Toyota Recalls: (Un)intended Ambiguity?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Readers of the Nikkei [sub] were greeted this morning with the purported news that by the end of this month, Toyota “is expected” to recall its Sai and Lexus HS250h hybrids, which use the same braking system as the Prius hybrid. Furthermore, “the company is believed to have decided” to recall the current Prius, “and is expected” to notify the Transport Ministry of the plan early this week.

The Nikkei notes that Toyota “told the press Friday that there was nothing wrong with the braking system for the Prius, which hit the market last May. However, it appears to have decided that a recall was the best way to address growing customer concerns and complaints worldwide about braking problems.”

Translation: Toyota has retreated to an undisclosed location and has cut all communication links with the outside. When they emerge with the official recall announcement, it will be greeted with “haven’t they been recalled already?” Some really confused customers will think, the cars have been recalled again.

Update: As the sun set over Toyota City in the Japanese evening, the headlines were that the stock market doesn’t like Asahi Brewery’s new president, and that Danone will double its yogurt output in Thailand. Toyota continued to maintain strict EMCON in the interest of OPSEC.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Feb 08, 2010

    Blue's (B.S.) lack of SIGINT for OPSEC due to Red's (TMC) EMCON, and lack of local HUMINT and confusion w/in Red's C2 (Command & Control) struture due to defecit of "EMO(tional)INT" or "CUL(tural)INT as secondary and tertiary exacerbating factors respectively. G2-FOI Willoughby, Maj. Gen. dictated, not read

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Feb 08, 2010


    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Feb 08, 2010

      Even though Willoghby was a german-born spook, Fertig was orders of magnitude cooler! This Fertig quote is the essence of Kaizen: "I am called on to lead a resistance movement against an implacable enemy under conditions that make victory barely possible even under the best circumstances. But I feel that I am indeed a Man of Destiny, that my course is charted and that only success lies at the end of the trail. I do not envision failure; it is obvious that the odds are against us and we will not consistently win, but if we are to win only part of the time and gain a little each time, in the end we will be successful."

  • Tgriffith Tgriffith on Feb 08, 2010

    Anyone else think Hyundai is gonna take Toyota's rep for quality after watching the game yesterday? Some good Super Bowl car ads. See 'em here:

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Feb 08, 2010

    BREAKING: AP reports Toyota will recall 270k Priuses Tuesday, 1 day ahead of congressional testimony (denied by Toyota spokesperson, and unknown to recall-responsible man in Jpn govt.) If it is just a software issue, why the foot-dragging ... I am beginning to have a feeling of unease that software re-flash is only part of the story and that there is a hardware-related issue going on here too ... (maybe changes in the ECU, or, or...) ... and that the extra cost of tearing out something, or of calling-attention to something is the cause of the foot-dragging ...

    • Monty Monty on Feb 08, 2010

      Robert.W: "I am beginning to have a feeling of unease that software re-flash is only part of the story and that there is a hardware-related issue going on here too..." I have had this feeling as well, almost from day one of this circus. I suspect in the future we'll hear the entire sordid story, and that there was a confluence of softwear, firmware and hardware issues, and that ToMoCo was scrambling for answers for a lot longer than we know presently.