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Local News / Automotive

Saturday, 6 December, 2014 0:35 AM

Toyota's Holiday Party in Detroit Yields Major Announcement

Next generation of the Toyota Tacoma to be unveiled at North American International Auto Show

PHOTO BY MIKE WRATHELL / ©AMERICAJR.com

Bob Carter, Toyota's Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations

 

 

by Mike Wrathell
mwrathell@yahoo.com

 

 

|

DETROIT -- Donning my brand-new black Levis (made in America, I think), and my new Van Heusen dress shirt (made in Honduras) and tie, I paid the eight bucks to park by the Westin Book Cadillac (now I realize the valet parking was probably free) and took the elevator to the Crystal Ballroom. A bevy of Toyota/Lexus/Scion executives and the Detroit press corps were on hand for the special event.

Mr. Mike Michels, a long-time Toyota executive, was honored for 29 years of distinguished service undercutting American industry with a replica of Akio Toyoda's race car, a Toyota Altezza (the model's name in Japan) that he drove at the prestigious 24 Hours of Nürburgring in Germany. Mr. Toyoda is a descendant of Mr. Sakichi Toyoda who founded what is now Toyota Motor Corporation. Mr. Toyoda is also currently President and CEO. Clearly, Mr. Michels was very touched by such a special gift.

Michels was also given a framed artwork of Mount Rushmore that featured his smiling countenance next to four of our greatest presidents as some kind of joke gift.

Bob Carter, Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations, shared a funny story of when he and Mr. Michels were lodging at a brand-new resort in the Swiss Alps that still had several bugs in its ointment. That was good for a few laughs.

Then, Carter announced an all-new Toyota Tacoma pickup truck for 2015, and two new high performance vehicles from Lexus, all debuting at the 2015 North American International Auto Show next month at Cobo. He also said the Camry is expected to be the top-selling car in America for the 13th year in a row.

Mr. Jeff Braker, the head of Lexus in America, told me the one Lexus is the NX 200t, an SUV that runs on regular fuel, with a hybrid version also available. The other Lexus is a car.

Another announcement made by Carter was that all of Toyota's North American managerial operations will be moved to Plano, Texas. Apparently, the Torrance, Calif. facility will close.

Plano, a northern suburb of Dallas, is also home to Frito-Lay Inc. I joked with Mr. Braker that they should put a bag of Doritos in the glove compartment of every new Toyota and Lexus, and he quickly quipped, “You'd like that.”

I thought to myself: “How did he know?”

Editor's Note: Six members of the AmericaJR.com Web Team will be offering complete coverage of the 2015 North American International Auto Show from the show floor at Cobo Center in Detroit.

For more information about the North American International Auto Show, visit www.naias.com.

Related Stories: Toyota's Osamu Nagata, TAG Holdings' Joseph B. Anderson, Jr. among the honorees at 2014 SAE Foundation Banquet; Toyota Supports 2014 Science And Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit; Toyota FT-1 Concept celebrates CALTY Design Studio's 40th anniversary

 

 

PHOTO BY MIKE WRATHELL / ©AMERICAJR.com

Mr. Mike Michels, a long-time Toyota executive, was honored for 29 years of distinguished service with a replica of Akio Toyoda's race car, a Toyota Altezza.

 

 

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