The Ever-Better Expedition kicked off this week with events in Torrance and Plano. The Expedition officially began in Plano before heading over to San Antonio. On day 4 we had the opportunity to meet with Toyota customers on a working oil field in South Texas. On day 5 we arrived at the Toyota regional office in Houston, and had some fun with Toyota customers at a little league game. We ended the week with the Expedition team taking a swing at some good old American baseball!
In week two, we started in Houston, TX, and made our way east to Louisiana. Along the way, we ran into some intense weather but made it through the storms unscathed. We then traveled to Jacksonville, Florida, where we visited their regional office. We wrapped up our week by driving on the sand in Daytona Beach and then celebrated the 4th of July at Daytona International Speedway with a bang. For more about the program, go to http://www.toyotaeverbetter.com.
In week 3, the Expedition began in Atlanta, but due to its previous exploits in the Australian outback, the LC200 ran into some issues. Thanks to our friends at Marietta Toyota in Georgia, these were quickly resolved and it was back on the road again. We had time to take in a few informative plant visits, getting to meet the teams at TMMAL, TMMMS and Bodine Aluminum. We ended the week driving “The Dragon” in Tennessee, famous for its 318 curves in 11 miles!
In week 4, we started in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The team was able to enjoy some sightseeing before hitting the busy streets of New York City, stopping along the way to meet our colleagues at the New York regional office. While in New York, we had the opportunity to talk with local cabdrivers and experience firsthand what it’s like to drive the demanding streets of NYC. We then ventured north to the Boston regional office and ended the week by saying farewell to Expedition Team 1 as they completed the first leg of the EBE journey.
In week 5, Expedition Team 1 handed over the baton (and car keys) to Team 2 to continue on the journey. Their drive began at a popular testing road outside Boston, where they compared Toyota vehicles against competitor’s vehicles. The convoy then crossed the border into Canada to pay a visit to Niagara Falls and meet colleagues at TMMC and TCI Ontario, where team members learned about Canada’s often-challenging weather. TTC Ann Arbor was the next stop and a welcome homecoming for many of the engineers on tour. From there, Team 2 took a trip to Chicago to visit the Toyota Product Quality Field Office within the Lexus Regional Office, before watching baseball’s Chicago Cubs play at the world-famous Wrigley Field.
In week 6, the Expedition kicked off with an event for consumers in Chicago before traveling through five states in five days — Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas — visiting different assembly, design and development and R&D facilities on the way. The team members learned a lot from all their visits to TEMA Erlanger, TMMWV West Virginia, TMMK Kentucky, TMMI Indiana, and Bodine Aluminum in Troy, Missouri. We ended our week in Kansas City, where we stopped at a tailgating party before a concert by a famous country music star!
In week 7, the Expedition left Kansas City and drove west on historic Route 66. The Expedition also had the opportunity to tackle Pikes Peak in Colorado, where they challenged the vehicles to some winding, high-altitude driving, reaching an elevation of over 14,000 feet. While in Colorado, they met with colleagues at the Toyota Denver Regional Office and picked up invaluable local insights. From there, the team members continued over to Moab, Utah, where they drove through the awe-inspiring Arches National Park, then topped that off with an action-packed off-road adventure along Hell’s Revenge!
In week 8, the Expedition left Moab, Utah, and headed to another amazing location, Monument Valley, where they drove among the soaring mesas, buttes and rock formations. The following morning, the team awoke to wet weather, but that didn’t slow them down as they headed over to the Little Colorado Overlook at the Grand Canyon. Making their way through Arizona, the team drove some R&D roads before arriving at Toyota Arizona Proving Ground (TAPG) to see the testing facility. At TAPG, we said goodbye to Team Two and welcomed the members of Team Three, whose first stop on the tour took them to beautiful San Diego. There, they got to meet with outdoor enthusiasts to get feedback on their active lifestyles.
In week 9, the Expedition left sunny San Diego and headed across the Mexican border to visit Toyota Motor Manufacturing de Baja California (TMMBC), where the all-new 2016 Tacoma is being manufactured. Next the team members drove back up north to L.A. County, where they tried several vehicle-testing roads. After navigating through traffic, winding roads and some steep hills, they made their way to Death Valley, where temperatures soared well above 100 degrees. While there, they met with some local consumers to better understand their vehicle needs in such a unique place.
In week 10, the team departed Santa Clarita, California, and headed up the coast toward San Francisco. They stopped in at the Toyota Motor Sales San Francisco Regional Office and learned about the city and the unique topography that surrounds the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the group drove many of its famous steep and winding streets, and headed across the Golden Gate Bridge. The next stop on the route was beautiful South Lake Tahoe to drive an off-road course, which challenged both team members and vehicles! The week wrapped up at an event where off-road enthusiasts shared their passion for their sport and their Toyota vehicles.
In week 11, the Expedition drove up from Lake Tahoe to the Pacific Northwest and then down to the historic Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where, on a closed course, they reached speeds of more than 145 mph. In Utah, they celebrated the end of the summer tour with a visit to Greg Miller’s Land Cruiser History Museum before their final push into Las Vegas for the Toyota National Dealer Meeting. The Ever-Better Expedition’s winter leg begins in mid-November, so be sure to check back in to see how the vehicles tackle the icy conditions of Alaska and Canada!
The Ever-Better Expedition winter tour kicked off this week in Anchorage, Alaska, with the Mayor’s office there to see them off. The team then drove toward Fairbanks through an intense snow storm, a challenge for both driver and vehicle. Once safely arrived there, they continued on to Coldfoot, passing through one of the most dangerous, remote and deadly highways in all of North America. The week ended with some holiday cheer with a visit to Santa and an amazing Thanksgiving feast!
This week began at the Toyota Canada Cold Test Facility in Timmins, Ontario, where the team prepared for their cold-weather testing. From Timmins, they headed east and stopped at a local dealership in Mont-Laurier, Quebec, to see how the harsh local climate and logging roads affect the vehicles.Their journey continued through Montreal and into the historic city of old Quebec. In Quebec City, they met with consumers and gathered valuable information from longtime Toyota owners about the unique conditions in Canada.
Our second week in Canada began with the departure from Quebec City and the drive toward Halifax, Nova Scotia. There was not much snow on the roads, but the temperatures remained cold and offered up some unique testing conditions for the group. Upon arrival in Halifax, the team visited the historic Citadel, which was built in 1749 to defend the Port of Halifax. There they met with customers and learned about their vehicle maintenance needs in a corrosion-rich environment. The week ended with a very foggy drive into Rimouski, Quebec.
After 110 days on the road, this week marks the final leg of the Ever-Better Expedition. The group started with a successful consumer event in Rimouski, Canada, where local Toyota owners shared their valuable information. In Levis, a massive snowstorm surprised our expedition, and the team was allowed to experience icy road conditions as well as deep and heavy snow. The weather eventually cleared as the group stopped at Toyota Canada Inc. and the Woodstock plant. There it was time to say farewell to their Canadian colleagues. After covering over 18,000 miles, the tour then reached its final destination and a wonderful celebration at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. With the North America Expedition now complete, we are one step closer to our goal of making ever-better cars every day
The winter leg of the Ever-Better Expedition is about to begin, taking the team into one of the most inhospitable locations in North America: Alaska.
The first leg of Toyota’s Five Continents Driving Project took place in Australia, where for 72 days and more than 12,500 miles, 50 engineers drove vehicles cross-country, taking on the diverse and rugged terrain of the outback.
The Ever-Better Expedition arrives in North America, departing from the site of Toyota’s new headquarters in Plano, Texas. This is the second leg of Toyota’s Five Continents Driving Project.
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