By on January 25, 2010

On Sunday, Tokyo’s Nikkei worried aloud that Toyota’s recall may snowball into Europe. The ball is rolling: Today, the Nikkei reports that Toyota “expects to recall roughly 2.0 million vehicles in Europe to fix defective gas pedals.”

The Nikkei’s source is “a person familiar with the matter .“ Because Toyota is still working out which cars exactly need to go to the shop, “it’s unclear when the recall will be formally announced, the person said.”

The Nikkei usually has impeccable sources and is not prone to sensationalism

After Toyota said last Thursday it will recall 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. for the same gas pedal-related problem, Toyota is recalling a combined 4.3 million vehicles in the US and Europe. According to the Nikkei, this equals 55 percent of the 7.81million cars and trucks the Toyota group (including Daihatsu and Hino) sold globally in 2009.  The Nikkei’s source said the final recall volume in Europe could vary, depending on the country’s rules for repairing faulty parts.

Adding the 4.2m cars that were recalled last year because of faulty floor mats, Toyota will have recalled more than a year’s worth of production when all is said and done.

Toyota Recalls More Than A Year’s Worth Of Cars. Recall Spreads to Europe
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30 Comments on “Toyota Recalls More Than A Year’s Worth Of Cars. Recall Spreads to Europe...”


  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    If it wasn’t for bad news Toyota wouldn’t have any news at all!

  • avatar
    Stingray

    “to fix defective gas pedals”

    The key for everything. The floor carpets argument was bull$hit.

    I think it may snowball to all markets as stated in the aforementioned post.

    Exaggerating the matter a little bit, Toyota is going to recall in 1 year the total amount of cars GM has recalled in all its life. LOL

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      No, in the case of ES350 and the CHP officer who died, the dealer really did lay the wrong winter mats over the normal mats, and a previous customer really did complain that the mats caught over the gas pedal.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Psarhjinian,
      Yes, that particular incident has an incorrect floor mat installed. But people are going to install incorrect floor mats. They may install all weather floor mats on top of regular floor mats which are the correct parts. There have also been reports of UA without any floor mats in the car. Bottom line, it isn’t the floor mats that are the problem. The pedals are too low and in some cases, the pedal isn’t the only problem (the cases where no floor mats and there is still UA).

      All of this is part of bad engineering. One should account for customer use when it comes to floor mats.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    As the mass hysteria rolls forward – has anyone heard of unintended acceleration problems with a manual transmission Toyota???

    The reason I ask is that most cars in Europe are sold with manual gearbox. The diesel option is also popular – which may use a different drive by wire accelerator set up.

    • 0 avatar
      criminalenterprise

      Has anyone heard of a manual transmission Toyota?

    • 0 avatar
      KGrGunMan

      As an owner of the last sporty toyota to be sold in america (a 2005 model with a 6 speed manual, LSD, RWD and over 250ft-lbs of torque) i’d like to say toyota designed in the perfect device to stop unintended acceleration; it’s a thing you press that stops the engines power from reaching the transmission, let alone the wheels. i believe it’s called a ‘clutch’ or something like that.

      this ‘clutch’ device makes it so it’s impossible for this to happen to a manual trans toyota. interestingly the pedels are set up very nicely for heal-toe so i can say i have had the engine racing while full on the brakes but thanks to this ‘clutch’ the vehicle came to a stop with out a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      @KGrGunMan:

      What do you drive? A Tacoma PreRunner/X-Runner?

      My mind is blanking on what ’05 Toyota had those stats.

    • 0 avatar
      KGrGunMan

      Tacoma X-runner.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Here’s an interesting article in the LA Times that talks about the issues with the keyless entry systems and the difficulty in shutting them down. Toyota is featured prominently, but Infinity is mentioned as well. Safety of cars’ keyless entry and ignition systems questioned

  • avatar
    tedward

    Well this pretty much sucks. I don’t usually wish Toyota well on this site, but in this case I’d say that my interests as a consumer would be better served if this wasn’t dominating Toyota’s attention. This is a brand that already makes reliable and safe cars, sure, this is a pretty epic fail on their part, but they seem to be handling it as well as any automaker would. My problem is that I’d rather see the brand focus on improving the Corolla, making the new coupe awesome, etc… and I doubt that proper attention will be paid to these endeavors, or that the right risks will be embraced (forgiving ESP programming for instance), while Toyota is focusing on protecting the safety/reliability rep that keeps it profitable and popular.

    I don’t forsee a world where any Corolla stands atop the value performance pyramid, but if you want to see the real players up their game, a newly threatening Toyota in this class would surely be a catalyst for that. As it stands now the Kia Forte is the clear value for money leader (a better CorollaS for the price of a Fitsport basically), and that just dosen’t have the sales numbers to exert significant pressure on other product.

  • avatar

    @ criminalenterprise: Most of the Toyotas offered in Europe have manual transmissions.
    But I still don’t get the “unintended acceleration” problem. So, you can make 911 calls but you can’t shift to Neutral? Weird.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Ever hear of panic?

      Not everybody, and probably most people, aren’t a Sullenberger…

      Call was made by the CHP-officer’s BIL who was a passenger.

      Panic sounds like a ridiculous thing that only happens to some other ninny … until it happens to you … bet if the CHP-officer had been asked he was the type to panic he would have (as would you or I) laughed at the question…

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Is this purely a mechanical problem? Perhaps that there’s a electronic throttle software bug that crops up rarely, say once every several million miles, and thus didn’t come up under Toyota’s controlled testing. IIRC the recalled vehicles will get a brake-controlled throttle cutoff to prevent the fatalities.

    In the meantime, how to notify the masses of casual drivers about how to shift into neutral during a runaway emergency, without causing even more problems…

  • avatar
    John Horner

    But wait, last year Toyota insisted that there were no mechanical problems behind the unintended acceleration problem. Enthusiasts everywhere, including on TTAC, smeared the affected drivers by calling them incompetent and cheering their removal from the gene pool.

    Commentators such as myself who said that there was almost certainly more to this story were derided and laughed at.

    Now all of sudden, Toyota says there is a mechanical defect in addition to floor mat issues and is rolling out global recalls to fix it.

    Now the lawyers will pile on with class action lawsuits and wrongful death cases. Enthusiasts will complain about the evil lawyers, but the lawyers are going to win big time.

    Now for more predictions: This Isn’t Over.

    • 0 avatar
      Ralph SS

      Yes, I remember it well. When the first story was posted, attributing the problem to floor mats I, too, questioned that. Many comments about stupid drivers, Darwin awards, and what not, that I objected to. Also, comparisons to the Audi 5000 debacle.

      On a side note, once again thanks to Robert.Walter. Good information.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    This Just In … from USA Today … edited for brevity by me…

    Toyota says it’s still selling cars involved in Thursday’s recall of 2.3 million vehicles with throttles that could stick open.

    Toyota’s U.S. safety spokesman John Hanson said Friday that new vehicles with the potentially faulty accelerator pedal assemblies should be risk-free for awhile because the problem is caused by wear.

    “It is something that happens over the use of the vehicle. Out of the box, the new vehicle works perfectly fine,” he says.

    (Note: The article also has a photo from the CTS website showing a non-identified pedal assy.)

    The suspect pedal assemblies from CTS Automotive Products, based at Elkhart, Ind., appear to have worn prematurely, he says. Over time, the action of the vehicle’s throttle pedal begins to feel rough, then the pedal fails to return quickly when the driver takes his or her foot off the pedal. “Worst case, it sticks open,” he says.

    Toyota said in a report to NHTSA that CTS made the assembly in its Ontario facility. CTS didn’t reply Friday to requests for comment on whether its other customers bought the same design and therefore could be forced into recalls, too. NHTSA said Friday it is asking CTS that very question.

    When Toyota announced the recall Thursday, it said that most of its Toyota-brand vehicles, some dating back to 2005MY, have electronic throttle pedal assemblies that could stick open. NHTSA must approve Toyota’s plans to repair the cars and trucks. Hanson said it could take weeks to determine how to fix the vehicles.

    Owners who have problems should contact a Toyota dealer immediately, he says. “We don’t want that vehicle on the road, and we want to keep that owner mobile. We’ll do whatever we can on a case-by-case basis,” Hanson says. He wouldn’t make specific promises, however, such as guaranteeing long-term loaner vehicles until the recall remedy was in place.

    The accelerator pedal recall is separate from an earlier recall of 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus models to alter throttle pedals that could get stuck wide open under floor mats. However, Toyota said, 1.7 million vehicles are involved in both recalls.

    Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi are among CTS’ auto customers.

    Honda said that the pedal assemblies Honda buys from CTS are a different design and indicated that although CTS is obliged to inform other automakers who bought pedals similar to the Toyota design, “they haven’t notified us. We have no customer complaints. We have examined the pedals. It doesn’t appear to be a problem for us.”

    Nissan said “our designs are different” for the CTS assemblies. Throttle-pedal systems used on Nissan and Infiniti vehicles are linked to a feature than will “recognize when both the brake and accelerator are depressed and automatically reduce engine power”. That makes it easier for a panicked driver to stop a runaway car.

    Mitsubishi said CTS builds the pedal assembly to Mitsubishi specs, which the automaker believes are different from Toyota’s. Mitsubishi has no reports of sticking throttles.

    Throttle systems today are electronic. When the driver pushes the pedal, it doesn’t directly connect to the engine. Rather, the movement of the pedal arm acts on electronic components attached to the pedal assembly. That sends an electrical signal to the engine-control computer, telling it to add more fuel to speed up or cut back to slow down.

    In the Toyota case, though, the problem appears to be with mechanical parts that return the throttle pedal to its normal position once the driver lets up on the gas.

    Even though Toyota hasn’t figured out how to fix the problem, it says its dealers are supposed to work with worried owners to see if a remedy can be found before the official recall procedure is announced.

    Pedal assemblies from Toyota’s other supplier, Denso, aren’t all interchangeable with the CTS units, the automaker says, eliminating what would be an obvious and relatively easy fix.

    Toyota balks at discussing suppliers, though it had to name CTS in its recall report to NHTSA Thursday. “We consider this a genuine Toyota part, no matter who makes it,” Hanson says. “It’s not the supplier’s responsibility. It’s ours.”

    The vehicles being recalled would account for about two-thirds of Toyota’s U.S. sales in any given year, according to edmunds.com.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Some comments:
      - the naming of the supplier, CTS, is done under the requirements of the TREAD act … any company domestic or foreign, has to file this report with NHTSA in the event of any recall anywhere in the world and explain if there is a common design or technology which could be cause for a safety issue in the US.

      I’m going to take a wild guess here, but, based on these reports, what I would be looking for if I was doing the investigation:

      Assuming the parts are to specification dimensionally (and this would have to be verified), I’d look for something as “old tech” like:
      1) a spring rubbing and eroding the adjoining plastic;
      2) a sliding interface of plastic on plastic in the presence of a contaminant, like dust, or in the absence of adequate (either appropriate type or sufficient quantity) lubricant;
      3) fatigue of the return spring (springs if a 2nd redundant spring is employed) due to design flaw, manufacturing damage like nicks, or improper chemistry of the steel or wrong heat-treat;
      4) improper constraint of the spring to the plastic parts which fatigues either until they are in the improper location (noise and sluggish return, finally leading up to jamming of the system)…
      5) problems in the chemistry of the plastic (or incompatability with the lubricant) leading to brittleness or ozone sensitivity (UV would not be a problem due to under dash location);
      6) corrosion swelling of metal components adjoining plastic components … leads to decreased tolerances, wear, debris, galling, increased friction and binding;
      7) improper or contaminated assembly.

      Without getting into the minutae of tribology, plastic debris could easily clog a return spring preventing it from contracting, or building up on the plastic sliding interfaces, either leading to an increased friction condition known as “stick-slip” (in it’s worst-case, the occupant would experience something akin to Disneyworld’s Wild Mine Ride…)

      I would also assume that the supplier has on-line monitoring of their assembly process for assembly parameters (press forces and torques, etc.) as well as in-line test data (timed force/torque curves for pedal actuation and return performance … I would be digging into that as well and looking for patterns …

      Like I said, not having seen/studied this particular component, but having seen similar, I am making suppositions … I am surprised that Toyota still appeared not to fully understand the issue … I would expect ToMoCo/CTA to have a handle on the root cause(s) by now, and be well along toward preparing a fix …

      I will be as interested to hear the details as this issue unfolds.

      If I get time, I will look for the TREAD submission and comment on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Sorry for the long free-flow posts … I don’t have the time to edit them to make them shorter…

    • 0 avatar

      Robert,
      Don’t fret about the length. I find your posts very informative.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Good info Robert. Thanks for sharing it.

      The most interesting part for me is the Nissan design.

      Nissan said “our designs are different” for the CTS assemblies. Throttle-pedal systems used on Nissan and Infiniti vehicles are linked to a feature than will “recognize when both the brake and accelerator are depressed and automatically reduce engine power”. That makes it easier for a panicked driver to stop a runaway car.

      That seems the right way to have this system work.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      “Sorry for the long free-flow posts … I don’t have the time to edit them to make them shorter…”

      Thanks for the class. I’m looking to read more of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Sutures

      Robert,

      Good write-ups (all three that I’ve seen), but to add to the supposition…

      The scenarios you show all relate to the pedal sticking. The report from the ABC newsclip of the customer that got his vehicle to the dealers denies that the pedal was stuck.

      http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/runaway-toyotas-problem-persists-recall/story?id=9618735

      The denial is about at (-00:50) in the top video.

      I would be curious if any of the following were the root cause:
      1) sensor separated/broken from pedal assembly
      2) sensor sending incorrect signal for pedal position
      3) software glitch or otherwise misread signal from pedal (pedal signal good)
      4) throttle sensor failure or other throttle problem

      It is curious that only one pedal manufacturer is the common link (so far) in the issue… I wish I had data on the vehicles that have had the problem.

      Other than that, I’m still in the camp that says, “this issue isn’t over yet.”

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    No need to apologize. There is definitely a need for analytical, scientific and engineering failure analysis on most automotive sites. Thanks for the detailed info.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Thanks to each of you for your kind comments. Glad I can be of some service.

      Pls keep in mind, as I said earlier, I am making suppositions … I don’t have direct knowledge of the design or manufacturing process related to this exact component. My speculation is based on previous experience with other safety-related components as well as some limited knowledge of e-pedal designs.

      Btw, sometimes, there are very esoteric reasons for safety recalls … for instance, in addition to my laundry list, you can also consider 8) if the lubricant or the plastics in the e-pedal assy are hydroscopic, if
      8a) the lubricant is, it could foul and fail to lubricate, or it could pass the moisture into the steel and contribute to corrosion, if
      8b) the plastic is, swelling could reduce tolerances and cause friction and binding processes as described above, and
      9) the original DVP&R environmental testing (heat, humidity, salt air) would also be worthy of review
      9a) could salt air, or salt from the driver’s feet play a part?
      9b) could the assembly be affected by the air coming out of the floor heater vent? Air too moist, does the device sweat? Air too hot, does the plastic age, or deform, or “creep”?
      10) could there be a generic creep issue in the plastic? (note: creep is a type of cold-flow that plastic under load will undergo, it is an elemental and well-known characteristic of plastic, known to every 1st year engineering student, some plastics creep more, others less, depending on the chemistry and if there are stiffiners, like glass fibres, added into the material … I didn’t mention this previously because I didn’t think it would be so likely, but I’m adding to give a general overview here.)

      That said, I have come to believe that many safety recall issues are not the result of any one thing, it is usually a confluence of things that make for noteworthy events (e.g. what event do these less well-known but related facts describe: chilled brittle steel, fasteners w/poor chemistry and inclusions, inadequate control-surface area?).

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Robert, thanks for your comments – it’s nice to see a technical explanation here for those of us who aren’t in the business, nor have an engineering background.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Welcome.

      Cars are perhaps the most exquisite and complicated of man’s creations. Due to the complexity, competitive pressures, budgets of time and money and especially the human factor, mistakes are inevitable.

      What is not inevitable, however, is how an organization responds to the emergence of mistakes. The response of an orgnaization speaks to the culture within it and the values it holds dear.

      Some companies find their proudest moment in how they respond to the ill winds of fate, others not so much.

      Companies which fall behind the event curve on such an issue (and at the moment, external events appear to be rolling over Toyota), for instance when such a perception is no longer buried within enthusiast-blogs and finds its way into the MSM, the overshoot there has the potential to cause much more reputational damage than if the affected company responsibly comes out, explains the problem, and rationally describes what remediation actions will be undertaken and when …

      Respond correctly,and a company can demonstrate authenticity and build, or reinforce and enhance, a good reputation … do the opposite, and a hard-won reputation can be devalued in a very short time.

      I don’t know if a corporate reputation has as many lives as a cat, or if Toyota can draw on a pile of good-rep credits … but with their sluggish behaviour to these kinds of issues they are at least 3-strikes down (pardon the mixed metaphor) after the steering track-bar issue, the (several times repeated) floor mat issues, and now the e-pedal issue … they had better wake up and treat their customers with more respect or find themselves nearing the crest of that slippery slope of customer perception, satisfaction and opinion …

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Does Toyota even make or sell anything with a manual transmission these days. 90% of the Camrys, Corollas, Avalons and Yaris’s I see on the road are being driven by someone over the age of 70. Regarding this massive recall I find it interesting that no mention is made in the article on this site about the fact that Toyota, in all there arrogance, is continuing to sell affected models as if nothing is wrong or in other words the accelerators aren’t yet worn so these vehicles are ok to sell! It took several replies to find this out here.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    BREAKING: Toyota suspends sales of defective accelerator equipped cars.
    Link below:

    http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/toyota/toyota-consumer-safety-advisory-102572.aspx

  • avatar

    Why it a bad news it great thing Toyota is doing. Rather facing the problem in future the company has decided to Rectify at the initial stage it self.
     
    Ford ranger | Commercial trucks


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