Posts Tagged ‘Japan

08
Aug
10

First 3D Porn movie being shot in Hong Kong

NEWS
First 3D Porn movie being shot in Hong Kong

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Entertainment••• A group of Hong Kong filmmakers have started shooting what they claim will be the world’s first 3D pornographic film, a report said on Sunday.

The $3.2 million 3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, set for release in May, has already generated interest in a host of Asian film markets, as well as Europe and the U.S., the Sunday Morning Post reported.
Loosely based on a piece of classical Chinese erotic literature, The Carnal Prayer Mat, the movie will star Japanese adult actresses Yukiko Suo and Saori Hara, the Post said.

The film chronicles the story of a young man who, after being introduced to the erotic world of a duke, realises his ex-wife is the love of his life and features ‘orgies, swinging and some very graphic sex scenes’, the paper said.
Producer Stephen Shiu acknowledged that censors would likely block the movie’s screening in mainland China, a key market for Hong Kong filmmakers.

‘(But) we are almost closing deals with some markets including Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and some pay TV channels in Hong Kong,’ Shiu told the paper.

Italian director Tinto Brass has announced he would produce a 3D remake of his 1979 erotic film Caligula, while Hustler plans to release a pornographic spoof of 3D science fiction film Avatar, the top-grossing movie of all time which has earned about $2.7 billion worldwide since its release.
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08
Jul
10

Toyota Recalling 138,874 Lexus Vehicles

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Toyota Recalling 138,874 Lexus Vehicles

Thursday, July 8, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp on Tuesday filed a recall of 138,874 luxury Lexus vehicles sold in the United States to fix faulty engines in the latest quality problem to afflict the world’s No. 1 automaker. The move follows a recall of over 90,000 Lexus and other vehicles in Japan over the same problem, which was filed with the Japanese transport ministry on Monday.

The Japanese automaker said flaws in valve springs, a crucial engine component, could make the vehicle stall while in motion. Toyota confirmed in a statement it plans to file paperwork with the government on the recall next week.

The recall affects certain GS, IS and LS vehicles from the 2006-2008 model years powered by 4.6 and 5.0 liter V8 engines and 3.5 liter V6 engines. No accidents or injuries have been reported. Vehicles from the 2009 and 2010 model years are not affected.

Toyota had announced in Japan that it would recall 270,000 Lexus vehicles around the world to address the engine stalling problems. The global recall affects seven luxury Lexus sedan models as well as the popular Crown sedan, sold primarily in Japan. Of the 270,000 recalled cars, some 180,000 were sold overseas, including the United States, and 90,000 in Japan.

The company has received about 200 complaints in Japan but no accidents were reported there or abroad, said Toyota spokesman Hideaki Homma. Some drivers told Toyota that engines made a strange noise.

The automaker was already scrambling to repair its reputation after 8.5 million vehicles were recalled beginning in October because of problems with sticking accelerator pedals and other issues. Toyota was slapped with a record $16.4 million fine in the United States for acting too slowly to recall vehicles with defects.

Japan’s major daily Asahi said Friday the latest recall of 270,000 vehicles could cost Toyota around $227 million. Toyota could not confirm the report, which gave no sources.

Subject to the recall in the United States, filed with the Department of Transportation, are 2006-2008 Lexus models, including the top-of-the-line LS460 sedan, IS350, GS460, GS450h and the LS600hL models. Toyota plans to recall 270,000 vehicles worldwide due to the defective engine valve springs.

Toyota said owners will be notified of the recall by mail and dealers will repair the engine’s valve springs at no charge. The company said owners can continue to drive their vehicles. If they notice vibration, unusual engine sounds or rough idling, they should bring the car to a dealer for service.

Lexus general manager Mark Templin told dealers in an e-mail that “we understand the frustration and embarrassment these recalls cause and appreciate your reassuring Lexus owners that there is nothing more important to us than their safety, satisfaction with our products and confidence in you and the brand.”

Toyota dealers have repaired millions of vehicles following the massive global recalls, but the automaker still faces more than 200 lawsuits tied to accidents, the lower resale value of Toyota vehicles, and the drop in the company’s stock.

Toyota said last week it will recall 17,000 Lexus luxury hybrids after testing showed that fuel can spill during a rear-end crash.

U.S. regulators were working with scientists from NASA to investigate what caused some of Toyota’s vehicles to suddenly accelerate. That review is expected to be completed by late August.

Officials were also investigating whether Toyota waited nearly a year in 2005 to recall trucks and SUVs in the U.S. with defective steering rods, a case that could lead to additional fines.

Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact their local Lexus dealer or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.
• Customers who have any further questions are asked to visit www.lexus.ca or contact Lexus Canada at 1-800-265-3987.
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• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corporation
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30
Jun
10

Hurricane Alex threatens Mexico, Texas coasts

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Hurricane Alex threatens Mexico, Texas coasts

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Earth

••• U.S. President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Texas as Alex strengthened into a hurricane, disrupting oil cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico.

Obama’s move allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to co-ordinate all disaster relief efforts, a White House statement says.

It came as Alex forced the suspension of oil skimming operations from the disastrous BP spill as visiting Vice President Joe Biden heard complaints about the pace of cleanup efforts in the disaster zone.

Ten weeks after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon platform exploded, setting off the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Biden was given an earful from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal about the slow response.

Some 413 miles of once-pristine shorelines have been oiled, as well as countless birds and other wildlife, since the rig sank on April 22.

Since then crude has gushed at an alarming rate into the Gulf of Mexico, leaving the region’s vital fishing and tourism industries in tatters.
Meanwhile, the State Department announced that the United States will accept offers from 12 foreign countries to help clean up and contain the spill.

Offers of booms have been accepted from Canada, Japan, Mexico and Norway; skimmers have been accepted from France, Japan, Mexico and Norway; and a sweeping arm system has been accepted from the Netherlands, a spokeswoman told AFP.

On his trip to the region, Biden was greeted by protesters holding signs reading ‘oil kills’ as he entered a command centre in New Orleans for an hour-long briefing before meeting with local fishermen.

He also travelled to the Florida panhandle, where the slick has forced authorities to close down some of the area’s fabled white sand beaches.

Jindal, a Republican who has been highly critical of the federal response, asked Biden for help cutting through red tape and deploying more resources to keep the oil from coating fragile coastal wetlands and fishing grounds.

‘The federal government needs to increase their sense of urgency,’ Jindal said in a statement after meeting with Biden.

‘They need to treat this spill like a war and get in it to win it. We’re here to defend our way of life.’

At the leak site 50 miles offshore, winds of up to 22 knots churned up large waves that made it too rough for crews to deploy a third vessel set to nearly double the capacity of BP’s containment system.

The now-delayed Helix Producer was set to increase the capacity to gather the gushing oil to between 40,000 and 50,000 barrels per day by early July, from the current 25,000 barrels.
The current containment system is capturing nearly 25,000 of the estimated 30,000 to 60,000 barrels of crude spewing out of the ruptured well every day.

That could all end up gushing directly into the sea if Alex – which is forecast to pass hundreds of kilometres from the site and strike land near the Texas-Mexico border late on Wednesday – changes path and threatens a more direct hit on the slick.

Forecasters are not predicting such a dramatic shift. But U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is overseeing the spill response, said that even the threat of gale force winds – upward of 45 mph – would be enough to force drilling and containment ships to withdraw.

Alex’s winds late on Tuesday had reached 75 mph, with higher gusts, and the storm was expected to strengthen before making landfall on Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Hurricane force winds extend outward only about 30km from the centre but tropical storm force winds extend up to 174 miles, according to the NHC.

In the event of an evacuation, operations will be shut down for about two weeks to ‘take down the equipment, move it off to a safe place, bring it back and re-establish drilling’, Allen said.

That would be another major setback for the ill-fated oil collection effort, and would probably delay until September the completion of relief wells designed to permanently plug the well.

An estimated 1.6 million to 3.6 million barrels of oil have already poured into the Gulf from the ruptured wellhead some 1 mile below the surface.

BP hopes a new mooring system will make the containment cap deep down on the sea floor easier to disconnect and reconnect in the case of bad weather – a vital contingency as hurricane season gets into full swing.

The rough seas have already shifted parts of the slick closer to sensitive areas in Florida and Louisiana and could also push the oil deeper into fragile coastal wetlands.

Waves at the site of the sunken BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig were up to two metres, a Coast Guard spokesman told AFP.
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• Source(s): NOAA / National Weather Service (NWS)
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25
Jun
10

Toyota recalls Lexus HS250h hybrid for fuel spills

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Toyota recalls Lexus HS250h hybrid for fuel spills

Friday, June 25, 2010

••• Toyota said on Friday it will recall 17,000 Lexus luxury hybrids after testing showed that fuel can spill during a rear end crash.

The Japanese automaker said tests conducted for the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration found that fuel leaked during a rear impact crash at 50 miles per hour on a 2010 HS250h sedan. The test, conducted by a NHTSA contractor, showed that fuel spilled as the vehicle spun around after impact. (NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V285000)

Toyota’s own testing has not shown any spillage, but a spokesman said the company plans to issue a voluntary recall as it continues to try to replicate the government’s results. It is notifying dealers to stop selling the car.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has attempted to rebound from a series of recalls tied to reports of unintended acceleration and other defects. The U.S. administration penalized Toyota with a record $16.4 million fine for acting too slowly on the recalls.

Dealers have repaired millions of vehicles, but the auto giant faces more than 200 lawsuits connected to accidents and the lower resale value of vehicles.

Earlier this week, Toyota Motor Corp president Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the automaker’s founder, apologized to shareholders for the trouble caused by the recalls. He said the company was doing its best to improve quality control.

Toyota said it has not identified a fix for the reported problems of fuel spillage.

Detailed information about this recall is available through Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.
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01
Jun
10

Apple shifts two million iPads in less than two months

NEWS
Apple shifts two million iPads in less than two months

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sales of the Apple iPad have passed two million since its launch almost two months ago.

The Cupertino, California, company began selling the iPad last Friday in Asia, Australia and Europe. The iPad was released in the United States on April 3.

The company does not publicly break out sales figures by region, according to Natalie Harrison, an Apple spokeswoman.

The company previously had said it sold one million iPads in the United States just 28 days after its launch. As a result of the strong demand at home, Apple had pushed back the start date of its international sales.
The iPad can be used to send emails, draw pictures and play games. It can also be used as an electronic reader. The basic model costs $499 in the United States, not including extras.

This past weekend, Apple began selling iPads in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Prices for the cheapest, WiFi-only version range from $499 in the United States to the equivalent of $620 in Britain for the entry-level 16 GB model. Canada ($520), Japan ($536) and Australia ($533) rounded out the price basement countries.

At the top end, an iPad 64 GB model with WiFi and 3G connectivity cost $829 in the United States against $1,010 in Britain and $980 in Germany, France and Italy.

The company said the device will be available in nine more countries in July and additional countries later this year.
• Source(s): Apple Inc.
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29
May
10

Apple’s iPad makes global debut

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Apple’s iPad makes global debut

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thousands of die-hard Apple fans mobbed shops worldwide on Friday as the iPad, called a revolution in personal computing by some and limited and overhyped by others, began its global launch.

Long queues of customers snaked outside Apple shops in Australia and Japan hours before the opening and similar huddled masses turned out at stores in six European countries, including Britain and France.

The iPad – a flat, 9.7 inches black tablet – also went on sale in Canada as part of a global rollout that was pushed back by a month due to huge demand in the United States.

One million iPads were sold in 28 days in the United States after the product’s debut in early April despite mixed reviews from consumers.

The product is the latest from Apple, which dethroned software giant Microsoft this week as the largest U.S. technology company in terms of market value, to create a frenzy.

At Apple’s flagship store in Paris, set in the prestigious mall beneath the Louvre museum, 24-year-old engineer Audrey Sobgou beamed as she walked away with one of the prized tablets.

Sobgou travelled 127 miles from her hometown in Lille, northern France, and waited nearly two hours before stepping inside the busy Apple store.

‘I’m not a victim of hype,’ she insisted. ‘I know Apple products and it’s about the quality, the interface, how it’s designed and what it can do. With elegance and style.’

Hundreds of people queued outside the Paris Apple store hours before it opened.

In Britain, a few dozen enthusiasts waited outside the Apple store in central London at 3am to get their hands on the iPad when it opened five hours later.

Staff escorted the first group of customers one by one up to buy their iPad after they opened the doors, whooping, chanting and cheering.

‘I queued overnight for about 20 hours since midday yesterday but it was very, very worth it,’ Jake Lee, a 17-year-old student from Essex, told AFP, clutching his treasured iPad.

The iPad also went on sale in Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland and will be followed in July by a launch in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Alejandro Barras, manager of the Apple store in downtown Madrid, said his iPad stock sold out one hour after opening.

Apple aficionados in Zurich camped out overnight in front of the store to buy the tablet and download some of the 5000 available apps – the media applications that run on the device.

In Montreal, an 82-year-old man with a long white beard and a beret stood in line with about 100 people, some of whom arrived at the Apple store at 6am.

‘I’m not a fan of gadgets,’ Jean-Maurice Demers told AFP. ‘But I’m involved in several political committees and community groups and I’m tired of dragging around several kilograms of files.’

Prices in Japan and Australia for the basic 16GB iPad are comparable to US prices, although a significant markup by Apple in Britain and continental Europe has triggered grumbling.

In France, wi-fi models sell for between 499 and 699 euros ($613 and $860), with the 3G models going for between 599 and 799 euros ($736 and $982) .

The multi-functional device is tipped by some pundits to revitalise media and publishing, with many major newspapers and broadcasters launching applications.

As well as the five other European countries, Apple plans to bring the iPad to Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore in July.

Apple has declined to reveal the number of pre-orders received for the iPad internationally, but Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky put it at around 600,000.

The iPad has officially gone on sale in Australia, with hundreds of tech lovers snapping up the touchscreen tablet device within minutes of it being released in Sydney.

Over 200 Apple fans braved the chilly Sydney weather overnight to be the first to get their hands on the new technology when the George Street store opened its doors at 08:00 am (AEST) on Friday.

Rahul Koduri, who had been in the line since 02:00 am (AEST) on Thursday, succeeded in his dream of being the first in Australia to purchase the iPad.

The 22-year-old Blacktown resident, who snapped up two iPads, was delighted.

‘It’s fantastic, it was so worth the wait,’ he said, holding up his two shiny iPad boxes.

‘One of these is for me, of course, and the other is for a family member.’

• Source(s): Apple Inc. and Independent Television News (ITN)
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28
May
10

Sony to challenge Apple in Japan with e-reader

NEWS
Sony to challenge Apple in Japan with e-reader

Friday, May 28, 2010

••• A group of four companies including Sony Corp. has announced the launch of a new firm to facilitate the distribution of digital content for the emerging e-reader market, including Sony’s Reader.

The four companies – Sony, Toppan Printing Co., KDDI Corp. and Asahi Shimbun Co. – jointly announced on Thursday that they are setting up a new company to provide a common base for e-publishing by facilitating the digitization, distribution and promotion of newspaper and other publication content.

“We’d like to provide an opportunity for users to easily access e-publications whenever and wherever they’d like, while establishing a platform where publishers can provide their content with ease,” said a representative of the four companies.

The four firms will jointly form a planning company on July 1, which will be turned into a business corporation by the end of the year for the launch of the new service.

The move has already gained support from a number of major publishers, including Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha and Bungei Shunju – all members of the recently established Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan (EBPAJ). With the new partnership aiming to launch multiple online bookstores, it aspires to seek support from other publishers as well.

Each of the four founding companies will hold 25 percent shares in the new firm, which will be capitalized at 30 million yen. The location of its headquarters has yet to be decided.

Sony, which will release its e-ink-based Reader in Japan later this year, is a “returner” to the country’s e-book market. Though it had attempted to break into the e-book business as early as 1990, a lack of e-book content eventually forced the company to pull out in Japan.

“Things have evolved since then, with completely different content offerings and devices. The time is now ripe,” Sony Electronics Senior Vice President Fujio Noguchi said during a press conference on Thursday.

Regarding Apple Inc.’s release of the iPad tablet computer to the domestic market on Friday, Noguchi said, “I don’t think we got a late start.”

Meanwhile, KDDI will also develop its own e-reader device.

“The market will see a variety of e-reader devices popping up, but they cannot do without 3G cellular connections. We have an advantage in making a foray into the market,” said a KDDI representative.
• Source(s): Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社)
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27
May
10

Apple iPad makes international debut

NEWS
Apple iPad makes international debut

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Apple’s iPad finally goes on sale outside the United States this week after heavy U.S. demand for the multi-media gadget forced a one-month delay of its international release.

The touchscreen tablet device from the maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod and the iPhone will be available on Friday in stores in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland.

The Cupertino, California-based Apple plans to bring the iPad to Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July.

The company co-founded by Steve Jobs had planned to begin selling the iPad internationally in late April but was forced to delay the global debut of the device because of what it said was ‘surprisingly strong U.S. demand.’

Apple said earlier this month that it sold one million iPads in the first 28 days it was available in the United States, less than half the time it took for the company to sell the same number of iPhones.

More than 5000 applications have been developed for the iPad, according to an Apple spokesman, in addition to the 200,000 programs already available for the iPhone or the iPod Touch, most of which run on the iPad.

A Wi-Fi version of the iPad, which allows users to watch video, listen to music, play games, surf the web or read electronic books, went on sale in the United States on April 3 for $499.

A more expensive model featuring both Wi-Fi and 3G cellular connectivity appeared on U.S. store shelves on April 30 for $829.

Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky estimated that Apple is selling over 200,000 iPads a week — more than its estimated Macintosh sales of 110,000 a week and its estimated iPhone 3GS sales of 246,000 a week.

Apple has declined to reveal the number of pre-orders received for the iPad internationally but Abramsky put it at around 600,000.

The U.S. sales figures indicate the iPad is a hit but success did not appear guaranteed when Apple’s Jobs unveiled the device at a high-profile media event in San Francisco in January.

‘There were plenty of questions before the iPad launch and quite a mixed reaction to it when it was released,’ said Gartner analyst Charles Smulders.

Critics derided it as a ‘big iPhone’ without a phone or a camera and bemoaned its inability to play Adobe’s popular Flash video software.

But the iPad appears to have won over the public with a hip advertising campaign and curious consumers can be seen lining up daily to play with tethered models of the device on display at Apple stores around the country.

‘Aside from the design, a key to its success has been getting the product into the hands of consumers,’ Smulders said.

‘With a new category of product like this it is difficult to understand its value unless you try it.

‘Apple has done a great job seeding the market.’

Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital said he sees potential for the iPad beyond the consumer market.

‘Even corporations are piloting the device at a pace that surprises us,’ Reitzes said. ‘At the very least we believe the device can tap into the corporate market as a ‘log in’ device that accesses the network.

‘Many of our clients are increasingly using, or intend to use, the device as a reader for research as well,’ he said.

With success comes competition and imitation.

U.S. computer giant Dell plans to begin selling its own tablet computer, the “Streak,” which has a five-inch (12.5 cm) screen compared with the iPad’s 9.7 inches (24.6 cm), in Britain in June and in the United States later in the summer.

And another U.S. computer giant, Hewlett-Packard, recently announced plans to acquire struggling U.S. mobile phone maker Palm and is expected to use its WebOS operating system to develop a tablet computer of its own.
• Source(s): Apple Inc.

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11
May
10

Toyota logs $1.60 billion 2009 profit despite recall woes

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Toyota logs $1.60 billion 2009 profit despite recall woes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

••• Despite massive recalls that dented its safety image, Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it logged a $1.60 billion group operating profit for the business year that ended in March, reversing the $4.99 billion loss recorded a year earlier.

It posted $2.27 billion in group net profit, compared with a loss of $4.73 billion in the 2008 business year, when the global financial crisis hit and car sales in the United States and Europe tanked. Group sales slipped 7.7 percent to $205.56 billion from $221.79 billion.

The steep rebound in profit – the first in two years – comes mostly as a result of cost-cutting efforts.

The safety woes mainly affected sales in the United States and Europe, but incentives in some regions helped shore up sales, limiting the fall in revenue.

“It was a year of being constantly on alert due to the series of recall matters, which caused concerns,” President Akio Toyoda said. “The severe conditions will likely continue, but I believe there is light far away amid the storm.”

Toyota now expects profits to grow in the current business year to next March. It forecasts a $3.03 billion group operating profit and $3.35 billion net profit on $205.56 billion in sales.

The company said it will focus on next-generation environmentally friendly cars by improving technology for hybrids and expanding its lineup. Also, it will gear up sales in fast-growing economies, particularly China and India.

Profit for the last business year mainly came from production cost cuts amounting to $5.63 billion, as well as $5.08 billion worth of reductions in fixed daily costs, including for labor, research and development, the company said.

Toyota said costs linked to its spate of worldwide recalls – $1.84 billion to $1.95 billion for the business year – were within expectations.

But concerns about potential massive recalls over accelerator defects continue.

The earnings results came a day after U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hinted at a news conference at Toyota’s headquarters in Aichi Prefecture that more fines could be imposed if needed.

Last month, Toyota agreed to pay a record $16.4 million U.S. government fine for delaying a January recall over defective accelerator pedals.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement issued Monday in Washington that it has opened an investigation into whether Toyota in 2005 notified the agency of a steering relay rod safety defect within five business days of learning of the defect’s existence, as required by law.

“We will fully cooperate with the investigation,” Toyoda said at the news conference.
• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corp.
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28
Apr
10

Toyota Recalls 50,000 Sequoia SUVs

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Toyota Recalls 50,000 Sequoia SUVs

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp will recall about 50,000 2003-year Sequoia sport utility vehicles in the United States and Canada to fix a problem in their vehicle stability control system, the company’s U.S. sales unit said Wednesday. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. said the recall will be conducted to adjust the VSC system, which is designed to control a loss of traction in turns as a result of front or rear tire slippage during cornering.

Without the adjustment, the VSC system could activate at low speed for a few seconds after acceleration from a stopped position, Toyota said. As a result, the vehicle may not accelerate as quickly as the driver expects, the company said, adding there have been no reported injuries or accidents as a result of this condition.

Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
» See: Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall on 2003 Model-Year Sequoia to Upgrade Program Logic in Vehicle Stability Control System

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24
Apr
10

Recalls? Toyota Still Showing Profit

NEWS
Recalls? Toyota Still Showing Profit

Saturday, April 24, 2010

••• Results from Toyota Motor to be released next month are expected to show the auto giant returning to profit in the year to March, despite a massive recall scandal, news reports say.

The Japanese automaker is expected to post a group operating profit of up to 50 billion yen ($531.75 million), reversing a 461 billion yen ($4.90 billion) operating loss for the previous year, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.

The uptick is mainly due to cost-cutting and a weak yen, which offset the costs of the global recalls, the daily said.

The company has recalled around 10 million vehicles worldwide since late last year due to accelerator and brake defects, but nevertheless expected to see a ‘good earnings situation’ a Toyota executive told Kyodo News.

Toyota had earlier forecast an operating loss of 20 billion yen ($212.7 million) for the year to the end of March.

Sales were expected to show a five percent fall to 7.2 million units, Nikkei said. The better-than-expected sales were partially due to strong demand for its new Prius hybrid car in Japan.

A Toyota spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the report.

The firm is due to announce its earnings results in early May.

On Monday the company agreed to pay a $16.4 million fine, the largest for an automaker in the United States, for hiding for at least four months accelerator pedal defects blamed in more than 50 U.S. deaths.

Toyota faces at least 97 U.S. lawsuits seeking damages for injury or death linked to sudden acceleration and 138 class action lawsuits from American customers suing to recoup losses in the resale value of Toyota vehicles.

The company overtook General Motors in 2008 as the world’s top automaker, but the safety recalls raised questions over whether it sacrificed quality to become number one.
• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corporation & Nikkei Inc.
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19
Apr
10

Toyota recalls 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV in North America

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Toyota recalls 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV in North America

Tuesday, April 19, 2010

••• After duplicating a leading consumer magazine’s tests that showed its 2010 Lexus GX 460 sports-utility vehicle may be susceptible to rolling over, Toyota Motor (TM) will recall the luxury SUV to fix the potential safety problem, it said Monday.

The company will voluntarily recall about 9,400 of the vehicles to update their electronic stability control software. Known as VSC, the system helps control the SUV during a loss of traction that can occur as a result of front or rear wheel slippage during cornering.

▪ A message from Mark Templin, Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager
“Since it was launched more than 20 years ago, Lexus has built its reputation on customer respect and concern for safety. With the news from Consumer Reports that our 2010 GX 460 did not pass its “Throttle Lift-Off” test, we immediately stopped selling the vehicle and commenced vigorous testing to identify and correct the issue.

Today, I’m happy to announce that we have developed a remedy that will be quickly implemented to help address customer concerns. We will be voluntarily recalling all 2010 GX 460s that have been sold in order to update the Vehicle Stability Control system. We will begin implementing this program in the next two weeks and our dealers will be reaching out to customers shortly to set up appointments to make this modification.

Lexus is confident that the update will make the performance of the GX even better for our customers.

As announced earlier, we will provide a courtesy vehicle to anyone who has purchased a 2010 GX 460 and has concerns about driving it until the recall work has been completed.

Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact their local Lexus dealer or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.”

Toyota said owners of affected models will begin receiving notices in early May. The company will provide loaners to vehicle owners who don’t wish to drive them before the recall work has been completed.

The recall follows a report last week by Consumer Reports magazine, which discovered in road tests that the GX 460 could roll over during certain maneuvers, such as decelerating onto a highway exit ramp. The nonprofit publication determined the problem was severe enough to warrant a “don’t buy” warning, its first such rating on a vehicle in almost a decade.

When subjected to a standard track test involving driving the vehicle through a turn as the driver lifts his foot off the accelerator, the rear of the GX 460 slid out until it was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control, Consumer Reports said last week. In a real world situation, such a control failure might cause the the vehicle to hit a curb or the side of the road, leading it to flip over.

After Consumer Reports published its findings on April 13, Toyota halted sales and production of the GX 460 and began its own tests. On Friday, Toyota said it had duplicated the problem that Consumer Reports encountered with the vehicle’s electronic stability control system.

Toyota has struggled with quality and safety issues in recent months. It recalled millions of vehicles last fall for uncontrolled acceleration problems believed to be associated with bulky rubber floor mats. Other recalls soon followed, including one for sticky gas pedals, which led to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fining Toyota a maximum $16.4 million for failing to act quickly enough in notifying the agency of the problem.

On Monday, Toyota agreed to pay the fine, but denied any wrongdoing. Toyota said that while executives could have done a better job of sharing information, both within and outside the company, “We did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem.”

▪ Lexus Canada has announced a voluntary safety recall affecting 2010 model year GX 460 vehicles to update software in the vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system

Toronto, ON – April 19, 2010 – Toyota Canada Inc. has announced a voluntary safety recall affecting approximately 446 2010 model year GX 460 vehicles to update software in the vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system.

Toyota’s vehicle and design evaluation objective is to meet or exceed customer expectations and regulatory requirements. Toyota’s engineering team undertook similar tests to confirm the issue raised by Consumer Reports on April 13, 2010 and we are confident that an update to the VSC software addresses the concern.

All Canadian Lexus dealers will have the VSC software update by end of April. Letters will be sent to owners included in this recall in early May.

No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles are involved in this recall.

• Customers who have any further questions are asked to visit www.lexus.ca or contact Lexus Canada at 1-800-265-3987.

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16
Apr
10

Toyota recalls 600,000 mini-vans over corrosion on spare-tire cable

NEWS
Toyota recalls 600,000 mini-vans over corrosion on spare-tire cable

Friday, April 16, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it was recalling 600,000 Sienna minivans sold in the United States to address potential rusting spare tire cables that could break and create a road hazard in the latest safety problem to strike the beleaguered automaker.

The recall came as House investigators said they planned to hold another congressional hearing in May to review potential electronic problems in runaway Toyotas. The Japanese automaker has recalled more than 8 million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals, humbling a car company long known for its quality and safety.

Company leaders vowed to respond quickly to the safety concerns.

Toyota said its latest recall covered the 1998-2010 model year Siennas with two-wheel-drive that have been sold or registered in 20 cold-climate states and the District of Columbia. Toyota said rust from road salt could cause the carrier cable that holds the spare tire to rust and break, allowing the tire to tumble into the road. The problem could threaten the safety of other drivers.

Toyota said it was unaware of any accidents or injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received six complaints of spare tires falling off Siennas.

The company said it was working on a fix for the problem. In the meantime, customers will receive a notice telling them to bring their vehicle to a dealership for an inspection.

• The recall involves Siennas in the District of Columbia and the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

“Toyota is listening to its customers attentively, and we want to make sure their voices are heard,” said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America.

St. Angelo said the company was providing free inspections of the spare tire carrier cable across the nation, including states not included in the recall. Owners can call (800) 331-4331 for more information about the recall.

Lawmakers remain focused on the spate of recalls affecting the company. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., a subcommittee chairman, said they plan to hold a May 6 hearing to look into potential electronic causes of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

Toyota has said it has found no evidence of electronic problems, attributing the issues to sticking gas pedals and accelerators that can become jammed in floor mats.

Toyota said in a statement Friday it was “more than willing to meet with the committee and discuss the ongoing testing related to our electronic throttle control system, as well as the steps we are taking to improve our quality assurance processes. Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive.”

The Transportation Department has fined the company $16.4 million for failing to promptly notify the government about defective gas pedals among its vehicles. Toyota has until Monday to agree to the penalty or contest it. The fine is the largest civil penalty ever issued to an automaker by the government.

Transportation officials have not ruled out additional fines. The department is reviewing whether Toyota delayed for six weeks the late January recall of the 2009-2010 Venza in the United States to address floor mats that could entrap the accelerator pedal after making a similar recall in Canada.

Toyota recalled the Venza in Canada in December and reported to the U.S. government on Dec. 16 that the floor mats could move forward while the vehicle is in use and “may interfere with the accelerator pedal.” Toyota told U.S. authorities at the time that the floor mats in question were not imported into the U.S. but the Venza was added to the floor mat recall in late January.

Automakers are required to notify the U.S. government within five business days when they find a potential safety defect.

Waxman and Stupak, meanwhile, have asked Toyota and outside consulting firm Exponent Inc. to provide documents detailing a review of possible electronic problems in its vehicles. Exponent, which was hired by Toyota, said in an interim report it could find no evidence that electronic malfunctions had caused sudden unintended acceleration.

Committee investigators said in February that the Exponent testing was flawed because it studied only a small number of Toyota vehicles and consumer groups have said electronics could be the cause of the acceleration problems. Reviews of some high-profile crashes in San Diego and suburban New York have failed to find either mechanical or electronic problems.

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15
Apr
10

Mazda Recall Adds To Japan’s Car Woes

NEWS
Mazda Recall Adds To Japan’s Car Woes

Thursday, April 15, 2010

••• Japan’s Mazda Motor will recall nearly 90,000 passenger cars domestically and in China due to an oil hose defect, the company said on Thursday.

The company, which is part owned by U.S. auto giant Ford, will start recalling 35,181 units in Japan and some 54,000 in China of the Mazda 3, known as the Axela in Japan, the automaker’s most popular model.

Mazda said the cars, produced from January 2006 to March 2009, have been recalled because an oil hose and a radiator shroud panel have been placed too close together and may be damaged by friction when travelling on bumpy terrain, leading to potential leaks.

‘The company has received two cases of complaints due to the problem, both in China,’ said a Mazda spokesman who asked not to be named.

‘No accident because of it has been reported.’

The Mazda 3 compact car is widely sold in Japan, China and Europe, said the spokesman, who added that no decision had yet been taken if the recall will affect the European market.
Japanese car maker Toyota has suspended worldwide sales of the Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicle due to a roll-over risk, saying it will test all its SUVs for safety.

‘The company has decided to suspend the SUV’s sales worldwide …,’ Toyota spokeswoman Mieko Iwasaki said on Thursday.

The move comes a day after Toyota suspended sales of the GX in the U.S. and Canada after U.S. magazine Consumer Reports gave the SUV a rare ‘Don’t Buy: Safety Risk’ rating.

The report claimed that when pushed to its limits, the rear of the GX ‘slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control’.

Having now suspended the SUV’s sales worldwide, Toyota said it will work on analysing potential safety risks in the model which has sold 6000 units, as well as its other SUVs.

Toyota will start testing all the other SUV models, including the Land Cruiser, Land Cruiser Prado and Rav4 but the company will continue to sell those models.

The car maker has recalled millions of vehicles worldwide since late 2009, mostly over a series of problems linked to ‘unintended acceleration’.

Toyota, which overtook General Motors in 2008 as the top-selling car maker, has been bedevilled by a series of safety issues that have raised questions about whether it sacrificed its legendary quality to become world number one.

The recalls have caused an outcry in the U.S., with Toyota executives hauled over the coals in the US Congress and the company’s previously stellar reputation for safety left in tatters.

The company faces a record $16.4 million fine in the U.S. for its failure to notify authorities quickly about vehicle safety problems.

• Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987.

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08
Apr
10

Toyota Executive Urged Company to ‘Come Clean’

NEWS
Toyota Executive Urged Company to ‘Come Clean’

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Toyota’s bid to present itself as a company that puts customers first has been shattered by an internal memo in which a senior American executive begged Japanese management to stop concealing safety issues from the general public.

“The time to hide on this one is over,” warned the email, “We need to come clean.”

The emergence of the email follows the decision by U.S. safety regulators earlier this week to issue Toyota with the maximum possible fine of $16.4 million. That judgment, which punishes the Japanese giant for its slow response to safety issues, has left the company in a difficult position: appeal and prolong its public grilling or accept the decision and risk admitting liability in scores of class-action lawsuits.

Written in mid-January, just days before the company was plunged into its most damaging vehicle recall ever, the email refers directly to company efforts to cover-up mechanical problems with accelerator pedals.

Before January, Toyota had only acknowledged publicly that accelerator pedals could become stuck by becoming entangled in loose floor-mats.

But the internal emails now in the hands of U.S. investigators reveal a tussle within Toyota over whether or not to inform the public over more fundamental flaws in the pedal mechanism – problems that had not at the time been fully understood by Toyota’s engineers and to which there was no clear “fix” available.

Irv Miller, who has since retired but was then Toyota’s vice president for public affairs, sent the email in response to comments by his Japanese colleague, Katsuhiko Koganei – a senior executive who had been dispatched from Toyota’s Japanese headquarters to co-ordinate with his U.S. colleagues.
Mr. Koganei argued in a previous email that the company “should not mention about the mechanical failures of the pedal”, because the cause of the fault had not yet been identified and that a statement by Toyota would unsettle motorists.

“We are not protecting our customers by keeping this quiet,” replied Mr. Miller, who then used capital letters to stress his concern, “…WE HAVE a tendency for MECHANICAL failure in accelerator pedals of a certain manufacturer on certain models.”

The email is among a massive collection of over 70,000 documents currently held by U.S. government safety investigators as they continues their probe into Toyota’s handing of its “sticky” accelerator problems. The paper trail includes a large number of internal emails and memos.

Those documents include a letter sent in 2006 to the then president of Toyota from the leader of one of the company’s unions. The letter cited direct and long-term experience from the factory floor and identified systemic “safety sacrifices” made as the company had expanded.

Toyota said that it would not comment on internal communications within the company but said that: “we have publicly acknowledged on several occasions that the company did a poor job of communicating during the period preceding our recent recalls.”

Toyota said that it had subsequently taken “important steps to improve our communications with regulators and customers”.

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06
Apr
10

U.S. Department of Transport to fine Toyota $16.4 million

NEWS
U.S. Department of Transport to fine Toyota $16.4 million

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp faces a proposed $16.4 million fine from U.S. regulators who said the automaker knowingly delayed a massive recall for defective accelerator pedals.

The U.S. Department of Transport has announced that it plans to fine Toyota Motor Corporation $16.4 million after the family-controlled automaker failed to notify U.S. transport regulators about defects that allegedly cause unintended acceleration.

According to a statement released yesterday, the investigation into the Toyota recalls by the Department of Transport revealed the world’s largest car manufacturer was aware of the so called “sticky-pedal” defect for at least four months before revealing it to safety authorities. U.S. law states carmakers must inform authorities of any problems the find within five days.

Toyota, which now has two weeks to decide whether to appeal against the decision, is yet to respond to the news.
The defect in question is at the centre of the current recall crisis that has seen Toyota recall over 8 million vehicles worldwide since November. Third-generation family head Akio Toyoda has been accused of mishandling the recalls, as he remained largely silent on the matter until February.
However, he has since attempted to rectify the company’s negative publicity, appearing in public often and personally heading a Toyota committee that is investigating the safety recalls.

Toyota has two weeks to decide its response.

The “sticky pedal” case was the only one in a string of voluntary recalls where a formal defect finding was established.

Documents obtained from Toyota showed the automaker had issued repair notices in Canada and Europe to address complaints about “sticky pedals,” sudden acceleration and sudden engine revving in late September, but did not begin a U.S. recall until late January, regulators said.

Manufacturers are legally obligated to notify U.S. safety regulators within five business days if they determine that a safety defect exists. The documents showed Toyota was aware U.S. consumers were experiencing the same problems, the Transportation Department said.

As part of the pedal recall, Toyota has offered to add a metal shim or replace them completely.

Previously, the largest fine was $1 million against General Motors Co for failing to promptly recall windshield wipers in 2002-2003 model vehicles.

Fines for violating auto regulations were increased earlier in this decade after massive recalls involving Firestone tires.
Related: Toyota to Replace Accelerator Pedals for Unhappy Owners GO
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27
Mar
10

GM Recalls 5,000 Heavy Duty Vans for Engine Fire Risk

NEWS
GM Recalls 5,000 Heavy Duty Vans for Engine Fire Risk

Saturday, March 27, 2010

••• General Motors is recalling about 5,000 heavy-duty vans because of a risk of engine fire, the company said Friday.

The vans involved in the recall are the 2010 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana passenger and cargo vans. The company also is halting production and sales of the vehicles “until a fix for a suspected faulty alternator can be determined.”

GM spokesman Alan Adler said there have been no injuries or accidents reported in connection with the vans.

The company warned customers who purchased the vans, which were built in February and March, to stop driving them and park them outside away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

Relatively few of the recalled vans are in the possession of retail customers, with about 1,300 in rental and other fleets,the company said.

GM issued a stop sale order on Friday, preventing the fleet-owned vans from being rented or those on dealer lots from being sold. Others are being held at dealerships or in ports before being exported.

Only the 2500, three-quarter ton, and 3500, one-ton, Series vans are affected. Light-duty (half-ton) Express and Savana vans use a different alternator.

It is rare for an automaker to halt sales because of a safety defect. GM’s decision to stop sales of the vans comes two months after Toyota Motor Corp. halted sales of eight models because of faulty accelerator pedals.

▪ Vehicles affected are the Chevrolet Express 2010 van, Model 2500 / 3500 with vehicle identification numbers from A1129327 to A1142523.

▪ Also, the GMC Savana 2010 van, Model 2500 / 3500 with vehicle identification numbers from A1128784 to A1901915.

▪ About 1,400 AC Delco aftermarket parts also are affected by the recall. The affected part numbers are: 15200110; 15288861; 15263859 and 15847291. Customers who had a heavy duty alternator replaced in February or March in a 2005-2010 heavy-duty Express or Savana van or other 2005-2009 GM truck or SUV also are being urged to check their repair order receipts to determine if a suspect part was involved. If it was, or the part used is unknown, they are urged to stop driving their vehicles, park them away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

These owners also are asked to contact their Customer Assistance Center to provide their contact information, so we can follow up with them when more information is available. ▪ www.gm.com

• Source(s): General Motors

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23
Mar
10

Toyota to Replace Accelerator Pedals for Unhappy Owners

NEWS
Toyota to Replace Accelerator Pedals for Unhappy Owners

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

••• NHTSA gets over 100 complaints on fixed Toyota vehicles.
It was reported earlier this month that some Toyota drivers are still experiencing unintended acceleration after their recalled vehicles were repaired. According to an Associated Press analysis of government data, complaints of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles repaired under recall have nearly doubled in the past two weeks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received complaints from 105 drivers, raising the question about whether Toyota’s recall repairs are actually working.

Toyota has previously said that it is confident in its repairs and found no evidence of other problems, such as a problem in the electronics.

David Strickland, NHTSA’s administrator, did say in a statement Wednesday that the agency has found “several instances in which a dealer made mistakes in applying one of the recall remedies.” He said that the NHTSA is working with Toyota to improve instruction to dealers.

Toyota has recalled more than 8.1 million vehicles worldwide since October.
Just last week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received complaints from 105 drivers complaining that their vehicles were still experiencing unintended acceleration issues after they took their vehicle in for a recall fix.

Toyota has now told its dealers that it will provide a replacement accelerator pedal to owners who are unsatisfied with their repairs.

Toyota sent out a memo today, obtained by the Associated Press, stating that if customers are still unhappy with with the feel of the accelerator after being repaired, the dealer can provide them a replacement pedal at no additional charge.

“A replacement pedal should only be offered to a customer after the reinforcement bar has been installed and the customer has expressed dissatisfaction with the operation and/or feel of the pedal,” Toyota said in the memo to dealers.

“If a customer is not satisfied with the operation and/or the feel of the accelerator pedal after the reinforcement bar has been installed, please assist us by assuring a replacement pedal is provided at no charge to these customers,” the memo said.

The memo addresses eight Toyota vehicles including:

▪ 2005-2010 Avalon
▪ 2007-2010 Camry
▪ 2007-2010 Tundra
▪ 2009-2010 Corolla, Matrix
▪ 2009-2010 Toyota RAV4
▪ 2008-2010 Sequoia
▪ 2008-2010 Highlander.

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17
Mar
10

Honda recalls 453,000 US vehicles

NEWS
Honda recalls 453,000 US vehicles

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

••• Drivers have complained that brake pedals feel ‘soft’ in the latest safety scare to hit the automotive industry.

Japanese carmaker Honda is recalling 453,000 minivans and sports utility vehicles in the US because of complaints from drivers that brake pedals feel “soft” in the latest safety scare to hit the automotive industry.

Honda announced today that it intends to make adjustments to 344,000 Odyssey minivans and 68,000 Element vehicles built in 2007 and 2008. The company said motorists had found that as the vehicles age, they had to press the brake pedals closer to the floor in order to reach a halt.

It blamed the problem on air accumulating in a piece of equipment called the vehicle stability assist modulator. It encouraged owners to take their cars to an authorised dealer and said formal notifications to potentially afflicted motorists would begin at the end of April.

Honda said British and European cars are not affected. The recall comes amid an anxious environment in the industry as rival Japanese manufacturer Toyota struggles to overcome problems with sticking accelerator pedals.

Since the end of last year, Toyota has been obliged to recall more than 8m cars in response to safety scares and its president, Akio Toyoda, was hauled before a congressional committee in Washington last month to offer apologies. In the latest headline-grabbing incident, a Californian estate agent last week claimed his Toyota Prius had accelerated uncontrollably to 94mph on a San Diego freeway, although safety regulators have raised questions over discrepancies in his account.

Today’s recall by Honda is on a far smaller scale than Toyota’s difficulties. Honda said several crashes and three minor injuries with a possible link to soft brakes have been reported to the US national highway traffic safety administration. But spokesman Chris Martin told AFP that it was “tough” to link the injuries to the specific problem because it develops so gradually: “It’s a very slow progression because it’s a tiny, tiny amount of air that gets in – it’s smaller than a drop of water.”

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12
Mar
10

California Lawsuit Claims Toyota Hid Defect Evidence

NEWS
California Lawsuit Claims Toyota Hid Defect Evidence

Friday, March 12, 2010

••• Southern California prosecutors filed the first U.S. consumer protection lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp on Friday, claiming it had engaged in “fraud” by hiding evidence of dangerous vehicle defects.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said his office along with private attorneys sued the U.S. sales arm of Toyota, charging that the world’s top-selling automaker has endangered the public with defective vehicles, and engaged in deceptive business practices.

“Against this backdrop of fraud and concealment, Toyota has for decades touted its reputation for safety and reliability and knew that people bought its vehicles because of that reputation and yet purposefully chose to conceal and suppress the existence and nature of defects,” said the 18-page lawsuit filed on Friday morning.

The suit seeks to keep Toyota “from continuing to endanger the public through the sale of defective vehicles and deceptive business practices.”

A Toyota spokesman said the company had no immediate comment.

Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles globally to address the risk that accelerator pedals on a range of its vehicles could become stuck because of a loose floor mat or a glitch in the pedal assembly.

Unintended acceleration in the company’s Toyota and Lexus vehicles has been linked to at least five U.S. crash deaths since 2007. Authorities are investigating reports alleging 47 other fatalities over the past decade.

The suit charges that Toyota knew about the defects in “selling and leasing hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks with defects that caused sudden unexpected and uncontrollable acceleration.”

Rackauckas told a news conference that his office will work with private attorneys from Robinson, Calcagnie and Robinson of Newport Beach in Orange County.

Rackauckas, a Republican who is up for re-election this year, defended his office’s filing of the suit and the hiring of the private attorneys.

The news conference drew a lone demonstrator carrying a green sign that read, “I (heart) Toyota.” The demonstrator, Kerri Wilson, said her husband worked for Toyota. She briefly engaged a Rackauckus staff member over the DA’s involvement in the case, suggesting that it was done for political gain.

Rackauckas told reporters he was becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of consumers and that his office has jurisdiction because Toyota’s U.S. headquarters is in California. He also said that the private attorneys will be paid from any proceeds of the lawsuit.

Orange County is just north of San Diego County, where a California Highway Patrol trooper and three members of his family were killed in a crash last August involving a Toyota vehicle. It abuts Los Angeles County, where Toyota has its U.S. sales headquarters in Torrance.

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