Toyota Cries Uncle On GX460, Will Fix Problems In A Flash

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

That was fast: Two days after Consumer Reports slammed the Lexus GX460 with a “Do Not Buy” rating, and one day after ToMoCo halted the sale of said vehicle, Toyota already has a fix. Today at lunchtime in Tokyo, Toyota said to The Nikkei [sub] that there will be changes to the Lexus GX460. This in an unusually quick response to CR’s assertion that the SUV’s tail can wag too much when the gas pedal is released while turning at high speeds.

As Ed Niedermeyer predicted when he said “Expect GX460 sales to fall off a cliff until the model is fitted with an electronic straitjacket,” the problem will be solved with a re-flash. Toyota will modify the electronic stability control system and unspecified “other aspects of the vehicle.”

According to the Nikkei, Toyota has begun to test other SUV models. Based on the findings, the automaker will make the same fix for models like the RAV4 and Harrier. Toyota’s new Vice President of Recalls sure has his hands full.

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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  • BklynPete BklynPete on Apr 15, 2010

    Well, bully for Toyota. At least they were smart enough to figure out the fix was in and there was no point in fighting CR's false halo of impartiality. Here's what I think. For years, CR readers faithfully bought Camrys, Corollas, Priuses and the like because the ad-free consumer organization told them to. Then, Toyota grows phenomenally and its quality slips, topped off by the sudden acceleration debacle. CR is caught unawares and fears for their own endangered credibility and relevance. What do they do? Test a 5,300-pound Toyota truck like it's a Porsche or Corvette -- on its own track, with its own surface and test conditions. When physics does the inevitable, CR uses the video to act like they're heroes protecting consumers from "danger." And -- I love this part -- when Toyota asks to duplicate the conditions on the same track, CR gets all sanctimonious and refuses to let them. What a crock! CR has been playing this fear-mongering publicity schtick for years, and the media keeps falling for it. Remember the 1978 Dodge Omni test, where they jerked the wheel at 50mph and the car spun? It was never proven, never duplicated by other engineers, and CR doesn't even do that to test cars anymore. And the Omni/Horizon -- while a piece of junk in many ways -- was sold until1990 without major safety complaints. Yes, any 5300-pound SUV on a truck platform will slide if pushed enough, or even roll over. Jeeps have been doing that for 70 years. But that's not a reason to avoid big SUVs. Avoid them because they're overweight, overpriced, wasteful of resources, too big and clumsy, hard to park, and unnecessary for anyone except those who genuinely need a large vehicle with off-road utility. Which is probably less than 5% of U.S. vehicle buyers. I spent a lot of time driving the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero before it hit showrooms. It was a great off-road vehicle. On road, it wasn't so great. Was it unstable in extreme on-road handling? Yes, of course it was. That's the point. Whether it's 15-passenger vans or any pickup or SUV with high centers of gravity, smart people don't drive such vehicles into s-curves at 60 mph. Really, at what point do we stop protecting adults from themselves and let Darwinism take over?

    • See 3 previous
    • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Apr 16, 2010
      It seems that the CR test is much more aggressive than the in house testing. I am willing to be that all manufactures are going to read this and adjust their test accordingly. This is the case with their mileage tests, as well as the IIHS' crash tests (which many models routinely fail in interesting ways).
  • ThisWas ThisWas on Apr 15, 2010

    Let me get this straight: Toyota dragged their feet with respect to fixing unintended acceleration problems but responded too quickly to the Lexus instability problem? What is the blogosphere-approved time frame for addressing safety issues? When is the porridge neither "too hot" nor "too cold" but "just right"?

    • Steven02 Steven02 on Apr 15, 2010

      No, people were saying the same thing on the SUA problems. That after the problem was announced, the fix came in a few short days later, which implies they have the quickest, hardest working engineers, and QA staff ever, or that they knew about the problem before the recalls. The complaints about Toyota were that they were too slow acknowledging that there was a problem or that they ignored a problem that they knew about. That is why people were saying it was taking too long.

  • Sfdennis1 Sfdennis1 on Apr 15, 2010

    Hey guys, it's not cool to use private video footage from my bedroom in your posts! Not cool at all! I'm kidding...kidding...I kid. It must be video from a Republican Senator's bedroom... Wasn't aware of 'Cry Uncle' before this post, looks like some kind of early John Waters mess, though I'm sure it's not. Have to look that one up for a good laugh...

  • Odomeater Odomeater on Apr 15, 2010

    By looking at the miniscule sales figures of this thing it looks like "Do Not Buy" was already being observed.