.S. for the Toyota Highlander, RAV4, and the Lexus SUV models (Toyota’s luxury brand). Toyota also noted that production outside of Japan, including here in North America, hit a record high for 2014—increasing 3.8 percent.

Toyota may have kept its sales crown, but not by much. Volkswagen is close on its heels and was only outsold by 200,000 cars during the first six months of the year. Want to help Toyota keep its lead? Come check out the exciting Toyota lineup available now at Empire Toyota. We’ll help you find the perfect vehicle to fit your lifestyle needs.

2015 Toyota Yaris Styling Goes European

In a few years, the Toyota Yaris will get completely updated, but until then, Toyota is keeping the 2015 Toyota Yaris styling fresh by adding “a distinct European flavor.” It gets a new front fascia and an updated interior designed for better comfort.

Outside, a large black grille is the main focus on the front end with chrome trim on the upper grille. Also, new alloy wheel designs keep the exterior fresh.

Toyota promises a more comfortable interior with redesigned seats and more soft-touch finishes. The interior will also be a bit quieter with additional sound insulation.

The ride quality will also be improved with a retuned suspension and a more rigid body structure. The engine choice will remain the same for 2015—a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder with variable valve timing. It is rated at 106 horsepower, 103 lb-ft of torque, and gets an EPA-estimated fuel efficiency rating of 33 mpg combined when equipped with the manual transmission.

The 2015 Toyota Yaris will be coming to Empire Toyota soon. It will have a starting pricing of $14,845.

Toyota Opens Applications for 2014 Fellowship and Innovation Grants

2014 Fellowship and Innovation grantsToyota, together with the National Audubon Society, is now accepting applications for the 2014 Fellowship and Innovation Grants, called Toyota TogetherGreen. These grants will support projects that promote sustainable and innovative solutions in environmental and leadership areas.

20 individuals who are seeking to improve their communities and increase their leadership skills will be awarded with TogetherGreen fellowships. Each fellowship includes a $10,000 grant to carry out the intended project.

In addition, 20 innovation grants will be given out to stand-out conservation projects that focus on underrepresented communities in the U.S and will work to improve habitat, water, and energy preservation.

Since 2008, TogetherGreen has supported 246 projects with nearly $6.7 in grant money to protect and preserve land, water, and energy resources across the United States.

Interested parties can apply for the fellowships and grants online. The deadline to apply is 9 pm EST on Friday, August 15, 2014.

Do you know of any worthy conversation projects in the Oneonta, New York area? If so, be sure to point them in the right direction and have them apply for the TogetherGreen grants.

2015 Toyota Sienna Makes Talking to Your Kids Easier

2015 Toyota SiennaWhen it comes to transporting your ever-growing family, you don’t want something that will just get you from point A to point B—you want something that will get you there safely and with a little bit of style, too. This is what makes the 2015 Toyota Sienna the perfect family vehicle.

With the refreshed version of the Sienna, Toyota kept its swagger and added so much more. On the outside, the Sienna gets a very minor update with a dark mesh grille and trim, slightly reshaped headlights, and available LED running lights.

As for the inside, that’s where it really counts. Toyota added two options that parents will love. The first is something called Driver Easy Speak, which uses a built-in microphone to project the driver’s voice into the back seat speakers. You know how hard it is to talk to passengers just in the row behind you, so imagine how much voice strain this simple solution will save. The second parent-friendly option is a pull-down mirror so drivers can check out what’s going on behind them.

What to get your swagger on? The 2015 Toyota Sienna will be coming to Empire Toyota later this year!

Want an American-Made Car? Get a Toyota.

Toyota PriusWhen you think about American car brands, you probably think of Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet. But, did you know that the most American-made car is actually a Toyota?

According to’s American-Made Index, four of the top ten most American-made vehicles come from Toyota. The Toyota Camry comes in at number two, just behind the Ford F-150. Toyota also claims numbers four, five, and six, with the Sienna, Tundra, and Avalon, respectively.

To land a spot on this list, vehicles have to, of course, be assembled here in the U.S. They also have to have a domestic-parts content of at least 75 percent, not be scheduled for discontinuance, and have strong U.S. sales. noted that for this year’s list, there were only ten models that made the cut. It said 13 cars met the parts content threshold, but three of those won’t be on the market next year. This was the lowest number of cars eligible for the list, “the fewest in the study’s nine-year history.”

If having an American-made car is important to you, consider checking out the all-American lineup available now at Empire Toyota.

2015 Toyota FCV Revealed in Japan

For nearly two decades, Toyota has been paving the way in the “green” car market with its lineup of Prius hybrids. Now, it is bringing another monumental vehicle to the market, the 2015 Toyota FCV, or fuel cell vehicle.

The FCV essentially runs on hydrogen. It uses an electric drivetrain, like an electric car, but gets its power from the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen instead of from a battery. And, the only byproduct it produces is water vapor, meaning it is still a zero-emissions vehicle.

This amazing car will go on sale in Japan very shortly and then it will arrive here in the U.S. next summer. Toyota has announced the starting price for the Japanese FCV at 7 million yen, which translates to $69,000. When it comes to our shores, it is expected to go on sale for less than that.

Toyota unveiled a production version of the FCV recently in Japan and it is nearly identical to the concept version it showed at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, meaning the FCV keeps its stellar, futuristic design.

While here in the U.S., the first production versions will be headed to California, we hope it makes its ways across the country as the hydrogen infrastructure expands. We hope to see the Toyota FCV on our showroom floor one day.

Safety First for Fourth of July Weekend

Remember Safety First this WeekendIt’s not every year that we’re fortunate enough to have Fourth of July land on a Friday, meaning a nice long weekend for many people. The most important thing the Fourth signifies is our nation’s independence, but of course, it also means quality time spent with family and friends, cook-outs, festivals, fun in the sun, and fireworks. Unfortunately, all of the fun celebrations lead to Fourth of July being one of the deadliest holidays in terms of drunk-driving accidents, so remember safety first this weekend!

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that from 2008 to 2012, nearly 800 people were involved in fatal collisions involving drunk drivers during Independence Day. Deaths as the result of drunk driving crashes make up pretty near half of all motor vehicle deaths during that time frame recording for the Fourth of July holiday.

Explore: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

From all of us here at Empire Toyota, we wish you a very safe and happy Fourth of July weekend, and we urge you to take any precaution necessary to not become a statistic. If you know you’ll be partaking in adult beverages throughout the day, makes sure you have a designated driver. And practice extra caution on the roads.

Toyota’s Hybrid Strategy Faces the Future

Toyota's Hybrid Strategy Continues to Focus on Solutions for Alternative Fuel and Increased EfficiencyToyota’s popular Prius hybrid changed the way we think about hybrid vehicles. The Prius made hybrids available and affordable to the general public, offering an alternative to cars entirely reliant on fuel. Toyota’s hybrid strategy only continues to be a major focus for the automaker as we look toward the future.

With hybrid technology at the forefront of Toyota’s lineup, the automaker has sold over 6 million hybrids worldwide since the first Prius hit the Japanese streets in 1997 according to Sales have increased exponentially in recent years, proving that buyers are looking for an alternative to fuel-guzzling cars. Toyota fully expects that trend will continue, as IHS Automotive predicts that by 2020, hybrids will make up six percent of global vehicle sales, doubling today’s three percent market share.

Electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles are also on Toyota’s radar, but there’s no doubt that in the short term, hybrids will generate the highest income. Electric vehicles are approaching only a one percent market share, and fuel-cells have a long way to go in research and development.

Toyota’s future looks bright, with growing opportunities in hybrid cars and a society getting on the bandwagon.

Stop by Empire Toyota today to learn more and test drive a Prius for yourself!