Auto News for Aug. 4 – Toyota/Mazda Study U.S. Plant Employing 4,000

 toyota_logo_55358_2524_lowMazda logo

 Toyota and Mazda have agreed to “explore establishing a joint venture plant in the U.S.” that would produce about 300,000 vehicles yearly and employ up to 4,000 workers, according to an early morning news release.

 The total cost of the plant is said to be about $1.6 billion. Pending approvals and authorization by relevant government agencies, the companies will begin to examine detailed plans with the goal of starting operations of the new plant in 2021.

 While the location of the new facility is not known at this time, it would produce a new Mazda crossover and the Toyota Corolla.

 Toyota and Mazda stressed they intend to improve competitiveness in manufacturing through this new production collaboration. The two will also “explore” joint development of electric vehicles along with onboard multimedia infotainment systems and safety features.

 “This is a partnership in which those who are passionate about cars will work together to make ever-better cars. It is also the realization of our desire to never let cars become commodities,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.  

 Each company will acquire a stake in the other. As the press release put it, “Toyota and Mazda agreed to a capital alliance arrangement that preserves independence and equality for both companies.”

 Mazda currently produces a vehicle for Toyota here in the U.S., the Yaris iA based on the Mazda 2.

 Auto analysts have predicted for some time that as the cost of developing new vehicles, particularly electric and self-driving vehicles, similar alliances are almost a certainty in the weeks and months ahead.

 Four out of five adults in a new survey say they do not always buckle up when they ride in the rear seat when traveling by taxi or ride-hailing service, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 More than half of the people who die in passenger vehicle crashes each year are unbelted. One person’s decision not to buckle up can have consequences for other people riding with them, IIHS said.

 “People who don’t use safety belts might think their neglect won’t hurt anyone else. That’s not the case,” said Jessica Jermakian, an IIHS senior research engineer. “In the rear seat a lap/shoulder belt is the primary means of protection in a frontal crash. Without it, bodies can hit hard surfaces or other people at full speed, leading to serious injuries.”

 When asked why they don’t buckle up, a quarter of respondents said they believe the rear seat is safer than the front, so using a belt isn’t necessary. The next most popular reason this group gave was that using a belt isn’t a habit or they forget about it or simply never or rarely use it.

 Nearly 40 percent of people surveyed said they sometimes don’t buckle up in the rear seat because there is no law requiring it. Others said they would buckle up if there was a warning system reminding them to do so, but such devices are rare.

 Except for New Hampshire, all states and the District of Columbia require adults in the front seat to use belts. I guess that backs up the states’ “Live Free or Die” motto.

Ford TT

 You’ve heard of the Ford Model T, the iconic car that became a global success story. But how about the Model TT? Though less well-known, it also had a big impact – as the forerunner to the modern day van and pickup.

 First launched just over 100 years ago, the Model TT was Ford’s first purpose-built 1-tonne van. Owners could customize the chassis with a cargo bed to transport everything from letters to fuel.

 The Model TT van was longer and stronger than the Model T car, with a cab that could seat one driver and one passenger. For a smoother ride, customers could choose modern air-filled rear tires instead of solid rubber.

 Of course, there was that old favorite the crank starter.











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