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For decades, Toyota motor cars have been amongst the most popular and long-lasting cars in the United States. Of the more than 250 million cars on the road in the United States today, Toyota sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks account for anywhere from 15 to 20%. That’s between 40 and 50 million Toyotas, more than any other vehicle brand!
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The durable and value packed Toyota Corolla was for many years the most popular new car in America. Speaking of value, among the least expensive vehicles to cover in the U.S. today are three models of the Toyota Sienna family of minivans!
Toyota Sienna Minivan Cheapest to Insure
By comparison, the most expensive car to insure in 2012 according to the Forbes survey is the Audi R8 Spyder Quattro, costing an estimated $3,384 per year in car insurance premiums, more than three times the rate of the Toyota minivan! When it comes to economy, several other minivans make the grade in 2012 including the Dodge Grand Caravan and Honda Odyssey.
The Toyota LE model is popular with insurance companies for its many safety features like the engine immobilizer.
With its four-cylinder, 2.7-liter engine, the Toyota Sienna LE cranks out an enviable 187 horsepower. Sticker price for the 2012 model is $26,145.
According to the experts at Auto Guide, two other versions of the Toyota Sienna make the top ten list for cheapest cars to insure in 2012. At number two is the base model Toyota Sienna, which is rated at just $1,114 per year.
The only six-cylinder vehicle to make Auto Guide top ten list is another Toyota minivan, this time the Sienna V6, rated at $1,139 per year for a typical car insurance policy. The V6 minivan boasts a 3.5-liter engine that puts out 288 horsepower. The price is right for the V6 model at just $26,300.
Toyota: The All-American Car
In a recent report filed by Fox News, Toyota has been named the most American car sold in the US for the fourth straight year. The best-selling Toyota Camry built in factories in Kentucky and Indiana topped the annual index of American made cars.
Cars are ranked based on a number of factors including how many are sold in the U.S., where they are manufactured, and the percentage of U.S.-manufactured parts that goes into each vehicle sold. The higher the ranking of course, the more American manufacturing jobs are created and saved.
Of the 66 Toyota manufacturing facilities worldwide, 20% or 13 plants are presently located in the United States. Toyota is proud of its American heritage. In 2009 Toyota boasted that 80% of all the Toyota automobiles sold in the U.S. in the previous 20 years were still on the road; a testament to both the durability and popularity of the Toyota line.
In the years 1990 through 2009, Toyota sold 31.9 million cars in the USA. At the end of that 20-year period, 80% of those cars, some 25.5 million were still running and still thriving on the highways and byways of America.
Many Toyotas have lasted so long that they are being passed from one generation to the next, the younger drivers just as excited to drive the old reliable family Toyota, as their parents had been when it was new!
Corolla: The World’s Most Popular Car
Leading the way into the hearts of American car buyers is the ever-popular Toyota Corolla. The first model year for the Corolla was 1966. After more than 30 years, in 1997, the Corolla became the best-selling car in the entire world when it surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle.
The Corolla is a compact sedan, known for its style, comfort, and economy. By 2012, more than 39 million Corollas had been sold worldwide. The name Corolla in Latin means little crown, continuing a Japanese tradition of naming Toyota models using the word crown. The older Corona model used the Latin word for crown, while the name for the Toyota Camry comes from the Japanese kanmuri also meaning crown.
Toyota Safety Ratings
From the subcompact Toyota Yaris to the heavy-duty full size Toyota Tundra pickup truck, the Toyota line maintains a consistent high standard of quality, which is reflected in the annual safety ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
In crash tests conducted on 2012 models, Toyota came out with high marks in most every category for most every model. In order to qualify as a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle has to have good ratings in all four test categories. For 2012, no fewer than 11 distinct Toyota models were awarded this IIHS honor.
In order to determine if a car is crashworthy, meaning how well occupants of a vehicle are protected in a crash, the Institute conducts high speed front and side crashes and rollovers. Then it evaluates the safety equipment in each vehicle, seat belts and head restraints to determine how passengers will fare in rear impact crashes. Other safety features are also considered before vehicles are scored and the results are publicized.
Among the IIHS top picks for 2012 were the Toyota Yaris, Corolla, Prius, Prius C and Prius V, the Camry, the Avalon, (Toyota’s luxury sedan), the midsize Highlander, and Venza SUV models, the Sienna minivan and the Toyota Tundra truck.
A Bump in the Road
For all the reasons listed above, the Toyota line of American built and imported vehicles is synonymous with quality and reliability. With so many vehicles on the road, tested and retested, it becomes hard to consider the Toyota line as anything but tried and true. In fact, Toyota had never had any major safety issues or recalls until 2009.
At the end of that year, Toyota initiated one of the largest single auto recalls in history, calling back 5.4 million vehicles in order to fix faulty floor mats and sticky gas pedals. The gas pedal problem, dating back to the year 2000 caused unintended acceleration of the vehicle.
This acceleration was thought to be the culprit in as many as 89 highway accidents that resulted in dozens of serious injuries and caused 28 deaths, according to articles published by Reuter’s news service.
Led by the Allstate Insurance group, Toyota was sued by seven insurance providers for several million dollars, a drop in the bucket when compared to the $10 billion figure, which was the potential payday for those Toyota owners involved in the class action lawsuit that prompted the massive recall.
Toyota spent a fortune in resolving these issues and restoring its good name and public image. Toyota also settled a number of individual wrongful death lawsuits at the time, to the tune of $10 million. Many analysts thought that Toyota might not be able to recover from the recall, but two years later, things are looking up for the company.
Toyota Sales Figures Strong for 2012
Owing to the Corolla recall in 2009 and 2010, Toyota sales dropped from a decade high 387,000 units in 2006, to a low of 240,000 units in 2011. Following the inevitable fallout from the recall, the Toyota brand is making a sound recovery in 2012, along with the rest of the automobile industry, as gasoline prices drop sharply from their early highs at the beginning of the year.
According to the New York Times, Toyota sales have enjoyed more than 15% growth in 2012. Much of this increase is due to the fuel economy of its newest vehicles, more than three fifths achieving at least 30 miles per gallon.
The sale of Toyota hybrids has jumped a record 49%, accounting for nearly a fifth of all the new cars sold. Toyota vehicles, especially hybrids, seem to be almost flying off local car lots! In terms of units, Toyota has placed four models in the top twenty for the first half of 2012 accounting for nearly 600,000 cars.
Popular with Drivers, Popular with Insurers
Today, Toyota sales are once again climbing. As cited above, the newest vehicles have far superior safety ratings than even their older counterparts. Toyota is once again a symbol of quality engineering that will stand the test of time.
Insurance companies weigh a variety of factors when setting premium rates for auto insurance. Among the factors considered most heavily are the age and driving record of the insured party. After those two items, companies next take into consideration the area in which you live, the amount you drive and even your credit history.
Finally, after all the personal data is weighed and measured, the insurance provider will look at the make and model of vehicle you intend to drive. If you drive a Toyota, whether it’s a vintage used car or a brand new hybrid vehicle, you can rest assured that your insurance company will be pleased that you drive such a well-heeled and generally low-risk car.
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