Auto show protesters put Toyota in hot seat

first_imgFuel economy numbers haven’t been released, but Carter said they’ll improve by about 12 percent over the old model, or 2 to 3 miles per gallon. The current Sequoia gets around 15 miles per gallon in the city, compared with 21 miles per gallon for the new hybrids from Chrysler and GM, including the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen SUVs, the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and Chevrolet Silverado pickup. Carter said Toyota plans to offer hybrid versions of every vehicle in its lineup and is also studying combinations such as hybrid diesels. But it hasn’t managed to develop a system that works well in large trucks like GM and Chrysler did in their consortium with Daimler and BMW. “We’re not there yet. There’s no technology to meet all our customers’ needs,” he said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre A handful of protesters also picketed Toyota outside the show and planned further protests today. After the spat, Carter said Toyota and environmentalists have more in common than not, and that Toyota supports tougher fuel economy standards but doesn’t want them decided at the state level. “We believe it’s best applied at the federal level,” he said. “We’re a full-line manufacturer and we want to meet consumer needs.” He added that despite the rise in fuel prices, many U.S. buyers simply need the utility and space of a full-size SUV. The Sequoia has a new 5.7-liter, V8 engine that is more powerful – at 381 horsepower – and more fuel efficient than the old engine. It also has improved aerodynamics to save fuel, and the company plans to introduce an ethanol-capable version in the fall of 2008. Pricing wasn’t announced for the new Sequoia, which goes on sale in December. Toyota Motor Corp. is usually the darling of the Los Angeles Auto Show, but testy relations with environmentalists and questions about quality are making the show a headache for the automaker this year. It doesn’t help that Toyota chose to introduce a full-size sport utility vehicle at the show, and the redesigned Sequoia doesn’t have a hybrid option like full-size SUVs from General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC debuting across the show floor. The Los Angeles show opens to the public Friday after two days of media previews. After the Sequoia was introduced Wednesday, an environmental activist with a video camera approached Bob Carter, Toyota’s general manager for U.S. sales, and asked why the company won’t withdraw from a lawsuit against California, which has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish tougher fuel economy rules. Carter refused to answer and knocked the camera out of Brent Olson’s hands. Olson, of San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network, was eventually led away by two policemen. last_img read more