The Truth About Cars » Denso The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:27:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Denso Toyota Develops New Hybrid Fuel Economy-Boosting Semiconductor Tech Thu, 22 May 2014 11:00:37 +0000 Toyota Hybrid Semiconductors

Looking to wring out more fuel efficiency in its hybrids, Toyota has developed a silicon-carbide wafer semiconductor that could boost efficiency up to 10 percent.

Automotive News reports the semiconductor has already bestowed a 5 percent improvement in test units, with the goal of bringing the new technology to market by 2020. The potential for 10 percent increases in hybrid fuel efficiency occurs due to less energy being lost under regenerative braking, and less energy being used to power the semiconductor in the first place, whose design enables an 80 percent decrease in size from current semiconductors.

The only obstacle to bringing the tech to market is cost, which the automaker says is “an order of magnitude” higher than regular silicon wafers. In addition, silicon carbide is difficult and costly to turn into wafers, being one of the hardest materials found in the world to date.

The new semiconductors are being developed in-house with help from Toyota Central R&D Labs and supplier Denso, and will be applicable in both hybrid and EV vehicles.

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Denso, Sharp Ink Deal On Integrating Home And Car Electronics Thu, 19 Sep 2013 16:01:30 +0000 densosharp

Denso, the automotive electronics supplier with close ties to Toyota, has signed an agreement to buy $25.4 million worth of stock in the Sharp consumer electronics company. According to Automotive News, Denso says that the goal is to create new technologies that “improve the comfort, safety and convenience of vehicles by integrating vehicle technologies with home electronic technologies.”

Gartner Inc. analyst Thilo Koslowski described potential benefits of integrating home and car electronics, suggesting things like infotainment that follows you from home to car and vice versa. Automated home functions could be made more intelligent, knowing when you have left or are about to arrive. “There are multiple ways of doing this, including things turning off when you leave because the car will communicate that it’s leaving your house. There are definitely some scenarios that have to do with smart home automation where you can automate certain functions.”

“This is an attempt by Denso to be prepared for what the future will bring. Companies need to figure out what that means once we have connectivity established in the automotive industry within cars. What is the next frontier?,” Koslowski said. “That is going to be other environments outside the automobile, other industries outside of automotive that actually will have to come together. I think that’s where Denso is taking innovative lead by saying we want to be part of this, at least in small steps.”

Denso supplies advanced technology, systems and components for thermal, powertrain control, electronics and safety. According to the Automotive News, Denso is the second biggest supplier in the industry. Toyota Motor Corp. owns 23 percent of Denso. Sharp builds home electronics such as televisions along with appliances and presentation and display products, like the touch panels for Apple’s iPhones. The stock purchase represents a little more than a half percent stake in Sharp, which has a current market capitalization of more than $4.5 billion.

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DoJ To Denso: Pay $78 Million, Go Forth And Sin No More Tue, 31 Jan 2012 04:05:04 +0000

It was the early 2010, the Toyota witch hunt was in full swing. While Toyota executives were burnt at the stake grilled on the Hill, Denso’s U.S. offices were raided by the FBI. Denso is a major automotive parts supplier, and a member of the Toyota family. The raid was part of an on-going investigation into alleged anti-trust violations. Or so they said.

After the NHTSA, NASA and the National Academy of Sciences could not find a ghost in the machine, the Department of Justice also cleared out its case file. For a fee.

Denso and the DoJ cut a plea deal. Denso will pay a fine of $78 million “based on charges that it violated antitrust laws in connection with sales of certain automotive components” to one of its customers, Denso said today in a statement.

The fine will hit the books as a (hopefully) non-recurring one time charge in the third quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2012. It is said to have “no material effect on the Company’s financial forecast for the fiscal year.”

Internally, there is some finger rapping: Denso’s chairman, president and some board members and executive directors have to “voluntarily return 30 percent to 10 percent of their compensation for a three-month period starting in February 2012.”

Another supplier, Yazaki Corp., did not get off as easily. The company agreed to plead guilty to U.S. charges and pay a $470-million fine, says the LA Times. Even more painful, four of its executives are to serve prison terms of up to two years, the paper says.


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Piston Slap: Denso’d into Needless Markup? Mon, 19 Dec 2011 19:00:10 +0000

TTAC commentator/writer David Holzman writes:


My ’99 Accord 5speed with 200k on the clock needs a new gas tank. The fuel pump is inside the gas tank. Should I get a new fuel pump with that gas tank? Changing the tank will cost about $600; including a fuel pump will add $300. I’m planning to keep this car another year and a half to two years, at which point it will have about 230k.

(I will replace it with whatever version of the Toyota FT86 reaches our shores provided the car does well repair-wise in its first year, and provided I like it as much as Bertel’s review suggested I would.)

PS: can you get this one up ASAP? I need to get the tank before I go on a road trip Dec. 24.

Sajeev Answers:

$300 for a fuel pump?  Please check the prices on and verify your shop isn’t marking up their parts costs.

That said, I don’t know if the pump needs to be replaced, there’s a good chance it will last 2 years. Even if it fails, you don’t need to drop the tank to install a new one. Tough call.  A fuel pump should be more like $100-150 and labor should be nearly nothing considering the tank is dropped.

David replies:


I suspect the $300 was for an OEM fuel pump. On Rockauto, they start at around $30, and a number of them are 100 and change. I guess one thing that makes me nervous is the thought of switching from my original to a non-OEM. I mean, it wouldn’t completely surprise me if the original went for a few more years and a non-OEM quit after a few years.

Sajeev Concludes:

I suspect that $300 was for the complete fuel pump assembly.  Wait no, I never suspect that. As a tireless cynic when it comes to random mechanics giving quotes to my readers, I always go for the worst.  That said, Rockauto sells the Denso fuel pump (OE part) for $118.00…and Denso stuff ain’t no joke, this is what you need.

Would a nameless, faceless shop charge over 200% markup for the same part you can buy online?  Perhaps. It wouldn’t be the first time, son! Wrap up: there’s no wrong answer, replace or no.  The only problem is the cost of said part.

Send your queries to . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Chinese Strikes: It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over – Toyota And Honda Down Again Wed, 23 Jun 2010 11:04:46 +0000

You thought the strikes that affected Honda and Toyota in China are over, and both are happily churning out cars again? That makes two of us. But we are mistaken.

Toyota stopped the lines at their Guangzhou assembly plant Tuesday, after they had run out of fuel injectors. The parts were supposed to come from Toyota-affiliated  Denso (Guangzhou Nansha) Co., where workers went on strike on Monday, says The Nikkei [sub]. This Wednesday afternoon in China, the Denso workers are still saying “hell, no” (or Chinese words to that effect), and the Toyota plant sits idle. Reuters says no decision has been made to re-start production.

Toyota’s  Guangzhou plant  accounts for more than 40 percent of Toyota’s Chinese output.

According to Nikkei’s information, the Denso plant also supplies parts to Honda, Suzuki, and Mazda.

Lo and behold,  today Honda halted production at one of two plants of their Guangqi Honda joint venture. An  operation spokesman told Reuters he does not know when production  will resume.

A little later, the second plant of their Guangqi Honda JV shut down. This time, because of a lack of springs. Turns out that a Chinese factory of  Japan-owned NHK Spring was hit by a strike late Tuesday. Reuters says, they also make springs for Toyota and Nissan.

As a sign that it’s news when a Japanese auto maker remains open in China, The Nikkei [sub] quotes Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn, who said today that “so far, things are going smoothly” at Nissan in China. Let’s hope they are well stocked on springs.

An interesting pattern evolves:

  • Strikes at strategically chosen suppliers, often involving only a few hundred strikers, can paralyze big manufacturers. The Chinese did learn well from the U.S. and Europe.
  • There are no strikes at carmakers themselves, which are part of joint ventures, usually with government-affiliated partners. They shut down because they have no parts, not because there is a strike.
  • So far, the strikes affect only Japanese carmakers. The lines at GM, Volkswagen, Ford, BMW etc. are running.

GM’s Kevin Wale remains unimpressed. He’s seen worse at home. “It’s common. Labor issues occur everywhere, but China’s huge market potential is more important,” said Wale to China Daily.

Meanwhile at the media front, that epitome of journalistic integrity, ABC News, can’t help themselves and reports that “domestic media has been instructed not to report on the subject.” As proof, they cite an anonymous “internet user” who says: “The Denso strike did happen but authorities have sealed off the news.” You don’t say.

Someone should tell them that it’s as easy as going over to state-owned China Daily, where the strikes are daily news fodder. They have the Denso strike right here. Same at Global Times, the English version of the Communist Party’s Newspaper, People’s Daily.

Global Times even mentions a report by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions that warns: “The accumulation of these demands and problems has begun to have a negative effect on our country’s political and social stability and sustainable economic development.” Doubting China’s political and social stability? In a party-owned paper? Where’s the world coming to?

Update: Reuters says NHK strike settled, Honda plant 2, up again. Plant 1 still closed due to Denso strike.

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The Complete Guide To Toyota Gas Pedals: Teardown, Pictures, Toyota’s Fix, Analysis, And Commentary Wed, 03 Mar 2010 18:27:56 +0000

Here’s TTAC’s and the web’s only complete guide to Toyota’s gas pedals (so far), with tear downs, pictures, analysis, explanation, the shim fix, and commentary, all consolidated into one portal:

Part 1: Exclusive: TTAC Takes Apart Both Toyota Gas Pedals: Tear down of both the recalled CTS pedal assembly and the non-recalled Denso pedal assembly. Note: Assumptions and conclusions in this initial tear down lack the more complete understanding of the importance of the friction arm aspect of the CTS unit.

Part 2: Toyota Gas Pedal Fix Explained – With Exclusive Photos: Describes Toyota’s proposed fix for the recalled CTS gas pedal assembly, with detailed photos and graphics. Explains the significance of the friction arm assembly and its limitations.

Part 3: Toyota Gas Pedal Fix Simulated – Friction Reduced, By Too Much?: TTAC simulates the fix prescribed by Toyota for the recalled CTS pedal assembly, and notes how the fix changes the degree of friction, and the possible unintended result. With detailed pictures

Part 4: Why Toyota Must Replace Flawed CTS Gas Pedal With Superior Denso Pedal: Detailed analysis with pictures of the two pedal assemblies, an explanation as to why the Denso design is superior, and a call for having all CTS pedals replaced with the Denso pedal.

Part 5: TTAC Does The Toyota Pedal Shim Fix:  Stop Gap Solution At Best: Toyota’s solution is carried out here with detailed pictures, the whole Toyota document detailing the fix, and our commentary.

Part 6: Toyota Floor Mat/Gas pedal Recall Includes Computer Reflash And Trimming Of Gas Pedals: Info on the details of the floor mat/gas pedal interference recall.

Part 7: Toyota Recall  Creates Unintended Accelerator Consequences: As predicted in Part 4 (above), the CTS shim fix reduces the carefully designed amount of friction required for comfortable and smooth pedal action to the point where pedal action may now be jerky and potentially unsafe.

(Thanks to you-know-who-you-are for access to these parts and info)

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Denso US Office Raided By FBI Wed, 24 Feb 2010 20:12:42 +0000

Reuters reports that the Detroit offices of Denso, a major Japanese automotive supplier, has been raided by the FBI as part of an on-going investigation into alleged anti-trust violations. Denso spokeswoman Bridgette Gollinger said the investigation was “absolutely not” related to ongoing recalls by Toyota. Denso supplies accelerator pedals (see above) and other components to the automaker. “We are cooperating with the investigation,” Gollinger said. The FBI raid was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which said that federal investigators had also searched the Detroit area offices of two other Toyota suppliers, Yazaki and Tokai Rika. Curious coincidence of timing as this happens while Akio Toyoda testifies on Capitol Hill.

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Exclusive: TTAC Takes Apart Both Toyota Gas Pedals Sat, 30 Jan 2010 21:26:02 +0000

Update: To see all of TTAC’s related articles on the subject of Toyota gas pedals, go here:

In yesterday’s post , we offered a bounty for anyone to open up both the CTS (bottom) and Denso (top) Toyota gas pedal assemblies. No one took us up, and no one anywhere else has done it, so we took it upon ourselves . Here they are, both e-pedal assemblies taken apart and examined, in our quest to understand if and what the significant differences are, and how Toyota’s possible “shim” fix would work.  On initial observation, it appears that the CTS may be perceived as being the more solidly engineered/built unit, in that the pedal pivots on a traditional and solid steel axle whose bearings are brass or bronze sleeves. The Denso’s whole pivot and bearing surfaces are relatively flimsy-feeling plastic. But that can be deceptive, and we’re not qualified to judge properly if it is indeed inferior or superior.  So the question that goes beyond the analysis of these e-pedals is this: are these units really the full source of the problem, or are they scape goats for an electronics and/or software glitch? Pictures and tear down examination and analysis follows:

Update #2: It’s clear to me now that the CTS unit I took apart already had the side cover plates (sheet metal) removed before I examined it. One can see where they fit, and are obviously intended to protect the exposed axle pivot and bushing seen above and below:

(Update #3: Also see our follow-up stories on Toyota’s fix and our replication of the fix and its results)

Lets take a close look at the CTS unit:

We drove out the pivot pin with a C-clamp and screwdriver. It’s a very traditional design, like millions of plain-bearing (non roller-ball bearing) non-lubricated devices used in a huge variety of devices for decades, if not even centuries. The softer brass or bronze acts as relatively low-friction bearing. With the substantial pressure from the springs, it seems relatively unlikely that this would lock up, but that seems to be the concern. It’s possible that there is a greater potential for binding due to the tighter tolerances in the axle/sleeve assembly. A close up of the axle and bearing:

A big question for us was if there are dual springs, in the case one fails. Here is the CTS unit apart. Note that the pointed metallic part on the bottom of the pivot is the magnet that passes between the sensors in the case of the unit, which is how the sensor sends the throttle position signal to the engine controller.

The outer red spring surrounds the inner black coil spring. It seems that the possible “shim fix” that Toyota is considering would be a spacer on the bottom of this spring assembly, which would increase the pressure on it and presumably reduce the likelihood of the pedal sticking. I’m not an expert on springs, but the spring is already pre-loaded (compressed) to some degree when it is assembled, and unless these are variable rate springs, I wonder whether that would actually increase the working resistance of the spring unit. Since I had no problem taking the pedal/pivot unit apart which also houses the spring unit, and reassembling it as well, it would appear that if that route is taken, it should be easily done in a few minutes at the dealership.

To understand that part more clearly, here is a shot of the CTS unit assembled, with the main cover off, showing the pivot arm with the magnet and how it passes past  the sensors (Autoblog has a video explaining how the CTS sensor works, but no teardown):

Lets examine the Japanese Denso unit (below, which comes apart by removing the side cover held on by five screws. It is already apparent from the outside that there is no axle pivot that runs through this unit.

The Denso is a dramatically differently designed unit. The pivoting unit (green) is a plastic “bearing” that just sits inside the two outer units. One can see what it bears against in the side cover. The magnet is the square unit in the middle of the green pivot, and the sensor appears to be the round unit inside the side cover.  The numerous small bright metal protrusions on the side cover are not identified. I thought they were the sensors, but nothing runs over/past them. Here is a closer look at the spring assembly still installed and the plastic pivot “bearing” surface:

Here’s another view of the Denso unit:

The Denso spring unit, also a double coil unit, has a protective “sleeve” over the inner spring to reduce binding between them, since the Denso unit’s spring is in a substantially curved position inside the housing. The CTS does not have this feature, but it appears that its spring is less curved when installed.:

Subjective impressions of taking these two units apart are the opposite of what one typically would assume. The Denso unit feels “cheaper” in that the whole pivot bearing area is all plastic, and feels relatively more flimsy (that doesn’t necessarily mean it actually is). The CTS unit relies on very traditional steel and brass sleeve bearing that took some effort to take apart. The CTS pedal has no play or wiggle when assembled.

The big question is why Toyota completely redesigned the CTS unit from the older Denso unit. Perhaps they were actually trying to design a sturdier assembly because the Denso unit was in question. Perhaps the Denso unit is actually inferior in certain ways, but Toyota didn’t want to pay for new tooling to bring the Denso unit up to the newer CTS design? Source have told me that the Denso unit is likely to be recalled shortly, and the LA Times is reporting that there are known claims of pedal issues with the Japanese Denso unit.

From our perspective, it seems possible but rather highly unlikely that condensation is somehow causing the very solid CTS bearing pivot to lock up, given the spring tension and the units solidity. CTS claims it has only experienced a very limited degree of stiction at or near the idle point on a very few examples.

A key question is which unit was designed first. The CTS unit was used in Avalons since ’05 MY. Apparently Denso units have been in use before that. The question being: why did Toyota design two such fundamentally different units, and is the latter one designed to address any deficiencies of the older one?

Both units are surprisingly simple and obviously cheap, yet they feel robust when assembled. I believe Toyota has stated that the unit cost is $15 per pedal assembly. The retail price is about $120.

The overriding question is if these pedals are really the predominant or sole cause in any true (non-floor-mat caused) unintended acceleration, or whether electronics are the real 800 lb gremlin in this whole affair. Toyota has not acknowledged that…yet.

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Denso Jumping Into Sync Wars Tue, 12 Jan 2010 20:00:24 +0000 Hmmm... almost. (

Automotive News [sub] reports that supplier giant Denso, which is 23 percent owned by Toyota, will launch a competitor to Ford’s Sync system. The system, named Blue Harmony, will provide music, directions, e-mail, Internet radio, news headlines and other driver distractions through a touchscreen on the center of the instrument panel, according to Denso sources. The system will use Denso apps to bring Pandora internet radio, Facebook, Flickr and other web-based services to the Blue Harmony platform.

According to AN [sub]:

Unlike some voice-activated infotainment systems on the market, BlueHarmony does not require specific voice prompts to, for example, play a particular song over the vehicle’s sound system.

What this means exactly isn’t clear, but apparently the system allows users to create a new station on the customizable Pandora system simply by saying, “I want to make a new Pandora station.” Another confusing point: whether the system is based on Microsoft’s platform, which underpins Blue Harmony’s established competitor from Ford.

Denso hasn’t announced which OEMs will feature the Blue Harmony system when it goes into production in 2011, but Toyota is a safe guess. Ford has said that Sync-equipped vehicles move off the lots faster, and thanks to Kia’s recent decision to jump into the fray, the voice-activated media system is starting to look like part of the price of competition for value brands in the US market. At least until Ray LaHood realizes that they don’t actually reduce the dangers of distracted driving and bans them.

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