New Jersey Donald Duck Pedestrian Puts Drivers to the Test


This story is too bizarre not to share. We don’t know whether we should be angry, or just have a good laugh, after New Jersey officials thought that dressing up as Donald Duck and testing drivers on Halloween was a good idea. For the record: it wasn’t a good idea at all.

A police officer dressed up like a six-foot-six Donald Duck acted erratically on the side of a crosswalk, with the intention of finding out if drivers would stop for him as a part of their Pedestrians in the Crosswalk safety program. The program itself is completely legitimate, and tests random driver’s willingness to stop for pedestrians at designated crosswalks. Dressing up as Donald Duck, however, may not be the best way to put drivers to the test.

Nearly 130 drivers were stopped and ticketed a whopping $230 for failing to yield to a pedestrian. Drivers claimed that the Donald Duck pedestrian was pacing on the side of the road, occasionally waving drivers on, and sometimes stepping into the crosswalk toward the cars. One woman described it as confusing, and even scary. She thought the character was acting ‘crazy,’ and decided not to stop because whoever was dressed up could pose a threat.

“It scared me,” Haigh told CBS New York. “It was a huge duck. If it was a person dressed normally, I think all those people would have stopped.”

Here at Empire Toyota, we recognize the serious problem created by drivers who do not yield to pedestrians. We agree with the local officials that drivers need to be stopping for adults, children, and even ducks – but, we also think acting erratically on the side of the road seems hardly fair.

We want to know: what do you think? Would you have stopped for the Donald Duck pedestrian? Let us know in the comments!

Young Adults Participate in Toyota’s The Hunt


In order to show support for various causes across the country, over 99,000 young adults took part in challenges posed by and Toyota’s The Hunt. We here at Empire Toyota were happy to see so many young people be so involved.

Toyota offered two $10,000 scholarships and a concert experience to some lucky participants. Toyota’s The Hunt challenged young adults to participate in seven different challenges for seven different causes related to the environment, education, physical health, and mental health.

“Toyota believes that when good ideas are shared, great things happen. We are proud to have been a part of the Hunt and inspired to see the ripple effect of social good in communities across the country,” said Latondra Newton, a chief corporate officer for Toyota US.

Christopher Norvilus, 20, and Lauren Fitzgibbon, 20, were the two lucky winners from among the 99,000 participants. They were awarded $10,000 scholarships to help them pay for their tuition, as they are currently undergraduate students at Wisconsin Lutheran College and UCLA, respectively. With such a large turnout, Toyota is sure to launch a similar event sometime in the near future.

Toyota’s Hello Texas Event

2015 Toyota Tundra


October 27th was a day of good food, live music, and community thanks to the Toyota Hello Texas event, which celebrated Toyota’s decision to choose Texas as its new North American headquarters.

It kicked off with Toyota executives addressing 400 VIP guests at the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center, where everyone was thanked for their crucial role in helping Toyota plant its roots in the Lone Star State and establish new headquarters.

Toyota also announced two donations: a $1 million contribution to the Plano ISD Academy High School, an educational facility that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics; and six new Texas-built Tundra pickup trucks to the City of Plano.

“We are thankful for Toyota’s generosity and truly appreciate the unexpected donation,” said Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere “We will put these Tundras to great use immediately and are proud that they are built at Toyota’s manufacturing facility in San Antonio by the more than 6,000 hardworking Texas men and women employed there.”

At Empire Toyota, things will remain relatively the same. No matter where the automaker’s headquarters are located, you can expect the same quality vehicles to keep on coming!

2015 Toyota Yaris Earns Praise as Best Subcompact Car

2015 Toyota Yaris

As customer priorities change, a larger emphasis is being placed on things like fuel economy and green technology in the new car marketplace. As a result, the small car segments are more popular—and therefore more competitive—than ever before. While other brands scramble to catch up to this trend, Toyota is relaxing out in front, sporting a stable of small cars that include the Prius, Yaris, and more.

The 2015 Toyota Yaris, in particular, reflects the brand’s leisurely lead over its competitors. The Yaris is a comfortably small subcompact with big fuel numbers and more power than you’d expect. It’s a vehicle that’s completely at home with its own identity, and that’s why it’s earning rave reviews as the best subcompact car on the market right now.

See, while other brands are just trying to find a winning formula for small cars, Toyota is already perfecting its formula. The 2015 version has a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth capability, over 85 cubic feet of passenger space, a peppy exterior look, excellent safety features and ratings, and more. Plus, with a starting price of less than $17,000, and fuel ratings of 37 mpg highway and 30 mpg city, it’s simply a great car for people or families of any size or situation.

Come see us at Empire Toyota to check out Toyota’s winning lineup of small cars today, including the Yaris, the world’s best subcompact car.

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!