State Fair of Texas
Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011
Bob Carter, Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager
Good afternoon everyone.
It’s always great to be in Dallas for the biggest state fair in the country. Like Texas itself, the State Fair is an important place for Toyota to debut new vehicles, especially trucks.
Two years ago, the all-new 4Runner made it’s global debut, and last year we introduced the updated Highlander and Highlander Hybrid, along with a couple of special edition Tundras.
Although we’re headquartered in Southern California, we consider Texas a second home because the Tundra has been built in our San Antonio plant since 2006, with the Tacoma coming on-line last summer.
As everyone knows, Texas is the epicenter of the full-size pick-up truck. But the Tundra is the only full-size truck built here, with the highest U.S. content of any full-size pickup on the market.
The San Antonio plant directly employs nearly 3,000 team members. In addition, Texas suppliers employ another 3,000 associates. And when you add Gulf States Toyota and our dealers, Toyota provides jobs for nearly 16,000 Texans. We’ve invested more than $1.3 billion dollars since we first broke ground in San Antonio in 2003, and when we brought the Tacoma to the San Antonio plant last year, it brought several hundred additional jobs to both the plant and our suppliers, creating an even more positive economic impact to the area and the state.
It’s due to the dedication of our San Antonio team members, and the excellent build quality they produce, that J.D. Power has named Tundra the “Most Dependable Large Pickup” for six years in a Row” in its Vehicle Dependability Study of three-year-old vehicles. Which monitors long-term durability over a three-year period, not just the first 90-days.
Thanks to their hard work and commitment, as well as their suppliers, production of Tundra and Tacoma restarted a couple of months earlier than we originally anticipated after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which affected our entire company.
Overall, Tacoma sales have been up slightly this year, even with the supply disruption. While Tundra sales were affected more by our low-stock situation, and are down this year, we’re seeing signs of encouragement in the full-size market with business use improving.
It’s an exciting time at Toyota, with a lot of new product coming out very soon. Looking ahead, we’ll introduce 20 new or updated products between now and 2013.
This Fall, we’ll have the Prius v, the Yaris, and the Scion iQ going on sale. I read over the summer about the Prius v was by a local journalist who called it “A Texas-sized Prius” because of its interior size and capacity. And speaking of Scion, were debuting for the first time the new Release Series xB and xD here at the State Fair, so go take a look over at the Scion display.
We’ve received a lot of great feedback from customers and others following our worldwide reveal of the all-new Camry on Aug. 23. Completely reinvented for 2012, Camry is the most technologically advanced Toyota ever built. In addition to its legendary quality, Camry features contemporary styling and adds best-in-class driving dynamics, refinement, safety features, fuel economy and connectivity.
Camry has always provided customers with the best value, and the new Camry delivers an unprecedented level of value to the lineup. In spite of all the new features and refinement we’ve added, prices on all popular models will be lower than they were before, including the Camry Hybrid. As a result, customers can now get more Camry for less money.
Gas-model Camrys will start reaching dealerships this week, with the 43-miles-per-gallon Camry Hybrid due to arrive in late fall.
I’m also looking forward to seeing the Camry pace the Daytona 500 next February.
But the first new or significantly enhanced vehicle is the 2012 Tacoma, which went on sale this month.
Toyota has a rich pickup-truck heritage in the U.S. that dates back more than 40 years, and the Tacoma has been the number one selling compact pickup since the eighth generation was introduced in 2005, while commanding nearly 40 percent market share, far outdistancing its competition.
Tacoma is tough, fun to drive, and has the best features in its class. It’s consistently recognized for its great value as well, including ALG, Cars.com, Edmunds, IntelliChoice, and Kelly Blue Book this year.
For 2012, Tacoma offers a new look inside and out, providing comfort, usability and infotainment.
On the outside, Tacoma shows a fresh face with a redesigned hood, grille, headlamps and front bumper, among others.
The interior also gets a great new look, with a new center-instrument panel and gauge cluster, a new steering wheel, and a redesigned center stack. Tacoma will also be among our first vehicles to get our new Entune multimedia system.
The main reason we’re here today is to give you the first look at an exciting new Tacoma we’re looking to bring to market next year.
Toyota has a rich heritage in Baja truck racing that dates back nearly three decades, and resulted in a number of Baja 500 and Baja 1000 championships with Ivan “Ironman” Stewart. Over the years, Toyota’s successful desert racing program has inspired numerous off-road products and packages, including the PreRunner, the TRD Off Road Package, the T|X, and the T|X Pro.
And now, Toyota is about to set another new benchmark in the segment with a new TRD Tacoma designed to push off-road capability to a new level of fun and function.
I’d like to introduce… for the first time… the limited edition T|X Baja Series Tacoma.
This pre-production version of the T|X Baja Series was developed in partnership with TRD for truck owners who spend a lot of time off-road, whether it’s for work or play. It’s the type of truck that will shine in a Texas ranch environment, or on a Midwest hunting trip, off the highway in a California desert, or anywhere, east or west, where the roads are rugged.
It all starts with the capability of the popular TRD Off-Road package, including electronically controlled locking rear differential, Active Traction Control, and Hill Start and Downhill Assist Controls.
For a stand-out appearance, the T|X Baja Series adds BF Goodrich T/A KO tires and bead-lock-style off-road wheels with an exclusive Gun-Metal Gray finish, a TRD Cat-back Exhaust, unique Baja Series graphics, and a front ride height that’s increased nearly two inches.
The front suspension has been lifted one-and-a-half inches, allowing an additional one inch of wheel travel provided by TRD coil springs and 60-millimeter Bilstein race shocks.
The rear suspension has been equipped with 50-millimeter Bilstein race shocks with a remote reservoir to increase shock-oil capacity for greater heat dissipation and damping sensitivity. And the rear suspension also features a 1.5-inch increase in wheel travel.
The T|X Baja Series will initially be available on both the Tacoma Access and Double Cab 4x4 models equipped with the TRD Off-Road Package, with expansion to the PreRunner also being considered.
The truck will be built exclusively at our manufacturing facility in San Antonio, which means all components of this unique package are covered under Toyota’s standard warranty.
The production version of this limited-edition package will be built for only two months in late spring of 2012. We’ll have more information for consumers on Toyota.com after the first of the year.
Although we don’t have final pricing at this time, I can tell you that the Baja Series will provide enhanced off-road capability in a price range that is accessible to a broad audience.
That means a price in the mid-thirties rather than the high forties or low fifties.
At last year’s Fair, we introduced two unique Tundra packages that were a perfect fit for the Lone Star State, and they were so well received we felt an encore was in order.
The Tundra T-Force returns with the 2.0 Limited Edition. It’s for off-road enthusiasts who want to make a statement about their outdoor lifestyle. With only 500 being built for our customers in the Gulf States area, the Tundra T-Force 2.0 will include 20-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, pocketed fender flares, textured-black T-Force running boards, special T-Force badges, and other additions.
The latest Tundra Texas Edition is offered exclusively in the Lone Star State, with custom "Texas Edition" exterior badges, 20-inch alloy wheels and upgraded tires, and a number of chrome accessories that make this truck stand out in any parking lot. It also will have a special bonus cash incentive offer from our partners at Gulf States Toyota. You can see both of these special packages in our outdoor truck exhibit.
As I mentioned earlier, Tacoma will be among the first to receive our new Entune Multimedia system, along with the Prius v and the new Camry.
One of the key features today's consumers are looking for is information and entertainment. But it can be a challenge to design a safe, easy to use system in a car or truck. Toyota’s answer is our exclusive Entune system, which works through an owner’s smart phone, and earned a best-in-class rating at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
With a conversational voice-recognition system and a distraction-free motoring environment, Entune takes the phone out of the driver’s hand; you can leave it in the console or put it in your purse and you're still connected. You’ll find Entune to be safe, simple, intuitive, compatible, and upgradeable.
Here’s a short video to show you what I mean:
I’m also happy to announce, for the first time, the expansion of Entune into many of our other Toyota products, including trucks and SUVs, taking Entune from our initial three models to a total of 10 over the next few months.
Beginning next month, 4Runner will be available with Entune, and both RAV4 and Corolla will follow later this year.
In 2012, Land Cruiser, Tundra, Sienna and Sequoia will also offer Entune to our customers.
Thanks for joining us today. I invite you to take a closer look at the new T|X Baja Series Tacoma, the all-new Camry, Prius v and Yaris, the special edition Tundras, as well as the other vehicles we have here in the hall and outside in our truck area.
I’ll be here to answer any questions you may have.
Thanks again and enjoy the rest of the State Fair.