Section 3. Responding to Emissions Controls
Item 5. Responses to 1975 Regulations and the Two-year Postponement of 1976 Regulations
Toyota decided to adopt the catalytic converter and CVCC to meet the requirements of emissions regulations for fiscal 1975.
Sales of 2,000 cc models of the Corona and Carina were launched in February 1975 as the first step in complying with the emissions regulations for fiscal 1975. Both vehicles were equipped with the 19R engine (1,968 cc, 80 hp), a version of the earlier 18R engine (1,968 cc, 105 hp) modified for CVCC.
Next, catalytic converters were used in the Century from May, followed by use in the Crown 2600 from June, allowing those models to also meet the fiscal 1975 emissions regulations requirements. Later, compliant versions of the Crown 2000 and Mark II were launched in October, and compliant versions of the Corona, Carina, Celica, Corolla, and Sprinter were launched in November.
“Toyota Total Clean” (TTC) was the name adopted to designate Toyota’s emissions cleaning systems in general, thereby incorporating the sense of the combined effort by the entire Toyota Group and emphasizing its approach to emissions controls.
Vehicles compliant with the fiscal 1975 regulations were equipped with complex systems not found on earlier vehicles, and this was the first time both customers and dealer personnel who handled after-sales service had contact with such vehicles. To prepare for this, Toyota conducted training of all dealer mechanics, posted TTC technical leaders with advanced knowledge at all sites, and took other measures.
In June 1974, the Environment Agency summoned representatives of nine automakers and imported car associations to testify at hearings in order to assess the status of technology development by each manufacturer in response to the fiscal 1976 regulations. It was expected that the manufacturers would testify that it would be difficult to meet the fiscal 1976 regulations, so the Environment Agency hearings focused on what regulatory levels the manufacturers would be able to meet. Toyota's representative made the following report on the status of technology development and requested reconsideration of the regulatory standards:
We are developing technology with a focus on reduction catalysts in order to comply with the fiscal 1976 regulations, but at this time, there are problems with durability. Separate from that, we are also developing stratified-charge combustion engines1, lean-burn engines2, gas turbines, and other technologies, but they have yet to meet the regulatory standards at this stage. Commercialization of emissions control systems require a production preparation period of several years once prospects are clarified during the phase of in-the-lab testing. ...
We would like the fiscal 1975 regulations to be maintained as they are for several years and for a re-evaluation of appropriate regulatory standards to be determined taking into consideration a variety of factors including the subsequent degree of improvement in atmospheric pollution, advances in technological development, and changes in socioeconomic conditions.3
In September of that year, President Eiji Toyoda testified before the House of Representatives Special Committee on Pollution Countermeasures and Environmental Preservation and commented as follows:
Since Toyota's foundation, we have worked with 'Good Thinking, Good Products' as our fundamental principle. We feel a deep sense of social responsibility as a manufacturer concerning the automobile emissions controls that will lead to cleaner air, and the entire company is working together to pursue every possibility and focus all of our efforts on technological development. ...
We have made compliance with the 1976 regulations a fundamental policy and are making maximum efforts to comply. ... Toyota has responded to all regulations, and we have mobilized our technological capabilities and are conducting research and development with a focus on achieving the target (for nitrogen oxides) of 0.25 grams per kilometer. ...
In addition to the internal research and development, we also obtained international assessments and conducted research and development on all possible approaches, but at this time, we are unable to achieve 0.25 grams per kilometer. ...
In addition to these technological issues, we would like you to also consider fully the problem of variations originating during production and in quality assurance, the relationship between the development targets and the regulatory standards, confirmation of durability, and the lead time from development until production.
"As I have explained, we have conducted wide-ranging investigations and research concerning all methods that we believe to be effective. We will continue to work in the future, and I am confident that we will achieve even better results through independent methods in the near future.
In light of these circumstances, I would like to make some minor requests concerning the 1976 regulations.
I request that the 1975 regulations be adopted as the 1976 regulations and maintained without change for two additional years.
After that, I request that a re-evaluation of appropriate regulatory standards be conducted, taking into consideration a variety of factors including the atmospheric pollution reduction effects under the 1975 regulations, advances in technological development, and changes in socioeconomic conditions.
(From the minutes of the 3rd meeting of the House of Representatives Special Committee on Pollution Countermeasures and Environmental Preservation on September 11, 1974)
Later, the Environment Agency requested advice from the Central Council for Environmental Pollution Control concerning implementation of the fiscal 1976 regulations. In December 1974, the Council proposed that the fiscal 1976 regulations be postponed until fiscal 1978 and that the fiscal 1976 regulations be maintained on a provisional basis.
Based on this response, the Environment Agency announced the fiscal 1976 regulations in February 1975. Although they were provisional, the average NOx emissions per kilometer were set at strict levels: 0.6 grams for vehicles with an equivalent inertia weight4 of 1,000 kilograms or less and 0.85 grams for vehicles with an equivalent inertia weight in excess of 1,000 kilograms.
As a result, each automaker had to implement measures in three stages: making maximum efforts to comply with the 1975 regulations while also preparing to meet the 1976 and 1978 regulations. In Toyota's case in particular, the number of vehicles and engines was high, and ensuring reliability became an urgent matter.
The engineering departments and affiliated companies continued their development efforts. Every aspect of engines, carburetors, and so on was improved, electronics actively adopted, and systematic analysis conducted to determine optimal packages. The catalytic method, which had been the focus of the fiscal 1975 controls, was improved, and as a result, the fiscal 1976 regulatory standards were met. In addition, Toyota successfully developed a new lean-burn method.5
Sales of the Corolla 1600 and Sprinter 1600 using a lean-burn method were commenced in January 1976 as the first vehicles compliant with the fiscal 1976 emissions regulations. In February, the Corolla 1200, Sprinter 1200, Starlet, and Publica with catalytic converters were launched. Later, a number of other vehicles compliant with the fiscal 1976 regulations including the Crown were also launched. This was the result of Toyota's dedicated technology development efforts.