Toyota’s Oculus Rift Simulator Raise Teen Driver Safety Awareness

Teen Driver SafetyToyota is certainly used to breaking ground—vehicles like the Prius and new hydrogen-powered Mirai, vehicles that become synonymous with progress, prove that point. This time, though, Toyota is breaking ground in a different way, by improving teen driver safety awareness thanks to a new driving simulator. The simulator, which marks the first time Oculus Rift technology has been used to support driving safety, is being used as part of Teen Driving Awareness Month.

You don’t have to be a teen to benefit from the simulator experience, though. You simply get behind the wheel of a stationary Toyota vehicle, put on the Oculus Rift headset, and suddenly find yourself immersed in the beautiful, chaotic world of the simulation—a busy city street. Once in the simulation, you are tasked with retaining focus on the road or facing the consequences of losing that focus.

The simulation experience is certainly a lot of fun—who wouldn’t want to give this Oculus Rift technology a try? But it uses all that fun to make a very serious point—driving is a responsibility that no one, teen or adult, should take lightly. Come see us at Phil Wright Toyota to learn more about the simulating technology and all of our great, safe vehicles today.

Toyota 2014 Sales Increase 6.2% in 2014

2014 was the perfect year for Toyota Motor Sales. Not only was the Japanese carmaker named the global hybrid leader, thanks to its outstanding Prius sales, but it also posted an increase of 6.2% compared to 2013, selling a total of 2,373,771 vehicles from both the Toyota and Lexus brands.

Toyota 2014 Sales - Toyota Prius“The industry finished last year on a high note thanks to a strong economic tailwind,” remarked Bill Fay, Toyota Division Group Vice President. “That momentum should continue in 2015 and combined with continued strong replacement demand, boost sales further.

Helping this Toyota 2014 sales increase was the company’s December sales, which were up from 12.2% from last year. The carmaker sold a total of 175,178 units total in the last month of 2014, giving Toyota’s numbers a serious boost.

These great Toyota 2014 sales are sure to hint at terrific sales in 2015, too. Stop in to Phil Wright Toyota today to see why Toyota sales have increased so much!

Toyota Celebrates 2015 with 12 Top Safety Pick Awards

12 Top Safety Pick AwardsToyota ended 2014 on a high note by receiving 12 Top Safety Pick awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). These awards span the Toyota, Lexus, and Scion lineups and include a variety of vehicle sizes.

Of the 12 awards, eight Toyota and Lexus vehicles earned the superior Top Safety Pick+ honor. These vehicles include the Lexus CT, Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry, Toyota Prius v, Lexus RC, Toyota Highlander, Lexus NX, and Toyota Sienna. Notable among these awards are those for the Sienna and Prius v. The Sienna is the only minivan to receive this top safety recognition and the Prius v had a greatly improved performance in the small overlap crash test.

The remaining four awarded vehicles include the Scion FR-S, Scion tC, Toyota Avalon, and the Toyota RAV4.

“At Toyota, our focus remains on the safety and peace of mind of our customers,” said Dino Triantafyllos, Toyota’s North American Chief Quality Officer, in a statement. “We’re pleased the IIHS has recognized the strong and improved safety performance of our vehicles in a range of crash tests.”

Want to learn more about the safety of these Toyota vehicles? Stop by Phil Wright Toyota and we’ll help you find the perfect safety-awarded Toyota for your family.

New Toyota Ponds Run by Beavers Become Wildlife Habitat

In an attempt to build water-retention ponds for a new Toyota plant, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi incidentally created a haven-like home for a series of plants and marine wildlife, after the Toyota team gave in to a persistent colony of beavers.

Toyota Ponds run by BeaversThe retention ponds were designed to hold storm water runoff, allowing only a certain amount of water to discharge through three small, carefully planned holes when a gate is raised.

This certainly wasn’t in the plans of the local beavers – who repeatedly plugged up the holes to a nearly-concrete state, until the Toyota team abandoned the project, which had started to take on a life of its own.

The Toyota ponds, run by beavers instead of Toyota, would never entirely empty, instead slowly filling up with otters, ducks, fish, and a host of plant life. The semi-natural new habitat has become a beautiful home for local wildlife, earning the Toyota plant certification as a Wildlife at Work program.

Toyota seems to have embraced the habitat, while we at Phil Wright Toyota are inspired by their persistence and their creation.

Bold New 2016 Toyota Tacoma to Premiere at Detroit Auto Show

New 2016 Toyota Tacoma to Debut at NAIASToyota recently gave fans a sneak peak of their upcoming 2016 Toyota Tacoma, which will not technically receive its world debut until next month at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The preview picture of the new model showed only its back rear, shredding through some mud. The image didn’t reveal much, but it does appear that the new design will be bolder. And of course, the word “TACOMA” can be seen on the lower tailgate.

Of course, the Tacoma is a huge market for Toyota, representing about 70 percent of all small-truck sales in the United States. However, Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. senior vice president of automotive operations, Robert S. Carter, believes that the Tacoma represents more than its sales.

“It has very dominant imagery: rugged, tough, youthful,” Carter says, adding, “that’s what the truck represents.”

While we wait for more information on the bold new 2016 Toyota Tacoma, head on down to Phil Wright Toyota to check out our available models.

Speculation Surrounds The Resurrection Of The Toyota Supra

Torque News recently invited us into their world for a fun game of sports car speculation! The famed Toyota Supra retired in 2002. The sports car was every tuner’s dream at the time.  Partly due to this fact, the Supra has since become a bit of a legend. Now the world wants to know: what will be its successor?

Toyota Supra - Toyota FT-1 Concept CarTorque News thinks it’ll be either the Toyota FT-1 concept, or it will be based on the current Lexus RC F. Both possibilities would be brilliant, and yet they both bring their own obstacles.

The image of the Toyota FT-1 concept made people immediately think Supra. The Supra was a two-door, rear-wheel drive, sleek-as-hell sports car. That also very much describes the FT-1. No word yet on what’s under the FT-1’s hood.

Meanwhile, the Lexus RC F could lend its powertrain to the new Supra. This would be very good news, in light of the fact that the RC F gets 467 hp and recently tied the 2015 BMW M4 at Streets of Willow.

At Phil Wright Toyota, we think that Toyota will win either way!

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Wins Off Road Baja 1000 Race

When it comes to finding a vehicle that can handle your off-road adventures, the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has proved it should be your number one choice. The truck was the first vehicle in the “Full Stock” class to cross the finish line at the 47th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 race.

2015 Toyota TRD ProToyota’s racing team, led by coach and Toyota off-road racing legend Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, navigated the truck over 1,200 miles of rough terrain to ensure its ability to conquer roads less taken. They didn’t stop there. After claiming the victory, the team drove the truck for 1,000 miles back to where the race began.

“The Baja 1000 is another test to ensure that Toyota trucks continue to exceed the expectations of our customers,” said Mike Sweers, Toyota Pickup Trucks chief engineer and one of the navigators for the race.

This first-place finish marks the 304th off-road win for Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

The 2015 TRD Pro Series is the most capable series to date, with parts and accessories for Toyota’s full-size Tundra, mid-size Tacoma, and 4Runner SUV. Contact us at Phil Wright Toyota today for more information on what this special model lineup can do.

Toyota Improves the Crash Safety of the RAV4

Crash Safety of the RAV4Last year the RAV4 and Toyota suffered a setback, as the RAV4 did not pass the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s tests or earn the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick award. When this happened Toyota engineers vowed to make it stronger and do a complete overhaul to pass a mid-cycle refreshing in later tests.

According to Automotive News, “Toyota Motor Corp. Chief Safety Technology Officer Secretary Seigo Kuzumaki said the RAV4 scored a ‘good’ in Tuesday’s test, thereby earning the institute’s Top Safety Pick status.”

The official results will become available in December, but the RAV4 needs to earn a rating of “acceptable” in the small-overlap front crash test to earn Top Safety Pick. The IIHS spokesman declined to comment on whether or not the RAV4 passed its crash safety tests, though he did say that the improvements look promising and quite significant.

Toyota would love to delete that mark on the RAV4’s history of a failed safety rating, especially on such a popular vehicle. The RAV4 is Toyota’s 3rd best selling model.

At Phil Wright Toyota we are looking forward to the improved crash safety of the RAV4 and are prepared to offer an IIHS Top Safety Pick at our dealership.

The New FJ Cruiser Suspension: Drive Anywhere You’d Like

If you’ve seen the new FJ Cruiser on the road, odds are you had to wipe the drool from your chin afterwards. The rugged design and incredible performance screams off-road capability, making it a great choice for drivers who like to have a little fun.

FJ Cruiser SuspensionAlthough it’s not normally what you might pay attention to on any other vehicle, the 2014 FJ Cruiser suspension is by far better than most others on the road. Sure it has a 260 hp V6, sure it’s paired with a 5-speed automatic, and sure it has a Star Safety System™, but the Bilstein® suspension is really what you notice.

“The FJ is truly rugged and versatile…Along with roughhewn looks come a roughhewn ride and a roughhewn interior. Very few [vehicles] are better off-road,” raved Car and Driver.

The Bilstein® suspension was designed by Toyota Racing Development with off-road driving in mind. It was specially tuned for the Trail Teams Ultimate Edition, featuring an independent high-mounted coil-spring wishbone system and a stabilizer bar, as well as a 4-link rear suspension. If that’s gibberish to you, it just means you can drive virtually anywhere in this model.

To get your hands on one of the most exciting cars to drive, stop by Phil Wright Toyota today.

Toyota Wins NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Again!

Toyota won yet another NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) manufacturer’s championship when Kyle Busch drove his Tundra to victory last Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. This marked Toyota’s seventh NCWTS manufacturer’s championship in the last 11 years, and the automaker’s dominance is showing no signs of wavering.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series - Toyota TundraSince the start of the 2004 season, Toyota has won a total of 10 NASCAR manufacturer’s trophies, including three consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) crowns from 2008 to 2010 and a record five consecutive NCWTS championships from 2006 to 2010.

It also won the NCWTS championship last year and has delivered one of the most dominant performances to date in 2014, with a total of 16 race wins, seven pole positions, 60 top-five results, and leading nearly 78 percent of the 2,830 laps raced this season so far.

Though Toyota has already won this year’s championship, it has not yet been decided which Toyota drivers will take the title. Matt Crafton—last year’s champion—looks poised to take the first back-to-back driver’s crown, but he is facing fierce competition from fellow Tundra drivers Darrell Wallace, Jr., and Johnny Sauter.

We look forward to seeing who will prevail here at Phil Wright Toyota!