By on January 26, 2010

The nightmare continues for Toyota. Full press release after the jump.

TORRANCE, Calif., January 26, 2010 – - Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today announced that it is instructing Toyota dealers to temporarily suspend sales of eight models involved in the recall for sticking accelerator pedal, announced on January 21, 2010.
“Helping ensure the safety of our customers and restoring confidence in Toyota are very important to our company,” said Group Vice President and Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter. “This action is necessary until a remedy is finalized. We’re making every effort to address this situation for our customers as quickly as possible.”
Toyota announced it would recall approximately 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking accelerator pedals on specific Toyota Division models. Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats. There is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.
Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall and suspension of sales is confined to the following Toyota Division vehicles:
2009-2010 RAV4,
2009-2010 Corolla,
2009-2010 Matrix,
2005-2010 Avalon,
Certain 2007-2010 Camry,
2010 Highlander,
2007-2010 Tundra,
2008-2010 Sequoia
No Lexus Division or Scion vehicles are affected by these actions. Also not affected are Toyota Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser and select Camry models, including all Camry hybrids, which will remain for sale.
Due to the sales suspension, Toyota is expected to stop producing vehicles on the following production lines for the week of February 1 to assess and coordinate activities.  The North America vehicle production facilities affected are:
• Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Canada (Corolla, Matrix, and RAV4)
• Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (Sequoia and Highlander)
• Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky – Line 1 (Camry and Avalon)
• Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (Camry)
• Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (Tundra)
No other North American Toyota vehicle production facilities are affected by the decision to stop production.
The sticking accelerator pedal recall is separate from the on-going recall of Toyota and Lexus vehicles to reduce the risk of pedal entrapment by incorrect or out of place accessory floor mats. Approximately 1.7 million Toyota Division vehicles are subject to both separate recall actions.
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141 Comments on “Toyota Temporarily Suspends Sales of Selected Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Hoo-boy.

    • 0 avatar
      zbnutcase

      I have been saying for years that anybody that buys a Japanese car not actually assembled in Japan is a moron. And now I’m being proven right after years of being called a moron for believing that. I LOVE IT! BYE,BYE ‘YOTA!You lost me as a customer in ’86. ‘nutcase

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I have been saying for years that anybody that buys a Japanese car not actually assembled in Japan is a moron.

      Except that several vehicles on the “Ok” list aren’t assembled in Japan. The reason you don’t see Japanese-made vehicles on this list isn’t some magical quality pixie that doesn’t leave the land of the rising sun, it’s because the accelerator pedal supplier doesn’t supply Japanese plants. And they do that because it’s really silly to do JIT manufacturing while shipping parts halfway across the planet.

      The idea that certain nations are somehow better at assembling cars has been proven wrong many times. Toyota can, and has, made many very solid cars in North America, including the super-incredible-awesome 91-96 Camry that everyone is sure was Toyota’s quality zenith.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny ro

      my 1991 MR2 was assembled in Japan by Yamaha. I want another. I think they should bring that car back.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      Perrier.

      Remember them?

      They stopped production because of a tiny tiny tiny amount of benzene that MIGHT cause a tiny tiny tiny increase in health risk. “To keep your trust in Perrier”, they pulled it off the shelf and stopped bottling it until they figured out how benzene was creating itself in the bottles.

      They sank from sight and never will achieve near their previous acclaim. Never.

      Toyota is very very stupid for stopping the production and selling of several of their products. You figure something out, ANYTHING, but NEVER NEVER NEVER STOP THE PRODUCTION LINE OVER A QUALITY ISSUE!

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      CarPerson: “…but NEVER NEVER NEVER STOP THE PRODUCTION LINE OVER A QUALITY ISSUE!”

      Spoken like a guy that has the customer’s interest at heart… Dear Lord, I hope you are retired.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      @ Robert.Walter

      Never mind me, send your sympathies to the hundreds and hundreds of fine folks in the Perrier bottling plants and distribution channels that were thrown out of work due to no fault of their own.

      If you are going to manage a company in which thousands and thousands of people and their families rely on you, you’d better have a contingency plan for disasters like this. That’s part of what a $17M/year paycheck buys.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      How does a specious argument of protecting jobs justify putting your customer’s lives in jepoardy or further long-term goals of growth and profitability? Such a position can hardly further a virtuous cycle.

      You cite the Perrier incident but it does not support your position, it supports mine … Read Michael White’s “A Short Course in International Marketing Blunders – Marketing Mistakes by Companies That Should Have Known Better”, Pp. 18-22, and you will see that Toyota’s lack of awareness, sluggish response, and mixed messages seem to track the mistakes of Source Perrier… if they don’t come-clean, then it is not the media, or the blogosphere, the UAW or the phases of the moon that deserve blame … as Toyota’s beloved Dr. Deming pointed-out, all problems in a company can be traced back to bad management.

      I was hoping that anybody worth 17M/yr would recognize the value in just maning-up, accept responsibility, apologizing to the customers, explaining the issue, describing corrective-actions and implementation timeline and otherwise posess the emotional intelligence to recognize and leverage the opportunity to demonstrate solid corporate values, build customer trust, confidence and good-will.

      Everybody makes mistakes and customers will forgive this, but screw them, or screw with them, and they will vote with their pocketbooks by going elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar

      Lucky me, I’m not buying a car on the list. Price is not my first priority, but safety is number one. So, as a costumer we should be careful and pay attention to the safety detail before buying anything. So, we won’t regret it and say ssdsds when that happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      This thing just got fucking serious. Line and sales stopping come straight from Quality Dept. From very high levels.

      Within them is a serious safety problem. So important cars can’t be both produced and sold.

      It’s a good move on their part. But to me, it’s a signal that something really WRONG is happening.

      I hope for their own good they solve it.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      CarPerson isn’t the heartless soul some may be presuming. Not necessarily a Toyota fanboy either. However, very keen on businesses not throwing themselves on a sword. That’s not how to navigate a business through a crisis.

      PRODUCTION
      Slow the production rate way down and queue the built vehicles on factory land. When the fix is released, go through them like a house afire then ship. That short circuits the huge front page type “Toyota Shuttered for Dangerous Cars!” “Gov says Toyota Cars Death Traps, Production Halts!” and the like appearing everywhere.

      CARS IN SERVICE
      This is by far the largest population and they are all in the hands of consumers. Use every channel and invite every owner in for an inspection and consultation. Explain the situation and what to do if it occurs. With THREE confirmed instances of unexplained engine revving in the tens of billions of miles these vehicles have been driven, the odds are so small as to be non-existent but your Toyota dealer wants you to be as safe a possible.

      CARS ON DEALERS LOTS
      [Take a deep breath.] New cars have never had more safety considerations than previous ones. Telling people to stay in their old junk because it is safer than a new Toyota is ludicrous. Explain the situation in detail and answer all questions honestly (see “Cars in Service” above) and totally back off if the customer is uneasy with the situation.

      However, in the case at hand, when you recall cars in current production yet do not have a fix, the government blocks additional sales. Toyota can spin this but they have precious little room for error.

      Having already caused the “stopped production” PR disaster, I forsee more self-destructive PR in their future. Getting slammed coast-to-coast is the price of stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      powerblue

      The end of my family’s long history with Toyota vehicles begins today

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    This should be a lesson for corporate bean counters. Regardless, I’m not optimistic it will materially change business behavior. Toyota learned nothing from GM’s fall.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Much as it’s fun (and, from past experience, sometimes deserved) to rag on accountants, this isn’t necessarily an accountancy problem: it was a bad part and not perhaps the result of cost cutting. It’s probably more likely that this one, like the floor mats, is going to be laid at the feet of engineering.

      Interesting, from a tactical standpoint that there’s a distinct between the floor mat recall and this one. Technically, it’s also interesting that not all Camry platform-mates (even contemporary ones, like the ES, Sienna and Solara, some of which are governed by the floormat recall.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      The root cause of Toyota’s problem stems from the relentless speed that Toyota tried to go from concept to production. For nearly a decade, Toyota tried to shorten the time from concept to production by reducing the amount of actual prototypes they made and tested, and relied on virtual testing by computer, utilizing their extensive database of theoretical research. Problem is that cars and trucks are “Murphy’s Law” on wheels, and you have to build and run the daylights out of prototypes to work bugs out.

      This problem has been years in the making, it’s contributing to the red ink Toyota is fighting, and it’s going to hurt their reputation. I consider this the first sign of their past policies backfiring, four years after then CEO Katsuaki Watanabe admitted that their product development was moving too fast, and ordered a minimum six month slow down in their product development, and an increase in the amount of prototyping. As recently as last fall, several supplier engineers I know said they’ve seen little to no increase in prototype testing by Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      Just as GM learned nothing from Toyota’s huge successes. They were partners for a while, you know. What a shame it would be if Toyota actually learned more from GM…egads.

  • avatar
    ChevyIIfan

    Driving a Toyota = Hiring Dr. Kevorkian??

  • avatar
    SpacemanSpiff

    Whoa!

  • avatar

    We need someone trustworthy and with two neurons still firing to bring an affected car in for repair and carefuly research what was actually done. Mark every component carefuly and inconspicuously (a coded number of dots with wife’s nail polish), take pictures before and after. None of my cars is affected, unfortunately.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    commentaries on Huffington post sounds like they could be on this site . . . .

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/26/toyota-suspends-sales-of-_n_437769.html

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Say TTAC . . . Has anybody suggested at “Toyota Deathwatch” series???

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    I remember in the mid 90′s (If memory serves correctly), there was a widespread recall of the female part of seatbelt latches in big name Japanese cars. They were malfunctioning if debris found its way in to them. I remember a retort from a Japanese car maker that it was the fault of the users for allowing the debris to get into the mechanisms in the first place. It struck me at the time to be a most un-Japanese came maker thing to say. My parent’s 1989 Integra received new parts in that recall.
    Perhaps that marked a turning point in their attitudes after all

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Your recollection of the “blame the customer” statements from the manufacturers is correct.

      The belts in question were manufactured by a japanese manufacturer, Takata, popular among the japanese OEM.

      This particular issue resulted in recalls by many of the japanese OEM’s as well as some of the domestic OEM’s who were buying contract manufactured vehicles.

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    Lots of confusion out there in the plants. Some were announced in the morning about the stoppage and in the afternoon that was taken back – only overtime has been cancelled .Apparently, Toyota is about to momentarily run out of parts as only one of the suppliers makes accelerator pedal mechanisms conforming to the new standard. They need a week to get the parts issue straighten out and fix the vehicles made but not shipped yet to dealers.

  • avatar
    twotone

    It’s not an “option”, but then again it is an extra cost “standard”.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    NickR

    Okay, that’s really got to hurt, repwise and costwise.

    (Meanwhile, somewhere, Hyundai and Kia executives are rubbing their hands with glee.)

    “the female part of seatbelt latches in big name Japanese cars”

    Funny, we had that problem with my dad’s Crown Vic for YEARS. I poked and prodded and peered inside and could never figure it out. My wife finally got fed up with the seatbelt one day and approached the problem in her inimitable way, aka ‘bashing the ***t out of it’. All of a sudden a quarter came flying out ricocheted off the dash and landed on the seat. ‘Huh’, I thought.

    • 0 avatar
      210delray

      The recall was for seat belt buckle ends made by Takata, so a number of Japanese carmakers were affected. Takata did say something about Americans eating in their cars and getting crumbs and other food debris caught in the buckles. But I also recall that the buckles were deteriorating due to sun/heat exposure.

    • 0 avatar
      dejal

      “But I also recall that the buckles were deteriorating due to sun/heat exposure.”

      The shell on the female part cracked on mine.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      It costs more to put a UV stabilizer into plastic to make it resistant to solar-induced deterioration.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Robert, I guess also in the strap costs more money. I have seen some which color has faded after a year under intense sun.

      These days many defects related to japanese cars are being unearthed. Which is very very healthy, since they’re as imperfect as the domestic and european ones. Almost forgot to mention Koreans, etc…

  • avatar
    210delray

    Well, I’m keeping my older Camrys. They’re not affected by either recall and have done fine by me. It will be a long time before I buy another car again, unless the unexpected happens. At that time, I’ll survey the automotive landscape and make a decision. I will say I’m not yet convinced of everyone’s favorite rising star — Hyundai/Kia.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Does Toyota have enough residual good will built up to overcome this? People’s memories seem really short now days, unless an issue happens to them personally.

  • avatar

    I hear dozens of people commenting on Autoblog, and at least one person here, saying that this is because the vehicles were assembled in America.

    That isn’t what’s happening at all.

    This whole mess is a part issue, the part used is wearing down over time leading to the pedal remaining in a fixed down position. It is not because American workers are inherently inferior to their Japanese counterparts. The workers may be getting time off but that’s because Toyota’s trying to figure out what to do while it tries to solve an engineering problem, not because the workers themselves have done something wrong.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I would wonder about the tone of the commentary here if this recall were for GM rather than Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      Good observation. I wondered the same thing.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It depends on the question you’re asking.

      If it’s “does the recall mean anything with regard to quality”, then there would be much the same debate we’re having here. My take would be “no” for either GM or Toyota. see point 3 below for why.

      If it’s “are they handling it properly” I’d say yes, especially based on how Ford/Firestone or Toyota’s sludging were done, or how GM and Honda demonstrably did not do a recall on the intake manifolds or V6-paired five-speed automatics. Most people would probably agree.

      If it’s “will this affect their reputation”, then it would probably be far less of an issue for GM. What bothers me about this issue is that overhyped speculation about what this would do to Toyota’s reputation; I’ve stated, time and again, that this won’t do any such thing because it doesn’t actually cost people money. Recalls generally don’t, even when people die. In GM’s case, it would be a non-issue, partly because GM doesn’t have the same reputation but also because, again, recalls don’t matter to consumers, only to enthusiasts who like to keep score.

      I’m guessing, though, that you’re asking this out of some kind of “chip on the shoulder” about how unfairly Toyota is treated by the media vis a vis GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Of Public Deflowering and a Potential PedalGate Scenario…

      Until now, people were able to practice a kind of “willful disbelief” when it came to Toyota’s Q- and overall-reputation; partly due to good quality partly due to a good shaping of customer perception (partly due to the competition stepping on their schniedel so often it was expected.)

      This is a watershed event, perhaps akin to losing one’s virginity in public… this will definitely open space for the competition… if only that return or potential customers will have cause to pause…

      I read Len A’s post, and checked-out the Huffington Post, and there learned that, according to ABC, the day after Christmas, an Avalon ended up on its roof in a pond, killing the 4 occupants … the floormats were later found to be in the trunk.

      Note: If the news report is correct, it only prooves floormats were not a contributing factor, but does not prove that the accident was due to the ePedal. But as the Avalon MY2005-10 is amongst the recall population, one has to wonder…

      Given the timeline, I tend to think that if the pedal is found to be defective in tis vehicle, Toyota will end up paying damages almost as high as the recall itself will cost… there will be much effort to proove a case of “PedalGate”, and to prove what Toyota knew and when it knew it, and whether Toyota dragged its feet in announcing its problem.

      This issue has opened the ugliest can of worms Toyota has ever seen.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @psarhjinian- just an observation. I did intentionally use GM as the target, but substitute Ford or Fiat or Hyundai and I would imagine that the tone of this discussion could be radically different. My choice of GM wasn’t random, because it’s almost the diametric opposite of Toyota at this moment. I’m not trolling, although you may think so, but it is a real question.

      I will take issue with the positive assessment of handling of the situation, as I think non-enthusiast consumers are becoming more aware of every single misstep. Particularly a situation of this magnitude, will not be dismissed easily by the press becoming more aware of quality issues cropping up recently. Immediately, it will not cost people money, at least not many, but it DOES plant that seed of doubt in their minds.

      28 years later, I STILL hesitate when taking a Tylenol, even though I know that the incident has been resolved for years, I cannot help thinking about it. For some consumers, I would imagine a similar effect. I expect to see a massive charm offensive in the next several weeks coming from Toyota, in fact, I’m surprised there hasn’t been some sort PR effort already.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Until now, the PR effort seems to have been OGC-led and centered on obstruction and spin … if that continues, instead of a solid expression of contrition befitting the situation, then it will cost them multiples of good will and profit that would have otherwise been unnecessary.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    I’m having a hard time understanding why this doesn’t affect the similar Lexus models (i.e. Highlander vs. RX350, Camry/Avalon vs. ES350).

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      Some people have speculated that it’s because the Lexus models are made in Japan, with the offending part made by Denso in Japan, instead of CTS in Ontario, Canada, but I don’t necessarily agree. The Lexus RX is made in Canada.

    • 0 avatar

      Same car, but not made in America (with local suppliers). Same reason why RAV4 is not affected for the years before the assembly moved to Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      Angainor

      There are two suppliers for this part in the US and Canada. CTS (the maker of the bad part) and Denso. The parts have two different designs. The vehicles and plants affected use the CTS part and the ones not affected use the Denso part.

      The production stopage is likely due to Toyota needing CTS to make some parts to repair vehicles in the field. It would be difficult to both continue regular production and begin the repairs at this time.

      This particular has nothing to do with where the vehicles were assembled but with the particular part design used. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that when you use a common part across models that you are setting yourself up for a disaster if something goes wrong with that part.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I had previously suggested that nobody would care until they saw Toyotas exploding on the evening news. This news may be the equivalent of such a spectacle.

  • avatar
    Fritz

    A very tough situation for Toyota. The people involved in this failure should take heart and just rededicate themselves. They work for a company that steps up to the plate! That is worth a lot.

  • avatar
    keepaustinweird

    I must admit to a strong feeling of schadenfreude at this. Karmic payback for cursing the roadways with innumerable soulless automotive appliances named Camry and Corolla.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    I just never seem to have these problems with my Cadillacs…. Nor any Ford or other GM car I’ve ever had. Notwithstanding the continuing myth of Toyota quality and the perceptual momentum fueled by it, as I’ve experienced Toyotas over the past three decades they’ve always felt poorly engineered, though their mediocre engineering was constructed to an improving standard. I’ve never liked their driving dynamics, their in-motion behavior, lack of tactile feedback nor even the behavior of their drivetrains, compared to what I could get from well-chosen American cars from the Detroit makers, not to mention some Europeans. As cars became more software-driven, Toyotas impressed me even less, with a variety of small glitches in rentals and the cars of friends and acquaintences I’d driven or ridden in. And again, the software in American cars operated best-in-class — even the Germans can’t get software as right. So it’s no surprise to me to see two different unintended acceleration problems come to light against the company’s intransigence not admitting to them earlier. And, “sticking” gas pedals? We’ll see….I’m not buying “sticking.” I fully expect deeper problems than mechanical sticktion in throttle-by-wire systems.

    The herd behavior that fueled Toyota’s rise may be a marketing triumph, but by and large it evidences a surrender of critical thinking on the part of buyers. Every time I’ve driven a Toyota product, the vehicle’s communication through my fingers, hands, butt, heels and head screamed wonder that more people didn’t come to the same conclusion about Toyota engineering mediocrity. Certainly for a long time their cars were ugly enough to discourage sale, but herd mentality over perceived quality prevailed over other factors. This is understandable for everyone who views a car as an appliance. Now we see the consequences in full view. There’s more to “reliability” than being sure a car will start. I regret effects on individuals, both customers and employees of the company, but a fall like this couldn’t happen to a nicer carmaker. They’ve been skating on a myth too long. Take a tumble, Toyota. There’s another company in line behind you.

    Phil

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve had the same experiences with Detroit iron, and similar considerations about Toyota every time I’ve test driven one.I also see a bit of a herd mentality in favor of Toyota. We’ll see what happens after this.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I rented a G6 that had flakey tire pressure sensors. It kept insisting with a warning message that there was an inflation problem with some of the tires – it varied as to which one. Using a tire gauge, I kept checking the tires and they were fine. Chrysler just had a brake recall, and apparently there are problems with Corvette roofs flying off. Then there’s the Northstar engine…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The herd behavior that fueled Toyota’s rise may be a marketing triumph, but by and large it evidences a surrender of critical thinking on the part of buyers

      No.

      As has been proven by just about every objective statistics aggregator, Toyota is still producing cars that are, by and large, the most reliable you can buy. They’re also producing cars that are more reliable than the cars they made ten or twenty years ago.

      This “huge quality fall-off” flat out is not happening.

      There’s more to “reliability” than being sure a car will start.

      I understand what you mean by this, but in terms of the “spirit” of your argument, you’re incorrect. What matters to consumers is that their car does not cost them excessive amounts of money to own. By this standard, again, Toyota is topping the charts with some of the lowest TCO values in their classes.

      Calling it a “herd mentality” is just a way to feel superior about the difference between how the market actually works (and the actual quality rankings) versus how you wish it would work (and what your preconceived notions of quality are).

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I agree with you Phil – I’ve had a string of well chosen American cars that have all served me well with a minimum of fuss or out of pocket/unexpected expenses. My least reliable cars have been German in origin, and I’ve never owned a Japanese car because I simply don’t like the styling/design, and after having repaired cars of all makes for years I find them more difficult to repair and maintain myself.

      My Sister was infatuated with Acuras for a number of years, but she had some seriously expensive problems with them and the final nail in the coffin was the torque converter clutch failing on her 3.5 RL. She replaced it with a Dodge Intrepid of all things that gave her much less trouble believe it or not, and what few things did need attention as it exceeded 100K miles were cheap to fix.

    • 0 avatar
      Phil Ressler

      “As has been proven by just about every objective statistics aggregator, Toyota is still producing cars that are, by and large, the most reliable you can buy. They’re also producing cars that are more reliable than the cars they made ten or twenty years ago.”

      Reported statistics are backward-looking and not strictly objective anyway. In this case, the company’s largest-selling (by volume) vehicles are in recall or suspension. No quality statistics anticipate this, nor will they reflect what’s happened if everything in the channel is fixed. No market statistic on vehicle quality is holistic, methodologically.

      “…but in terms of the “spirit” of your argument, you’re incorrect. What matters to consumers is that their car does not cost them excessive amounts of money to own. By this standard, again, Toyota is topping the charts with some of the lowest TCO values in their classes.”

      TCO isn’t the same as quality, certainly not as statistically-reported. Some people care about this; I and some others don’t, including the entire class of near-luxury and luxury vehicle buyers. No one concerned about TCO could buy a luxury vehicle and be conceptually consistent with the concern. In any case, do you think the family in San Diego that was killed by runaway acceleration benefitted from the TCO of their sequential Lexus and Toyota purchases? There’s more to car ownership than TCO, and outside of a relatively small number of extravagent, egregious cost hogs, TCO on vehicles today falls in a reasonable range of tolerance.

      “Calling it a “herd mentality” is just a way to feel superior about the difference between how the market actually works (and the actual quality rankings) versus how you wish it would work (and what your preconceived notions of quality are).”

      Marketers do everything they can to engineer herd behavior in the buying population. I’ve done it myself in other sectors. Most people are referential rather than think-for-themselves buyers. This is how markets work, especially in emotionally-driven purchases like automobiles. How I’d like it to work only differs in preferring that more people take a more holistic view of their purchase criteria, but lacking that, let the free market reign.

      Phil

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Hi Phil, I agree with your comments. BTW, are you by any chance related to Phil R. retired Ford V.P. of Engineering?

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Wheeljack- the later 3.5L Intrepids were rather pretty good. It’s the crappy 2.7L V6s are the ones that (deservedly) get all the bad press. Oddly enough, MY sister had an Intrepid mit 3.5 that ran to almost 200K with the normal GTO (gas tires oil) expenses.

      @Phil Ressler & Len_A, me too. I’ve had much better luck with domestic iron, than anyone else’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Geozinger,

      The Intrepid in question was in fact a 3.5L. Having said that, I have a 2.7L in a Stratus that has been trouble free and shows no evidence of sludging. I also use synthetic in it though as a form of insurance.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Notwithstanding the continuing myth of Toyota quality and the perceptual momentum fueled by it, as I’ve experienced Toyotas over the past three decades they’ve always felt poorly engineered, though their mediocre engineering was constructed to an improving standard.

      You do realize that almost every marketplace and quality metric completely and totally contradicts that. From market cap to market share and to quality control, Toyota is a world class automaker.

      (Unless you start with the assumption that the American people are nothing but mindless drones who accept everything Consumer Reports publishes.) Sorry, but the American consumer knows value.

      …And again, the software in American cars operated best-in-class — even the Germans can’t get software as right.

      I find that suspicious. Most software engineers and coders I’ve met and gone to school with generally dislike the domestic auto firms (and their products). Often quite intensely.

      And, “sticking” gas pedals? We’ll see….I’m not buying “sticking.” I fully expect deeper problems than mechanical sticktion in throttle-by-wire systems.

      I fully expect lots of trial-lawyer funded publicity regarding ghostly (and never proven) software gremlins in order to shake down Toyota in thousands of civil actions brought by unstable drivers looking for an excuse to not work for the rest of their lives.

      There’s more to “reliability” than being sure a car will start. I regret effects on individuals, both customers and employees of the company, but a fall like this couldn’t happen to a nicer carmaker.

      Toyota is far from perfect, but they’re no GM (yet).

      As Mr Karesh has mentioned in the past, one metric of “reliability” where Toyota (and to a lesser extent Honda) crushed the domestics is in slightly out-of-warranty defect repair.

    • 0 avatar
      ChevyIIfan

      Phil: Are you sure you aren’t my brother? I have said to my friends and coworkers and experienced pretty much everything you just stated. Well said sir, well said. It’s about time people started expressing opinions like these.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Wheeljack- is your 2.7L a later production one? I forget when Mopar finally got the head gasket thing under control, but they finally did. Something GM never could do with the 3.4 and it’s predecessors. The 3.5L (GM) seems pretty solid though. But there’s enough of them(2.7L V6′s) out there that I just mostly keep moving. When looking for a car for my daughter last year, I found several nice “little old lady” Stratuses, but most with 2.7L. We ended up with a Ecotec-equipped Sunfire instead.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Ressler: “Every time I’ve driven a Toyota product, the vehicle’s communication through my fingers, hands, butt, heels and head screamed wonder that more people didn’t come to the same conclusion about Toyota engineering mediocrity.”

      Yeah, right. I didn’t buy my first Toyota because of some “herd mentality.” I bought my first Toyota because, when I put the hammer down, the Sienna kicked the Venture’s ass. In most other respects, the vehicle was just a lot nicer.

      Of course, 9 years of reliable service later… and two other Toyotas that run and look great at 10 years of age… Now I’m buying them for the long-term value. It’s a plus that my Rav is fun to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Phil Ressler

      Robert Walter: Nope, no known relation to any Resslers working inside Ford. I’m completely outside the industry, in California.

      Phil

    • 0 avatar
      Phil Ressler

      “You do realize that almost every marketplace and quality metric completely and totally contradicts that. From market cap to market share and to quality control, Toyota is a world class automaker.”

      I think Toyota is a world-class mythmaker. Large portions of any customer population are easily fooled or persuaded something is better than it is, which then recirculates back to surveys and statistical research. You can be great at the things you measure and still have a mediocre result because you measured the wrong things or didn’t identify enough things to measure.

      “I find that suspicious. Most software engineers and coders I’ve met and gone to school with generally dislike the domestic auto firms (and their products). Often quite intensely.”

      Maybe they don’t like the firms, but software in Detroit’s cars is overall the best, most solid, least trouble-prone in the world. Which isn’t surprising.

      Phil

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Geozinger,

      My Stratty is a 2003 with a heated PCV system. I guy I know snaps up cheap (and when I say cheap, I mean cheap!) Intrepids/Concordes with dead 2.7L engines and performs 3.5L swaps on them and resells them at a tidy profit – you can pick up 3.5L engines from junkyards for next to nothing, and he does the work himself. He tells me the issue was that the early cars did not have a proper PCV system with an actual PCV valve – it was just a series of hoses and calibrated orifices that tended to become restricted over time or freeze up with condensation during the colder months. His explanation seems plausible to me as it explains the presence of the PCV valve on mine along with the heater wire wrapped around the PCV hose.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    New Tototas are unmitigated crap.

    I rented a Corolla (2009)and was absolutely shocked at how piss poor the car was built and how badly it drove.

    I had a 2009 Camry 5 months ago as my car was in for recall work, and it, too, was a pile of a turd.

    I actually considered buying a Highlander last year, but after a close inspection, scratched it off the list due to horrid trim and material fit and finish, not to mention its woeful (even for its class) fuel economy, numb tiller and marshmallow suspension that loved to pitch and bob.

    Toyota either better get back to its core values of delivering superior products for a very slight premium, or they’re going to get cut down at the knees very quickly.

    Toyota used to build outstanding cars, second to almost no one, at any price, in terms of fit and finish, material quality, NVH refinement, and just about everything else; now, Toyota is quickly becoming an also ran.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      As I commented on an earlier thread, Toyota has cost reduced themselves right out of building a quality product. Many companies have done this in recent years. Sales keep going for a while thanks to the reputation built on the backs of the older products, but eventually reality and perception join up again.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Idolizing money has allowed Toyota to join the usual suspects club.

  • avatar
    dejal

    “I have been saying for years that anybody that buys a Japanese car not actually assembled in Japan is a moron. ”

    So, I got 232,000 on a Ohio built 87 Accord and 241,000 and counting on a 98 Ohio built Accord and I’m a moron?

    You don’t know me well enough to call me a moron A** clown.

  • avatar
    mcs

    The 02 MINI has a drive-by-wire throttle and to according to page 8 of the manual, they don’t recommend using a cell phone within the vehicle without an external antenna (along with a number of other devices) because it “may cause extensive damage to the vehicle, compromise it’s safety, interfere with a vehicles electrical system…”

    On page 17 of the 2008 Prius owners manual, they caution against the installation of a “mobile two-way radio system” because it could affect electronic systems such as the fuel injection system, cruise control system, anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability system, SRS airbag system, seatbelt pretensioner system(I thought it was mechanical?), and Toyota Hybrid System.

    So, there are some concerns on the part of these manufacturers that radio interference could cause problems. These systems should be designed so this sort of disclaimer isn’t needed. What if the car next to you has a mobile two way radio system?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I’ll invite the E/E engineers out there to correct me, but I think the issue is that the car basically acts like a big Faraday cage and because of this, the most likely source of critical RFI is from inside the vehicle …

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      These warnings are typical legalese to protect against lawsuits. I cant speak to what’s in non Toyota products, but all critical electronics modules in the Toyotas are encased in metal boxes to keep RF interference out (engine computer, transmission computer, airbag computer, etc.). Wires connecting sensors monitored by the modules are not always shielded. However, many of the systems (including the e-throttle) are digital and/or redundant (ex: gas pedal has dual sensors). The throttle is supposed to fail-safe (go to idle), so if 2-way radio in the car interfered with sensors feeding the engine computer, the computer would presumably detect invalid (or no) data and de-power the throttle actuator. Actuators operated by the modules operate at a higher voltage/current than can be induced in vehicle wiring by a cell phone antenna in the car. Of course, while a design may look fail-safe on paper, Murphy’s law applies to real-world implementations. And, software always contains bugs.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if something as simple as carpeting (not floor mats) getting jammed into the accelerator pedal was causing the problem. On my ’07 ES350, the carpeted floor “hump” is less than an inch to the right of the gas pedal, and the carpet extends only a quarter inch beyond the pedal assembly. Mine is loose, and if wiggled the corner of it gets stuck in the pedal mechanism preventing it from returning all the way. But, this only results in the pedal being kept down a bit, not WOT like the runaway cars reported in the news.

      Re the Faraday cage question: The car is not a 100% Faraday cage due to the windows, which is why a cell phone in the car can communicate with cell towers outside the car. The reason a hypothetical car next to you with a powerful 2-way radio won’t likely impact your car’s electronics is because RF energy diminishes rapidly as distance increases (power loss is proportional to the square of the distance).

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    This seems like quite a big thing in the world of motoring. Does anyone know of any manufacturer having to do something as drastic as this ever before? I hope this is the kick up the backside Toyota need to stop cutting corners.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      I’ve never heard of anything that big. And I hope Ford, GM & Chrysler take market share from Toyota. Especially Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Stop-sales are nothing new in automobilia or otherwise: GM had to do it with stick-shift Camaros recently.

      The problem Toyota has is magnitude and that the issue is life-safety, rather than just a costly fault:** this is a common component shared amongst most of the cars they make. You’d be pressed to find another manufacturer that levels that kind of scale, especially in automobilia: only GM and VW come to mind, and they’ve had instances near to this: VW’s coil pack recall comes to mind; GM’s non-recall of the plastic intake manifolds would have been another if they’d actually done such a thing.

      Outside of automobilia, the only examples of this scale are generally in food and drug, though I think Sony’s “exploding battery” recall came close. The capacitor plague in electronics should have triggered a recall that would have made this look like a drop in the bucket, but the manufacturer’s didn’t do the honourable thing.

      ** of course, if the North American marques had fessed up to and recalled/repaired some of it’s more egregious technical problems, instead of hiding behind TSBs and secret warranties, then perhaps they wouldn’t have a reputation for making money-pits.

  • avatar
    Cyclone66

    Personally I believe this is just the theory of natural selection at work. If you are stupid enough to blindly buy a Toyota or other foreign branded product without considering the irreversible damage you are doing to the American economy, well then maybe you deserve to have the vehicle accelerate suddenly and drive you off a cliff.

    On the more technical side of this issue I highly doubt this is a gas pedal assembly issue that is causing the sudden accelerations. This sounds too much like a throttle control module. Of course if it is then I guarantee it affects more Toyota vehicles including Lexus.

    Now ask yourself: why isn’t the government calling the CEO of Toyota to Washington as they did Jac Nasser of Ford?

    Reminder:

    WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 6, 2000 – Ford Motor Company today announced new initiatives that will provide improved analysis of tire safety data and will ensure governments around the world receive consistent information on safety actions.
    Ford Chief Executive Officer Jac Nasser announced the company’s plans today during testimony before a joint hearing by the House Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade & Consumer Protection and the House Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations.
    “While this is clearly a tire issue and not a vehicle issue, we feel a responsibility to do our best to prevent a situation like this from ever happening again,” added Nasser.
    First, Ford will work with the tire industry to develop and implement an “early warning system” to detect the first signs of tire defects on vehicles already on the road. “This new system will require that tire manufacturers provide comprehensive real world data on a timely basis,” said Nasser. “We’re confident the tire industry will work closely with us on this issue.”
    Second, Ford is committing to advise U.S. safety authorities of safety actions the company takes in overseas markets, and vice versa. “From now on, when we know of a safety action, so will the world, even if some customers are totally unaffected,” said Nasser. This commitment by Ford will begin immediately.
    Answer:
    Because Japan owns our country and the government knows it.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Cyclone66
      January 26th, 2010 at 10:00 pm

      Personally I believe this is just the theory of natural selection at work. If you are stupid enough to blindly buy a Toyota or other foreign branded product without considering the irreversible damage you are doing to the American economy, well then maybe you deserve to have the vehicle accelerate suddenly and drive you off a cliff.

      If that’s true, then GM buyers are probably the most stupid. Just look at GM market share; it’s ever declining. The GM buyers either die more often or cannot reproduce due to their crappy cars — according to your theory.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    But wait, the only problem was “dumb drivers”, remember?

    This is going to hurt Toyota and its dealers big time. They have suspended sales and production on all of their most popular products. To make matters worse, they haven’t even identified the fix, let alone started production of replacement parts.

    What does Toyota know that caused it to take this most radical of all steps? I can’t think of any other time in automotive history when a volume manufacturer has called an all-stop to sales and production.

    BTW, I’m glad I sold my Toyota shares back when the new boss started out a reign of terror complete with hasty firings. You want a really cool, smart head of a company and not someone given to dramatic gestures.

  • avatar
    baldheadeddork

    The LA Times has been out front on this story. Their piece out tonight has one very important part not mentioned in the press release:

    The automaker said it did not know when dealers could resume selling the cars and trucks because it had not yet determined a remedy to the problem, which in certain rare circumstances can cause the gas pedal to remain depressed after the driver’s foot is removed.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-sales27-2010jan27,0,1635017.story

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Yep, the LA Times has been in the lead on this story. TTAC, on the other hand, has been slow to pick up the scent.

    • 0 avatar
      Angainor

      Probably about 20% correct which I guess is about right for the LA Times.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      We’ve been tracking the scent quite well here I think…

      Go back to my comments in Bertel’s post from a few days ago… look for the comments regarding condensation, lubrication, and stick-slip… but first read the following (AutoNews via cnet):

      (According to an insider) “The newly identified problem is caused by a mechanism that controls the accelerator pedal’s return to the idle position after being depressed to the floor. CONDENSATION can prevent the pedal from fully springing back into position.

      The new problem is a rare condition but can occur in vehicles with high mileage. Toyota is reviewing what kind of repair will be necessary.

      Fixes under consideration include a complete replacement of the pedal and IMPROVING ITS LUBRICATION. The insider offered no timetable for the fix but said replacing the pedal would take a long time because new components would have to be re-engineered and manufactured.

      Toyota spokesman John Hanson confirmed the source’s report that the components were made in Canada by CTS Corp., of Elkhart, IN, a publicly held U.S. company recorded 2008 sales of $691.7 million.

      Hanson said the problem stems from pedals that “prematurely wear” because of the supplier’s faulty pedal design. He did not identify fixes Toyota is reviewing. He said he did not have the number of complaints and had no mileage information of when the pedal mechanism starts to wear.

      “It’s extremely rare, but it is a wear issue,” Hanson said. “We wanted to get out in front of this.” ”

      Comments:
      - Nov 2009, Toyota issues misleading statement on mats (is forcefully and publicly rebuked by NHTSA);
      - 26 Dec, 4 die in an Avalon on its roof in TX (mats found later in trunk);
      - 18 Jan, Toyota Jpn’s top Q-guy seems to equivocate in an Auto News interview;
      - 23 Jan, Toyota announces a “voluntary” recall;
      - 25 Jan, Toyota (finally) suspends sales of affected vehicles.

      Nothing is more pathetic that trying to portray oneself as getting out in front of a snowballing PR situation that could have been prevented. When you are dealing with a “little bit pregnant” scenario, if you want to have a shred of reputation, you need to get out in front and do all those unpleasant things that events (or NHTSA) will eventually force you to do.

      Oh, wait, it just occurrs to me, perhaps what is even more pathetic is first claiming ~”this is not the suppliers fault, these are original Toyota parts, it is our problem”, the day of the recall, and then blaming “the supplier’s faulty design” the day of the big stop ship debacle. From personal experience and knowing how pingelig and consequent Japanese OEMs/engineers are, I find it hard to believe that Toyota’s engineering and quality staff doesn’t have a heavy dose of complicity in not preventing and/or sooner detecting this problem.)

      I can’t wait to see what Bertel reports the Nikkei said overnight…

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      It may have been a faulty design on the part of the supplier, but Toyota had to review and approve it.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      Which is it? Are the pedals “remaining depressed after the driver’s foot is removed” (LA Times). OR… did “pushing the gas pedal have no effect on the acceleration” as in ABC news case of the fellow who managed to drive his car back to the dealer (reported here: http://www.leftlanenews.com/toyota-avalon-displays-unintended-acceleration-without-floor-mat.html ) In the first case the pedal is stuck, but in the second case acceleration is unresponsive to pedal position. In the second case, faulty engine electronics could be a potential factor.

    • 0 avatar
      baldheadeddork

      @ Robert -

      Add me to the list of sources with different experiences about Toyota’s involvement with designing subcontracted components.

      From 2002 to 2004, I worked for Kautex-Textron. They are a tier 1 supplier of blow molded fuel tanks to several manufacturers. While I was there I was part of the launch team for our first Toyota products. Other manufacturers we dealt with worked with our engineers on design but that was reversed with Toyota. They came in with a design and that’s what we were to build. Our engineers were there just to ensure that Toyota’s design was being executed correctly.

      I know this because they screwed up the first design. The tank failed in crash testing shortly after the start of production and the cause was traced to faulty design. All hell broke loose. I asked our production manager if we could lose the contract because of the faulty design and he said nope, Toyota designed the first tank and they were designing the revised version, too.

      Toyota did handle that differently. Once the problem was identified they stopped delivery of new Siennas until they could be fitted with the redesigned tanks and they issued a voluntary recall. But it was a different situation, too. The problem was immediately obvious (the tank leaked after a crash test), it was repeatable, and the cause was easily identified. With the conceit I saw from every Toyota engineer I dealt with, it isn’t hard for me to imagine that an intermittent, unidentifiable problem would be treated a lot differently.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Whoever designed the pedal assembly, be it Toyota itself or the supplier, before the part entered in the line, it must have been approved by Toyota’s engineering.

      I agree with Robert.Walter, even when I don’t know how the japanese work. Know other nationality, and they’re effin good at covering their asses.

      It’s also fun to show them how they messed up, but that’s another story.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      @baldheadeddork: link the report of that 2004 Sienna crash test:
      http://www.iihs.org/ratings/rating.aspx?id=182

      It occurred soon after the release, resulting in major shortages for months and people paying near-MSRP for minivans.

  • avatar
    Britlass

    I was probably one of the last folks on planet earth to buy a 2010 Rav 4 – on 1/23/10. Talk about bad timing!!! Now what am I supposed to do – not drive it? It seems to be running fine so far.
    Apparently my particular car was made in Japan, not N America. Does that mean I am probably ok?
    If anyone knows anything about this please reply.
    Thanks,
    Nervous new car owner

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Two choices for seeing where your vehicle came from:

      1) Driver’s side B-pillar, near the striker. You should have a sticker saying where the car was manufactured, VIN, load capacity, tyre inflation pressure, etc…

      2) Check your VIN number. If it starts with J, was manufactured in Japan, I don’t know the whole Toyota WMI. Or you run it in a VIN decoder (google is your friend on that one).

  • avatar
    BDB

    Christ, what a debacle. They’re suspending like half their lineup from being sold!

    What’s going to happen when a low-info buyer steps into a Toyota dealership this weekend to buy a Corolla because he has heard about “Toyota quality” only to be told that they can’t sell Corollas right now because your accelerator pedal might stick to the floor?

    Kia, Hyundai, Honda, and to a lesser extent Ford dealers must be thrilled to hear this.

    They also might want to consider “Moving Forward” as their marketing slogan, it’s getting a bit ironic.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      (If I may be permitted some gratuitious snarkyness…)
      New slogan: “Unstoppable.”
      New theme? Perhaps something from Blue Oyster Cult.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      It’ll be interesting to see their sales numbers for January (although it’s almost over) and February (assuming the stop-sale contunes through the month) when this is all said and done since these are their “core” products that drive a significant portion of their volume.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      @Wheeljack–

      I was thinking, this must be really bad because you think they would try to delay it until February 3rd if they could so it would come after January sales #s are released.

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    I see the UAW/Big3 shills are out in full force.
    No worries losers. This is a small setback for Toyota.
    Your bankrupt companies, unwillingly owned by taxpayers, would love to have Toyota’s “problems”.
    …former owner of a Ford Taurus ’94 (head gasket)…

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      I wish the internet had existed in 1971, because I’m sure I could head over to the Internet Archive and see someone from 1971 called “ChevyFan4Life” saying somehing like:

      “I see the import shills are out in full force. No worries, losers. Volkswagen and Datsun would love to have GM’s “problems”. These small problems with the Vega is a minor setback for General Motors.

      Answer this: what is going to happen when a low-info car buyer, you know, someone who just vaguely thinks Toyota=quality goes into a showroom this weekend and asks to buy a Corolla, only to be told they can’t sell one right now because of a life-threatening safety issue?

      That’s a customer lost to someone else, and also one who will no longer think “Toyota=quality”, and tell their friends.

      They probably won’t enter a GM or Chrysler showroom due to the bailout debacle, true, but they may very well turn up at Hyundai/Kia or Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Oops … Omoikane-san, You are confusing an issue w/a low FMEA Severity Number (like 7 or 8 max) with a definite high severity 10 (potential death or severe injury) … in other words, not too many people had to fear death by failed head gasket.

      As far as any setback goes, Toyota has only itself to blame for creating and not quickly handling the issue. Ad hominem attacks on the posters here, or the US-taxpayers can not mitigate this fact or ameliorate the situation.

    • 0 avatar

      Autoblog reported on F-150 issue with airbags socking people when ignition is turned on, but TTAC did not (not that I can see). Too many safety stories to follow, need to select targets, right?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      There are multiple references to the F-150 airbag issue, starting with a comment IIRC by Mz. Corrigan, within the last week or so, in one of the earliest postings regarding the pedal issue…

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      “Answer this: what is going to happen when a low-info car buyer, you know, someone who just vaguely thinks Toyota=quality goes into a showroom this weekend and asks to buy a Corolla, only to be told they can’t sell one right now because of a life-threatening safety issue?”

      This won’t happen. I’m sure memos from Toyota Corporate are landing in every dealer’s in-box right now advising them how to convey the vehicle unavailability to customers. It’ll likely be something like this: Customer walks in & shows interest in car. Sales staff mentions car not available at the moment b/c manufacturer in process of enhancing vehicle’s safety by installing new improved part, negotiates price with customer, collects down payment to reserve a car, and offers to call customer when car becomes available. Alternately, they can steer the customer to a model “similar” to what the customer is interested in that’s not on the stop-sale list. Never underestimate the resourcefulness of a car salesperson…

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      YotoaCarFan–

      Ok,how about if they’re going to by a Corolla and then hear about pedals sticking to the floor on the 11:00 news, and how sales have been halted?

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      “Ok,how about if they’re going to by a Corolla and then hear about pedals sticking to the floor on the 11:00 news, and how sales have been halted?”

      Salesman: “If you put down $500 today, we’ll throw in our “Pedal Protection Package” and a set of floormats for only $299.99!”

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I have no doubt this will result in some lost sales, certainly in the short term, perhaps even in the long term. Ask the folks at Ford about the stop-sale on the then newly launched Contour/Mystique and what it did to the overall success of the car. They never regained momentum on those products after that debacle.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      CDW27 was a flop not because SLAP had to do a stop ship or retail points had to do a stop-sale.

      CDW27 (Contour/Mystique) were a flop because:
      1. the Company tried to move the Ford brand upscale with a vehicle that was wrongly positioned in the market (a. couldn’t be afforded by a legion of faithful Tempo/Topaz owners, and b) encroached on and overlapped the price-point of the Taurus/Sable but didn’t offer the interior space);
      2. (see 1) and didn’t provide a value proposition that customers could understand;
      3. (see 1&2) had lousy rear-seat leg-room at too high a price;
      4. was funny looking because it was designed around the Ovoid Design Language that later killed both the heretofore successful Taurus/Sable in the US, and the Scorpio in Europe;
      5. it wasn’t the “only game in town”, either within Ford, or at the competition, where a customer could turn;
      6. after Ford woke up to 1-6, they began decontenting the car and it became cheap feeling …

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Robert, all those points are true too, but data obtained from RL Polk at the time showed that many “import intenders” that came in to look at the cars ultimately bought a Corolla or an Altima. While the loaded-up V-6 Contour/Mystique was priced well above those cars, if memory serves the 4 cyl Contour/Mystique was in the same basic price ballpark as the Toyo and Nissan cars.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Where’s the problem? Toyota’s doing what’s necessary, in fact what seems to be unprecedented, to make a problem right for the customer. And the “problem” might still be drivers jamming the gas to the floor, thinking they’re on the brake, like the Audi 5000 unintended acceleration that never was.

    My Toyotas are great. This increases my confidence in the company.

    If Ford had done something like this over their abysmal transmissions or marshmallow-roasting engine fires, I’d probably still be driving a Ford. They didn’t and I’m not.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I don’t know if your comments are reflective of ignorance of the situation, or due to residual willful denial, but I would recommend you at least check to see if your cars are on the list, consider how many miles you may have on it, and tighten your seatbelt.

      This is a bona-fide critical safety-issue not equatable with the customer satisfaction issues you describe.

  • avatar

    I had a Galant with a recall for separation of ball joint and it did separate before I acted on it. Now that’s what I call a safety issue. Fortunately, it fell off when my wife was turning into a parking lot. Sticking pedal? Heh, heh, heh. On the other hand, look at Mitsubishi sales numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Steering related failures are most likely to occur at low speeds and with the initial turning of the wheel from a steady-state position (thank God), this is because the friction between the wheel and the pavement is greatest under such conditions as are the side loads.

  • avatar
    Disaster

    I doubt you’d see this approach by an American company. Toyota is just following quality disciplines. They are most likely using an 8D process. Step 3: Contain the problem.
    http://www.siliconfareast.com/8D.htm
    They are doing the right thing. Yes, eventually they will have to figure out the best way to contain the credibility damage. But for now, they just have to contain the problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I don’t necessarily agree.

      I recommended and helped initiate, then manage, a recall for a safety-part supplier to a Detroit OEM … we recommeded they recall a recently launched, high-high-profit famous product (all 100,000 vehicles produced up to that point) in order to capture what was statistically thought to be 4 or 5 pieces that we has defectively assembled … they would have prefered not to have their new cash-cow related to a potential injury/death issue, but they never, never, delayed in chasing down the issue and getting it out front and center (my mom even called me and said … I was just watching CNN … I think they are recalling your part…)

      That said, not all OEM’s or safety-issues are created-equal … and some OEM’s perform above their reputaion, and other perform below expectations…

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      8D should be already in their cultural DNA.

      I think they’re at step 1 or 2 (don’t remember exactly) yet: Diagnose the problem.

      Being a serious safety problem, and as Robert.Walter has stated in many posts, they discovered the assembly failure behavior is different that what they initially thought. At that point I’m sure Quality Dept. stepped in and said STOP.NOW.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I predict this will be a much bigger black eye for Toyota, with even greater consequences, than with smaller recalls and the way they usually affect manufacturers. No, this won’t cost the owners anything. But with our media, this will be seized upon and blown up. I foresee a 60 minutes profile much like they did with Audi’s “unintended acceleration.” I’m sure, even as we debate this, news agencies are eagerly searching for Toyota owners who were hurt by the defect, so they can prop them up in front of the camera, weeping…

    Yeah, this is going to hurt.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      What is really gonna hurt is if it can be proved that dealers were not acting purely out of the goodness of their hearts in buying back defective vehicles as Toyota asserts…

      If it is proven that (despite Toyota’s claims of no policy for this) dealers were acting on the orders of, or with the consent of, Toyota Corp (these cars then being resold) Toyota will have two well-deserved black eyes…

  • avatar
    Negativist

    This absolutely sickens me… all for a bunch of morons who didn’t have the common sense to shift into neutral. And not all of them had the decency to pay for their idiocy with their lives.

    Here’s the plain truth: Toyota (or any other automaker) is under no obligation to the public to build vehicles that are 100% devoid of risk. Jesus F***ing Christ, people, we’re talking about 3000+ lbs of steel, propelled by fire. No matter how routine your commute is, driving will never be safe.

    Yes, Toyota should replace the suspect parts. But this guilt-gasm over halting sales of otherwise damn fine automobiles on the remote chance of a sticking accelerator pedal is ludicrous, and absolutely sickening.

    To anyone who is “scared” to drive a Toyota after reading the FACTS, you deserve your Government Motors shitbox.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Just in case I wasn’t clear about TTAC being initially on the side of the nay sayers visa-vis Toyota’s unintended acceleration problem, I refer you to this posting of December 7,2009:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/surprise-toyota-wins-unintended-acceleration-sweepstakes/

    “We thought we’d seen the last of the unintended acceleration crazes come and go for good nearly two decades ago. We were wrong. Somehow, like Camaros, Chrysler bailouts and Whitney Houston, the phenomenon has clawed its way back into the American consciousness this year. Consumer Reports even devotes an entire study to the number of unintended acceleration complaints lodged against the 2008 model-year with the NHTSA. Unsurprisingly, the big winner was Toyota, with 41 percent of the complaints, Ford came in second with 28 percent while Chrysler had nine percent. But wait, how many cases were there in total? Only 166? So, of the 2.2m vehicles Toyota sold in 2008, a total of 52 complaints were lodged about a phenomenon with no good mechanical explanation… and Consumer Reports wants us to believe that this is statistically significant?

    Only our analysis says that unintended acceleration is caused by stupid drivers, a problem that no number of gizmos will ever fix.”

    Here is how I responded to that posting on December 8th:

    “‘Only our analysis says that unintended acceleration is caused by stupid drivers, a problem that no number of gizmos will ever fix.’

    And what investigative work is that analysis based on? Ah, nothing, just a “gut feel” I presume. Surely it is impossible for an electronic throttle by wire system to ever have a glitch which causes unexpected results, right? After all, computers are foolproof. Even the ones which do simple things like enabling the editing of user comments never have anything go wrong. We can also count on the corporations of the world to always have the best interests of their customers at heart and to never cover up problems.”

    Later in that same thread I said this:

    “My point is simply that technology is rarely perfect. Old carb. equipped throttles often would fail WOT when the return spring broke. Some vehicles used a dual return spring (one small one inside a larger one) to reduce that risk. Of course users are not perfect either. I think that many enthusiasts leap to the “dumb drivers” explanation because it provides a handy mental way of saying “not me”. As long as we enthusiasts believe ourselves to be smarter, better drivers than “regular people” are, we convince ourselves that the bad stuff isn’t likely to happen to us. The first place most minds go when bad stuff happens to other people is an instinctive reaction of whether or not that could have been me.”

    As this sorry saga unfolds we are seeing more and more clearly that something other than dumb drivers is going on here.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    There is another factor that no one has mentioned: our stupid Congress. In response to some incidents of toys imported from China having lead in their paint, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. This piece of work makes it illegal to allow any product intended for children under the age of 12 to contain either lead or phthalates (yes, they threw that in) above a very low ppm limit. The law applies to any product, whether it be a bicycle, a sweater, a book, a scarf; and it applies to any seller, be they a crafter, a book publisher, Goodwill Industries, Schwinn, or a garage sale seller. The law requires that every part of every item be tested. If my wife makes a sweater with two colors of yarn and with buttons, each color of yarn and the buttons have to be tested, by a specified destructive test. My worry is that the Congress will pass some equally stupid and over-the-top legislation to “protect” us from unintended acceleration in cars.

  • avatar

    Toyota: The Spontaneous Pursuit of Velocity.

  • avatar
    boosterseat

    Wow.
    This rhymes with Cluster-truck.

    This one will be like the Firestone fiasco for Ford, but not quite so dreadful. It will be common knowledge and will really hurt them, immediately. I agree, similar to the Perrier mess.

    I agree that their part quality may have changed over the years as far as tactile durability is concerned, but as far as failures are measured, they are better, as are all other car companies.

    And for a select few posters here, implying that it has anything to do with being produced in the US, Canada or elsewhere is just moronic.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    “Yeah, right. I didn’t buy my first Toyota because of some “herd mentality.” I bought my first Toyota because, when I put the hammer down, the Sienna kicked the Venture’s ass. In most other respects, the vehicle was just a lot nicer.”

    I did refer in my initial comments to ‘well-chosen American cars.’ Why were you shopping for a Venture in the first place, when better Americans were available? I don’t know why you bought your first Toyota; I couldn’t even guess. I only know why I never have made that purchase, and the company is not on a trend line to convince me.

    “Of course, 9 years of reliable service later… and two other Toyotas that run and look great at 10 years of age… Now I’m buying them for the long-term value. It’s a plus that my Rav is fun to drive.”

    Eh…9 years…I’ve had more from Detroit iron. I can’t argue with your claim that your Rav is fun to drive for you, but that claim does lead me to the conclusion that we have *radically* different ideas of fun.

    Phil

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Phil, maybe he bought his first Toyota due to years of GM neglect, arrogance, crappy products and crappy dealers? You know, the reasons the company went to ‘bankruptcy’ and needed a taxpayer sponsored bailout that they’ll likely never repay.

      Not saying Toyota is perfect in any way, but c’mon!

  • avatar
    jnik

    What a bunch of wusses!

    No AMERICAN company would stop selling cars that weren’t safe!

  • avatar
    TheEuropean

    As I stated in the “Toyota Reality”-Topic, we have been horribly disappointed even by the Japanese built Lexus quality as to the point were one single Lexus IS caused more problemes than 3 Alfa Romeos and 7 Peugeots – that we had before or simultaneously – all toegether…

    Maybe one of you can sum up the floor-mat issue for me real quick: Over here in Germany I heard that there was a family in their Toyota on a highway. Their floormat somehow “mingled” under/over the gas pedal and kept the car accelerating to almost 100mph. They were helpless and called 911, eventually they crashed and died?

    Not wanting to dishonor the people that died – but why would you call the emergency in such a case? Would you expect the emergency assistant to respond “use your wiper twice, honk the horn four times in a row and then slighlty open the rear left door – the car will stop.”??? Why didn’t they simply shift to “N”? Why didn’t they get rid of the floormat? Plus, a car’s break is always more powerful than the car’s engine…

    Is it really Toyota’s fault that customers are panicing and unable to properly use a product?

    Maybe we all need to take a deep breath – yes, we did have trouble with our Lexus and I guess it was our last. Even though their company structure is awfully conservative, their cars are boring and joyless and now their reliability starts to crack doesn’t mean that they did everything wrong. I’m anxious to see whether they’ll be able to manage the turn-around, or not. They are superb in Hybrid, they are good in cost-efficiency and they simply are the freaking biggest car maker in the world (that that doesn’t protect you…I know, but it helps)

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    John Horner is correct, skeptics have become believers.

    When this issue first surfaced, most pistonheads glommed on to the Audi 5000 analogy – this is BS/driver error/poor Driver Ed. in America/the pitfalls at AT. Any and every explanation except the obvious one – Toyota had an ecltro/computer/mechanical problem causing UA.

    The small percentage of pistonheads who bothered to research the issue knew that UA complaints were overwhelmingly concentrated on Toyota made vehciles, making driver error an unlikely explanation. We also knew it happed w/o floor mats, as well as with them.

    Now, it’s accepted that UA is real.

    Moving on – IMO, Toyota is actively enhancing it’s rep as we speak. 3 years from now, 97% of car buyers (e.g. non-pistonheads) will remember that;

    -Toyota had a sticky gas pedal problem
    -Toyota shut down the line, told the dealers not to sell, recalled all the cars, and fixed the problem.
    -A CHP officer died in a Lexus with the wrong floor mats.

    Toyota is loosing money in the short run, but making it in the long run.

    I would caution against assuming it’s a cost cutting problem. It may be, but then again, maybe not. Could be purely an engineering problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      The one thing I find disturbing to come out of this is the fact that Toyota doesn’t program their electronic throttle system to cut power when it sees both the brake and the throttle pressed at the same time like practically every other manufacturer with electronic throttles does. I know they plan on adding this software in the future and also intend to apply it to selected products already on the road, but honestly everything they make needs to be recalled and reprogrammed to function this way.

  • avatar
    Britlass

    Is it true that Toyotas made in Japan have the safe part and won’t be affected by the recall? I bought a new Rav4 last week and was told it was made in Japan. It is kind of nerve-wracking to think that had I bought the car 2 days later I would have been turned away.

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    Would the UAW/Big3 shills be of the opinion that Toyota should follow the “Ford Pinto exploding fuel tank” model of dealing with this issue?
    Or “Ford Explorer’s exploding tires” model would be more appropriate?

  • avatar
    Deorew

    And this is not an isolated incident of poor Toyota quality.

    Engines failing at 70,000 miles due to engine sludge.

    Check engine lights not illuminating when they are supposed to, as per federal standards.

    Steering components groaning and leaking on Corollas before 20,000 miles.

    And the butt-ugliness the past few years.

    • 0 avatar
      Omoikane

      “Check engine lights not illuminating when they are supposed to, as per federal standards.”

      As a Ford Taurus owner, for a while I thought the check engine light should be ON all the time…LOL
      The engine died just before 100k. I remember the sweet smell of coolant coming out the muffler…
      Bought a Corolla after that. Still running strong at 348k.

  • avatar
    Odomeater

    Goodbye Toyota. we hardly knew ye…

  • avatar
    srogers

    What an attack of the Chicken Littles!
    Sure, this will shake Toyota’s halo a little, but until they’ve built crap for 30 years they’re still not in GMs shoes.
    I’m no Toyota lover, but I’m sure not putting on my tinfoil hat yet either.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      Since when are Nikkei or the Wall Street Journal “Chicken Littles”?

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      To a certain extent you are correct, but the world has changed a great deal, since to pinto experience and the way information travels and is gathered. At a point in time, information was transmitted by (and consumed from) publications and 30 minute news shows. 20 years ago people may have only read/seen the issue only once and then it would slowly die.

      Today most information is consumed on-line where this is going to be posted on over and over and over for days, weeks and more. At some point CR is going to have to take some sort of action to save it’s own reputation, along the lines of “due to recent issues, we can no longer recommend such and such toyota vehicles…” And if this isn’t it or it isn’t fixed soon it will become a fire storm and toyota will lose thier first generation of car buyers, just like GM lost thiers in the 70′s.

  • avatar
    Britlass

    Check out this link:
    http://abcnews.go.com/images/Blotter/ToyotaAcceleratorPedal20100127.pdf
    If this letter is genuine then it says the recall only applies to cars made in N America with that CTS pedal.
    I checked my vin# and it starts with a J- yes! I lucked out, unless they find another reason for the problem other than that part. However this huge recall will probably hurt all of toyota cars’ resale values. I will have to drive this baby into the ground- oh well, we keep our cars for 10 yrs anyway.
    This is the 1st foreign car I have ever bought -figures! I guess next time I will stick with Ford…


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