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Toyota Announces Early Implementation of New Side Airbag Tests

9 August 2000

Toyota Announces Early Implementation of New Side Airbag Tests

    TORRANCE, Calif. - Toyota announced today that virtually all of its MY 2001 
Toyota and Lexus side airbags will meet or exceed a set of proposed new industry 
standards and evaluation procedures that were submitted today to the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    The voluntary industry guidelines will define standardized test procedures
to help evaluate risk of injury to out-of-position occupants in motor vehicle
crashes where the side airbags deploy.

    Toyota participated in the Side Airbag Out-of-Position Technical Working
Group (TWG) consisting of automobile manufacturers, seat belt and air bag
manufacturers, and insurance companies to help develop this challenging set of
tests.

    "Toyota has been independently evaluating its own systems since side
airbags were first introduced, using demanding test procedures similar to
those outlined by the working group," said Jim Olson, senior vice president of
external and regulatory affairs, Toyota Motor North America.  "We have already
incorporated much of that work into current designs and we plan to implement
the new industry-wide procedures throughout our models with side airbags or
side curtains in the 2001 model year."

    Side airbag systems are an important advance in safety technology, which
can help deliver occupant protection in certain types of vehicle crashes.
Side airbags are a supplemental restraint, to be used in combination with seat
belts.

    Currently, Toyota and Lexus feature side airbags and/or side curtains in
the following models:  Toyota Avalon, Camry, Camry Solara, Corolla, Celica,
Echo, and Prius, and in the Lexus LS 400, GS 300/400, IS 300, RX 300, and
ES 300.  For 2001 the Toyota Sienna minivan, the new Sequoia and Highlander
SUVs, plus the new Lexus LS 430 will also offer these features.

    "Toyota takes its commitment to passenger safety very seriously," said
Olson.  "We place a high priority on integrating active and passive safety
features into our vehicles."

    Many Toyota and Lexus vehicles already offer Daytime Running Lights (DRL),
anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS), Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) seats, Vehicle
Skid Control (VSC) with Brake Assist, Traction Control (TRAC), seat belt
pretensioners and load limiters, power window jam protection, an Automatic
Locking Retractor/Emergency Locking Retractor (ALR/ELR) function on the
outboard front passenger and all rear belts, a seat belt reminder system to
remind front seat occupants to buckle up, and child-friendly power window
switches.

    The new 2001 Corolla, on sale now, is Toyota's first model to offer an
inside trunk release.  Toyota and Lexus will begin this year to install inside
trunk releases throughout their model lines and will offer an Advanced Airbag
System and a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) System to enhance
compatibility with child safety seats.