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Toyota Production in North America Nearly 2 Million in 2018

PLANO, Texas, Jan. 30, 2019 -- In 2018, Toyota built 1,935,230 vehicles at its North American vehicle assembly plants. Since 1986, Toyota's total vehicle production in North America has reached more than 38 million.

Toyota's philosophy is to build where we sell and buy where we build. Positive economic factors such as low fuel prices, continued stability in the overall economy and strong customer demand for trucks and SUVs were all key drivers for 2018 production.

"Every part and every vehicle that rolls off the line reflects our commitment to safety, quality, value and, above all, our passion for exceeding customer expectations," said Chris Reynolds, chief administrative officer, Manufacturing and Corporate Resources, Toyota Motor North America. "Our ongoing success is due to the hard work and dedication of team members at our 14 manufacturing plants in North America."

Toyota's 15th manufacturing plant, a joint venture with Mazda, is scheduled to open in Huntsville, Alabama, in 2021.

2018 Milestones

In 2018, five of the company's 10 U.S. manufacturing plants continued to roll out a $373.8 million hybrid powertrain investment announced in 2017. The investment also included the implementation of the company's Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama, plant. Other aspects of the investment include:

Gasoline Demand Hits Lowest Level in Nearly Two Years Pushing Pump Prices Even Cheaper

The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data registers gasoline demand at 8.6 million b/d for the week ending December 28 – the lowest level on record since February 2017. Despite record motor vehicle travel for the holiday, demand was down nearly 900,000 bbl, suggesting that demand this winter could be lower than expected.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.24 and has declined for 12 weeks in a row. The national average is three-cents cheaper on the week, 20-cents cheaper than last month and 25-cents cheaper year-over-year.

“As the global crude market continues to be oversupplied, oil prices are dropping, continuing last week’s trend,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “This is good news for motorists filling up at the pump.”

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Missouri ($1.82), Oklahoma ($1.90), Arkansas ($1.91), Texas ($1.91), Alabama ($1.91), South Carolina ($1.91), Mississippi ($1.91), Louisiana ($1.93), Kansas ($1.93), and Ohio ($1.95).
The nation’s top 10 yearly decreases are: Michigan (-55 cents), Illinois (-49 cents), Ohio (-47 cents), Indiana (-47 cents), Iowa (-47 cents), Wisconsin (-46 cents), Nebraska (-41 cents), Missouri (-41 cents), Kentucky (-39 cents), and Delaware (-36 cents).


Motorists in Montana (-9 cents), Colorado (-7 cents), Utah (-6 cents), and Wyoming (-5 cents) saw the largest weekly decreases in the country. With the declines, state gas price averages are inching toward all being close to or below the $2.50 mark: Utah ($2.55), Wyoming ($2.54), Idaho ($2.53), Montana ($2.33), and Colorado ($2.20).

With regional refinery utilization jumping six percent on the week, gasoline stocks increased 252,000 bbl. The EIA reports that gasoline stocks for the region register at 7.2 million bbl. Historically, the region sees stocks build throughout Q1 ahead of peak summer tourism season.

Hyundai Sonata Wins Readers' Choice Award at 2019 North American International Auto Show

DETROIT, Jan. 25, 2019 -- The Detroit News awarded the Hyundai Sonata the Readers' Choice Award in the "Most for Your Money" category at its15th annual Readers' Choice Awards ceremony held during the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan.

"Hyundai is particularly pleased with The Detroit News Readers' Choice Award as it acknowledges consumer preferences and reinforces the significance of the sedan market," said Scott Margason, director, Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "The Hyundai Sonata offers consumers stylish design, a suite of advanced safety technology and user-friendly features, at an affordable price point."

The Detroit News produces the annual Readers' Choice Awards. One hundred Detroit News readers selected their best of the best at NAIAS after touring the show before it opened to the public.

The Sonata offers a bold, distinctive design, technologies and advanced safety features. From a technology standpoint, the Sonata comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Qi wireless phone charging and heated steering wheel is available. Standard safety features include Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Additionally, the 2019 Hyundai Sonata with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights was awarded the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+. The Sonata is backed by America's Best Warranty.

Hyundai Motor America is focused on delivering an outstanding customer experience grounded in design leadership, engineering excellence, and exceptional value in every vehicle we sell. Hyundai's technology-rich product lineup of cars, SUVs, and alternative-powered electric and fuel cell vehicles is backed by Hyundai Assurance — our promise to deliver peace of mind to our customers. Hyundai vehicles are sold and serviced through more than 830 dealerships nationwide, and the majority sold in the U.S. are built at U.S. manufacturing facilities, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Hyundai Motor America is headquartered in Fountain Valley, California, and is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea.


AAA Recommends Common Naming for ADAS Technology

Some Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have been available for nearly 30 years, however, they have only become more commonplace in the last several years, like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance. Since these features now come standard on many new vehicles, it is becoming increasingly important for consumers to have a solid understanding of their functionality. However, with the current variety of marketing names and lack of consensus by industry regulatory groups, it has been difficult for consumers to discern what features a vehicle has and how they actually work.

AAA set out to understand the growing prevalence of ADAS technology in new vehicles as well as examine the terminology currently used by regulatory organizations and manufacturers. Previous AAA research found that 40 percent of Americans expect partially automated driving systems with names like Autopilot, ProPILOT or Pilot Assist, to have the ability to drive the car by itself. This research highlights the need for standardization of terms and definitions for ADAS features.

Key Findings

9 vehicles with fresh design, smart safety additions and other features drivers will love

The Newest of the New 2019 Cars

The days of excitement over a unified new car model year are as old school as roll-up windows and cigarette lighters. Car enthusiasts who once relished the fall introduction of each year's new products with an eager eye for innovative features and design now must keep track of fresh looks, interior revisions, safety additions and other tweaks that make a model "new" throughout the year — as automakers try to stay ahead of their competition. Still, there's a lot for grownup drivers to consider in 2019 vehicles now. Here are 10 of the honestly all-new, or thoroughly revised, makes and models.

Ram 1500 

“More space. More storage. More leather. More technology." That's what Fiat Chrysler says about the 2019 version of its popular truck. We say the luxury features (extra legroom and a more car-like ride) are likely to appeal to drivers transitioning from comfortable cars to trucks. From the optional gee-whiz 12-inch infotainment screen to easily overlooked (but thoughtful) tweaks such as the flat (no more center hump) rear floor in crew-cab models and the snap-down pop-out carpet mat, Ram has well improved this latest update.

Cadillac XT4

Cadillac’s first small SUV is a good-looking new entry in this increasingly crowded field — and a true all-new vehicle. It has a punchy turbocharged engine and high-tech safety features, including "Safety Alert Seat," which sends a pulse to the left, right or both sides of the driver’s seat to indicate the location of potential danger. But old-school drivers may like that the XT4 revives dashboard buttons to control common functions, such as the heater, at a time when many makers are eliminating buttons in favor of touch-screen or joystick controls. (The touch screen remains to control phone, stereo and maps.)

Honda Insight

This hybrid is perfect for those who don't need to make a statement with their hybrid car but who do want a well-made ride that uses less fuel. The Insight is relatively affordable and a good buy for drivers who are looking at fixed incomes (about $24,000 to start).  Plus, it gets 52 mpg, so your gas budget may go down. You also get automatic braking, lane keeping, a multi-angle backup camera and more of what are now considered to be must-have safety features.  

Jazz musician, Navy vet, social media guru has led full life

Meet Frank Leutz: Desert Car Care of Chandler Owner & ‘Force of Nature’

CHANDLER, Ariz. – If you say Frank Leutz is a force of nature, you’d be accurate.

His energy never wavers. Never has. Never will.

Before becoming an extremely successful repair shop owner at Desert Car Care in Chandler, Ariz., Leutz served as a jazz salsa musician good enough to play Carnegie Hall.

While serving his country in the Navy, he did mine sweep operations in the Persian Gulf.

Today, you’ll see his engaging personality on social media. He frequently goes “live” on Facebook, providing a mixture of car care tips and entertaining banter.

It doesn’t take long to see why he’s been labeled affable and gregarious.

You see his bigger-than-life personality immediately in the words he chooses while describing his business philosophy.

“Fail fast and move quick to grow from those experiences while rocking the courage and opportunity that every single day is a new one as you lift up those on your squad,” Leutz said.

To be honest, it’s amazing how successful Leutz has become as a repair shop owner after he admits he possessed “no initial excitement” about a career in the automotive industry.

Campus Classics | Campus Body Salon

Campus Body Salon is very excited to announce their expansion into restoration repairs!

"Campus Classics" is offering restoration repairs and refinish work on vintage and classic vehicles.

This is a photo of an original 1964 Shelby Cobra. This is a very rare and unique all aluminum vehicle and was the number 2 car produced that year!

Finishing the other panels and it will be ready for reassembly!

About Campus Body Salon

Campus Body Salon has been providing the valley with excellent collision repair services since 1973. With all the constant change and evolution, they strive to continue to educate their staff, both technical and office, to provide you with not only the very best repairs in terms of fit and finish, but more importantly in terms of safety.

Campus Classics | Campus Body SalonCampus Body Salon has worked hard over the many years to continue to have an excellent reputation with their clients, the community, and their insurance partners. They work with all insurance companies, but they work for YOU, the client.

Click here for more information about Campus Body Salon in Tempe.




Service is the best Phoenix Auto Shop for quality car alignment or car suspension service and products. Our ASE certified master technicians have the experience and expertise to diagnose and solve all suspension problems. As a Bosch authorized service center, Virginia Auto Service has access to the highest quality and aftermarket parts to ensure that your car is as safe and comfortable as possible.

In case you’re unfamiliar with car suspension systems, you might want to take a look at this quick rundown of the common types of vehicle suspension and how they work.

Suspension Work | Virginia Auto ServiceThe Macpherson strut is by far the most common type of vehicle suspension on the market today. It combines a shock absorber and a coil spring unit to control weight distribution as well as absorb minor vibrations from the road. The Macpherson strut is an independent suspension system, which means the wheels will operate independently and will provide the smoothest and most controllable ride. The Macpherson strut system generally works best for front wheel drive vehicles.

Another common car suspension system is known as the Double Wishbone Suspension. This system incorporates two Y-shaped rods mounted to the vehicle frame. These are popular for the front ends of larger vehicles and provide greater control for the Camber angle of the tires. The Double Wishbone configuration is also popular because it tends to make steering the vehicle feel more consistent.

Recently, automotive manufacturers have been using independent suspension systems for all four wheels. Because of the cost of this process, most modern or luxury vehicles benefit from all wheel suspension and provide the smoothest and most comfortable ride available.


At a penny more expensive on the week, the national gas price average ($2.25) increased for the first time since October. Despite the increase, today’s average is still cheaper month-over-month (-14 cents) and year-over-year (-28 cents).

“The price of crude oil has been slowly, but steadily increasing since the beginning of the year, which is starting to push up pump prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The price per barrel (WTI) increased $3 from last Monday to close on Friday to settle at $51 per barrel.”

Last week saw not only more expensive crude oil, but a sizeable build in U.S. gasoline stocks and a small increase in demand. Overall demand has been low lately, contributing to the growth in stocks and helping to keep gas prices lower despite increasing crude prices.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest monthly decreases are: Montana (-33 cents), Idaho (-32 cents), Colorado (-32 cents), Wyoming (-31 cents), Utah (-29 cents), Hawaii (-27 cents), South Dakota (-24 cents), North Dakota (-22 cents), New Mexico (-21 cents) and Minnesota (-20 cents).
The nation’s top 10 largest yearly decreases are: Michigan (-57 cents), Illinois (-53 cents), Iowa (-49 cents), Indiana (-48 cents), Wisconsin (-45 cents), Nebraska (-45 cents), Ohio (-44 cents), Kentucky (-43 cents), Minnesota (-41 cents) and Kansas (-40 cents).

AAA Illuminates the Dangers of Driving with Cloudy Headlights

ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 11, 2018) – New research from AAA reveals that clouded or yellowed headlights generate only 20 percent of the amount of light that new headlights do, leading to dangerous nighttime driving conditions. This decrease is caused by sunlight damage to protective plastic coatings, resulting in discoloration that considerably diminishes the headlight’s ability to provide adequate light on dark roadways. With 50 percent of crashes occurring at night, AAA urges drivers to check their headlights for signs of deterioration and invest in new headlights or, at a minimum, a low-cost service to boost the safety of driving after dark.

“Walk through any parking lot and it is evident that deteriorated headlights are a problem for most vehicle owners,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Headlights on the road in the U.S., even when new, don’t produce a sufficient amount of lighting, so any reduction in performance is a real safety issue.”

AAA examined the impact deterioration can have on the amount of light produced by conducting research using an accredited laboratory to test headlights from two popular sedans, approximately 11 years in age. Results from the degraded headlights were measured against new headlights to quantify the amount of light produced for each. All testing was done in accordance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 as set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Research revealed that deteriorated headlights, when used on low beam, provided just 22 percent of the amount of light a new headlight does when operating at full capacity. AAA also examined the effects that replacing or restoring a headlight can have on improving the amount of light produced. Replacing headlights with original equipment manufacturer parts is the most effective method to restore light output back to 100 percent.

Aftermarket parts also performed well, restoring light output between 83 and 90 percent, however these did fail to meet certain requirements for light intensity and were found to be more likely to produce glare for oncoming traffic. Restoring headlights, while the most cost effective option, offered less of an improvement in light output than replacement. Professional and DIY restoration returned light output back to approximately 70 percent. Both restoration methods, however, produced more glare than is acceptable according DOT criteria.

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