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When we spoke with Chelsea Sexton at the Santa Monica Alt Car Expo over the weekend (the above video), she said her organization, Plug In America, and others (Rainforest Action Network and the Global Exchange) were going to be protesting Toyota on Monday. I've been watching the news reports since then, but only now have been able to find a report on what went down at the event.

The Santa Monica Daily Press' Kevin Herrera reports that the rally, held in front of the Santa Monica Toyota dealership, was full of picket signs and calls through a megaphone. The issue is AB 1439, a now-contentious state bill that required (it was passed in 2002) the California Air Resources Board to "devise standards to reduce motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions." I'll suggest you read Herrera's article for more details, but the upshot is that the automakers said the feds, not the states, should set fuel economy standards. An EPA waiver was applied for, and things have been held up ever since, with Toyota one of the forces working to stop implementation of AB 1439.

Plug In America's Paul Scott tole Herrera, "We're out in front of the dealership because we know that this is where the money comes in. If you attack the money supply, they listen."

Toyota defended itself by saying that, among other things, the company spends about $25 million a day to research and develop greener vehicles. Holy moly, that's a lot of scratch. I sure would like to see the breakdown of how much goes where.

[Source: Santa Monica Daily Press]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Not that hard to check really as R&D is in the Annual Report. For FY07 890.7 billion Yen.
      http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/ir/library/annual/pdf/2007/p58_61.pdf
      • 7 Years Ago
      According to current conversion rates, that 890.7 billion yen comes to about $7,805,060,000 As the real R&D is nearly 8 billion a year, the "25 million a day" quote wasn't too far off.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dave B -

      I'm pretty sure you're right about that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That's how you get the point across. By protesting in front of the corporate office in some industrial park nobody will care, but by protesting in front of a dealer that has big Toyota logos everywhere - people will notice. The manager of that franchise will then call corporate and say "do something about this, it's hurting my business" and corporate will have no choice but to please both parties and start talking with the protesters.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Toyota's annual revenue:
      http://www.google.com/search?q=toyota+revenue

      "Toyota — Revenue: ¥23.9 trillion(JPY) (2006) (USD $196 billion)"
      • 7 Years Ago
      "According to current conversion rates, that 890.7 billion yen comes to about $7,805,060,000 As the real R&D is nearly 8 billion a year, the "25 million a day" quote wasn't too far off."

      Yes Toyota spends some $8 billion in TOTAL R&D. They do not spend their entire budget only on researching greener vehicles. That's the where the claim of BS comes in. If they spent all off their R&D on green vehicles I think the Prius would have plug in capability by now, or better yet it would already be fully electric.

      Maybe Toyota considers the Tundra, FJ Cruiser & Sequoia to be green vehicles so that's how they claim their entire budget is spent on green vehicles.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'll call BS on the 25 million a day for Toyota's R&D regarding greener vehicles. That'd be: $9,125,000,000 (9 billion) per year. Someone has a typo.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So they protest in front of the business of an independent business owner? Why hurt the business of someone who is selling a legal product because you disagree with the manufacturer. That is pathetic.