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CAR TECH
Tesla car gets best-ever rating from Consumer Reports
by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) Aug 27, 2015


Toyota to restart Tianjin operations after giant blasts
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 26, 2015 - Japanese auto giant Toyota said Wednesday it would gradually restart operations in Tianjin after halting production in the wake of deadly explosions at a hazardous goods facility in the Chinese port city.

The firm said workers will on Thursday begin preparatory work to restart a factory kept offline since a storage facility near the plant exploded earlier this month.

"The restart itself will take place on Friday," Toyota said in a statement.

The huge blasts killed at least 135 people and sparked fears of toxic pollutants contaminating the air and water.

At least 67 employees at the Toyota plant, including those who live around it, were injured.

The explosions happened while the plant was closed for a summer vacation, but Toyota said it decided to keep it offline to assess the situation.

The main Tianjin factory, which produces several models including the Corolla and Vios sedans, has about 12,000 employees and manufactured 440,000 vehicles last year.

Toyota had also stopped a production line about 70 kilometres (44 miles) away that depends on parts from the main operation.

That facility would be restarted on Thursday, the company said.

"So far, we have been inspecting our production facilities and ensuring machinery is safe to operate, while conducting maintenance as necessary," Toyota said.

The firm added that it was looking at ways to make up for the lost production, either through overtime or extra shifts.

Among two Toyota dealerships that were heavily damaged by the blasts, one reopened this week while the other remains closed.

Other Japanese firms including Panasonic and carmaker Mazda reported minor damage at their operations in Tianjin.

A new Tesla electric car has earned the best-ever vehicle rating from Consumer Reports, sending shares of the automaker racing higher Thursday.

The new Tesla P85D "performed better in our tests than any other car ever has, breaking the Consumer Reports Ratings system," said Mark Rechtin, automotive editor for the consumer group.

"With a six-figure price tag, the P85D is expensive, meaning its virtues will be experienced by a rare few. But its significance as a breakthrough model that is pushing the boundaries of both performance and fuel-efficiency is dramatic."

The four-wheel drive P85D, which is a modified version of the Tesla S sedan, will cost upwards of $125,000 with typical equipment, Consumer Reports noted.

But the group said the breakthroughs suggest positive things for the sector, with Tesla due to introduce its Model X crossover in 2016, followed in 2018 by a "more attainable compact sedan," the Model 3, estimated to start at about $35,000.

Consumer Reports gave the P85D a 100/100 rating, topping the 99/100 rating of the Tesla S two years ago.

Rechtin said the vehicle "initially scored 103 in the Consumer Reports' Ratings system, which by definition doesn't go past 100... so we had to make changes to our scoring to account for it."

The new vehicle was impressive in energy efficiency, safety and performance, the group found.

"The P85D is brutally quick, with instant acceleration," Rechtin wrote, noting that it could reach 60 miles (100 kilometers) per hour in 3.5 seconds.

"The car's thrust is forceful and immediate. Its near-instant g-forces can otherwise be achieved only by leaping off a building-literally.

The acceleration "makes it frighteningly eerie in its silent velocity. It's so explosively quick that Tesla has created an 'insane' driving mode."

Tesla shares jumped eight percent in midday trade to $243.01, extending the spectacular market performance of the carmaker, which produces only a small number of coveted vehicles.

Earlier this month, Tesla reported a quarter loss of $184 million as the electric carmaker geared up for expansion.

Tesla plans to invest about $1.5 billion this year to expand production capacity, construct its huge "Gigafactory" for batteries and expand its network of charging stations.

Tesla is also gearing up for a new project to adapt car batteries to store power in homes and businesses.

jld-rl/sst

TESLA MOTORS

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CAR TECH
Toyota says factory lines in Tianjin shut until weekend
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 19, 2015
Toyota on Wednesday said at least 67 employees were injured after giant explosions last week in the Chinese city of Tianjin, where the carmaker's factory lines will remain closed for the next few days. Production at Toyota's Tianjin subsidiary - including a factory line 70 kilometres (44 miles) away that depends on parts from the main operation - has been halted since the blasts. "We l ... read more


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