DAILY EDITION: Feb. 6, 2003

February 4, 2003



2003 Toyota Tundra Access Cab

2003 Toyota Tundra Access Cab

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Toyota will build Tundra pickup trucks in a new plant — its sixth in North America — starting in 2006. The plant, which will start with annual production of 150,000 units, will likely expand before the end of the decade to include SUV derivatives.

Texas accounts for about one quarter of all pickup sales in the U.S., and Toyota officials said the need to prove itself in the toughest pickup market in the U.S. played a role in the selection.

Confirming a report in USA Today last November that San Antonio had clinched the project, Texas beat out Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama for the $800 million, 2000-acre project. The $130 million tax and infrastructure improvement package Texas offered was not the biggest, but Toyota has a history of not choosing the biggest incentive package when selecting a plant site. San Antonio's rail system, proximity to ports, available workforce and attractiveness for recruiting employees all contributed.

Far from a rural backwater where most new auto plants are located, San Antonio handles numerous business conventions a year and is a tourist destination, besides being home to four military bases. It is the ninth largest metro area in the U.S.

The new plant will augment current Tundra production, now built at the company's Indiana plant. Tundra sales were off last year as Ford and GM discounted full-size trucks all year, but the company is hopeful that a "double cab" Tundra to be unveiled at next week's Chicago Auto Show will help sales. Dealers are hoping for one-half ton and a diesel version for the next generation Tundra that will go into San Antonio.

By 2006, the automaker will have capacity to build 1.65 million cars and trucks a year, and 1.16 million engines in North America.—Jim Burt
Nissan Plans Clash of the Titan by TCC Team (1/13/2003)

Toyota also said Wednesday that its profit doubled in the final quarter of 2002 to $1.8 billion, 94 percent higher than in the same period a year earlier.Stronger-than-expected demand overseas prompted Toyota on Wednesday to also upgrade its full-year sales volume target for the second time since the April start of the fiscal year. The company now expects to sell 6.22 million vehicles globally for the 12 months through March, up from the 6.20 million target announced in October and the 5.98 million units predicted in May.—Jim Burt

2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK Cabriolet

2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK Cabriolet

The new Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Cabriolet is coming to this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The new vehicle features a host of improvements, including standard head and side airbags, a new convertible roof and a range of four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. By repackaging the top and its fit in the trunk, Benz says it has increased usable space in the trunk by 40 liters. A new sensor-controlled rollover bar complements the quad airbags up front and, for the first time, the side airbags for the rear passengers. Standard equipment includes automatic climate control with outlets in the rear, Headlamp Assist, a rain sensor for the windshield wipers, cruise control with Speedtronic, and a reach and height-adjustable, leather-covered multifunction steering wheel; options include Distronic cruise control, the keyless access COMAND navigation control, and an intelligent automatic climate control. Five gasoline-powered engines can be ordered in various international editions: a 306-hp powers the CLK500, a 367-hp in the CLK55 AMG; a 170-hp six or a 218-hp 3.2-liter V-6 in the CLK320; and a 163-hp four in the CLK200 kompressor. Stay tuned for more information in TCC’s Geneva coverage coming March 4.

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