Automotive Intelligence

News of  April 25, 1999

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Toyota Team on vehicles of the Future

April 19, 1999 - General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. announced today a five-year collaboration to speed development of advanced technology vehicles in the 21st century.

"This agreement could define the future of the automobile," GM Vice Chairman Harry Pearce said in announcing, with Toyota Executive Vice President Akihiro Wada, the joint efforts on electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell technologies.

The companies have identified more than a dozen advanced vehicle and system projects potentially involving hundreds of engineers that will be researched together.

Toyota Executive Vice President Akihiro Wada and GM Vice Chairman Harry Pearce

Toyota Executive Vice President Akihiro Wada and GM Vice Chairman Harry Pearce

The agreement calls for development of:
* A common set of electric traction and control components for future battery electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.
* Batteries and battery test procedures, vehicle safety requirements, and continued work on improved inductive charging systems for battery electric vehicles.
* Powertrain and control systems for next generation hybrid electric vehicles.
* Future systems design, fuel selection and processing to support production of fuel cell powered vehicles.

The companies stressed that while the future for advanced technology vehicles is unclear, whatever technology is adopted must be widely available. "If we are to elevate vehicles with advanced environmental technology into practical use, and have these vehicles widely accepted by the public, we will have to create a trinity comprising innovative technologies, reduced costs and an appropriate infrastructure," Wada said. "If one of these three elements is missing, we will be unable to achieve satisfactory results."

GM and Toyota, by virtue of their global resources, are technological leaders in the auto industry and have more "real- world" experience with advanced vehicles than any other automakers. GM was the first to market with its EV1 electric car in 1996. Toyota brought the first hybrid to market with its Prius gasoline-electric compact car in 1997. It will go on sale in the United States and Europe next year. It is currently marketed in Japan.

Pearce and Wada said GM and Toyota are on similar paths in many areas of research, so combining efforts makes sense. "Pooling our efforts should result in commercially viable advanced technologies faster and at a lower cost to our customers, and as breakthroughs are reached, suppliers will be able to count on the volume of production from two of the world’s largest automakers," Pearce said.

GM and Toyota have a long history of cooperative efforts, the most recent of which was an agreement in June 1998 to develop an improved electric-vehicle inductive charging system based on the GM Magne-Charge technology. Since then, the goals for such a system have been met and sample production is under way. GM and Toyota pioneered joint ventures among automakers with the creation of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) in 1983. The Fremont, Calif., plant makes Toyota’s Corolla and Chevrolet’s Prizm compact cars and Toyota’s Tacoma compact pickup trucks. Toyota also markets the Chevrolet Cavalier, built in Lordstown, Ohio, in Japan as a Toyota product. "The history of our cooperative efforts is well-documented," Pearce said. "What we are announcing is the latest example of fierce marketplace competitors exploring innovative ways to approach solutions to common challenges."


AutoNation to Open One of the Largest Nissan Franchises in the Country
AutoNation Nissan in South Florida Will Sell New and Used Vehicles at No-Haggle Prices

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 22 -- AutoNation, Inc. announced today that it has received approval from Nissan North America, Inc. to open this week "AutoNation Nissan," an 18-acre franchised automotive dealership in Perrine, Florida that will be one of the largest Nissan dealerships in the country.

The South Florida "AutoNation Nissan" will sell new Nissan vehicles and a wide array of used vehicles of all makes and models, all under a " one-price, no-haggle" sales approach. It will also offer other AutoNation USA brand attributes made available previously only on used vehicles at the Perrine location.                                              


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