Toyota Alabama takes the lead in vehicle production plant sustainability
What do you think when you hear the name Toyota? For many, it is an incredibly affordable car that’s fun to drive. For others, it’s unbeatable safety every time you get behind the wheel. Toyota is also a brand that is synonymous with efficiency, and the Toyota Alabama plant is a perfect example. The plant recently received five environmental awards for its outstanding efforts to reduce energy and water usage.
The Toyota Alabama manufacturing plant is unique because it is a model Sustainable Plant. That means that it does not send any waste to landfills, and it has also made some incredible advancements in energy savings. The results speak for themselves.
For starters, the plant won the EPA ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry by reducing its energy use by a stunning 14 percent in just one year. It also received three Toyota North America Environmental Awards because of its ability to conserve energy and water and effectively implement an efficiency improvement plan. It has already saved roughly 75 million bottles of water as a result! Thanks to conservation efforts, it has been able to save enough energy to power 400 households a year on average. This has garnered it the City of Huntsville Air Pollution Control Achievement award.
As a result of these efforts, Toyota has been awarded the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for the 10th year in a row! It is a perfect example of the automaker’s commitment to tackling the reduction of energy usage in this country and around the world.
So, what do these awards and accomplishments really mean? Try $500 million in savings over the last 11 years and a 22 percent decrease in energy usage for every vehicle Toyota produces. The reductions alone could power 400,000 households for an entire year!
Our team at Toyota of Greenville would like to congratulate the workers and managers at the Toyota Alabama plant for their incredible efforts. To join the family and help us work towards a more sustainable future, please contact us right now! Let us help you do your part by finding you a fun and efficient new Toyota today.
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Perhaps the closest thing we’ll ever have to a real crystal ball is the concept car. These unique and often mind-blowing specimens typically feature bold designs and even bolder features. The Toyota C-HR Concept is no different. It recently debuted at the 2014 Paris Motor Show and instantly went about turning heads thanks to some out-of-this-world styling and innovative features.
Of course, Toyota is no stranger to innovation. This is the brand that brought us the Prius, RAV4, and GT86 (Scion FR-S, after all. And the C-HR is just one more example in a long line of wholly unique models from Toyota built to inspire.
The C-HR rides on its own purpose-built platform and sports an emotionally charged exterior. Your typical Toyota this is not. From the front, the car’s fascia is similar to Toyota’s current design theme; however things deviate quickly when viewed from the sides and back.
Easily one of the most interesting design elements, the rear LED taillamps form a floating 3D-shape cluster and jet outward to meet the eye. The combination of large tires and squat stance lend the C-HR an incredibly athletic look, while a low center of gravity provides greater structural rigidity and improved driving dynamics.
In addition to one outrageously designed exterior, the C-HR adds to its eye-popping veneer with a new full hybrid powertrain that Toyota says will deliver significantly improved fuel efficiency. A sporty crossover hybrid with a delicious design and unrivaled driving dynamics? Yes, please.
For now, the C-HR remains a case study, albeit a decidedly gorgeous one. But don’t discount this futuristic-looking concept from becoming a reality someday. In fact, Toyota says its latest concept could hint at a new crossover hybrid model to be released down the road.
Whether that turns out to be the case or not we suspect we’ll at least see some elements from the C-HR make its way to production.
For more information, or to learn more about this and other Toyota models, be sure to contact or visit our dealership today.
No matter how much horsepower your engine is capable of cranking out, your car would be useless without a functioning steering, suspension, and alignment system. Power steering, suspension, and wheel alignment team up to help you harness your engine power and handle your vehicle safely, especially if you're expecting to face severe weather this fall and winter. Here’s a breakdown of these systems and the proper maintenance required to maintain control on the road.
Steering your car might not be quite as simple a process as you might imagine. When you turn, the front wheels will actually point in slightly different directions to provide optimum turning performance. There are also two different forms of steering employed in modern cars. Rack and pinion steering converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into a linear motion, often a choice for high-performance vehicles. It also provides a gear reduction, which makes the wheels easier to turn. Re-circulating ball steering is more commonly used on trucks and SUVs, as the system improves the efficiency of the gearbox on larger vehicles, which may be required for off-road driving.
Proper maintenance for your steering system includes regular flushing and replacement of power steering fluid every 15,000-30,000 miles, depending on your car’s make and model. Our certified technicians will take a look and make sure your fluid is uncontaminated, which will extend the life of your power steering system and avoid costly repair costs due to damaging particles in your fluid.
Your car's suspension carries out a number of important roles. It minimizes the effects of road imperfections and bumps, which in turn keeps the vehicle's tires in constant contact with the road, leading to a comfortable ride and higher performance. This ensures that the steering is as stable as possible, which makes sure the car handles well. Your car's suspension also transfers the weight of the car when cornering to maintain stability. The suspension system is part of the car's chassis and works in tandem with the steering to carry out its job.
Suspension systems are prone to damage, particularly on roads that are damaged or where the surface condition is poor. Symptoms of problems with the suspension can be varied. The car may bounce or sway excessively, even at low speeds. You may find that the car does not sit level, either when stationary or when driven. Problems with the handling may also point to a problem with the suspension, and you may hear knocking or other unusual noises. When taking your car in for an alignment and steering check, our technicians will take a look at your vehicle’s suspension as well to make sure all parts are working properly.
Wheel alignment is also a critical part of maintaining your car's performance. Alignment is a process by which the angles of the wheels are adjusted so that they are perpendicular to the ground. This improves handling by ensuring the car drives perfectly on a straight, level road. This also maintains the life of the tires by preventing uneven wear.
A problem with your wheel alignment can also cause problems if not set correctly. If you notice your car tends to drift in a particular direction, or your control seems to be wavering, consider taking your vehicle in for an alignment check. It’s better to be safe, than to lose control and panic when you’re driving on the highway.
Our qualified technicians at Toyota of Greenville will run a series of diagnostic tests to analyze the root cause of any problems with your steering, suspension, or alignment. Schedule an appointment or come by our service department with any questions. With steering, suspension, and alignment repair, we’ll ease your worries and help you stay in control in the driver’s seat.
New for 2015
The 2015 Toyota Camry has been completely redesigned from the ground up.
Art in Motion
It’s unquestionable to think anyone would ever have asked artists like Michelangelo to repaint the Sistine Chapel every three to five years, or for Ludwig Von Beethoven to tinker with his 5th Symphony. And yet, automotive designers – who we humbly consider to be equally brilliant in their own right – are asked to do just that. So when Toyota’s design team were tasked with revamping America’s best-selling car for more than a decade, we can’t say we envied them.
We’re talking, of course, about the Camry. It’s one of the most iconic cars ever built. Its popularity and ubiquity across North America is unprecedented. The Camry has always polled strongly with consumers for doing the big (and little) things just right. It’s always been reliable, comfortable, and incredibly efficient.
If there was one area where the Camry lacked that “je ne sais quoi” it was style. While previous Camry models could lay claim to many qualities, excitement – specifically its design – was never one of them. Of course, that never stopped people from seeing the true beauty underneath, and Toyota, being the sticklers for perfection that they are, wanted to rectify that in a major way.
Sporty and Camry are two words rarely uttered in the same sentence, but in an effort to breathe some excitement into the latest model, Toyota redesigned America’s sweetheart to help captivate buyer’s sense of value and adventure. And it’s not just the exterior that has received a boost. The Camry’s cabin, materials, technologies, braking, and suspension have all been revised. Making the 2015 Toyota Camry unlike anything before it.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2015 Toyota Camry is equipped with a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is satisfying to say the least, with plenty of power on tap when merging or entering the freeway.
Of course, drivers in search of more power can select a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. It too sports front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic. It’s also surprisingly quick, and can get up to speed in a pinch or whenever you’re feeling particularly squirrelly.
As you’d expect from the automaker that brought us the Prius, both engine options offer incredible fuel efficiency. The 2.5-liter earns and EPA-estimated 28 mpg combined (25 city/35 highway).* Meanwhile, the V6 doesn’t suffer too much in terms of fuel economy. It get an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined (21 city/31 highway).*
With enhancements made to its body, structure, suspension, and steering, the 2015 Camry is markedly more exciting to drive than ever before. Steering inputs are received with computer-like precision, and the overall weight and handling of the car have been improved to help deliver a more compelling, dare we say, exciting ride. It’s no sport sedan, but the Camry is no longer the double dose of Nyquil on wheels it once was.
Feature and Trims
You don’t get to be the top-selling car by catering to a narrow strip of customers, which is why the 2015 Camry carries on the tradition of offering a little something for everyone. With a starting MSRP of just $22, 970,* the 2015 Camry is available in LE, SE, XSE, and XLE trim levels. There is also a Toyota Camry Hybrid, which we have reviewed separately.
As the entry point into the Camry family, the LE offers plenty of goodies for new and returning drivers. Riding on 16-inch steel wheels, the LE comes with standard automatic headlights, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, keyless entry, and a rearview camera. Bluetooth® phone and audio connectivity join the Camry’s standard 6.1-inch Entune touchscreen infotainment setup, complete with six-speaker sound system and CD player.
The SE builds upon the LE’s exceptional value by adding 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, unique sporty exterior styling and interior touches, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. SE models also sub out the LE’s standard cloth upholstery for simulated leather and upgraded gauges.
The XSE adds its own touches, including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED running lamps, leather and simulated suede upholstery, heated front seats with additional side bolstering, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Finally, the range-topping XLE is equipped similarly to the XSE, but replaces the sport-tuned suspension with a softer, more comfort-oriented version. It comes with full leather upholstery and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The Camry can also be outfitted with additional safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert system, along with other advanced technologies such as lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision warning, to name a few.
Often automakers make the mistake of restyling a model with little concern for buyer reaction but we’re happy to report that the Camry’s sleek new looks are stylish enough to attract new buyers but not outlandish enough to scare away longtime fans—and there are a lot of you.
That balance is struck with an eye-catching front end and equally detailed rear. The Camry’s profile brandishes a more athletic loo too, with plenty of character lines to compliment that dapper new grille. It’s still the same great Camry inside and out, but with a greater appeal to style-hungry buyers that don’t want to compromise on quality.
Step inside and the changes are slightly more understated but still noticeable. New technologies such as a standard 6.1 touchscreen add to the Camry’s modern vibe, while soft touch surfaces compliment a cabin that caters to both driver and passengers. Seating is a particular high note, with additional bolstering on XSE models that dramatically increases that models sportier character.
The 2015 Toyota Camry was built to keep you and those you love as safe as possible. Every Camry model comes with a robust list of standard equipment that includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, and a rearview camera.
If you’ve never been a big Camry fan, prepare to fall head over heels for the 2015 model. If you’ve always loved the Camry, prepare to rekindle that romance all over again. Toyota has taken everything that has made the Camry the consummate midsize sedan and dialed up the awesome to unheard of levels. It’s better, sleeker, and smarter in virtually every way possible.
Schedule a test drive today by visiting or contacting our dealership.
*2015 EPA-estimated mileage. Actual mileage will vary
**Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, excludes the Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee of $825 for Cars, $885 for Small/Light Trucks (Sienna, RAV4, RAV4 EV, Highlander Gas, Highlander HV, FJ Cruiser, 4Runner, Tacoma and Venza), $1100 for Large Trucks (Tundra), and $925 for Large SUVs (Sequoia and Land Cruiser). (Historically, vehicle manufacturers and distributors have charged a separate fee for processing, handling and delivering vehicles to dealerships. Toyota's charge for these services is called the "Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee" and is based on the value of the processing, handling and delivery services Toyota provides as well as Toyota's overall pricing structure. Toyota may make a profit on the Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee.) Excludes taxes, license, title and available or regionally required equipment. The Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee in AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC and TX will be higher.
When it comes to winter road trips, plan ahead
Ski trips, winter holidays and visits to Grandma's house may have you out on the road when weather isn't always conducive for a long, leisurely drive. Winter driving can keep you from chilling out, especially if you aren't prepared for the trip--really prepared.
Check out these tips that will help you enjoy your winter road trip in safety and in comfort.
Get a health check for your car
Getting stuck by the side of the road on a beautiful fall day may not be the worst thing that could happen, but if the temperatures are plummeting, or you're faced with difficult weather conditions, stopping to take care of car issues is much more inconvenient and dangerous.
To ensure your car is road-ready and able to withstand inclement weather, make sure to keep up with routine maintenance. It may be a good idea to bring it in to our dealership for a multi-point inspection. This mechanical "physical exam" will let you know what needs to be repaired or replaced before you set out on your road trip.
Routine maintenance will alleviate the need for pit stops at out-of-state money-gouging garages or fly-by-night repair shops. It will also give you the confidence you've done everything necessary to ensure a safe trip for you and your passengers.
Service technicians will:
- Check your battery. Cold weather is tough on batteries, and no one wants to deal with a dead battery on a cold morning.
- Check for slow leaks, worn hoses and other needed repairs or replacement parts
- Check your windshield wipers and your window defrosters.
- Check to see that your windshield-washer reservoir is filled to the top.
- Check your coolant levels in your car and use anti-freeze made to withstand cold temperatures.
- Check your tires and make sure they've got plenty of tread.
- Install snow tires if you choose to use them and make sure the tire pressure is at the optimum level.
Prepare for the worst
- Charge your cell phones so you start off with a full charge.
- Bring along your car charger so you can keep your cell working.
- Pack a bag of snacks and water bottles just in case you need them.
- Pack a bag of emergency equipment like a first-aid kit, jumper cables, shovel, ice scraper, and blankets.
- Plot your road trip and share the directions with another person who can help track you down if something goes wrong.
- Fill up your car with gas, and don't let it go lower than half a tank to avoid freezing gas lines.
Bring along the fun
- Make up a playlist or grab an audiobook for some entertainment on the road.
- If children are passengers, make sure they assemble a special bag that includes their favorite blankets, toys, or snacks.
- Children get bored easily, so surprise them with some new games or toys suitable for a car trip.
- Sweets can calm a crying child or stop the pangs of hunger; dole them out in emergencies or include them as part of your fun winter road trip..
Too often, brakes don’t become a priority until they, well, break. Waiting for an emergency to check up on your brakes is risky business, however, dangerous for both you and everyone else on the road. Play it safe and assess the health of your breaks on a regular basis.
How They Work
Essentially, the braking system in a car is all about creating friction. A braking material is pressed against a secondary material that rotates along with the wheel. The secondary material has two forms:
Brake Drum: even though it’s called a drum, it looks more like a top hat, with the wheel mounted on the hat’s closed end. Drums are normally found in older or less expensive vehicles. There are two curved “shoes” inside the drum, lined with friction material. Here’s how the system works: while the wheel turns, the shoes hold just off the surface of the drum. When you press on the brake, hydraulic fluid transfers braking force to the shoes that then push outwards to press the friction material against the rotating drum. The harder the pressure on the pedal, the more force applied by the shoes, and the faster the wheel stops.
Disc Brakes: a disc system works the same way as the drum system, except instead of a drum and shoes, it consists of a rotor (the disc) that mounts behind and turns with the wheel, and a caliper that holds two pads of friction material (brake pads) mounted over the rotor. Pressing on the brake causes the pads to pinch the disc that hold just off the surface of the disc, like “shoes” in the drum system. Hydraulic fluid transfers pressure to the pads, pressing them together, forcing a slower rotation of both the discs and wheels.
Monitor the health of your brakes by paying attention to both foot feel and sound. Your brake pedal should feel firm and hard under pressure, and pressing the brakes should result in quiet, smooth deceleration.
Bring your brakes in for a check-up if they display any of the following symptoms.
Pulsing underfoot is not good. It normally indicates a warped rotor, which should be replaced immediately.
Soft/spongy pedal response means some air has entered the hydraulic system. Air hinders the power of your brakes and the hydraulic system should be serviced ASAP.
No resistance when pressed means there’s a serious problem. No response is the worst response, and could indicate brake failure. Take that foot off the gas, shift into neutral, turn off the engine, pull the emergency brake, and call for help.
Loud screeching is never a good thing, but coming from your brakes it could mean the friction material in your system is either wearing away or gone. Worn-away friction material is a much more common brake issue than brake failure.
On the road, your brakes are your safety net, and well worth regular care. Take a break from worry with a brake health-check at our service department.
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If you’ve ever been stranded in the middle of a computer project, then you know how draining battery problems can be. Luckily, there are plenty of strategies available—both simple and advanced—to help you optimize your laptop’s battery life.
Basic techniques: Conservation
The easiest way to help your computer battery last longer is to make sure that your computer is powering only the functions and applications that are really necessary. Just like a car uses more gas when accelerating quickly, your computer uses more energy when it is completing a lot of operations, especially if those operations are complex. Give your battery a break with these easy fixes:
Reduce your screen brightness
A brighter screen takes more power, so the lower the screen brightness, the longer the battery will last.
Avoid playing CDs or DVDs
CD and DVD players have tiny motors to spin the discs, and even tiny motors take a lot of juice.
Shut off the Wi-Fi switch
If you don’t need to use the internet, shutting off your laptop’s Wi-Fi switch will help conserve energy.
Use the touch-pad
When you plug in a USB wireless mouse, the battery has to supply power for the mouse’s laser in addition to powering the laptop itself (if you have a USB mouse that uses a ball instead of a laser, you should be able to use it without any additional drain on the battery).
Don’t be so flashy
Using applications that take a lot of processor power (flash applications, live video streaming, or complex games like Diablo, StarCraft, the Sims, etc.) will drain the battery faster.
Basic techniques: Care and storage
According to HP, a battery’s life can also be affected by how you treat it when it’s not in use. Avoid exposing the battery to extreme temperatures. Remove the battery if you will not use your computer at all for two weeks or more, or if your computer will be plugged into a wall outlet continuously for the same amount of time. If you need to store your battery outside of the laptop, it’s best to store it with a 30-50 percent charge in a place where the temperature reaches between 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Advanced techniques: Discharge and calibration
When you’re near an electrical outlet, you might think that it’s always a good idea to keep your laptop plugged in. After all, that means that your battery will always have a full charge when you need it, right? Well, not exactly. A short battery cycle (using a small amount of the battery life and then recharging it) can actually lower the battery’s ability to hold a charge. It’s better to let the battery do what it was designed to do: Power the machine. When possible, keep your laptop unplugged until the battery is low—then you can plug it in to restore its charge.
HP recommends fully discharging the battery once every three months. That means that you let the battery run out completely, then charge it completely before turning the laptop back on. This process calibrates the battery, and will give your computer a more accurate reading of how much battery life is left (if you never calibrate the battery, Windows may mistakenly shut your computer down even if there is still power available). In order to fully discharge your battery:
- Use your computer until the battery life is low.
- Restart the computer (if you simply allow the computer to run, your computer will shut down before the battery has a chance to fully discharge).
- Before the computer loads, follow your computer’s manual to enter the BIOS (often this is accomplished by tapping the delete or F2 key).
- Let the computer run in the BIOS until the battery is completely drained.
- The computer will shut itself off. Then close the lid, plug it in, and allow it to charge for four hours (or until the battery is at full capacity) before turning it back on.
Reduce your chance of a power predicament. With proper care and conservation, you can eke out the maximum amount of life possible from your laptop battery.
Are you in charge of the Thanksgiving turkey this year? Whether you’re a beginner to basting or you are a seasoning veteran, the main event of the Thanksgiving feast is a significant undertaking, but there’s more than one way to do it right. This year, don’t settle for a boring bird. Take a look at some of these poultry preparations that will knock the socks off your guests and put Aunt Edna’s turkey from last year to shame.
Embrace the Brine
Brining, or soaking in saltwater, takes a little more prep (24-48 hours), but it infuses the bird with flavor and increases the likelihood that your turkey will turn out moist and flavorful rather than dry and crumbly. Plus, if you’re looking for simplicity, this killer recipe has only five ingredients, one of which is the turkey itself. This apple-brined version is a little more complicated, but the results look like autumnal perfection.
Sometimes the best tasting turkey comes from humbler beginnings. Ditch the fancy preparation, and grab a can of beer. Open beer. Insert into turkey. Grill turkey. This recipe is as simple as that, plus a few additional spices to take your buzzed bird to the next level.
You sir, with the death wish, would you like to deep-fry a turkey? Yes, you say? This high-risk method was all the rage a few years back, and some turkey chefs still swear by it. If you decide you’d like an oil-crisped bird, it can be done, but proceed with caution and make sure you plan and prepare well before firing up the fryer.
The Bacon Turkey (not to be confused with turkey bacon)
This is a pretty standard rule for most any food: when in doubt, add bacon. When not in doubt, add bacon. Wrap your turkey in bacon and create this meat masterpiece that is sure to please any carnivorous family.
Three Birds in One
This recipe takes the traditional turkey up a notch. A few notches, actually, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Yes, it’s the Turducken. If poultry inception interests you and you want to cook a bird inside a bird inside a bird, consult this thorough guide to creating the ultimate Turducken.
Choose your Own Adventure
If you just can’t decide on a recipe, but you still want to make a jaw-dropping bird, here’s a great mix-and-match guide for all you indecisive cooks out there.
Of course, you could just go with a traditional turkey recipe this Thanksgiving, but if you’re feeling daring, give one of these alternative approaches a try and mix it up this holiday season.
Sales Dept. Hours
- Mon-Fri: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
- Sat: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Sun: Closed to spend time with family
Service Dept. Hours
- Mon-Fri: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Sat: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Sun: Closed