Toyota Driving Simulator Uses Oculus Rift Technology to Teach Teens Safe Driving

Toyota Driving SimulatorJanuary is Teen Driving Awareness Month this year, and Toyota has devised a very unique way to support that initiative. On January 14, at the North American International Auto Show up in Detroit, the brand unveiled a new Toyota driving simulator that uses Oculus Rift virtual reality technology to teach safe driving practices. It’s a fun, interactive way to hammer home the message about a very serious topic—distracted driving.

You can use the TeenDrive365 simulator by getting behind the wheel of a stationary Toyota vehicle and donning the Oculus Rift headset. You’ll be immediately and fully immersed in a busy city street. Once in the simulation, you must do your best to retain your focus—or face the consequences.

“Oculus Rift provides a virtual reality driving experience that mirrors real life behind the wheel, giving us a powerful, one-of-a-kind way to show parents and teens how everyday distractions can affect their ability to drive safely,” said Marjorie Schussel, Corporate Marketing Director for Toyota. “This is the most innovative example of how we’re helping teens and parents become safer drivers together through our ongoing Toyota TeenDrive365 initiative.”

Of course, you don’t have to be a teen to benefit from the lessons of the TeenDrive365 simulator—or even to enjoy your test in the simulator. Check out the coverage of the simulator from Detroit, then come see us here at Cumberland Toyota to find a safe, practical first car for the teens in your family today.

2015 Toyota Camry Sales Outshine Competition

2015 Toyota Camry SalesFor many around the world, the New Year is a new start—and the Toyota Camry is no exception. After introducing the redesigned mid-size sedan, Toyota is proud to announce that 2015 Toyota Camry sales have helped the sedan become the top-selling car in its segment.

At the end of 2014, Toyota recorded 31,618 Camrys sold in December, both of the older 2014 model and the newer 2015 model. For the entirety of 2014, Toyota sold 428,606 Camrys in the North American market, while the closest competition, the Honda Accord, sold only 388,374.

Along with out-selling the competition, the 2015 Toyota Camry also out-tested it. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently awarded the 2015 Camry its top safety rating of Top Safety Pick+, making it the only top-selling midsize sedan to do so.

If you’re interested in seeing the 2015 Toyota Camry for yourself, make sure you stop in to Cumberland Toyota today and give the top-ranking midsize sedan a test drive!

Toyota Rings in the New Year with 12 Top Safety Pick Awards

12 Top Safety Pick awardsJust in time for the New Year, Toyota has received a total of 12 Top Safety Pick awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more than any other automaker.

The IIHS awarded eight Toyota and Lexus vehicles the Top Safety Pick+ award. Notable among these awards was the Prius V for its improved safety performance and the Sienna minivan—the only minivan awarded a 2015 Top Safety Pick+. Four additional Toyota and Scion vehicles were also named 2015 Top Safety Picks.

“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.”

The 2015 Top Safety Pick+ winners include the Lexus CT, Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry, Toyota Prius V, Lexus RC, Toyota Highlander, Lexus NX, and Toyota Sienna. The 2015 Top Safety Pick winners are the Scion FR-S, Scion tC, Toyota Avalon, and the Toyota RAV4.

If safety is your top priority, then come check out the lineup of IIHS-awarded Toyota vehicles available now at Cumberland Toyota.

Beavers Beat Toyota in Fight for Retention Ponds

Beavers Beat ToyotaToyota is a mighty company with a lot of influence and a strong following around the world. Yet, in spite of all of that, they were bested by a bunch of beavers.

It began when Toyota Manufacturing Mississippi began work on its assembly plant and created two retention ponds. The ponds, which secure storm water runoff and allow sediments to settle at the bottom, would release water through three ports in a seven-foot concrete wall by raising an 11-foot sluice gate.

At least that’s what it did until a bunch of beavers showed up and dammed the whole thing up.

“They packed the flow slots with trees and mud. It was almost like concrete,” Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi environmental specialist Sean McCarthy said in what is inarguably one of the best press releases ever created. “We’d be down there once or twice a week and they’d be right back the next week.”

Toyota tried its dammed-est (that’s beaver humor for you) to reclaim the ponds, but efforts proved fruitless after about six months and they conceded to the flat-tailed thieves.

Today, the ponds have become a beautiful lake that countless fish, geese crane, heron—and, yes, beavers—call home. This impromptu ecosystem resulted in the Toyota Manufacturing Mississippi Plant receiving Wildlife at Work certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council.

All because they left it to beavers. We here at Cumberland Toyota applaud the efforts of the beavers and the lack thereof from the folks at Toyota Manufacturing Mississippi.

New Toyota Prius Redesign Causes Delays, Promises Bold Look

New Toyota Prius RedesignToyota executives apparently gave the design for the new Toyota Prius a thumbs down last year, when the final concept was proposed, causing a delay in the production of the vehicle.

Production of the Prius wasn’t ultimately approved until last April, when chief engineer Koji Toyoshima redesigned the model, which is why the release date has been pushed to 2015.

Toyota clearly has lofty goals in mind for the new Prius, likely trying to set it apart from its hybrid competition, a category growing faster every year. Regardless, little is currently known about the new Prius, which is only being referred to by a codename: 690A.

Toyota also allegedly plans to differentiate the plug-in variant for the new Prius, currently codenamed 680A. As we get closer to the launch date for upcoming Prius, more details will emerge.

Though we at Cumberland Toyota were disappointed by the delay, we’re glad to hear that the company is putting so much effort into the new Toyota Prius redesign. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Toyota Will Donate 10 Car Seats For Every Photo Posted With #BuckleUpForLife

buckle up for lifeCameras save lives. That’s the idea behind Toyota’s most recent philanthropic enterprise, called Buckle Up for Life. For every photo posted to Instagram or Twitter up through December 31st with the hashtag #BuckleUpForLife, Toyota will donate 10 car seats to the Buckle Up for Life program.

Buckle Up For Life was founded at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  The program works through Cincinnati’s hospital partners to educate parents on car seat safety. After all, car accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 13.  On top of that, research indicates that one out of four car seats are improperly installed.

So Toyota and Buckle Up For Life are asking anyone to post a photo of “an important person or thing in their life” safely buckled up. Photos already posted show lots of cute children, many of whom are sleeping soundly. Others show dogs and pets, and even one shows a young lady’s most prized possession safe and sound behind a seatbelt: her Les Paul electric guitar.

We here at Cumberland Toyota urge you to play along and post a photo!

Toyota’s Tips for Safe Traveling This Holiday Season

Tips for safe traveling this holiday seasonLike so many this holiday season, your family will probably be spending a lot of time in the car, traveling to and from school Christmas pageants, busy shopping malls, or Grandma’s house for a delicious feast. Before you get too busy, we at Cumberland Toyota want to take time to discuss the importance of traveling safely. Toyota’s Buckle Up for Life program, created in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, has a few tips for safe traveling this holiday season.

  1. Be sure to install your child’s car seat properly. In light of recent findings that 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly, it doesn’t hurt to double check to be certain you are among the 25% installing the seat the right way.
  2. Speaking of car seats, check your seat for FAA approval. If you’ll be flying for the holidays, an FAA-approved car seat will actually fit on the plane, keeping your child more securely fastened during the flight.
  3. While it may seem counterintuitive, you should actually take off your son or daughter’s winter coat before buckling the seat belt (which means you may want to consider pre-heating the car). A winter coat can impede the belt’s ability to properly fit your child and decrease its restraining ability in the event of an accident.

For more traveling safety tips, check out Toyota’s press release. Wherever this season may take you, we hope you enjoy the ride.

The Best Way to Transport a Christmas Tree

Transport a Christmas TreeIt’s not truly Christmas without a real tree in your living room. Those assemble-it-yourself fakes don’t evoke the same nostalgic, pine-scented joy that real evergreens do.

Picking out the perfect pine or fir from the local tree lot can be a serious chore (especially if you have a caravan of opinionated kids) but transporting the evergreen home shouldn’t be. If you don’t have a truck or SUV big enough to toss the tree in the back, you wind up hoisting it onto your car roof. To prevent the festive memory from becoming a disaster, here are some suggestions from Esurance.com’s blog.

Make sure you bring the following items when youtransport a Christmas tree: gloves, a tarp or old blanket, and plenty of rope and bungee cords.

After you’ve done the hard part and decided on the right tree, most places will wrap it up for you in netting to subdue all the wily branches. To secure the tree to your car, start by laying the tarp/blanket on the roof. This will protect your car from soaked spots, sticky sap, and unseemly scratches. You can even wrap the tree entirely in the blanket to carry it through the house without dropping needles.

Position the tree so it’s centered on your roof, with the trunk pointing forward (this keeps it stable and prevents wind damage to the limbs). Wrap the cord around the tree multiple times until it’s secured, looping it through your roof rack or doors. Don’t wrap the rope through your open windows because you won’t be able to get in/out of your car! It’s best to open up the doors, wrap, and then close the doors.

Hopefully these instructions will help you bring home the perfect tree without damaging your perfect car from Cumberland Toyota.

Toyota FCV Technology Wins “Best of What’s New” Award

Toyota FCV technologyAs the most common element in the universe, hydrogen just seems to make sense as a fuel source. That’s why engineers down at Toyota have been hard at work on the new Toyota Fuel-Cell Vehicle (FCV). Here at Cumberland Toyota we were pleased to hear the FCV won the prestigious “Best of What’s New” award from Popular Science.

So what is a fuel-cell vehicle anyway? Toyota FCV technology is designed around hydrogen fuel stacks. Through a complex process of catalysts, anodes, never before seen materials, the FCV generates its own electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen.

“For 27 years, Popular Science has honored the innovations that surprise and amaze us − those that make a positive impact on our world today and challenge our view of what’s possible in the future,” said Cliff Ransom, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science.

What sets the FCV apart from ordinary all-electric cars is both the range and the refill process. The innovative new design can go over 300 miles before refueling. When it does come to that, it takes no more than five minutes, considerably better than most electric-car alternatives (who wants to want a few hours before they can drive again?). The FCV revolutionizes the auto industry by making alternative-energy sources more practical.

Toyota’s TS040 Le Mans Racer Has Parts from the Next-Generation Prius

next-generation PriusWhat goes into a Prius? Gas, car parts, and a whole lot of green technology, we reckon. Everyone knows that. What we didn’t know at Cumberland Toyota, and we’ll be you didn’t either, is that the Prius is also part race car.

No, we’re not kidding. The high-performance TS040 Hybrid Le Mans racer that Toyota built for the 2014 season reportedly uses parts from the next-generation Prius, like microchips and microcontrollers.

And why not? The Prius is possibly the most established hybrid nameplate in the world—it’s gotta be doing something right. For the 2014 season, Toyota cut fuel consumption by 25 percent compared to the TS030 while increasing horsepower to 1,000, up from 750 hp.

The automaker has a dozen hybrid engineers using the Le Mans program as a lab for technologies they can import to production models. The TS040’s four-wheel-drive hybrid system, for example, may have applications in the next Prius. Now that’s something to look forward to!