The MSM is abuzz with a rash of fresh (well, not really) deaths-by-Toyota. According to an Associated Press report (this one via Twincities.com,) “complaints of deaths connected to sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles have surged in recent weeks, with the alleged death toll reaching 34 since 2000.” In the past three weeks alone, people told the NHTSA about nine crashes involving 13 alleged deaths between 2005 and 2010 due to accelerator problems. Without the heightened awareness, those people would have passed away unnoticed. Other fatalities loom:
Japan’s Kyodo news agency has on the wire that “Toyota is considering suspending car production at two U.S. plants for about two weeks due to sales falls following massive recalls of its vehicles over brake problems.” Reuters has the same story. No further details are available (we’ll keep an eye out.) As long as the lines are shut down only for a few weeks, people will be kept busy doing maintenance chores. If the sales will continue to fall, the axe will fall also.
As for Toyota’s plans, we will know more after 5pm local in Tokyo. Toyota Prez Akio Toyoda will hold his third news conference regarding the firm’s recent string of quality problems. According to the Nikkei [sub], “Toyoda is expected to give a status report on the recall of the Prius hybrid car for brake problems as well as outline the steps the automaker is taking on quality issues.”
Update: The Japanese Chunichi Shimbun, published in Nagoya, close to Toyota City, reports that Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky site will close for four days. The San Antonio, Texas plant will close for 10 days. Camry, Avalon and Tundra sales have taken a hit, says the paper. The closures would come out to a total of 14 days, not to two weeks each,