Payday Loans

On the heels of the latest recall of 2.3 million additional vehicles a few days ago, Toyota announced today that it is suspending sales and production of 8 models whose accelerator pedals are the subject of the latest recall. Toyota does not yet have a fix for the problem, so it is taking this step to prevent any more of the vehicles from getting into customers’ hands (and feet) until the problem is corrected.

“Helping ensure the safety of our customers and restoring confidence in Toyota are very important to our company,” said Group Vice President and Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter. “This action is necessary until a remedy is finalized. We’re making every effort to address this situation for our customers as quickly as possible.”

Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall and suspension of sales is confined to the following Toyota Division vehicles: 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, certain 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia.

No Lexus Division or Scion vehicles or other Toyota division models are affected by these actions.

Obviously, if sales are being halted until a resolution is finalized, Toyota wants to stop production of the affected models. Therefore, the following plants in North America are also going to be shut down the week of February 1 to avoid making more units with the problem. Why not halt production right now? Because production schedules are set far in advance and it is very difficult to stop in the middle of a week. In an emergency, they of course could and would stop production. This isn’t an emergency though. The affected plants are Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Canada (Corolla, Matrix, and RAV4), Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (Sequoia and Highlander), Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky – Line 1 (Camry and Avalon), Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (Camry), Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (Tundra). Shutting down this many facilities will force the shut down of many supplier plants. Toyota did not indicate whether their workers would go on temporary layoff, but Toyota typically does not lay off workers. It will likely reassign the workers to maintenance work and/or training during that week. Workers at Toyota’s many supplier companies will not likely be so lucky.

I keep saying it, but it bears repeating. Toyota has built its entire reputation on its quality. With all of the quality lapses recently, it is only a matter of time until sales start to reflect the damaged reputation. The question is not “if” but “when” and “how much” the sales will be hurt.

That’s what I think – how about you? Please leave your comments below.

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This is getting very repetitive. Yesterday, Toyota announced that it is recalling ANOTHER 2.3 million units to fix a sticky accelerator pedal. Trade journal Automotive News reported that the newly identified problem is caused by a mechanism that controls the accelerator pedal’s return to the idle position after being pressed to the floor. This problem is unrelated to a similar acceleration problem related to the pedal getting stuck under the floor mats.

Yesterday, Toyota spokesman John Hanson said the problem is rare and stems from pedals that “prematurely wear” because of a supplier’s faulty pedal design. Today he said condensation can prevent the pedal from fully springing back into position, but he did not identify fixes Toyota is reviewing. He also said the issue involves only part supplier CTS, one of the two parts makers that build the pedal mechanisms for Toyota. Interesting how Toyota is blaming its supplier for the problem. Where exactly does the buck stop?

This recall covers 2005-10 Avalons, 2007-10 Camrys and Tundras, 2008-10 Sequoias, 2009-10 Corollas, 2009-10 RAV4s, 2009-10 Matrixes, and 2010 Highlanders.

Toyota (literally) built its reputation in the US based on its “bulletproof” quality. Customers have been known to buy Toyota products only because of the actual and perceived quality advantage over other manufacturers’ products. They gave up other attributes such as style and features and excitement to get the quality. With Toyota now at the top of the US recall list (therefore losing the “actual” part of the equation), one wonders whether those customers will now have any reason to shop at the Toyota store at all. Past slogans such as “Who could ask for anything more!” and “Oh what a feeling!” and “I love what you do for me..Toyota!” take on new meaning with all of Toyota’s recent quality issues.

That’s what I think – how about you? Please leave your comments below.

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Another Shoe Drops

24th December 2009

Toyota’s sterling quality reputation is taking another hit, this time for the Prius. The best-selling hybrid car in the world is now the subject of a safety investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). is reporting that NHTSA has received 33 complaints of brake failure on the current 3rd generation Prius.

In the case of the Prius brakes, it appears that the transition from regenerative braking to hydraulic braking is not transparent to drivers. Under certain conditions, the driver needs to press harder on the brake pedal to obtain the same stopping performance the regenerative system working in conjunction with the hydraulic brakes initially provides. Drivers are clearly upset by longer than expected stopping distances.

The problem seems to occur when the car goes over a bump or pothole. Somehow, the jarring disrupts the regenerative brakes’ operation.

A Toyota spokesperson initially told TDB that he was unaware of the issue, but Toyota quickly supplied the following statement: “We are aware of the complaints filed with NHTSA. The agency has not opened an investigation. We are investigating the issue based on internet traffic, customer comments to Toyota Customer Relations, and NHTSA complaints. It is too early to speculate the final conclusion(s) of our investigation and subsequent actions.”

Toyota has had several recalls recently. Toyota is in the midst of huge recalls involving floor mats and accelerator pedals (3.8 million vehicles) and rusty Tundra frames (+100,000), among others; and it faces lawsuits alleging the withholding of evidence in safety investigations, as well as new charges of unintended acceleration, and stalling in some of its most popular models.
Toyota’s worst year for recalls, ever
So far this year, Toyota has said it will recall a total of 4.8 million vehicles in the United States, four times more than in any previous year. It recalled 1.1 million vehicles in 2004.

So far, Toyota’s sales have not been hurt by the quality issues. Only time will tell if they are hurt long term. The D3 weren’t hurt by their bad quality at first either.

That’s what I think – how about you? Please leave your comments below.

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The Emperor Has No Clothes

8th December 2009

In the most recent in a line of quality issues for Toyota, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into a stalling problem in 2006 Corolla and Matrix models.  NHTSA has received 26 complaints of random stalling, sometimes in intersections or on highways.  The review only covers 2006 models with the IZZ-FE engines.  Apparently, Toyota has known about the problem, having issued a service bulletin in 2007 calling for replacing the engine computer following complaints of stalling.

The follows on the heels of the 3.8 million vehicles that Toyota recently recalled to fix the accelerator pedals in many models that were getting stuck in the wide open throttle position, causing uncontrolled acceleration.  Toyota also recently recalled Tundra pickups to fix a rusting frame problem and also had a similar problem on Tacoma pickups.  They also had a well-publicized problem with engine sludge causing engine failure in Camrys.

Toyota has a reputation for high quality vehicles that they have earned over many years of hard work.  However, to just assume that they have and will always have high quality vehicles that never break down is just as inaccurate as assuming that the domestics have and will always have low quality vehicles that always break down just because they used to have quality problems.  Toyota is not perfect, and neither is Honda, Nissan or anybody else.  JDPower and others have made their mark figuring out which vehicles have the highest quality.  You owe it to yourself to check the real facts on quality before buying and certainly before bashing anybody’s quality.  The life and the job you save could be your own.

That’s what I think – how about you?  Please leave your comments below.

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Toyota issued a “safety advisory” today regarding the risk that the accelerator pedal could be forced into the full open (“floored”) position if the driver side floor mats are unsecured or incompatible.  This condition could result in very high speeds and result in crashes with serious injury and/or death.  Toyota does not yet have a fix for the problem, and is instructing owners of all affected vehicles to remove the floor mats immediately and not replace them with another mat.  The affected vehicles are:

  • 2007 – 2010 Camry
  • 2005 – 2010 Avalon
  • 2004 – 2009 Prius
  • 2005 – 2010 Tacoma
  • 2007 – 2010 Tundra
Toyota is giving owners of the affected vehicles the following instructions if they find themselves in a vehicle that is accelerating unintentionally:
Should the vehicle continue to accelerate rapidly after releasing the accelerator pedal, this could be an indication of floor mat interference.  If this occurs, Toyota recommends the driver take the following actions:

First, if it is possible and safe to do so, pull back the floor mat and dislodge it from the accelerator pedal; then pull over and stop the vehicle.

If the floor mat cannot be dislodged, then firmly and steadily step on the brake pedal with both feet. Do NOT pump the brake pedal repeatedly as this will increase the effort required to slow the vehicle.

Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF, or to ACC. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.

-If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.

-If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel

“This is an urgent matter,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “We strongly urge owners of these vehicles to remove mats or other obstacles that could lead to unintended acceleration.”

The recall was sparked by an Aug. 28 accident in San Diego during which four people were killed in a Lexus, said Irv Miller, a spokesman for Toyota.

This is the largest recall for Toyota and is more than 70% higher than their total 2008 sales in the US.  Toyota’s previous recall record was 900,000 vehicles recalled in 2005.

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Buick and Jaguar each rank highest in vehicle dependability in a tie, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released today.  Buick improves from a sixth-place ranking in 2008, while Jaguar improves from 10th place. Following in the top five rankings this year are Lexus, Toyota and Mercury.

The study, which measures problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old (2006 model year) vehicles, has been redesigned to include 202 different problem symptoms across all areas of the vehicle.  Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.  The average number of problems is 170 per 100 vehicles, which is down from 206 in the 2008 study (an improvement of 17%).

J.D. Power also gives segment awards, which honor the top vehicles in each class.  Toyota led all manufacturers with 10 vehicles getting top honors in their segments.  Ford was next with 4 (5 if you include Mazda), followed by Honda with 2.  GM, Chrysler and Nissan received 1 segment award each.

There were some surprises in the results.  We are used to seeing Toyota and Honda vehicles at the top of most quality rankings, and they certainly make good products – just ask any southern senator.  The most startling is the ranking of the much-maligned (and now deceased) Ford Freestar over the Toyota Sienna in the minivan category (Dodge Grand Caravan won the segment).  Another big one is in the midsize car category, where the Buick LaCrosse won, beating out the Toyota Camry and Mercury Milan – Honda Accord was nowhere to be found.

The 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 46,000 original owners of 2006 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded in October 2008.

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