Category Archives: Blog

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The evolution of winter tires

Winter has officially arrived, and with it the most complicated driving season of all. And since struggling to control a vehicle in ice or snow is not anyone’s cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte, Canadians know that winter tires are critical this time of year.

While summer and all-season tires work great on paved roads, they aren’t designed for slick conditions and lack the various traction-enhancing technologies usually found on a dedicated winter set. Winter tires haven’t always been as effective as they are today, however, and have only progressed throughout the years as our knowledge of the matter has grown. To truly understand and appreciate the modern winter tire, let’s take a look at its evolution, by exploring where it began, and the notable milestones along the way.

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The wheel gets invented – 3,500 BC

To understand the history of the winter tire, we have to understand the history of the tire, and to understand the history of the tire, we have to understand the history of the wheel. So, we go back. Way, way back. The humble wheel (which still hasn’t been reinvented) is said to have arrived on-scene around 3,500 B.C., but it was roughly another 300 additional years before somebody had the idea to use on chariots as a means of transportation.

The wheel gains traction – 1839

These were important-times for the wheel, as mass adoption of the idea saw the modern world catch on and spike demand. The first breakthrough in the wheel’s evolution came in 1839 and was discovered by a man by the name of Charles Goodyear, who after years of tinkering, was able to develop and perfect a vulcanization process that made rubber able to withstand the high temperatures caused by the friction of driving at higher speeds.

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Worker placing tire in a mold before vulcanization. – Wiki

Rubber meets air – 1888

Early tires were crude and extremely heavy. But eventually, as functionality became less-important and the public started focusing more on comfort, a Scottish veterinarian by the name of John Boyd Dunlop invented the first air-filled tire for his son’s tricycle. This new pneumatic prototype delivered a more comfortable ride quality and weighed far less than previous designs, making it ideal for use on passenger vehicles.

Dunlop's first pneumatic bicycle tyre National Museum of Scotland

Dunlop’s first pneumatic bicycle tyre National Museum of Scotland – Wiki

The first winter tire – 1908

1908 marked the year that Henry Ford first unveiled the Model-T, which was the first automobile specifically designed and mass produced to appease the average individual. As popularity and convenience continued to spread, so too did the need for more rugged and versatile tires for those living in regions of the world that saw harsher climate conditions like ice and snow. Additionally, another advancement was made in 1908 by a man named Frank Seiberling, who found that cutting grooves into a tire’s surface could improve its ability to find grip.

Then, in 1934 a Finnish company by the name of Nokian produced the Kelirengas, the first-ever dedicated winter tire that was specifically designed for maximum grip no matter the temperature.

Today’s winter tire – 2018

Although the basic design is similar to John Boyd Dunlop’s original prototype (tktkt), some small changes have been made in other areas, such as adding a performance rating to help buyers make the proper selection to suit their needs, or by adding a universal “Winter” symbol marked only on tires that have been tested and therefore meet minimum standards. Additionally, thanks to further advancements in traction technology, all-season tires have become popular when conditions change frequently and rarely reach extreme.

If you’re thinking about equipping your daily driver with a set of winter tires this season and aren’t exactly sure where to begin, please stop by the showroom for a chat with one of our professionals and we’ll set you up.

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Check out this pizza-making Toyota Tundra

This year’s SEMA was full of supercars and sportscars, but one unexpected vehicle which attracted a lot of eyes (and noses) was this unique, zero-emission Tundra PIE Pro. It was actually built as a collaboration between Pizza Hut and Toyota. Most of us love pizza and even more of us love pickup trucks, so it’s really a wonder how no one thought of this before.

Judging by the exterior alone, you can probably tell this isn’t your ordinary Toyota Tundra. The rear truck bed has been converted into a virtual pizza factory on wheels (affectionately known as “The Kitchen”). It houses a refrigerator, a portable conveyor oven and, to make the entire process automated, a pair of computer-guided robotic arms. The components of the kitchen are powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell electric motor, as is the truck, but more on that later on. The entire process from start to finish takes less than seven minutes. You can’t get a quicker pizza even if you decide to make one yourself!

Pizza Hut Toyota Tundra PIE Pro pickup bed

The idea behind the Tundra PIE Pro was to make pizza on the go. Pizza Hut is constantly trying to improve its delivery radius without compromising the quality of its pizza, and this is one ingenious way to accomplish that. Nothing tastes better than a pizza straight out of the oven, and you can’t get a fresher pizza than one that’s been made just outside your front door.

To build the PIE Pro, the team at Toyota took a Tundra SR5 and tore it down to a bare rolling chassis. They then reassembled it from the ground-up with a hydrogen fuel-cell electric power unit modified from the Toyota Mirai and built the back end completely bespoke to Pizza Hut’s needs and requirements.

The process starts when the robotic arm opens the refrigerator to remove the chosen pizza and place it on the conveyor belt. The pizza is then sent through a ventless oven and is greeted by a second robotic arm at the other end. The second arm places it on a cutting board and divides it into six pieces, boxes it up and delivers it to the customer.

Although this is just a one-off concept for the time being, it certainly showcases what we have to look for in the future! No more waiting for excruciatingly long delivery times and cold pizzas. A truck turns up at your front door, makes the pizza right there and then and delivers it to you so hot you can barely hold it and bring it inside. The future certainly looks tasty!

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What is Toyota Service Advantage? That and other Toyota Service FAQ questions answered.

Toyota is heavily regarded as one of the most reliable and reputable brands on the market. It recently won Kelley Blue Book’s 2018 Best Resale Value: Brand Award, further cementing that fact. So there’s good reason to get into a Toyota, but once you’re there you will have some questions that probably won’t come up at the dealership. Stuff like “what sort of oil do Toyota technicians use?” or “How do I book Toyota Service?”

In this post we answer these and other frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Toyota’s Service Department and the Extra Care Protection plan in Canada. Read on.

Are Toyota Service Plans worth it?

The short and long answer to that question is yes. With a Toyota Service Plan, you’ll have a no-hassle service experience and save money in the long run. Your car will be serviced by a Toyota dealer using genuine Toyota parts, and you’ll get a stamp of approval in the record book each time you take the car in for service. This drives the car’s resale value up and increases its longevity.

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Where should I service my Toyota?

At a Toyota dealership! Pardon the exclamation point, but we’re quite passionate about this. You’ll have experienced Toyota technicians using genuine OEM Toyota parts working on your car, not to mention an official Toyota dealership stamp in the maintenance book.

Can Toyota service Lexus?

Yes, definitely. Your Toyota dealer will be able to carry out regular routine service on any Lexus with the same level of quality.

How do I book Toyota Service?

You can book a service appointment online through your dealership’s website or through any of our Service Centers by calling the specified number.

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What is Toyota Service Advantage?

It’s essentially a Toyota warranty system that guarantees you pay the exact same low-price for every service for the duration of the warranty. Every new Toyota comes with this low-capped price service cost for a set number of years and/or kilometers.

What oil does Toyota Service use?

Only genuine Toyota Motor Oil and premium Toyota Synthetic Motor Oil. We’ve got a wide range of different oil options recommended for every Toyota model.

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What does Toyota’s Extra Care Protection Plan cover?

Toyota’s Service Plan, called the Extra Care Protection Plan (ECP) in Canada, offers protection above and beyond any New Vehicle Warranty, available for as long as 7 years or 200,000 km. ECP comes in two tiers, Platinum and Gold, with a number of included services for tires, oil, filters and more. Visit the ECP page to view exactly what’s included in each package.

How do I know when to service my Toyota?

Toyota recommends scheduling a service every 6 months or 8,000 kilometres.

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Toyota will unveil the highly anticipated Supra at the North American International Auto Show in January

Toyota has a challenge on its hands. It’s been 25 years since they turned their nose up at performance car culture following the launch of the Mark IV Toyota Supra back in 1993. The Mark IV became a Japanese legend, known for its highly tune-able 2JZ engine, vicious acceleration and aggressive styling.

Finally, a new Supra is on its way, but this time Toyota developed the cars initial architecture in conjunction with BMW. And the question will soon be answered: Can Toyota successfully combine German sensibility and Japanese madness?

Given what Toyota hasn’t revealed (the camouflaged production prototype pictured here), we do know a surprising amount about the Mark V. The engine is a BMW 3-litre, inline 6-cylinder with a single scroll turbocharger. Power output is expected to be between 330 to 350 hp with over 300 nm of torque.

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Power is fed through an eight-speed automatic transmission, to a BMW active limited slip differential. Toyota have refused to confirm a manual transmission option, instead telling salivating customers to “wait and see.”

The chassis hints at an amazing driving experience with equal 50/50 weight distribution on a platform that features a shorter but wider wheelbase than the AE86. The new Mark V Supra also comes with adaptive suspension with the ability to lower itself 7mm when required.

Anticipating how modified these cars are likely to be, the new Supra comes with mounting points in the front, ready for a front splitter. The trunk has been reinforced to handle a large rear wing. But perhaps the best news is confirmation from Toyota that the engine bay of the Mark V Supra will fit the 2JZ twin turbo engine which powered the Mark IV.

The 325 hp 2JZ motor is arguably what made the Mark IV Supra legendary. Being virtually bulletproof and easily tune-able made the 3L suitable for a variety of applications from daily driven street cars to some of the quickest track cars ever seen.dsc-2638-edit

But the history of the Toyota Supra started out with more of a whimper than a roar, although it has never strayed away from its mid-front engine, rear-wheel-drive design. The original Supra started out as a more powerful version of the Toyota Celica, featuring an inline 6 cylinder motor from the legendary 2000GT sports car of the 1960s.

In 1986, Toyota launched the Mark III. It was with this incarnation that Toyota decided to slap a turbocharger on the (then) 7MGTE engine which pushed performance to a respectable 230 hp. Then in 1992 Toyota developed the infamous 1JZ engine which was replaced the following year with a twin turbo 2JZ motor and a new model Supra, the Mark IV.

Over its various incarnations the Toyota Supra has gained a cult following and along with the Nissan GTR and Mazda RX7, defined modern car culture. Given the way Toyota is focusing on people who buy and enjoy their cars at present, we can be confident that the Mark V Supra will excite enthusiasts for years to come.

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The 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback is now at Northwest Toyota

This is the 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback, now at Northwest Toyota, and it may be the most Corolla-y Corolla of all time.

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The Corolla hatchback has been putting the fun in functional for decades now, and the latest iteration may be the best yet. This vibrant blue Corolla SE is lighting up our showroom right now. In fact we already featured it as our Car of the Week, but are so excited about the newest hot hatch from Toyota that we simply had to blog about it too.

Stylistically, the 2019 Corolla hatch is unpretentious but sharp, wearing its fifth door like a badge of pride where some hatchbacks try to camouflage it.

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This is the first compact hatch to have Toyota New Global Architecture at its foundation, and it’s 60 percent more rigid than the last offering. Engine wise, it’s got a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder that puts out 168 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. That’s paired with one of two brand new transmissions. There’s the automatic, Direct Shift CVT with sport mode and available paddle shifters. Or there’s the six speed intelligent manual transmission, which is made smoother by its downshift rev-matching control. Drivetrain, meanwhile, is pure front-wheel-drive, just like a good hatchback should be.

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_MG_6456 _MG_6455The interior is minimalist with a premium feel and a focus on safety. How very Corolla, right? This SE model includes a heated steering wheel, 18” allow wheels, Qi wireless charging system and Blind Spot Monitor safety system on top of the standard list of Apple CarPlay, Scout GPS Link, 8” Display Audio system with USB input and voice recognition, automatic A/C, push button start and more.

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The 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback is certainly Corolla-y, but is it the most Corolla-y of all time? Come down to Northwest Toyota to find out for yourself.

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The 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro makes off-roading look easy

The 4Runner has been one of Toyota’s most enduring nameplates. Since 1984, the tough little SUV has been used by outdoor lovers and workers as a simple-and-effective mean of getting where you needed to be, wherever that may be.

For 2019, a new variant has been launched; drawing from Toyota’s significant experience off the beaten paths, the TRD Pro aims to be the toughest and most capable 4Runner yet.

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So what makes the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro so capable? It all starts with what makes the 4Runner itself unique. First of all, it’s one of the last body-on-frame SUVs out there, which is the ideal layout for off-roading. (Just ask any of the serious off-roaders who still ride in their old Hilux, FJ Cruiser or Jeep). The 4-link live axle rear suspension is also loved for its ruggedness AND its comfort on the road. Who said you need to sacrifice one to get the other? Not Toyota.

The TRD Pro is outfitted to go where other SUVs wouldn’t dare to tread. Its TRD shocks (designed in partnership with FOX) will bounce over hard ruts, while its off-road, multi-terrain ABS system ensures you’ll be able to avoid whatever Mother Nature puts on the road. Crawl Control makes crossing hard obstacles a breeze, while the 31.5-inches off-road tires will provide grip regardless of what’s underneath them. To protect the engine and cooling equipment, a TRD stamped aluminum skid plate comes standard.

 

It’s easy to recognize a TRD Pro among other 4Runners. From the front, it sports an old-school Toyota badging in a classic font, and there’s also a unique hood scoop and a roof rack. The 17-inch matte black wheels are also a dead giveaway, as are the black TRD badging all over the truck. Inside, the black leather seat with red letters is among the first things you’ll spot when you open the front doors.

When choosing the ultimate off-road SUV Toyota, you’ll only have one choice to make: do you want your 2019 4Runner TRD Pro in Voodoo Blue, Super White or Midnight Black?

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Toyota is hard at work developing fuel cell tech. Here’s what you need to know

Nobody can accuse Toyota of putting all their eggs in the same basket. Despite being the uncontested leader in hybrid vehicle tech, the manufacturer has also been heavily invested in another kind of green developments. With the recent arrival of the Mirai, Toyota proved that fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) were a viable alternative to fossil fuel.

Having been working on FCVs since the 90s, Toyota was confident that the Mirai would work well; now, with an ever-growing refueling network, they are ready for the next chapter in the democratization of this technology.

First, let’s take a few lines to explain exactly how fuel cell vehicles work and why Toyota thinks they are worth the investment.

Instead of using gasoline, FCVs use hydrogen to power themselves. Being the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen is very easy to find. So how do they convert this element into motion? Basically by extracting electricity out of the molecules. We could spend most of this text talking about the complicated science of the whole process, but we’ll instead simplify it: FCV basically work just like electric vehicles, but the battery is replaced by a hydrogen fuel cell. Once the electricity has been extracted, what’s left is simply dumped on the ground. But here’s the amazing thing: the only byproduct of this chemical reaction is H2O, more commonly known as water!

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Having proven that the technology is sound and viable, Toyota is now working on bringing fuel-cell vehicles to the masses. To do this, the Japanese giant has a plan that draws from its vast experience building cars. Before 2025, a full range of FCVs will be developed. And according to some sources, a range of SUVs, trucks and commercial vehicles will also be developed. By using chassis, body panels and interior component from gasoline-powered cars, Toyota hopes to bring building costs down.

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Right now, the Mirai is hand-built by technicians in Japan. The process is long, and only five cars get out of the assembly plant each day. When you consider that Toyota builds 13,400 vehicles daily, it’s easy to see how FCVs would benefit from being built in series.

Eventually, performance will improve even further and by 2025, the Mirai is expected to be able to go 1,000 km on a full tank, doubling the 500 km range available right now.

Watch for the Toyota Mirai available at Northwest Toyota and on roads in Ontario later this year.

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How to get your car ready for back-to-school season

What’s that I hear? A bell ringing? This time of year forces many of us back into a routine—for some it’s welcome and others not so much. Regardless of how you feel about the sound of the looming toll of the bell, it’s time to prepare yourself, gathers supplies and soak in the summer moments. And while you’re getting your life ready for the classes and the commute, don’t forget your car.

Whether you’re dropping your kids off for their fist day of school or you’re heading off to your college dorm, here are seven things you can do to get your car back-to-school ready.

Find the perfect filter

We’re not talking about photo filters – although there is no harm in doing that too. Check the owner’s manual and see if your air filters need to be replaced, or consult a professional. And for the most part, if you can’t remember the last time it was changed, it’s probably time.

Don’t let the pressure get to you

Or rather make sure you check your tire pressure. Get out that good ‘ol trusty tire pressure gauge (it’s in the glovebox, remember?) and make sure they’re ready to go. Check the tires when they’re “cold” (AKA before you have driven or at least three hours after you’ve driven) for an accurate read. When properly inflated, your tires will last longer and help improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency as well.

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Show up in style

Now that the interior of your car is squeaky clean, it’s time to give the outside of your car some love too. Our array of Toyota Touch cleaning and detailing services will have your ride looking its best when you drop the brood off. Or you can DIY in the driveway or at a car wash.

 

Shed some light on the situation

Now this may seem like an obvious one but, check your lights! Now that summer is over, and fall is in full swing the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. Make sure you’re prepared for the next ten months of school and extracurricular activities by getting those lights working at full capacity. You can request a quote on your Toyota’s headlight here.

Craft your ultimate car survival kit

You never know when you’re going to need a wet wipe, a tissue, a band aid or even a snack. Stock up on those glovebox essentials. While you’re out and about shopping for back-to-school supplies, grab some items for your own custom car survival kit.

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Vacuum deep, deep in the seats

Summer means long road trips, frequent trips to the pool and more outings in general. While all of these things are super exciting, they tend to mean that you’re spending more time at the beach than you are cleaning your car. Which, to be honest, is way more fun. Back to school season is a great time to reset, refresh and pressure wash the apple sauce off the rubber mats. However, if you’re too busy shopping for that Instagram-worthy picture day outfit, schedule a Toyota Touch appointment with a Deluxe, Premium or Ultimate detailing service at here at Northwest Toyota. Let us take care of the persistent piles of sand and ice cream stains once and for all. We’ve got some great service specials at the moment.

Keep calm and survive the commute

Commuting to and from the school during rush hour can take what feels like forever. Between the early mornings, long days, other drivers constantly hitting their breaks for no apparent reason and your kids going crazy in the backseat, it can be a lot. To avoid pulling out your own hair, make sure you stock up on DVDs for the rear-seat entertainment system. Throwing on a film to keep the kids quiet on those already hectic mornings, will make life just that much easier.

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Which Toyotas are made in Canada?

Throughout Canada, there is a movement toward buying Canadian-made goods and services. This isn’t a political blog by any stretch of the imagination, but let us just say that we get it. So, if you’re in the process of trading in your old car for a new Toyota, you may want to know where our most popular models are built.


If you’re looking to keep your money within Canada, you’ll be happy to know that two of our most popular models, the Corolla and the RAV4, are built right here in The Great White North.

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Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (TMMC) is comprised of three separate facilities. The biggest of them is located in Cambridge, Ontario and builds both the Corolla and the Lexus RX crossover in the North and South Cambridge Plants. In fact, it is the second-largest Toyota assembly plant in North America, right after the Georgetown, Kentucky facilities.

The Cambridge plant was also Toyota’s first manufacturing installation in Canada, having originally opened in 1988 and continuing to operate strongly today. If you own an older Toyota Solara or a Matrix, there is a strong chance your car comes from there, as well!

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In 2008, the Woodstock plant was opened to increase North-American production for the ever-popular RAV4. Each year, more than 200,000 RAV4s roll out of these facilities, before being shipped throughout North America.

Overall, the three facilities of TMMC have the ability to build up to half-a-million vehicles each year. The three plants employ more than 8,000 peoples and are a testament to Toyota’s commitment to building quality products right here in Canada.

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6 ways to increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency

The rise in fuel prices has drivers trying all sorts of things to save fuel economy. Some of them work… and some of them don’t. Here are a few tips and tricks that’ll actually save you cash at the pump.

1: Check the tire pressure

A regular inspection of your vehicle’s various components is key to maximize the range of each drop of fuel. Start with the pressure of your tire. An under-inflated tire will increase rolling resistance significantly; with a drop of only 8 pounds of pressure in your tires, fuel economy might also drop by as much as 5 percent.

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2: Have the engine checked

An optimally performing engine is a fuel efficient engine. Back in the day, mechanics would “read” the spark plugs and adjust carburetors to optimize fuel delivery and replace what they believed needed replacing. Today, modern computers and fuel injection have eliminated the guesswork from the procedure, but it hasn’t removed the need for a regular tune-up. Technicians will analyze the various readings of the car’s sensors and perform a checkup of all components, changing things like filters and belts.

3: Turn off the air conditioning

The air conditioning of your vehicle is a source of drag to the engine, which means it will increase fuel consumption when it is used. The solution is simple: turn it off when you don’t need it. If the weather is fair, just roll down the windows and enjoy the fresh air. In the middle of a summer like this, however, don’t go crazy… saving a few litres of fuel isn’t worth a heat stroke.

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4: A regular check-up of the whole vehicle

While a choked engine is obviously bad for your fuel economy, it isn’t the only part of your vehicle that can affect fuel consumption. Things like bent wheels, worn axles bearings or shocks, and broken springs can all increase the drag on your engine, which will make your engine struggle and drink more fuel. And as an added bonus, you will make your vehicle safer to drive.

5: Choose the right tire

Those big, knobby tires on your SUV look awesome and aggressive, no doubt, but they almost certainly also increase your fuel consumption because they are harder to turn. Make sure you’re using tires with highway-efficient tread if fuel economy is your goal.

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6: Pack only the essentials

Open your trunk and take a long, hard look at everything that’s in it. If you see anything that you don’t need on your daily commute—other than safety gear, obviously—leave it at home. Dead weight will obviously increase your fuel consumption. Same goes for the roof rack: that aerodynamic drag makes your car drink more than it needs to.

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