By on January 27, 2010

Toyota’s decision to suspend production and sales in North America of eight recalled models is sending shock waves through seismically sensitized Japan . Tokyo’s Nikkei [sub], usually not prone to sensationalist reporting and strong language, says today that “the fiasco is likely to have unfortunate consequences for the automaker’s image and earnings.”

According to the Nikkei, the eight models recalled for sticking accelerator pedals accounted for about 60 percent  of Toyota’s North American sales last year.  The production freeze will affect five North American plants. “A prolonged halt would inevitably influence Toyota’s bottom line,” warned an analyst at one major securities firm.

According to the Nikkei, “it is rare for an automaker to suspend production and sales because of a recall.” A Toyota spokesperson pointed out that this is not the first time for the company to make such a move. However, they acknowledged that the scale this time is unusually large.

Replacing a failed part in some 4m cars (U.S. and Europe combined) is a nightmare. First, you must have the part. 4m of them. Due to just in time manufacturing, neither Toyota nor the suppliers will have warehouses full of gas pedal assemblies – which is good, because they could ship them to the scrap yard. Under tight supervision, so that they don’t somehow get back in the replacement market and cause further grief. A new part must be developed, tested, certified, and produced in huge quantities. Supplier capacities are tuned to the steady demand of production, not to a huge demand peak. If it just comes down to some washers, as some say, it will be less of a problem. If the pedal assembly has to go, it’s a huge problem. In any case, replacement procedures have to be developed, mechanics need to be trained. Dealers need to be reimbursed for parts and labor. My friends who were in charge of recall programs at a major European automaker had gray hair at an early age.

Stopping the sale and production of the affected cars is absolutely the right move. Continuing production and sale before the problem is under control could open the company, and even individual managers, to charges of criminal negligence. Reports of stopped production lines come in from the U.S.A. and Canada.

With stopped production, another battle front opens: Who will get the parts, after the correct ones have been made? Will they go to production or into the channel?

Sandy Di Felice, Toyota Canada spokeswoman, said that the plants in  NA will stop producing vehicles for the week of Feb. 1 while Toyota uses the parts from those facilities to repair the vehicles affected by the recall.  Don’t believe it. The plants are waiting for the right parts just as eagerly as the dealers.

In a battle for parts, production usually wins. Expect a triage program, where customer cars are being checked for a danger of seizure. The urgent cases get fixed. The not so urgent cases will be recalled another time, to be fixed when the parts are available in quantity.

And now, customer satisfaction takes a hit. Nothing kills customer satisfaction faster and more thoroughly than repeated workshop visits. One workshop visit will be shrugged off, customer satisfaction can even go up if the visit is handled professionally. After the second visit, people get annoyed. After the third visit, people start regretting that they bought the car and will change the brand in subsequent purchases. With the floor mats last year, and the massive gas pedal recall this year, Toyota buyers will make a lot of trips to the shop.

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127 Comments on “Toyota’s Pedal-Gate: “A Fiasco With Unfortunate Consequences”...”


  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Must be a result of shoddy work performed by their non-union labor force!
    After many years of hearing how every issue on Big 3′s vehicles was a result of having UAW workers, I can’t help but get a stab at this one. Oh, sure it’s an “engineering” issue, but again someone installed it and it was non-union workers.
    Of course we all know that it’s not the workers fault, it’s a lack of leadership that pushed for ever faster product development time and not relying on real world testing but computer models.

  • avatar
    mcs

    This also pretty much kills their “Toyota Reliability” themed marketing. They have to immediately come up with an entirely new marketing program – with the exception of the Prius ads that are focused more on the environment. That has to be a huge headache in addition to the other problems.

    It’s at the top of the local news and people are afraid of driving their vehicles. Originally, I thought this would blow over, but I admit I was wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      “Toyota: We Stopped Production so we Can Make Your Car Stop.”

      John

    • 0 avatar
      tech98

      People who aren’t paying much attention are going to conflate this with the floor-mats-causing-stuck-accelerators recall, a more serious issue that affected smaller number of vehicles. There was a case here in California of a ‘runaway’ Lexus that killed four people which got a lot of media.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    A nice write up on the predicament that Toyota will find itself in to fix the problem.

    No one component has been mentioned as the culprit in the press. In the mean time – the mainstream press will have a field day bashing Toyota.

    The Teflon Era with the mainstream media is over for Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      “The Teflon Era with the mainstream media is over for Toyota”

      Well said!…Will this mean CR will kill the Toyota “free pass” status?

    • 0 avatar
      CamaroKid

      Oh don’t you be saying anything bad about consumer reports… I mean they personally test all of the cars and we have PhD level statisticians who will tell you that their sampling system is accurate and complete! /sarcasm.

      I can’t wait to see how fast all of the happy red dots turn black…

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    “Pedal-Gate”? Wasn’t that my term? You can mail my residual checks to me at:… ;O)

    Re. the Nikkei report: I just bet that the word “unfortunate” was accompanied by that same “sucking of teeth” thing the japanese do as when they say “difficult” … which, with either word, in my experience is saved for the really “big and bad” things …

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      As I said in the other thread… stopping both line and sales is a sure sign that something really BIG is going on.

      You know perfectly who is the “authority” demanding the stop: Quality (the central, high level, etc…) or whatever is named there.

      This thing is going to hurt them. Badly. Contrary to what I have believed.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny ro

      japanese understatement- the Emperor’s comment to public asking for surrender in WWII was

      “the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.”

      This after German surrender, loss of Combined Fleet and access to petroleum, Russians took china in one push, and two nukes on last two undestroyed cities. I give them credit for steel nerves in face of adversity.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I do not believe that unintended acceleration exists. The cheap ass drum brakes on tri-five Chevy’s would bring a full-throttle stuck linkage to a halt. This is chapter two of how stupid can an adult be in panic mode. See 1987 Audi.

    • 0 avatar
      Lemmy-powered

      Well, yes. SHIFT TO NEUTRAL would be the reaction of anyone who had a clue about driving (unless you’re driving an early 2000s Mustang or other car that locks the tranny in D for some reason).

      But having driven a Taurus whose throttle stuck, I can tell you that it really does exist and it really is an odd, surprising sensation.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      No when they tested it (the accelerator stuck wide open), the four disc brakes on an avalon failed without stopping the car.

      Apparantly it does exist, no company does what Toyota is doing for fun.

      And it’s easy to say shift into neutral, until you are on the freeway in 5:00 traffic and it happens.

    • 0 avatar
      Lemmy-powered

      rnc, heavy traffic is exactly where I encountered the unintended acceleration. In line at the Detroit/Windsor border crossing, with a Ford exec in the car, as a matter of fact. I shifted to neutral.

      Like I said, it was an odd sensation.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I frequently had the unintentional urge to accelerate away from Ford managers … but, fortunately, a) this only seemed to occur in conference rooms (when someone was grand-standing), and b) I was able to “embrace my emotional brake” and suppress the urge.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      In a Taurus, with a Ford exec in the car. (Insert joke here)

    • 0 avatar
      poltergeist

      I agree with your premise that most drivers are too “stupid” to deal with unusual problems, but most (maybe all) ’55-’57 Chevys did not have vacuum power assisted brakes, so the braking system is not compromised by the loss of engine vacuum at full throttle. Once the vacuum reserve in the booster is used up, the brakes on a modern car seriously lose their effectiveness.

  • avatar
    dwford

    This could take years. Ford still hasn’t fixed the millions of vehicles affected by the cruise control switch problem. The best Ford has done for those customers is to deactivate the cruise control to prevent the problem. You can’t deactivate the gas pedal and throttle assembly…

  • avatar
    Lavventura

    I would think Toyota will likely fly in gas pedals from Japan and other suppliers.

    Being that Toyota’s shares platforms and components (to a fault), pedals from the Lexus models should be sufficient (such as the ES for the Camry, or Japanese/Euro Corollas).The issue is that suppliers use JTM (just-in-time) mfg, the surge capacity will likely have to be met with multiple suppliers from multiple countries.

    The bigger issue is that Toyota hasn’t communicated adequately to the public what they intend to do, and how they intend on fixing the problem. Some things work well internally, but in this PR case communicating to the public is more important.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      If the Denso pedals are not a direct 1:1 swap in for the affected pedals… then:

      First you need a fix.
      Then you need to proto tool it.
      Then dv test it … durability tests can take weeks.
      Then you need to production tool it. More weeks.
      Then the tools have to fit to the production machines. Changes here take time but can be done simultaneously as the new tools are made,
      Then test again the new tools from rhe revised process, more weeks,

      Some time economies can be found by skipping proto tools and dv testing and going immediately to black tools and pv testing, and by accelerated testing and smaller sample sizes but at the risk of having a new problem escape, or of finding a new problem and having to repeat the process again … more time.

      No point in building more suspect vehicles you cant sell, or have to retrofit, as retrofits are costly, and cause their own set of quality problems and risks.

      Toyota’s response here is not driven by higher moral standards and good corporate citizenship … this is evidenced by the PR trial baloon of a few days ago whert tmc told people not to worry as the problem only developed over time … this baloon was promptly shot-down…

      My take on the situation is that evidence appeared that the mean-time-to failure varies widely depending on climate and tmc became aware of vehicles with a very short time to failure … and that tmc’s approach until now was to buy time for finding a design fix … this is now accomplished by the build-stop…

      Don’t discount NHTSA’s shadow role here … if tmc hadn’t “voluntarily” done this, the feds would likely have forced this…

      If tmc had played this openly, they could have bought that time with minimal loss of customer good-will … as it stands now, they lost control of an opportunity and will suffer needlessly.

      I wouldn’t fire-up the jets on those FedEx planes just yet…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      If tmc had played this openly, they could have bought that time with minimal loss of customer good-will … as it stands now, they lost control of an opportunity and will suffer needlessly.

      I would point out that in a climate so litigious as ours, you’d be exercising very bad judgment to play this openly. PI lawyers are like sharks, and you’d have to be very cautious about how open you can really be.

      It would be interesting (and we’ll see this soon because the lawsuits are inevitable) as to when Toyota and the NHTSA knew what. If the pedal problem was only proven within the few weeks or so Toyota is probably; if they knew well before November, then there’s going to be real trouble. I know that, from dealing with software it’s not uncommon for the analysis and project management to chew a month on it’s own; I’d imagine that dealing with physical product testing would take much, much longer.

      I’d also think that SUA (and it’s siblings, “sudden loss of control” and “loss of braking force”) are real problems for the OEMs and NHTSA (and it’s counterparts across the world) to investigate. Unlike “damaged wire or tube can cause fire”, there seems to be a pretty high signal-to-noise ratio. The NHTSA had found that a pretty significant volume of these complaints are driver error (Audi’s SUA, for example, was a spectacular example) and I’d imagine there’s a skeptical bias out of sheer self-defense.

      I do suggest people look at the NHTSA complaints database sometime. It’s truly disheartening.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      @Robert.Walter -thank you so much for the detailed time-line. The last I said something similar, I was accused of being an alarmist.

      Toyota’s been asking for trouble like this, for the last ten to twelve years. They received much praise for shortening the concept-to-production time frame, but when those of us somehow connected to the auto industry questioned that speed, some Toyota fans took exception to that. Some of the thing I learned, before I lost my job as an auto supplier sales rep, were astounding, like Toyota suppliers running prototype parts off the hard production tooling, and then sending in die repairmen to make modifications after the parts were tested. Hard tooling is usually ordered after most of the prototyping is finished, not simultaneously with finalizing the vehicle’s finished design. Too many short cuts in an balls-out effort to beat the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Thanks Len. I appreciate the positive feedback and attribution it makes the effort worthwhile to know that there is utility in my analysis and commentary.

      I really enjoy these these complex topics (which blend regulation, technology, crisis-management, analytics, PR, and just good common sense.)

      With my education and experience, I have been told before I should try to make a consulting job out of it!

      A caveat, my timeline, regarding the tool/test/PSW activities is variable depending on the nature of the change and the type of component or process involved. My critiques elsewhere regarding TMC’s apparent lack of vigor and frankness in handling this issue is of the IIRC variety, being written from memory of the events … if there are errors in it, I welcome correction.

      Re the White v. Black Tool issue … there has been a general move in this direction in Detroit as well … this is done to reduce time to market as well as the cost involved in large numbers of soft-tooled prototypes… one of our customers was very fond of this, trying to save on White Tool proto expenses, but often ended up paying us more for modifications and acceleration costs to make changes to the Black Tool after DV tests indicated the design needed modification. I don’t know what the army of die-grinders were working on in your company, but if the change is rigorously managed, mods to a Black Tool shouldn’t be cause for alarm.

      Psjar: Regarding truth and openness … the fear of litigation is no reason to clam up … unless one thinks one can keep the truth hidden … otherwise, little is to be gained by playing for time … because the truth will come out … either from your side, and in terms that frame the issue to your advantage, or in the discovery phase of litigation, and in the vacuum in between, in the media, and public discussion will combine to cloud the truth and draw inferences and references that don’t exist and to frame the issue in ways, few of which will be to your benefit.

      And in the end, the litigation will still come and if your reputation is damaged, the litigator will use this to the plaintiff’s advantage… and you will have given him that opportunity.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      @Robert.Walter – it was a customer I was dealing with. We always did our prototyping with White tooling, as we were a prototype house (before company got sold, and I was swept out with the rest of the management, now they do no prototype work.

      Before that, I sold those very die-grinders – it’s great for repairing existing production dies, but every stamping engineer I dealt with questioned whether the constant re-welding of tool steel would eventually, and detrimentally, alter the dies metallurgy. And like you noted, in the vehicle development process, I don’t think it saves time or money, in the short run or the long run.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      Apropos Robert.Walter’s realistic time-line, perhaps Toyota could rally the troops and go outside standard procedures. The story of American Bantam’s development of the original Jeep in 49 days might not be culturally sensitive, but it shows what can be done. The Jeep wasn’t clean sheet developed, but it sure was done in a big hurry.

      There are plenty of assemblies that do work – copy one already! This isn’t original work. While developing tooling, etc, etc, reach out to the Mom and Pop machine shops around their production facilities and have as many assemblies as possible (expensively) made. These first series replacements might be over-engineered and overbuilt to counterbalance the more difficult QA oversight task that would come with this approach – so what? Get the retrofitting going pronto. Eat that excess cost to mitigate the much larger cost of the hit to their reputation. As the tooling is brought on-line in a 24-7 effort, switch over.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      @chuckR – not going to happen. The pedal assembly is designed specifically to fit their cars to work wit their drive-by-wire system. Roberts timeline is not only realistic, it’s also the minimum needed. If the larger pieces in the assembly require a modified design, to the point of new stamping dies, add a few more weeks to the timeline. Takes time to order tool steel, takes time to CNC machine the dies from it, and then there’s shipping. All takes lots of time. Toyota should be grateful that this isn’t something that requires very large size dies or molds, like fender or door size, because then you may have to add months to the timeline, as a great deal of that size of stamping dies come from outside the USA, like Brazil or South Africa.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      @Len_A – I wouldn’t question Robert’s timeline to create a production component. But I do think that Toyota could get parts out quicker that are mass prototyped by their bottom tier suppliers. It would cost an arm and a leg but would contribute to damage control. And it would be a small number of parts, a drop in the bucket, but a symbolic commitment.

      Regarding the uniqueness of Toyota’s drive by wire, I have a drive by wire car and can buy an aftermarket device for $200 that plugs in-line and remaps the response – this on a car – Cayman – that has sold fewer units in 4 years than Toyota sells in what? a week or so? Experience on enthusiast sites has been positive, but I acknowledge that Porsche drivers have lower expectations in certain areas and put up with more crap than Toyota drivers might.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Hi Gents, thanks for the compliments.

      Sorry Chuck, but I would strongly recommend against trying to have multiple mom and pop shops assemble this component… that is just courting something beyond an epic fail… it would be Impossible to manage quality, and this being a major safety component…

      Reality is that TMC will probably have to work with the current supplier… assuming that the root failure cause is this moistue induced stick slip issue, then the fix is probably more like a tweak than a redesign … this means that the existing production equipment could be immediately reutilized …

      Perhaps it is as simple as using non-hydroscopic materials, teflon-impregnated grease, some mild dimensional changes to the injection-mold dies (makes me wonder if they have a shrinkage issue) or tolerance restrictions and a stronger spring…

      The other part of the issue reflecting timing has to do with preparing multiple injection molding die sets, these however, could be done in parallel at multiple outside shops with little risk …

      The limiting factor, however, is capacity, machine cycle rates and bottlenecks … I would suspect this lies in the assembly machine … but the one thing TMC has going for it here is the slow, slow, slow car market … I expect that their supplier is capacitized to 2007 market levels, so once he starts working around the clock he will be able to make progress …

      I’d have to look to the numbers, but the scale of what they need to produce is epic … if the customer comes first, and they replace all the affected ePedals in the field before they resume production, they plants will be closed for a good long while…

      btw, latest reports from the Toyota dealer grapevine are that it will take 3 to 4 weeks (minimum?) before replacement pedals are available… I see TMC having to develop a replacement prioritization list based on region and miles on the odometer, and get NHTSA’s blessing, if they are going to entertain thoughts of getting back into production soon.

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      According to a CTS Corp press release, CTS has already designed an improved pedal that isn’t supposed to stick and has started shipping them to some Toyota factories.

      http://www.ctscorp.com/publications/press_releases/nr100127.htm

      I guess this means that, as someone mentioned in one of these threads, the factories have priority over dealer service depts for getting the replacement part.

      CTS also quotes Toyota and says that this defect is unrelated to the sudden unintended acceleration problem. That makes sense — if the pedal simply sticks, that’s not going to cause it to suddenly hit the floor and stay there (unless the problem is drivers floor the car & the pedal never returns, in which the case is not SUA but rather Unintended Permanent Acceleration).

  • avatar
    carm

    I’m waiting for this one… “Hi, were Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, come take a look at our fine vehicles, our gas peddles don’t stick!”

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    I still see total difference between Toyota and GM. Sure Toyota pushed cost reduction. They did it in a way that was not insulting to public intelligence. OK something went wrong with a part. Its a problem, but its not a 40 year track record of GM-ness. The sludge was bad too, but i will never know how many complainers didn’t change their oil. My Audi had it from incorrect oil changes.

    Toyota pursuit of bland middle of road mass market was conducted in way to offer safe decent transport, unlike GM whose products reeked “We don’t care about you” back when GM was in a position to do bette, up to modern times.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Funny, you are the first person to bring GM in on this. For the record, there are lawsuits against Toyota brought by a former Toyota lawyer accusing Toyota of destroying records to cover up some problems with vehicles. Read more information here.

      http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-secrecy23-2009dec23,0,557792,full.story

      For the record, this don’t care about you attitude might be at Toyota considering this recall effects models that are from MY 2005, essentially 5 year old vehicles. Don’t get me wrong, I think Toyota is handling this the correct way, now… just took a long time to get here and a media frenzy over a family dieing because of this type of problem. Not exactly caring about customers if you ask me. They seem to only do what is right when the truth about the problem has already come out.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    The reason this is so shocking to us is that it is a 180 degree difference from the traditional Big 3 Way. Rather than continuing to build and ship and deal with the failures on the back side (while claiming that it is just floor mats or is operator error), Toyota is stepping up to major embarassment and major expense and doing the right thing. Contrast this response to the recent Dodge trucks (Oops – Ram Trucks) that were lacking a critical brake part. Does anybody believe that they just found out about this after building these trucks for a year?

    Everybody screws up. Toyota is playing the adult here and is going all out to acknowledge and fix the problem.

    Toyota may be turning into the new GM, and the number of quality lapsess is certainly fair game for criticism. But the response to this defect is one instance where the Toyota difference comes through loud and clear.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Sorry, but a decent understanding of the history here, regarding the flaws, their consequences, the reaction of the OEM’s you mention, the relative severity of the failure modes and the fix totally refutes your statement.

      I’m pretty confident this will be well-demonstrated in the unvestigations and lawsuits to come … so i wont go into a detailed analysis here.

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      Chrysler is recalling only 24,177 vehicles due to a potential defect in a brake system that could result in sudden brake failure.
      The recall covers the 2010 model-year Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger and Nitro, and Jeep Liberty, Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs. Also included are 2009-10 model year Dodge Ram trucks.

      Yes, they just found out about this. It is a supplier part, and they are recalling 2009 model year trucks also.

      http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/01/chrysler-recalling-many-2010-vehicles-to-fix-brakes/1

    • 0 avatar

      Unfortunately, the difference from Chrysler is almost exactly 100 times (2 orders of magnitude).

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      Toyota’s recent track record responding to known design flaws has not been good. For example, about five years worth of 2GR-FE engines, used in many models (V6 camry, Lexus ES & RX, Rav 4, etc) had a rubber oil hose prone to bursting. They since changed the design, but didn’t issue a recall, resulting in numerous stranded customers, many with seized engines. According to blog posts by angry customers, the problem was so widespread that there was a shortage of replacement parts in 2009. Yet, according to blog postings, Toyota didn’t start notifying customers of a service campaign until Oct 2009, and even then limited it to only a subset of the defective models & VINs. I’ve yet to receive any notification from Toyota, and I have a Lexus that’s evidently affected. Just google “toyota v6 oil line”.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      I am no Toyota fanboy, and am well familiar with the litany of recent problems – oil sludging, the V6 oil line issue, and the rest. My only point is that stopping production AND halting sales of new vehicles is embarassing and expensive and the right thing to do. Maybe Toyota should have done it sooner, or done it with other issues. But on this issue, they are doing it now.

      Maybe my memory is getting foggy, but I do not recall the last time one of the old Big 3 (or any of the European companies, for that matter) did this on a safety recall, certainly one of this scope. Just sayin’.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      Robert.Walter said I’m pretty confident this will be well-demonstrated in the unvestigations and lawsuits to come … so i wont go into a detailed analysis here.

      unvestigations – noun – a coverup in the guise of clearing the air

      A delightful Freudian slip. I love it; in fact, I’m stealing it. No residuals, either.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    I wonder if they’ll bring back the “Oh what a feeling” slogan now?

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    @ jpcavanaugh

    Toyota is not “stepping up” to anything. This has been going on for months now with Toyota denying there even was a problem. They even lied publicly and pissed off the NHTSA! The Detroit three have ALWAYS worked with the NHTSA to properly research and recall any issues.

    Toyota is on the fast-track to failure. This wasn’t the first major misstep from them and it won’t be the last!

  • avatar
    motorcity

    Being a relative of an individual who works for a troubled US automaker I am not a fan of Toyota. That being said…I hope employees of competitors think twice of gloating at Toyota’s misfortune. Designing and building cars is a complex process and any one of them could find themselves in a similar situation. If anything Toyota will become stronger from this whole situation. Having been around someone who has had to deal with plant shutdowns, recalls, ect… I have empathy for toyota employees that are involved in this, the stress and pressure is huge and I would not wish that on anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      Why wouldn’t you be a fan of Toyota? Oh, wait…that’s right, they kicked (and still do kick, even with their recalls) the big 3′s asses up and down the road!!! Putting out total crap year after year trying to compete with the other big 3? That is where the trouble for the “troubled auto maker” came from. And it sounds like some whiner wants to blame Toyota. End of story. Toyota will fix this and be just fine. In the meantime, QUICK, EVERYBODY RUN AND BUY A HONDA!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Mike66Chryslers

      Kevin, this person said he empathizes with Toyota’s plight and wishes them well in resolving it, and you used it as an opportunity to be insulting and grandstand about the D3′s legacy of crap. Who’s the whiner?

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Being a Toyota fan or not doesn’t matter (I’m not, for the record). If we do work in this industry (as I do) we shall feel some empathy for the people that is facing this fugly problem. Inside the OEM and the supplier.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Cognitive dissonance: last night I’m watching the news and the announcer is reporting the Toyota recall and suspension of production story. The very next thing on screen is a Toyota commercial bragging about their “legendary quality.” Does not compute.

    But in every problem there is opportunity. Toyota can update the old “Oh, what a feeling” slogan to “Oh, what a rush!”

  • avatar
    mikey

    I share the same thoughts as motorcity,we have two Toyota plants here in Ontario. The recent downturn has decimated our manufactoring base,and we sure don’t need anymore s–t.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Reality check, folks: remember the Ford Explorer + Firestone ATX tire shredding recall from 2000? IIRC at least 200 people died from resulting rollovers, and Ford paid tens of millions to settle a docketload of cases out of court. Firestone (division of Bridgestone) is still selling tires, and the Explorer nameplate will live on as a Flex on stilts.

    Toyota’s brand will be tarnished, but it’s hardly the end of the world.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      +1

      It will be an expensive recall, and they may not see a profit again this year. It may also put a small dent in sales, but it’s not the end of Toyota.

      A few years from now, all anyone will remember is that Toyota pulled out all the stops to fix the problem. That’s how it will be remembered.

      Of course, it isn’t strictly true. Toyota has known of the problem for some time. My suspicion is that they already know exactly what the cause is. I think they hoped it would go away, but it didn’t. Now they are dealing with it the way they should.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      I also seem to remember that the primary contributing factor to those tire issues was improper tire inflation, specifically severely under-inflated tires. I rank it right up there with the exploding gas tanks on their trucks. Sure they exploded upon rear impact, that is as long as there was an explosive charge in the gas tank set to go off with said rear contact (nice example of journalistic integrity, that one).

  • avatar
    Lokki

    “The Detroit three have ALWAYS worked with the NHTSA to properly research and recall any issues.”

    This is so patently untrue as to have made me guffaw out loud. I laughed loud enough to catch the attention of the guy in the next office – who came over, read what you’d said and also guffawed.

    Toyota screwed up. Absolutely. I am not happy with Toyota. They had their priorities wrong,chasing volume instead of quality, and I lost all interest in their cars in 2008 after seeing how cheap they’d gotten. I was actually shocked then, and I’m not surprised now. No Toyota’s for me.

    BUT: I can’t believe that you are actually singing the praises of the Detroit Three for their safety recall records.

    Here’s a nice example of GM cooperating with the NHSTA:

    GM Recalls 1.5 Million Cars For Fire Hazard

    April 14, 2009
    Beleaguered General Motors has issued a safety recall for as many as 1.5 million Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac models. The carmaker says the cars are prone to leak oil which could start a fire.

    Sounds good, huh – oh wait! Look at the years of the affected cars:

    • 1997-2003 Buick Regals
    • 1998-2003 Chevy Lumina, Monte Carlo and Impala models
    • 1998-99 Oldsmobile Intrigue
    • 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prixs

    Yup GM sure stepped up to the plate on that one – The recall in 2009 for cars affected back in 1997. That’s how many years to admit there’s a problem?

    Here’s another fine example of GM stepping up for the safety of its customers:

    “GM has recalled 1,357,000 pickups and SUVs because of a problem with the brakes but the continues to insist that the problem with its anti-lock system is regionally based…But truck and SUV owners in 30 states not covered by a GM regional recall continue to struggle with malfunctioning anti-lock brakes.”

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/06/nhtsa_regional_recalls.html

    Maybe you meant Ford?

    Well:

    “The Ford Motor Company is attempting to declare an end to the almost decade-long effort involving six recalls of cars and trucks flawed with a fire-prone cruise control system, even though only about 34 percent of the flawed vehicles have been repaired…After being delayed by a shortage of parts, the recall effort is now picking up speed, Ford said.

    Yup – only 10 years after the the start of the recall Ford is ramping up the speed of the recall…. no parts shortage NOW. Maybe because there are so few of the affected cars left on the road after 10 years?

    Bottom Line: The story is that Toyota is falling to the levels of the big three; Don’t delude yourself that the Big Three were ever just mis-understood saints. That kind of nonsense just gets me in trouble for guffawing at my desk.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Some history for you on the GM recall.
      http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/04/14/gm-recall-engine014.html

      GM Canada calls the recall a precautionary measure for consumers. The company says there have been no reports of any fires or injuries.

      No reports of any problems, but the still issued the recall. It took people dieing and a very wide spread media story for Toyota to issue the recall.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    My 05 xB is the only car in which I’ve ever had a stuck throttle, but it was due to water freezing inside the throttle cable.

    Here was how it worked:
    a. I washed the car on a Saturday, including the engine bay.
    b. I did not start it after washing it, until Monday morning. That weekend had below freezing temperatures.
    c. Driving to work on that Monday (still freezing), all was well until the car began accelerating uphill on the freeway (aftermarket cruise control activated).
    d. The brake pedal did not stop the problem, nor did shutting off and restarting the engine while rolling along uphill at nearly 90 mph (an impressive feat for an xB).
    e. Only a sharp jab at the gas pedal broke it free.

    I later figured out that the cleaning water wicked into the throttle cable and froze. Then during driving, it broke free for a few minutes, then thawed and refroze at highway speeds. The cruise – working as it should – pulled the throttle cable to climb the hill, but the cable would not back off once it was frozen.

    This was a very scary experience. My lesson learned was to be less aggressive with wash water under the hood, and to always drive a car after the engine has been washed, which gets the water away from moving parts. This happened in 2006, and never again. I didn’t contact the dealer since the cause was straightforward (to me, anyway), and it was partially my fault.

    • 0 avatar
      baldheadeddork

      How were you washing the car that allowed water to get into the housing? Were you steam cleaning the engine?

      And if it was frozen, why wasn’t it locked up when you started the car?

      I’m not questioning what happened, but I’m not sure about the diagnosis.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      this is not an unusual failure mode … there have been recalls from different automakers over the years for frozen water between the accl cable and its protective jacket … water ingress can be due to a number of different design flaws.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      You can wash a modern car’s engine without having it steam cleaned. You can use regular soap and water, though I do recomend one of those engine cleaner sprays they sell at the auto parts store if the engine hasn’t been washed in several thousand miles.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I was using a regular garden hose, and I don’t go crazy washing engines anyway – my usual goal is to remove road salt and cosmetic dirt. I’m definitely not a detailer.

      There was a very unique convergence of physics in my case. I think the Monday startup broke through the frozen ice. Subsequent engine heat in suburban traffic thawed it just a bit. Then highway driving re-froze it by forcing the engine heat off the cable. The throttle cable runs in front of the engine (transaxle, actually), which helps support my theory.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      gslippy,

      You shouldn’t be blaming yourself for this problem. It’s reasonably forseeable that the customer (or the dealer – after performing a repair that left the engine compartment dirty, like a leaky gasket or blown hose) will need to clean the engine periodically. The throttle cable and all underhood electronics should be reasonably waterproofed to prevent such an occurence.

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    Toyota will probably want to continue Moving Forward, but I just can’t see how they can keep running their smug, arrogant advertisements extolling how perfectly built their cars are. This recall makes it clear they’re not.

  • avatar
    Odomeater

    Too bad. toyota is toast. I wonder how the sales floor at the local Toyota dealer is doing? Can we sell any new cars? No. Can we order any cars? No. Can we sell any pre owned Toyota’s? No. At least the phone is ringing off the hook. With service and buy-back calls.

  • avatar
    SkiD666

    So what happens if 6 months down the road, floor mats have been removed, gas pedals have been reshaped, linkage has been replaced and there are still cases of WOT happening.

    What will happen to Toyota then?

    I still think this isn’t entirely a mechanical issue, but an electronic one. A computer reflash may change brake/gas pedal behavior to make recovery safer, but it won’t get rid of the problem.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’m getting really tired of saying this, so it’ll be the last time: “Quality” and “Reliability” are not a linear function of, nor affected by, recall count and magnitude.

    Here’s the example. Again. For the fifth or sixth time.

    GM never issued a recall for Dexcool problems, nor the issues resulting from failed plastic intake manifolds. This affected hundreds of thousands of cars. Honda never issued a recall for the V6/5AT problem that scored a black mark across several models in Consumer Reports. Ford never recalled the fail-o-matic AXOD transmission, not did Chrysler do the same with the Ultradrive or the sludge-prone 2.7L V6. Toyota, themselves, flubbed this on the sludging 97-01 2.2L 4 and 3.0L V6.

    In all of these cases, the best you could hope for was either Lemon law, or, with enough arm-twisting and a hopefully-helpful dealer, you might get some of the repair refunded. Sometimes there was a secret warranty and maybe, if you knew about it and were diligent in your maintenance and recordkeeping, you might be covered under it. But there was no recall, so by the applying the logic I’m seeing here, these problems shouldn’t be on the radar and shouldn’t affect quality.

    But they do, and they are.

    Consumers hate this kind of thing. They truly despise having to pay out of pocket for repairs, they hate having to fight with service departments and go through small claims. They really hate it when they’re left stranded. And they really, really hate it when they finally find out about the secret warranties, shadow goodwill programs and technical service bulletins. And then they find out that this is affecting hundreds or thousands of other people.

    This is the kind of thing, not exploding Pintos or swaying Corvairs or speeding Camries, that kills your brand’s perception. Ford’s cruise-switch issue hurt a little, but it’s the aforementioned (and never recalled) AXOD that caused, by a large margin, real pain for them.

    Recalls, which are out in the open and, from the consumer’s perspective, proactive, and harmless. A lot of people are going to go in for (gasp!) two recalls this year. Oh, that’s horrible. They might have to time it with an early oil change and drink some bad coffee while they wait. But hey, they’re not picking up the tab, so who cares?

    This is going to sound callous, but it’s really true: if your product kills ten people, it’s unfortunate; if your product breaks down and costs a hundred thousand people signficant time and money to repair, “unfortunate” doesn’t begin to describe it.

    Toyota, today, is not manifesting anything remotely like those kind of problems because they realize that what really matters is total cost to own. Enthusiasts can go on at length about hard plastics, uninspiring drive and “sheeple”, but what it shows is that enthusiasts aren’t as smart as they think they are.

    After all, if they were, wouldn’t we all be driving stick-shift, rear-drive diesel wagons, which is supposedly what consumers all really want?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      psharjinian: GM never issued a recall for Dexcool problems, nor the issues resulting from failed plastic intake manifolds. This affected hundreds of thousands of cars. Honda never issued a recall for the V6/5AT problem that scored a black mark across several models in Consumer Reports. Ford never recalled the fail-o-matic AXOD transmission, not did Chrysler do the same with the Ultradrive or the sludge-prone 2.7L V6. Toyota, themselves, flubbed this on the sludging 97-01 2.2L 4 and 3.0L V6.

      As I said on another thread, I see your point, but those are not safety related problems. A manufacturer is only required to issue recalls for defects that threaten the life and limb of drivers and passengers, not the bank accounts of owners.

      Also note that Honda did extend the warranty for defective automotive transmission. I believe that it was the result of a class action suit on behalf of owners. I know that I received a certified letter from Honda extending the warranty on the automatic transmission in my 2001 Prelude.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      psarhjinian
      I wouldn’t consider this proactive at all. This problem was going on for several years and is only now having recalls because of an accident in California that killed people. You are correct that other manufactures have had problems too, and Toyota does have its share of recalls as all manufactures do. But it seems that Toyota rolls the dice to see how bad this is before actually performing the recalls.

    • 0 avatar

      IIRC the TTAC Vahalla mobile was diesel, manual, AWD and a stick.

  • avatar
    Jeep Guy

    Toyota really “stepped on it” when they blamed the customer. To say that the customers were too stupid to drive their cars was to say that, well, it was to say that the customers were stupid enough to buy their cars in the first place……….. The company should wear their disgrace on their sleeve, and should fall back into the well deserved position of last on any totem poll that may be offered.

  • avatar
    baldheadeddork

    And now, customer satisfaction takes a hit. Nothing kills customer satisfaction faster and more thoroughly than repeated workshop visits. One workshop visit will be shrugged off, customer satisfaction can even go up if the visit is handled professionally. After the second visit, people get annoyed. After the third visit, people start regretting that they bought the car and will change the brand in subsequent purchases. With the floor mats last year, and the massive gas pedal recall this year, Toyota buyers will make a lot of trips to the shop.

    To make matters worse, Toyota’s dealers have really low customer satisfaction scores.

    http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/sales-satisfaction/mass-market/sortcolumn-1/descending/page-#page-anchor

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    @ psarhjinian

    Well said! It’s the same reason you won’t see a Diesel Jeep Wrangler, but that’s another story…

    Recalls are all safety-related and not quality related. Keep in mind thought that Toyota first tried to deny there was a problem and then tried to put words in the mouth of the NHTSA, which the NHTSA was not very happy about.

    GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, VW, Hyundai, and all the rest have had their on-going quality issues. It’s just unfortunate that Toyota’s have always been ignored, but GM’s and Chrysler’s are always front-page on the New York Times.

    @ Lokki

    I have never led to the idea of the big 3 being “misunderstood saints”. I’m just trying to point out that Toyota is far from the pedestal they put themselves on. In the modern era of the auto industry, the big 3 have never tried top pull a Jedi mind trick on NHTSA like Toyota has recently done. “NHTSA agrees with out conlusion that it’s the floormats”.

    Now… What about the truck frames rusting in half?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Reasonable summary, but one correction is necessary. Not all recalls are for safety-related issues, a goodly proportion of them are “Compliance”-related issues.

      There is a fair amount of overlap between them, but roughly speaking, compliance is more “out of the box” wrong (not meeting rules) and safety can be out of the box wrong or a deterioration over time.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      When a spare-tire is dropped in the roadway by a rotted out cross-member from a 6 year old truck (imagine being in the following vehicle and having to dodge a full size spare tire, or, egads, hitting it). When the frame-mounting points for the suspension or fuel tank are comprimised, or when a frame failure can rupture the brake or fuel lines, then it is not a cosmetic or normal defect, it is a full-blown safety-defect recall.

      I was doing a little research to answer your question (I was only thinking about the tire/fuel/brakelines implications) and came across the following:

      http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/21714617/detail.html

      It would appear, in this case, Toyota had at least a half years’ knowledge of this issue before being “outed” by the press and having to make the kind of public actions seen in recent days…

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    @ Jeep Guy

    You stated my point much better than I did. Thank you!

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Two-three topics, and all of them have grown to EPIC proportions.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I wonder if Toyota will send out an “educational brochure” to the affected customers, describing what to do in the event of the gas pedal sticking (as a stop-gap measure until they can affect repairs). Probably still won’t keep the lawyers off if an incident occurs, but may reduce the incidents with younger/more alert drivers.

  • avatar
    baldheadeddork

    If anyone is wondering about how the markets are reacting to this:

    Toyota made the announcement yesterday after the NY markets closed. Their stock was down 4% on the Nikkei yesterday after the announcement, and at this writing the shares are down 7.5% on the NYSE. That, my friends, is a hammering.

    http://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE:TM

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      @bhdork: Intersting info, thanks. If the post elsewhere re. the Detroit News reporting Toyota had known of sticky pedals for the last 2 years and blew it off as drivability issues is true and accurate, then prepare to watch more share value be scrubbed off as this thing careens out of control…

      I’m looking for the data on CTS, the supplier of the pedals, this is a 650M USD/yr in sales company … I’m wondering how a 0.5-1.0G USD recall is going to affect them … our company (Fortune 100, 50G USD/yr in sales) carried about 200M USD in recall insurance, this little company is going to be swamped (I’m not saying Toyota will make them, or be able to make them, shoulder the cost, but depending on a number of design, test, approval, continuing quality factors, it will impact them severely; and all this for a Toyota business which is only 3% of their sales… 18M USD, and if they have a generous 10% margin, that’s less than 2M profit from the Toyota-related business … it will be interesting to see if this company survives, or becomes a Toyota captive, or exits the auto business.)

      Look to my other post further down for a new WSJ article and the share price information.

  • avatar
    threeer

    And yet, given the LONG TERM history of reliability and quality coming from Toyota, I’ll still take my chances as I get into my 13 year old Tercel…and won’t worry too much about telling my mother to drive her 2003 Corolla anywhere she feels like. Some people will rush to rail against Toyota for this issue without taking the long range, statistically significant time period into consideration. That’s fine. But I suspect that while this might ding Toyota for a period of time, that period will be short-lived and they will continue to outsell GM and Ford, never mind Chrysler. Boring as the new Toyotas might be, that’s what sells…even if all of us on TTAC clamor for six-speed, hi-po diesel wagons and such…:)

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      It is easy for you to be cavalierly sanguine about this issue, and to have confidence to drive your car, and to encourage your mother to do likewise, but your position is disingeneous, because neither of you have skin in this game.

      Neither of your lives or property is endangerd as neither of your cars are affected by the ePedal-related safety-defect-recall.

      The long-range, statistically significant, time period is going to be one of the issues the legal community siezes on when it goes for Toyota’s throat and looking at the issue, TMC appears to be wide open…

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Recalls don’t really bother me. It is the behavior of the company that would bother me. Toyota denies there is a problem. Then blames the customer. Then makes a release about the issue, with the NHTSA disagreeing with the statement saying it was inaccurate and misleading (in the statement Toyota was saying there was no defect). If Toyota had come out with this recall when they first discovered the problem instead of blaming the customer and not calling it a defect, I don’t think there would be too much to this story.

  • avatar
    GrandCharles

    It’s a very surprising move, i have never seen something like this. The stopped sale on their biggest seller is surprising. I’m glad that they are commited to find a solution. I don’t think this will hurt them much, people are so burned by their experience with D3 that they will need much more problems before being seems as them…in my book anyway the trust is still there, to fail is human an to assume the error make a men better…

  • avatar
    A is A

    Yesterday I removed the floormat from my 2004 Avensis. Just in case. I have no intention of replacing it. I know too much about “recall orphans” and how disinterested is the European media about these automotive safety things. No one here knows or cares about the safety problems with the Audi 5000 (100/200 for us), the Suzuki Samurai or the Ford Explorer. Owners here are blissfully ignorant about these issues.

    I wonder if the accelerator in my oil burner is purely mechanic or if there is a black box somewhere.

    Ironic. Safety was criteria #1 when I choose this (otherwise very satisfying) car (#2 Durability&Reliability, #3 Efficiency)

    “Toyota’s decision to suspend PRODUCTION and sales in North America of eight recalled models”

    Suspend PRODUCTION?. OMG. OMG. OMG. This is big.

    BTW, they seem to be susopending production only in the USA. See?. Very few people care about this outside the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Give it time; it just hasn’t been reported yet. There had to be 2 spectacularly fatal accidents, 4 dead, in the States (that I am aware of) before the story got legs there … given the generally higher speeds and more demanding roads (twisty and turny) in Europe, it is a wonder that there have been no reports there (could also be that the Euro cars use the Denso pedal assy.)

      In the US recall, vehicles built before MY05 seem not to be affected, however, since it is unclear if this feature appeared in other markets earlier, and you want to check if your car has an ePedal assy, use the standard IS/IS-NOT analysis techinque … just look under the IP … if the cables attached to it are electrical then it IS, if they are more like a jacketed bicycle cable, then it IS-NOT.

      Toyota.com in the US has a link to the issue (although some of the official stuff I studied there rang my legal spin propaganda bell) maybe you find something there of interest to you … so far, toyota.es and toyota.de are silent on the issue.

    • 0 avatar
      A is A

      I am not sure I am going to be recalled by Toyota Spain.

      As I said, I chatted with Samurai, Explorer and 5000 (100/200) owners in Spain. They know NOTHING about the not-so-clear safety record of their rides.

      In facy I just decided I am going to phone Toyota Spain right now…

    • 0 avatar
      A is A

      OK, Toyota.es has no phone number. I sent them an email with the VIN and the numbers on the electric box connected to my accelerator lever.

      Yes. It is an electric “black box accelerator”. I can read “Toyota” and several numbers. I can not read “Denso” there.

      (Amazing. I had no idea about this electric accelerator 21st century contraption. My previous car was -and is, as a “junk classic” to have fun with- a fairly simple 1985 Renault 25 with no injection, no aircon and not even radio. Of course that the old Renault has a honest-to-god mechanical wire from the accelerator lever thrugh the firewall right to the carburettor).

      COULD SOMEONE PLEASE tell me where is the steering “black box” at the other side of the firewall of my Avensis (the Scion tC is based on the Avensis) to check if it is failure prone or not?. I am regretting my shodiness not owning right now the service manual for this car.

      @ Robert.Walter: Thank you very much for your suggestion to stop being so dependant on information one gets on the Net and to make a little of “Genchi Genbutsu” (Japanese and Toyotese for “go and see”) with a flashligth and some old clothes to actually see myself the hardware in the footwell.

      “…given the generally higher speeds and more demanding roads (twisty and turny) in Europe, it is a wonder that there have been no reports there (could also be that the Euro cars use the Denso pedal assy.)”

      As I said, no one here reported (for instance) the rollover issue with (lets say) the wildly popular (in the 1980s) Suzuki Samurai. Samurai crashes were “just crashes”.

      My confidence on the European mass-media is still lower than my confidence on American media.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      You’re welcome. Don’t worry too much about your ride, you know what to do if the problems strikes you … and if there is news to be made in Europe on a Toyota recall, then it pop soon here (in Europe too.)

  • avatar
    geeber

    I think Toyota will differ from GM in one huge respect.

    GM would have issued some sort of defensive press release, grudgingly made the corrections, and then continued with business as usual. I get the impression that Toyota will at least review the processes and procedures that caused this fiasco and try to correct them.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Interesting statement considering how long Toyota knew about the problem.

      Also, Toyota did issue a defense press release which saying that there was no defect on the floor mat issue (not this one in particular). Then had to revise it because the NHTSA said it was misleading and inaccurate.

      Finally, something of this magnitude, which causes production to be stopped would have a large amount of people at any company trying to find out what happened so that it doesn’t happen to them. In fact, other companies that use this supplier are making sure the problem doesn’t effect them.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    Quote from the Detroit News:

    “Toyota had been aware of issues with the pedals for more than two years but in June 2008 declared reports of sticky pedals were a “drivability” rather than a safety issue.”

    Great job Toyota! When people die it’s not a safety issue, but a “driveabilty” issue. I bet a line like that wasn’t even used during the Pinto explosions.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      Actually, according to NHSTA records, it been ten years of acceleration related complaints, and Toyota has racked up more than anyone else.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I had not seen the quote from the Detroit News …

      But if this quote, and the facts behind it, are true, then this is something that “epic fail” doesn’t even begin to address…

      Everybody will question Toyota about everything…

      Man oh man, there will be case-studies upon case-studies written about this …

      With the recall costs, the punitive-damage litigation settlements, the line-stop, the short-term loss of sales, the long-term damage to reputation, this is going to be a huge and enduring hit to the bottom line …

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    “And now, customer satisfaction takes a hit. Nothing kills customer satisfaction faster and more thoroughly than repeated workshop visits.”

    Nothing “kills customer satisfaction” like a product that kills the customer, unless said consumer is purchasing products from Kevorkian.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    ‘Toyota; the relentless pursuit of pursuit.’

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    My mom had a case (twice actually) of unintended acceleration with her Toyota Corolla. The atitude from the dealer was the same as the atitude from the people here, that she was a ditz who didn’t know the difference between the accelerator and brake pedal. I went into the dealer with her and when they gave me the exact same smug attitude, my blood went from simmering to boiling, and my mouth which acts as a pressure release went off. I work about two blocks from the dealer, and feel like going over and asking him what he thinks about these “bogus” unintended acceleration claims against Toyota now. Maybe his employees won’t be so high and mighty about their perfectly engineered cars now, but I’m sure they still are. At least I feel like my mom was somewhat vindicated. Even if her car is not included in the recall, at least it shows that Toyota could possibly build a defective car.

    • 0 avatar
      Philip Riegert

      Definitely make sure the vehicle applies before going in. I work for a Toyota Dealership and the calls has been massive. Around half haven’t even applied. Just goes to show how the media loves to create hysteria. I guess Haiti isn’t as popular as it used to be. This reminds me of the H1N1 scare – which was all media.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I don’t think your mom is a ditz, nor should she ever have to cope with this issue.

      The nature of this kind of situation will be like with many quality or safety issues … awareness will be raised … and people will start to question things that happened before and they brushed off, as well as start to find things that had not previously been recognized…

      Just because mom’s Prius is not involved in this recall, this and the floormat issue ‘should’ be leading both Toyota and NHTSA ODI to make a review of all previous complaints to look for related common cause and new failure modes. (for instance, just because the Denso ePedal is not part of this recall, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have it’s own potential to “go rogue”, and now we have two known issues (mats and pedals), this is no reason to discount the possibility that there is a 3rd, as yet, unidentifed, or brushed-off, reason waiting for its moment in the limelight.)

    • 0 avatar
      criminalenterprise

      @Philip Riegert:

      A former co-worker of mine was found dead in his apartment last week of H1N1. It’s not “all media” if, like me, you’re in a vulnerable population group and rely on the yearly seasonal flu vaccination to stay out of the hospital.

      Toyota’s cars have killed people. Don’t blame the sharks when they smell blood in the water.

  • avatar
    Philip Riegert

    ‘Lexus; the relentless pursuit of brand differentiation’

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Breaking: (from WSJ) ePedal Supplier CTS “Perplexed”

    CTS says Toyota only informed them of 8 sticky pedal assys, have not been involved in investigation with Toyota, nor contacted by NHTSA. Is perplexed by Toyota’s production and sales stop.

    (from WSJ:) ” Of Toyota public relations strategy, CTS said “either they’re brilliant or they don’t know how to handle it.” ”

    At the present time, TMC shares are down about 10% and CTS are down about 20%.

    Link attached:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704094304575029261182532010.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      OMG, this issue is getting EPIC status as days pass.

      PWNED by the NHTSA and PWNED by the supplier they wanted to f$%&@. LOL

      And if they have known of this since at least 2008 as stated above…

      EPIC FAIL, to put it politely.

      Teh interwebz are going to get filled in no time with all the bad experiences of Toyota products.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I think Steve Lang explained the Toyota problem here on TTAC a couple of days ago:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/hammer-time-the-toyota-reality/

    It is an engineering/marketing problem. Toyota has to decide what they want to be and then go for it. My guess is that lowest cost producer is not really an option open to them.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Surprised that no one has brought up the conspiracy theory angle. Perhaps the Government (GM largest shareholder) thru the NHTSA knew this problem was there and let it slide (as it’s always done for the D3, this of course is part of the conspiracy) allowing them to believe that everything would be fine until such time that GM had been rebuilt (prepackaged speed BK) and Toyota was at it’s weakest (Yen, market crash, etc.) to stick it to them (with the controlled media’s assistance of course), and bring back the days of american manufacturing greatness.

    Because we all know that toyota

  • avatar
    racebeer

    I’ve been following this while thinking to myself “I’m sure glad that my daily driver is not a fly-by-wire model.” Although there are certain advantages to using a completely electronic link between your foot and the engine, the problem Toyota is having shows that the implementation can be tricky if either not properly implemented or has defective parts involved. Now I’m sure that the engineers and software programmers never thought it through as to what would happen if the actuator (or rheostat) got stuck in a certain position. You would think that the ECM would be able to figure out that if the throttle actuator is calling for “go” and the brakes are calling for “stop”, the software would see the conflict and err on the side of safety, i.e., kill the air and fuel until the conflict is resolved. The ECM is obviously not programmed for that contingency. Given that, I have to wonder if the other manufacturers aren’t busy creating software upgrades for their ECMs so that next time you go in for a service, they can do a reflash and at least eliminate the dire consiquences of this happening.

    My ’98 Firebird uses an actual cable to the throttlebody, so I won’t have this particular problem (although even the cable could stick….). However, my 2004 Rainier does use a fly-by-wire system on the 5.3L V-8, so I hope the rheostat that GM used is properly designed.

    On a side note, I really don’t like the electronic throttles. When I blip the ‘Bird in neutral or with the clutch disengaged, the engine immediately responds. On the Rainier there is a fractional delay that I find annoying. Have any of the B&B noticed a delayed response to foot input on their newer cars that employ electronic throttles? If I didn’t have the ‘Bird (and the ’63 Dodge with the 383) I probably would have noticed this difference.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      …the problem Toyota is having shows that the implementation can be tricky if either not properly implemented or has defective parts involved.

      Mechanical throttles can (and did) go awry far more often than electronic units do. With electronics, you have the ability to easily implement multiple paths of input and output that can sanity-check each other; with a mechanical unit, that’s much harder to do, and the mechanicals are far more likely to fail with age or stress.

      Your point about whether or not engineers would have accounted for a mechanical impedance of the pedal is an interesting one: I don’t think they could have, and the floormat issue is an example of that: at some point, you’re stuck trusting the inputs. The best you can do in that situation would be what VW does, which is to cut throttle on brake application. I believe Toyota is adding this function, as will others.

      Mind you, I don’t know how well that would play with the (deplorably large number of) people who drive two-footed.

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    From the horse’s mouth: “The week of Feb. 1 is a non production, voluntary work week… our pedal supplier can NOT keep up with the demand to supply us AND the dealers at the same time. All cars that were built and in the yard before the Monday just passed are in quarantine until the gas pedals are replaced, Car 503 on Monday was the first car to roll down the line with the new gas pedal.”

  • avatar
    geozinger

    It’s been fascinating (in a horrible way) to read the discussions here. It appears that TTAC has attracted a fairly knowledgeable crowd (in terms of production processes) and have done wonders in educating me (yes, I’m talking to you Robert.Walter).

    My first reaction is, If I owned one of the cars in question I would be quite leery of driving it, but people I know who have them use them as their daily transportation and have no alternatives. I see a whole new level of liabilities opening up here, at least potentially. As a GM (and other domestics) fan I should be loving this, but I’m not. I empathize with the people stuck in this situation through no fault of their own. Even if the car functions normally and never has an issue, there’s always that doubt.

    The second thing that strikes me is the reaction to this situation depending upon whether or not you like Toyota. It seems the domestic guys (myself included) see this as a dressing down of Toyota and it’s reputation, while many of the Toyota (and other Japanese car) fans see this as a bump in the road. I’m exaggerating a little, but I think the contrast is accurate. Scroll back through these posts and note the tone of the commentary.

    In the interest of our safety I certainly hope that Toyota and it’s suppliers come up with a plan, and quickly. There are plenty of people out there who have no alternatives to their current rides and they need it corrected PRONTO!

  • avatar
    kc4america

    I am a bit touchy as it is with tailgaters, I get out of the way asap now when a late model toyota is on my tail!

    It’s not just the drivers of toyotas that are at risk. Anybody else on the road could be injured from this issue.

    let’s hope they get them fixed or off the road pronto!

    • 0 avatar
      crashedin11-09

      kc4 — since I”ve already crashed once — I’m on guard for it to happen again — I stay as far away from the car in front as traffic allows. I’d love to put a sign on the back of my car that say:
      THIS CAR EXPERIENES SUDDEN ACCELERATES — YOU DON’T WANT TO BE IN FRONT OF ME
      the sign in front will say — in reverse so you can read it in your rear view mirror –
      CAUTION — MOVE TO ANOTHER LANE — SUDDEN ACCELERATION DOES EXIST

      The dealers have already reprogrammed the computer 3 times & it still fails. How dare Toyota say there are no reported accidents associated with this problem.

      Unfortunately, I’m stuck with this car until the lemon law attorneys can get me the diminished value for it. the dealers only want to give me $10,000 on a car with an Edmunds value of $21,000 — nobody can afford to take that kind of hit.

  • avatar
    Moparagain

    Funny how all of these “experts” don’t realize that it was not the kindness of Toyotas hearts or Toyota “doing the right thing”. IT’s THE LAW, it’s called rapid response and the shutdowns are when you don’t have a fix for a problem. Toyota gets a pass again.

  • avatar
    ASISEEIT

    With the current problems with Toyota’s accelerater pedal/throttle assembly and the fact they were manufactured in Indiana the problem must be the no-good union labor! Right!? I haven’t read any union bashing about this! This isn’t normal! Maybe this CTS company isn’t union! No that can’t be! If they aren’t it must be that the union has been trying to unionize CTS and that’s what caused the quality problem! Yes that has to be the reason! It can’t be bad engineering design like many of our domestic auto quality problems, it just has to have something to do with the union!

  • avatar
    Catherine

    You guys are hilarious. Reminds me of my happy days in the local PD. I ended up here while scoping out this whole Killer Toyota fiasco, and after reading most of your posts, I realize (a) I have stepped into a gold mine and (b) I probably should have called myself Carl instead of Catherine. But here’s my question, after reading all this disappointing crap about cars: After replacing the power steering gear box 3x in my Buick, it is clearly time to get another vehicle, and I’ve about decided to scratch Toyota for the time being. Got any suggestions for a retired cop trying to make it on a pension? My only stipulation is that it be a car, not a truck. I’m tired of finding out things like “Buicks have always had PS problems” AFTER I buy the car, you know what I mean??


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