Historic deal will resolve cases involving owners of cars with sudden acceleration issues
Posted: Dec 26, 2012
The Toyota settlement is the largest in U.S. history involving automobile defects (Credit: Toyota).
LOS ANGELES -- Toyota
Motor Corp. said Wednesday it has reached a settlement worth more than
$1 billion in a case involving hundreds of lawsuits over acceleration
problems in its vehicles.
The company said in a statement that the deal will resolve cases
involving motorists who said the value of their vehicles was adversely
affected by previous recalls stemming from sudden acceleration problems.
Lawyer Steve Berman, a plaintiffs' attorney, said the settlement is the
largest settlement in U.S. history involving automobile defects.
"We kept fighting and fighting and we secured what we think was a good
settlement given the risks of this litigation," Berman told The
The proposed deal was filed Wednesday and must receive the approval of a federal judge.
As part of the settlement, Toyota said it will offer cash payments to eligible customers who sold or turned in their leased vehicles between September 2009 and December 2010.
The Japanese automaker also will launch a program to provide supplemental warranty
coverage for certain vehicle components, and it will retrofit
additional non-hybrid vehicle models that are subject to a floor mat
recall with a free brake override system.
The settlement would also establish additional driver education programs and fund new research into advanced safety technologies.
"In keeping with our core principles, we have structured this agreement
in ways that work to put our customers first and demonstrate that they
can count on Toyota to stand behind our vehicles," said Christopher
Reynolds, Toyota vice president and general counsel.
Toyota has recalled more than 14 million vehicles worldwide due to
acceleration problems in several models and brake defects with the Prius hybrid. Toyota has blamed driver error, faulty floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals for the unintended acceleration.
By Paul A. Eisenstein
A month after announcing its biggest single recall ever, Toyota
has revealed some new quality problems that will force it to make
safety-related repairs on another 2.8 million vehicles – including its
high-profile Prius hybrid models.TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 7.43 million vehicles in the
U.S., Japan, Europe and elsewhere around the world for a faulty
power-window switch – the latest, massive quality woes for Japan's top
The news could deliver a further blow to the Japanese giant’s image
despite having landed atop the latest Consumer Reports Automotive
Reliability Study. It also puts Toyota in a position where it again is
vying with Japanese rival Honda for the dubious distinction of having
the most vehicles of any manufacturer recalled in the U.S. this year.
The newest recall is the result of a water pump problem and a
steering shaft defect. These can result in steering problems with a
variety of Toyota products using the components. The maker commonly
shares parts on numerous models to reduce costs – but that approach
risks the possibility of creating widespread recalls if there’s a
problem. In this case, two problems may exist on the same vehicle.
The steering shaft defect is involved in the recall of 1.51 million
vehicles in Japan and another vehicles sold in other parts of the world
and among the most notable models impacted are the compact Corolla and
the Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid. About 670,000 of those
vehicles were sold in the U.S. between the 2000 and 2009 model-years.
About 620,000 of those vehicles also may be equipped with the
defective water pump. That list includes not only the Prius but four
other hybrid models, Toyota confirms. Vehicles that may need both parts
repaired were sold between 2001 and 2010 in Japan and from 2003 to 2011
in the U.S. and other overseas markets.
Meanwhile, another 10,000 Toyota vehicles are being recalled solely due to the defective water pump.
The new recall comes as a significant setback for Toyota and for a variety of reasons.
Just a month ago the maker – which is on track to again be the
world’s best-selling auto manufacturer – announced its biggest recall
ever. A total of 7.43 million vehicles were involved, more than a third
of those in the U.S., also making it the largest recall in the world for
the past 16 years.
With about 3.2 million vehicles involved in just these two safety
repair campaigns, Toyota is now chasing Honda as the most recalled
manufacturer in the U.S. The smaller maker earned that unwanted
distinction last year but Toyota was top of the list in 2010, primarily
as a result of the millions of vehicles that were involved in the
so-called “unintended acceleration” scandal that led corporate CEO Akio
Toyoda to tearfully testify before the U.S. Congress.
The grandson of Toyota’s founder, Toyoda promised to redouble the
company’s focus on quality, reliability and safety. And there are clear
signs of improvement. It has scored well on a number of recent studies,
including the annual reliability survey by Consumer Reports which
tallies the results of millions of the influential magazine’s readers.
The maker’s three brands, Scion, Toyota and Lexus, topped the chart, in
But CR officials also noted that they do not consider recalls in
their results, despite the potential impact on either quality or
What’s potentially problematic about the latest recalls is the fact
that it includes products sold as recently as the 2011 model-year, after
President Toyoda began his much-ballyhooed push to correct Toyota’s
Despite the potential tarnishing of its safety image, Toyota
continues to rack up sales, with the maker forecasting it will near the
milestone 10 million mark for the current fiscal year, which ends on
march 31. That led to a tripling of earnings during the most recent
But Toyota does face other problems, notably a boycott in the booming
Chinese market that recently les the maker to slightly cut its overall
sales forecast for the year.
The recall, announced Wednesday, affects more than a dozen models
produced from 2005 through 2010. The power-window switch on the driver's
side didn't have grease applied evenly during production, causing
friction in the switch and sometimes smoke, according to Toyota.
No crashes or injuries have been reported related to the problem. But
more than 200 problems were reported in U.S., and a fewer number of
problems were reported elsewhere, including 39 cases in Japan, Toyota
spokesman Joichi Tachikawa said.
Recalled in North America are the Yaris, Corolla, Matrix, Camry,
RAV4, Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia and Scion models xB and xD, spanning
2.47 million vehicles.
Some 460,000 vehicles are being recalled in Japan. The models are the
Vitz, Belta, Ractis, Ist, Auris and Corolla Lumion. The Yaris, Corolla,
Auris, Camry and Rav-4 are being recalled in Europe, totaling 1.39
The sprawling recall also applies to cars in Australia, China and elsewhere in Asia and the Middle East.
Toyota has been trying to fix its reputation after a series of massive recalls of 14 million vehicles over several years.
Before that, Toyota had boasted a reputation for pristine quality,
centered around its super-lean production methods that empowered the
worker to hone in on quality control. Toyota executives have
acknowledged the escalating recalls were partly caused by the company's
overly ambitious growth goals.
Toyota Recalls Over 600,000 Vehicles
Camrys, Venzas, and Tacoma trucks are all subject to maintenance for faulty parts.
Toyota said they are currently getting replacement parts. (Photo courtesy of Associated Press)
Toyota is conducting a massive safety recall Wednesday, recalling
certain 2009 Camrys and 2009-2011 Venzas for replacement procedures.
Toyota is recalling as many as 70,500 Camrys and 116,000 Venzas are
covered by the recall, which focuses on the stop lamp switch. According
to Toyota, silicon grease may have gotten into the switch during
installation, leading to problems.
In some instances the vehicle may not start, the shift lever may not
shift from park, or the stop lights may not work. Warning lamps on the
instrument panel should come on, signifying the issue.
Toyota is currently obtaining replacement parts. Owners of the
recalled vehicles will be contacted by mail to schedule an appointment
with a Toyota dealer to switch out the faulty part at no cost. This
replacement should only take 30 minutes.
Also, 495,000 2005-2009 Tacoma trucks are subject to recall to
replace the steering wheel spiral cable. Toyota stated there may be
friction between the spiral cable and the retainer in the steering wheel
spiral cable assembly.
Over time, this friction may damage connectivity to the driver’s air
bag. If this connectivity is lost, the airbag could be deactivated,
stopping it from deploying in a crash. The air bag warning lamp on the
instrument panel will come on.
Toyota is also currently acquiring replacement parts for this recall
and owners will be notified by mail in April to schedule repairs.
Toyota affirms that no fatalities have resulted from these faulty parts.
Toyota has been hit hard by the events of the past year, and the Japanese company is expected to be overtaken as the world’s top-selling automaker by General Motors, and most likely Volkswagen as well, as a result. Reuters reports
that Toyota has cut its annual profit forecast by more than half to
$2.6 billion, owing mostly to supply shortages caused by the Thai
floods, but also to a combination of the March earthquake and tsunami
and increasing strength of the yen. With its ability to build cars
severely hindered, Toyota must regroup and adjust for better earnings
Toyota said in a statement that net income will fall 56 percent to roughly $2.3 billion
in the 12-month period ending March 31. Toyota also decreased its
projections for operating profits, now expected to fall 57 percent to
200 billion yen. That figure is less than half the 419 billion yen
predicted in a consensus forecast from a survey of 23 Reuters analysts. Toyota previously issued a forecast of 450 billion yen in August, but withdrew it last month after the floods in Thailand severed the company’s supply chain
to Toyota factories in 10 countries. The automaker said the floods
would ultimately cost it 230,000 vehicles in lost production by the end
of the business year, and that the disaster was reflected by a drop of
120 billion yen in the revised operating profit forecast.
Now that the waters have receded and workers can get in to assess the
damage, recovery of those suppliers in Thailand can begin. Toyota said
today it expects Thai production to return to normal this month, and
that production in most regions is now moving at full steam. According
to Reuters, Toyota is set for record production numbers next
year, with its factories playing catch-up to replenish inventories.
Despite this, the strength of the yen, now trading at 77-78 yen to the
dollar, will make profit recovery difficult. With the yen strong against
nearly every other major currency, Toyota, as an export-heavy business,
will rake in less profits. Reuters says the strong yen
contributed to a drop of 190 billion yen in its revised operating
profits forecast. Toyota’s recent announcement that it will export Sienna and Camry models from the U.S. to South Korea
helps address this problem, as it sidesteps tariffs and also saves
money by building cars in the U.S. Though building cars in other markets
is crucial for the automaker now, Toyota has committed to build 3
million vehicles in Japan each year, which would make up roughly 40
percent of its global output. But with more than half of those models
destined for export, Toyota forecasts a parent-only operating loss of
530 billion yen, up significantly from the previous forecast of 370
Reuters reports last month marked a 15-1/2-year low for
Toyota stock, which has fallen 18 percent this year. The rising strength
of the yen is an issue for all of Japan, being that its economy is
heavily reliant on exports. Toyota Chief Financial Officer Satoshi Ozawa
has expressed his frustration over the yen, saying at a press
conference: “[The revision] is partly because Toyota’s exposure to
currency swings is big, but I think it also brought to light the
severity of the crisis Japan is in, because the country is founded on
its export strength.”
TOYOTA RECALLS 2011 COROLLA AND SIENNA OVER STRUCTURE:BODY:ROOF AND PILLARS
SOUTHEAST TOYOTA IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2010-2011 COROLLA
VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH A BLUE TOOTH HANDS FREE DEVICE OR
NAVIGATION UNIT AND CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2011 TOYOTA SIENNA VEHICLES
EQUIPPED WITH A OVERHEAD ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM AND/OR
BLUETOOTH HANDS FREE DEVICE. THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT THE FRONT
A-PILLAR TRIM PANEL RETENTION CLIP MAY HAVE BEEN DAMAGED DURING THE
INSTALLATION OF THE AFTERMARKET ACCESSORY.
A DAMAGED A-PILLAR TRIM PANEL RETENTION CLIP MAY ALLOW THE TRIM PANEL TO
COME LOOSE AND INJURE AN OCCUPANT IN THE EVENT OF A CRASH.
DEALERS WILL INSPECT THE A-PILLAR TRIM PANEL RETENTION CLIP AND REPLACE
IT IF NECESSARY FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN
DURING DECEMBER 2011. OWNERS MAY CONTACT SOUTHEAST TOYOTA AT
OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY
ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY
1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV .
FROM SEOUL -- In another corporate sputter for beleaguered Japanese
automaker Toyota Motor Corp., the company announced Wednesday that it
will recall more than 420,000 vehicles in the U.S. in connection with
potential steering problems.
The safety recall to replace what the company termed “the crankshaft
pulley on the V6 engine” affects 550,000 cars worldwide -- 283,200
Toyota and 137,000 Lexus vehicles.
The problem reportedly affects 38,000 cars in Japan and an additional
25,000 in Australia and New Zealand. In Europe, 14,000 vehicles face
recall along with 10,000 in the Middle East and 14,000 in Asia outside
There have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the
problems, Toyota said in a release from its American headquarters in
If not corrected, the outer ring of the engine's crankshaft pulley
may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise or a warning
signal to light up. The belt for the power steering pump may become
detached from the pulley, making it suddenly more difficult to turn the
driving wheel, the release said.
Since September 2009, Toyota has issued more than 13 million product
recalls in the U.S. alone. With the company facing hundreds of lawsuits,
safety experts and industry analysts contend that quality problems
could haunt the world's largest automaker for years to come, affecting
both its reputation and bottom line.
In February, Toyota announced that it would recall 2.17 million
vehicles to correct mechanical defects that could cause them to
accelerate out of control.
The latest U.S. recall includes the 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander,
Sienna and Solara, the 2004 Avalon and the 2006 Highlander HV. The Lexus
recall affects the 2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330 and 2006 RX400h,
Starting in January, Toyota said, the company will mail owners a
notification to make an appointment with an authorized dealer to have
their cars inspected once a sufficient number of replacement parts have
Meanwhile, consumers who detect any abnormal noises are asked to make
an appointment to have the vehicle inspected, the release said.
The company urged owners to with questions to visit the company's websites at www.toyota.com/recall or www.lexus.com/recall. They can also contact Toyota in the U.S. at 800-331-4331 or Lexus at 800-255-3987.
Try as it might, Toyota Motor Corp. can't seem to put its safety woes behind it.
Two weeks ago, the Japanese automaker trumpeted the results of a NASA
study that cleared its vehicles of having electronic defects that could
cause sudden acceleration.
But any hope that its biggest safety crisis was finally over dissolved
Thursday, as Toyota announced that it would recall 2.17 million
additional vehicles to correct mechanical defects that could cause them
to accelerate out of control.
All told, Toyota has now issued
more than 13 million product recalls since September 2009 in the U.S.
alone. With hundreds of lawsuits pending, safety experts and industry
analysts contend that quality problems could haunt the world's largest
automaker for years to come, affecting both its reputation and bottom
The new recalls are "certain to revive consumer concerns
about a safety issue the company has strived for a year to minimize,"
said Bill Visnic, senior analyst at automotive website Edmunds.com,
adding that the news could further hurt Toyota's sales and market share.
Under pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
Toyota said Thursday that it was initiating two new recalls and
expanding an existing recall to address defects that could cause
accelerator pedals to become entrapped.
The action affects six
Toyota and Lexus models, dating back as far as the 2003 model year and
including the popular RAV4 and 4Runner SUVs, to fix floor mats that can
entrap pedals as well as interior panels and pads that can interfere
In a letter to government regulators Thursday,
Toyota laid out an extensive number of repairs that it will be required
to make, some of which have not yet been developed. In the case of the
Highlander and the Lexus RX, Toyota said that it would repair the defect
by replacing a carpet trim panel near the accelerator.
repairs to the Lexus GS models involve the replacement of a plastic pad
embedded in the carpet that can catch the accelerator pedal. And on the
4Runner, RAV4 and Lexus LX, Toyota is still developing a fix but will
probably have to modify the gas pedal and a replace all-weather floor
Toyota has now issued nearly 10 million recalls for sudden
acceleration alone since September 2009, when it first said that floor
mats could interfere with the gas pedal.
Four months later, the company said it had also determined that sticking pedals could produce sudden acceleration.
In the last year, it has paid three federal fines totaling nearly $50 million for delaying recalls.
According to NHTSA, the new recalls were the result of an investigation
it launched a year ago into the scope of Toyota's original floor mat
recall. In a statement, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said the
regulator had reviewed more than 400,000 pages of Toyota documents.
"As a result of the agency's review, NHTSA asked Toyota to recall these
additional vehicles," Strickland said. "Now that the company has done
so, our case is closed."
Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons stopped short of guaranteeing this would
be the last sudden acceleration recall, but he predicted that the latest
recalls would significantly reduce consumer complaints.
"We're confident that we have properly addressed the concerns here," he said.
Yet the drawn-out nature of the recalls, which have swelled over time
to incorporate far more cars and trucks than originally announced, has
given many consumers pause.
"Either [Toyota's] investigators were
incompetent or they just had their head in the sand," said Barbara
Shepherd of Harbor Springs, Mich., who said her 2005 Highlander
accelerated on its own while in reverse, leading to a crash that caused
her spinal and brain injuries.
Although Toyota recalled some
Highlanders in 2006 to address a sudden acceleration risk from pedal
entrapment, Shepherd's vehicle was not included. As part of its latest
recalls, Toyota said it would recall 397,000 Highlanders, as well as
372,000 Lexus RX SUVs.
That action would have included Shepherd's. She is suing the automaker.
Toyota's attempts to deal with sudden acceleration go back years,
including a 2007 recall to address floor mat entrapment. And its 2009
floor mat recall, initiated after a San Diego crash that left four
people dead and drew national attention to the issue, has been expanded
three times since it was first announced — growing to 6.4 million
vehicles from the original 3.8 million.
Clarence Ditlow, who
heads the Center for Auto Safety, said his group continues to receive
credible complaints about sudden acceleration, however, leading him to
suspect there may be problems beyond floor mats and gas pedals.
"What are they going to blame next? They have done carpets and they have done pedals," he said.
BLEEDING RED, TOYOTA IS FINISHED. Toyota's Domestic Plant Problem
By JAMES SIMMS
Toyota Motor shot itself in the foot again at the start of 2011 with its third consecutive year of large-scale January recalls.
But those quality issues are only part of the problem confronting
Toyota: It isn't making enough money from making cars because of excess
production capacity in Japan and not enough overseas.
On Tuesday, Toyota upgraded its operating-profit forecast for the year
through March to $6.7 billion, a huge surge from last year's $1.8
billion, helped by cost cuts and higher sales volume. It also posted a
$5.1 billion profit in the first three quarters, seven times what it
earned a year earlier.
While that is a major improvement, the equivalent of two-thirds of that
lift in the nine-month profit is derived from the U.S. auto-financing
unit. Most of that comes from write-backs on provisions previously set
aside for car-loan defaults and declines in the resale value of cars
coming off leases.
What is hurting Toyota is that compared with its rivals, a higher
proportion of its cars are sold overseas but made in Japan. This
increases the company's exposure to currency swings. Excess capacity in a
shrinking domestic market also hurts.
At the parent-company level, which is where the dividend is paid, the
red ink continues to flow. The company forecasts a $5.1 billion
operating loss, although it is more than compensated for by dividends
from subsidiaries and income from its massive financial assets,
including $39 billion in Japanese government bonds. While these profits
may hide the weakness in its core car-making business, it's hard to look
past one fact: Toyota expects parent net profit to be about $1 billion
this year, a far cry from March 2008's record $13.9 billion.
Toyota needs to move more quickly to address some of its shortcomings,
particularly its reliance on Japanese plants. After all, Toyota knows
only too well from the recall crisis that indecisiveness can hurt badly.
DETROIT | Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:44pm EDT
- Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) in the United States has told its dealers
to fix some 2010 Corolla and Matrix models because an accessory engine
belt may deteriorate and detach, according to a notice to dealers.
10,750 vehicles may be affected by the "limited service campaign."
There are about 9,400 Corollas that could have the accessory belt issue,
and 1,350 Matrix vehicles.
The cars affected have the 2ZR-FE
engine. The engine accessory belt used to transfer force from the engine
to the air conditioner, alternator and water pump may pull free from
pulleys. The engine may overheat, the notice said.
inspect the belts and fix the issue at no charge. It will take about a
half hour of shop time to make the fix, and about half of the fan belts
in the vehicles covered in the repair campaign are expected to require
replacement, the notice to dealers said.
Owners of the affected vehicles will be notified by mail in mid-October, the notice said.
The vehicles were assembled in North America in February and March of this year, the notice said.
Toyota recalls 1.13 million vehicles Friday, August 27, 2010
Toyota will recall 1.13 million Corolla and Matrix cars for a flaw that
U.S. regulators said may cause stalling "at any speed without warning."
The recall affects vehicles from the 2005-2008 model years in the United
States and Canada and follows at least three reported accidents linked
to the defect.
The action adds to record recalls in the past year by Toyota, including
more than 8 million vehicles worldwide for flaws related to unintended
The recall also covers about 200,000 of General Motors' Pontiac Vibe
hatchbacks, according to a statement from GM. Vibes and Matrixes were
manufactured in a GM- Toyota joint venture in California.
- Bloomberg News
^ " CIVIL WAR HAS BEEN DECLARED "
Dear President Obama,
WE THE PEOPLE, demand that YOU take action today to Stop The Murder of American Citizens by Toyota. PLEASE issue an Emergency "Presidential Order" that prevents Toyota from Selling Any MORE products within the borders Of The U.S.A.
The deceit, greed & arrogance demonstrated by the Corporate leaders of Toyota has incensed us to declare "Civil War" upon this Company...with no holds barred. This terrorism MUST BE STOPPED.
If, indeed YOU are unable to deliver an END to Toyota in the U.S.A., trust that WE THE PEOPLE WILL. This loss of life, THE INHERENT RISK TO OUR SAFETY ON THE ROAD is all unacceptable to us.
We ask that you LIQUIDATE TOYOTA NOW, confiscate all of the property & revenues as an ACT OF TERRORISM that has resulted in a premeditated "TERRORIST attack upon the Country" & thereby assign TOYOTA assets to compensate the victims, owners & costs to eliminate all vestiges of Toyota in the United States of America.
Please review the complete history of "TOYODA", as it is a true "weapon of mass destruction" as in the original intent of the company, supported & decreed by the Japanese Government.
WE ask you to close ALL TOYOTA factories, rescind all Tax Credits, & government support, and use the resulting proceeds of total liquidation to provide a fund to compensate the AMERICAN workers who have been "duped" into slavery by this tyrannical company.
Further we ask that ALL TOYOTA DEALERSHIPS CEASE & DESIST FROM EFFORTS TO SELL ALL TOYOTA PRODUCTS, (TOYOTA, LEXUS & SCION ) Immediately, and under threat of "Use Of Force".
No other company in America, has been allowed to KILL our people, without suffering monumental costs, OR TOTAL DEMISE, relative to earnings. A $13 million dollar "fine" is ineffectual to the degree of "War Crimes" committed by Toyota to date.
It is an absolute INSULT that this company is still allowed to market their "deadly" cars & trucks, without any REAL REMORSE OR COMPENSATION, and to continue the bold face LIES to both Congress & the People of the U.S.A.
What TOYOTA has done by definition ...is TREASON. They HAVE betrayed the TRUST by the people of the U.S.A. for self gain.
But they have NO RESPECT for that, as a "Non American" company.
PLEASE PROTECT OUR INTERESTS & "STEP UP" TO KICK ASS !
WE THE PEOPLE.
Tue May 18, 2010 6:30pm EDT
DETROIT (Reuters) - Authorities are investigating after four
suspicious packages were sent to Toyota Motor Corp U.S. facilities in
the past week that were later found not to contain threatening
materials, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.
had received three packages since Friday and a fourth was intercepted
at a post office in Princeton, Indiana, near a Toyota manufacturing
plant, all from the same sender, Toyota spokesman Mike Goss said.
automaker evacuated its North American manufacturing headquarters in
Kentucky on Friday after a suspicious package was found in the mailroom,
Goss said. The brief evacuation ended after officers determined the
package was not a threat.
Similar packages were delivered to
Toyota plants in West Virginia and Texas and uncovered in the mailrooms,
but neither plant had to be evacuated, Goss said.
Goss said the
FBI had been investigating the incidents since Friday and Toyota was not
calling the incidents threats. "For all we know, it could be
that these packages were legitimate attempts to contact Toyota," Goss
Indiana State Police Sergeant Todd Ringle said authorities
were called to the Princeton post office Tuesday morning because of a
suspicious package addressed to Toyota.
The FBI, the post office
and Indiana State Police are investigating the Tuesday incident, Ringle
TOYOTA TRASHES THE CORPORATE ORGANIZATION IN A SAD ATTEMPT TO SAVE THE SELF DESTRUCTING CAR COMPANY...
Safety is first, then environmental quality. The board will be cut from
27 members to 11 (it had 54 members eight years ago). Emerging markets
will be a larger piece of its business, and all this will contribute to
Toyota’s goal of raising consolidated operating return on sales to 5
Scion Akio Toyoda outlined this plan, this “Global Vision” in Tokyo.
It’s a kind of reorganization, an effort to avoid being caught in the
kind of trap that did General Motors in and allowed Toyota to pass it in global sales some three years ago.
Toyota doesn’t expect to let Volkswagen
AG pass it to become the world’s largest automaker – thus the
concentration on emerging markets. The Japanese automaker sold 60
percent of its output in industrialized nations last year. It expects to
have a 50/50 mix of sales to industrialized nations and emerging
markets by 2015. Bloomberg reports that Toyoda said the company could
sell 9 million vehicles per year by ’15.
Toyoda’s most important promise, though, is that his company “will
build a global framework in which 1) the global headquarters will
provide overall direction and furnish support for initiatives undertaken
by the regional operations and 2) regional operations – the company’s
customer interface – will decide on their own how best to serve their
It’s the strength of number 2 that will determine how well Toyota can
recover from its quality and safety perception problems. If Toyota’s
North American operations had been in charge of responding to unintended
acceleration claims and the other problems that plagued the company
here last year, the damage would have been less severe. Instead, Toyota
Motor Corporation continued to call the shots from Tokyo, and it handled
the crisis in a way consistent with its home market, where corporations
have more power in relationship to the government, press and consumers than it has here.
The company’s operations here are called Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.,
which means “sales and marketing.” That doesn’t entail its production,
or any of the other functions that Toyota claims makes it as much an
American operation as a Japanese one.
Most of Toyoda’s presentation centered on promises of continuous
improvement and of contributing to communities while trying to exceed
customer expectations. Its Global Vision even has a tagline: “Rewarded
with a smile by exceeding your expectations.”
To wit: “Toyota will lead the way to the future of mobility,
enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible
ways of moving people. Through our commitment to quality, constant
innovation and respect for the planet, we aim to exceed expectations and
be rewarded with a smile. We will meet challenging goals by engaging
the talent and passion of people, who believe there is always a better
Touchy-feely platitudes aside, Toyota says it will launch “about 10
more” hybrid models by 2015, while continuing to develop a full range of
plug-in hybrids, pure electric vehicles and fuel cell powertrains,
while continuing to improve conventional gasoline engine fuel economy.
It will “position Lexus as a truly global premium brand” by offering a
growing range of Lexus models in emerging markets, while expanding the
Lexus sales network in established markets.
In North America and Europe, Toyota will “maximize productivity at
existing plants and otherwise make the most of existing resources.” In
other words, we’re not likely to get any new North American Toyota
factories for a while, and may even lose some production.
Toyoda’s wish to revive passion in the company his grandfather built
is addressed under “product appeal.” To “create great cars,” Toyota will
“greatly improve the design and feel of Toyota models and make way for
the leading role of localization in vehicle production.” Toyota will
“offer genuinely exciting models that meet the needs of each market.”
Because Toyota first needs to restore confidence in a model lineup
whose key attributes have been safety, reliability, efficiency and
environmental responsibility, I’d suspect bland, competent sedans and
hybrids will take precedence over the sports cars that Toyoda so much
wants to build.
THE TRUTH ABOUT ALL THE PROBLEMS ARE REVEALED AND POSTED FOR YOU HERE TO SEE & TO ALLOW YOU SOME PROTECTION;
DO NOT BUY ANY TOYOTA, LEXUS OR SCION PRODUCTS, if you are a "victim" OF PRESENT OWNERSHIP, BURN, CRUSH OR DESTROY YOUR (OR ANY) TOYOTA IN STATEMENT OF PROTEST.
OTHERWISE...YOU ARE RISKING YOUR LIFE & OURS. SORRY BUT YOUR AN IDIOT, & TOYOTA THINKS YOU MUST BE ANYWAY OR WORSE IF YOU BUY THIS :
Lawyers who have battled Toyota in court cases say the company is contradicting itself.
they've claimed it's unreliable, other times they say they can't even
access the data, and now they're holding it up as proof that they're
innocent," said Steve Van Gaasbeck, a Texas attorney who has been
stymied by Toyota in several attempts to get EDR data admitted in
trials. "They want it both ways."
In 2005, Toyota engineer Motoki
Shibata argued in an affidavit filed in federal court in New Jersey
that the downloaded data from a 2002 Corolla should not be entered into
evidence. He stated that EDR data "is used by the manufacturer for
quality purposes only" and that Toyota "does not rely on such crash data
to reconstruct accidents in the field."
Two years later, Toyota
technical analysis manager Mark Jakstis told a New Jersey state court
that an EDR readout of a wrecked 2003 Echo was "unreliable." He noted
numerous errors, including data indicating that the passenger wasn't
wearing a seatbelt. Both plaintiffs and defendants agreed that the
passenger was buckled in.
Toyota, Jakstis concluded, "cannot
vouch for the reliability of any data downloaded," from the black box,
court records show. The judge agreed to exclude the readout.
late 2008, Toyota posted a Q&A on black boxes on its website noting
that its readout tool was not scientifically validated and that the
company "does not have confidence that the readout reports it generates
Because of that, and the fact that the automaker
had only one such tool in the U.S., the site said, "Toyota will not
honor EDR readout requests from private individuals or their attorneys."
GO DO YOUR PART TO KEEP OUR STREETS SAFE... IT COST YOU NOTHING TO DO THIS EXCEPT A "YOU TUBE VIDEO POST":
^ ORDER A BOX OF (12) TOYOTA RECALL FIX BUMPER "WARNING" STICKERS NOW USE THEM TO INFLICT MAXIMUM INSULT TO TOYOTA !
RECORD YOUR "REVOLUTIONARY" EFFORT AND POST IT UP ON YOU TUBE.
JUST CLICK ON THE "BUY NOW" BUTTON BELOW AND THEN TAKE THEM OUT TO ANY PARKING LOT & TO YOUR LOCAL TOYOTA DEALERSHIPS SO YOU CAN PASTE THEM ONTO THE FRONT BUMPER OF EVERY TOYOTA YOU SEE !!
...GIVE THE REST OF US A "FAIR WARNING" OF THE CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER ON THE ROAD TODAY ! ... IT IS TIME TO DESTROY TOYOTA !!! ;
“I wanted to do anything to avoid a third straight
year in the red,” Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, said on Tuesday.
Toyota had a particularly strong performance in the three months through
March — the period when the Japanese automaker recalled millions of
cars and was under the intense scrutiny of consumers and governments
around the world.
Profit for the three months was 112 billion yen ($1.2 billion), in
contrast to a 766 billion yen loss the year before, as the automaker
slashed costs and introduced aggressive sales incentives that lured
customers back to its showrooms.
Quarterly revenue jumped to 5.28 trillion yen, from 3.54 trillion yen
the previous year, when car sales slumped in the middle of the global
financial crisis. Revenues showed an especially strong rebound in the
Chinese market and in the United States, while sales in Europe and Japan
continued to slump.
In March, global sales rose 26 percent from the previous year, partly
because of generous incentives offered in the United States, while
global production surged 80 percent.
“After taking over amid a storm, I wanted to do anything to avoid a
third straight year in the red,” Akio Toyoda,
president of Toyota, said after the earnings announcement.
“These results follow tough and anguishing decisions” on the part of
Toyota’s management, he said, referring to the automaker’s dismissal of
workers both in Japan and overseas amid companywide cost cuts.
Toyota estimated that its profit would rise to 310 billion yen ($3.34
billion) in the year that will end in March 2011. It expects to sell
7.29 million units, or 53,000 more than it sold this year, the automaker
said. Toyota also announced a cash dividend for the full fiscal year of
45 yen a share.
For the business year that just ended, net income rebounded to 209.4
billion yen ($2.25 billion), from a loss of 437 billion yen the previous
“We’re still in a storm — there’s been no change on that front,” Mr.
Toyoda said. “But from the storm, we’ve begun to see glimpses of sunny
but faraway skies,” he said. “I feel that we’re starting to approach
Still, the automaker faces tough challenges ahead. It has come under
renewed scrutiny in the United States, where the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration opened yet another inquiry Monday into the company’s
handling of potentially dangerous problems.
The agency said it was investigating whether Toyota had waited too long
to inform the agency of steering-relay rod defects in Hilux trucks after
a 2004 recall in Japan for the same flaw. Automakers have five business
days to report safety flaws to regulators under American law.
Toyota sells the Tacoma truck, similar to the Hilux model, in the United
States. At that time, Toyota told regulators that the defect was in
vehicles sold only in Japan and the company had not received similar
information in the United States, the agency said. In 2005, Toyota told
the agency that the defect was indeed in models sold in the United
States and conducted a recall.
The Transportation Department is also looking through 500,000 pages of
documents to determine whether to levy additional fines against the
Japanese carmaker, a process that could take months.
Toyota has recalled more than nine million vehicles worldwide for faulty
accelerator pedals and other problems that have tarnished the company’s
reputation for making safe and reliable cars.
Toyota also faces multiple shareholder lawsuits, as well as consumer
lawsuits claiming injuries or deaths caused by sudden acceleration
incidents in Toyota vehicles.
In April, Toyota agreed to pay a $16.4 million fine imposed by the
Transportation Department, the largest allowed by American law, which
charged that the company had hidden information about one of the
Toyota has not admitted fault. But it faces the possibility of at least
two more such fines, although it could be several months before action
is taken, the transportation secretary, Ray LaHood,
said on Monday in Japan after a visit to Toyota’s headquarters in
Last month, Moody’s
Investors Service cut Toyota’s credit rating, warning that the
effects of recent recalls and a still-sluggish economy would weigh on
the automaker’s bottom line for some time.
But Takahiko Ijichi, senior managing director at Toyota, suggested those
fears were overblown. “The effects of the recall have been smaller than
we’d expected,” Mr. Ijichi said. The company has said it spent 100
billion yen on recall-related measures, and lost 70 billion yen to 80
billion yen in sales during the year that ended March 31.
Mr. LaHood said Monday that he sensed a change of attitude at Toyota
since February, when Mr. Toyoda solemnly faced questions before a
Congressional panel and spoke with Toyota dealers, choking back tears.
The automaker, which faced “very, very serious credibility problems”
after the crisis, has changed gears, while Mr. Toyoda has “listened and
paid attention,” Mr. LaHood said.
Makiko Inoue contributed reporting from Tokyo.
SOUNDS FANTASTIC ....RIGHT !...???....BUT, IT IS JUST MORE LIES & DECEPTION FROM TOYOTA :
Toyota Financial Services has requested a $2B loan from the Japan Bank
for International Cooperation, a government-backed lending institution.
TFS says it needs the money to cover the higher cost of borrowing in the
US. According to Automotive News [sub], “Toyota may be the first of a
string of Japanese companies with high credit ratings to turn to
state-backed loans prior to the closing of books for the business year
at the end of March.” Toyota’s “implied” credit rating based on
credit-default swaps is considerably lower than its current Moody’s
rating, as fears grow about liquidity problems across the automotive
industry. The money will come from a $5B fund established by the
Japanese government to provide liquidity for firms which operate abroad.
These funds are said to come from Japan’s $1T+ in foreign cash
reserves, the world’s second-largest foreign currency reserves after
China. Nissan and Mitsubishi have also said they will apply for loans
from this fund.
^ That is IN ADDITION to the $25 B also loaned to
Toyo for USA Operations !!!
Fuck Them....the truth is that TOYOTA BORROWED ABOUT $27B LAST YEAR, LOST OVER $4B & NOW HAS THE NERVE TO SAY THEY MADE A $1.2B PROFIT !!!....PATHETIC. THE YAKUZA MUST BE COOKING THEIR BOOKS FOR THEM SO THEY CAN BORROW MORE MONEY FROM THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT.
If I made cars
from old tuna cans with sewing machines motors & no driver
controlled interface to sell to uneducated consumers, after I reduced
ALL the component costs by 30%,....Hell, I could make a HUGE KILLING too
It's called FRAUD...but what the fuck...it's Bank !!!!
Toyota hit with $16M fine over recalls in US
WASHINGTON – Five days before Toyota announced a massive recall, a U.S. public relations executive at the automaker warned colleagues in an internal e-mail: "We need to come clean" about accelerator problems, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
"We are not protecting our customers by keeping this quiet," wrote Irv Miller, group vice president for environment and public affairs. "The time to hide on this one is over."
"We better just hope that they can get NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to work with us in coming (up) with a workable solution that does not put us out of business," Miller wrote.
"I hate to break this to you but WE HAVE A tendency for MECHANICAL failure in accelerator pedals of a certain manufacturer on certain models," Miller's e-mail began with several words in capital letters.
In a memo earlier that day, Koganei wrote Mike Michels, vice president of external communications, "Now I talked with you on the phone, we should not mention about the mechanical failures of acc. pedal because we have not clarified the real cause of the sticking acc pedal formally, and the remedy for the matter has not been confirmed."
Toyota, in a statement, said it "does not comment on internal company communications" and declined comment on Miller's e-mail. But the automaker said: "We have publicly acknowledged on several occasions that the company did a poor job of communicating during the period preceding our recent recalls."
Concerns about sticking gas pedals and complaints from Toyota owners in the U.S. were rising at the end of 2009, according to documents obtained by the AP. The documents show that on Sept. 29, Toyota's European division issued technical information "identifying a production improvement and repair procedure to address complaints by customers in those countries of sticking accelerator pedals, sudden rpm increase and/or sudden vehicle acceleration."
The Japanese automaker was still weighing its options Wednesday about whether to accept or contest the fine. It has also been named in 138 potential class-action lawsuits over falling vehicle values and nearly 100 personal injury and wrongful death cases in federal courts.
^ THIS EVENT WAS A GREAT SUCCESS, WE ARE NOW PLANNING MORE EVENTS TO CRUSH MORE TOYOTA'S...EMAILUS NOW TO STAGE YOUR OWN CRUSH-A-THON IN YOUR HOMETOWN & PUT AN END TO THE DISASTER THAT IS TOYOTA !!
The Humbling of Toyota
A combination of high-speed global growth and ambitious cost cuts led to the quality lapses that have tarnished the once-mighty brand. How it all went wrong
By Alan Ohnsman, Jeff Green and Kae Inoue
Toyota Motor has always been fanatical about frugality, and for many years that was good for both the company and its customers. This is a Japanese carmaker that routinely turned down the heat at its employee dormitories during working hours and labeled photocopy machines with the cost per copy to discourage overuse. Its engineers collaborated with suppliers to extract cost-savings without compromising quality. Yet by the middle of the last decade Toyota's virtue had become a vice.
So say current and former auto executives who are trying to grasp how Toyota, with its gold-plated reputation for engineering excellence, slipped up on such a scale, with 8 million cars recalled due to mechanical failures linked by U.S. regulators to 51 deaths. Before company officials knew that runaway acceleration was causing crashes, one of these executives says, a simple manufacturing process would sometimes ignite small fires in a component as a direct result of corner-cutting. It was just one early sign that the focus on cost reduction had gone too far.
Those production mishaps occurred in 2006, a year after company President Katsuaki Watanabe boasted about having squeezed more than $10 billion from global operating costs in the previous six years—this despite an impressive run of profit growth and global market share gains in the middle of the last decade. Then Toyota pushed even harder for more cuts. It asked suppliers to design parts for its Camry midsize sedan that were 10% cheaper and 10% lighter. The company's top U.S. executive, Jim Press, warned his bosses in Japan that vehicle quality was slipping, according to a slide presentation U.S. Senate investigators unearthed in their sudden-acceleration probe. But his warning had no apparent effect.
The redesigned Camry brought out in 2006 had an embarrassing flaw in its headliner, the fabric and composite lining that covers the inside roof of the car. Under pressure to cut costs, the lead Camry supplier, Toyota-affiliated Toyota Boshoku, chose a carbon fiber material that hadn't been approved by Toyota engineers, according to an executive who worked on the redesign. The headliner is made by compressing layers of materials together using a certain amount of heat to mold it. In this case, the carbon fiber required so much heat that the headliner would catch fire.
Toyota fixed that problem, but when a North American parts supplier interested in working with the automaker did a teardown of a 2007 Camry, its engineers were surprised by how much the traditional Toyota craftsmanship had been watered down by years of nips and tucks. The padding in the ceiling of the car, though compliant with safety regulations, had been thinned out to save money. A tray for sunglasses used a flimsier type of plastic than previous models. "It was a bare-bones car at that point," says one executive who declined to be identified for fear of harming business ties with Toyota.
Toyota insists its focus on cost hasn't hurt consumers. "It's not true that by reducing cost you automatically reduce quality," said Jim Wiseman, Toyota's vice-president for North American corporate communications. "Every automaker has to stay competitive relative to price."
True, but probably not with the intensity Toyota brought to cost-cutting and rapid expansion under three successive presidents: Hiroshi Okuda (1995-1999), Fujio Cho (1999-2005), and Watanabe (2005 to 2009). Toyota executives will spend years mopping up after their mess.
At last count, the company faced 109 class actions and 32 individual cases filed in courts in the U.S. and Canada. (In a well-publicized incident on Mar. 8, the owner of a 2008 Prius lost control of his car on a California interstate highway and had to be rescued by police.)
^ TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETIN REPORT FROM 2002 EXPLAINS THE SUDDEN ACCELERATION CAUSES !!!!
IT IS TIME TO "KILL OFF" TOYOTA ONCE & FOR ALL, THEY ARE SCUM AND THEY HAVE "MURDERED" PEOPLE.
As grave as the current troubles are, they are symptomatic of a larger problem at Toyota: It got carried away chasing high-speed growth, market share, and productivity gains year in and year out. All that slowly dulled the commitment to quality embedded in Toyota's corporate culture.
"The root cause of their problems is that the company was hijacked, some years ago, by anti-[Toyoda] family, financially oriented pirates," Press charged in a recent interview with Bloomberg News. Once the highest-ranking American at the company, with a seat on the board of directors, Press left in 2007 to join Chrysler as vice-chairman and president, but departed from there after last year's bankruptcy. The financial pirates, he said, "didn't have the character necessary to maintain a customer-first focus."
The embodiment of character at Toyota, as any new engineering hire there learns, is a man named Taiichi Ohno, the innovator widely credited as the genius behind the Toyota Production System. With a handful of other executives during the 1950s, Ohno developed a set of in-house precepts on carmaking efficiency that later evolved into such concepts as lean manufacturing and just-in-time inventory management. Ohno's ideas not only changed the auto industry, they changed late-20th-century manufacturing. At their core was an attention to detail and a noble frugality that shunned waste of every kind. As Ohno's concepts were handed down to successive generations of Toyota executives, however, the purity of the message appears to have been slowly lost.
The traditions of the company began to change in 1995 when family elders, led by then-Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda, tapped Okuda to take over the company from 68-year-old Tatsuro Toyoda, who had been waylaid by a stroke. The company was widely thought to have lost its edge, and Okuda (a black belt in judo) was just the sort of hard-charger to help get it back.
In jobs ranging from accounting and purchasing to international and domestic sales, he was a nonstop manager who liked to test-drive every Toyota under development. He also could be impolitic. In 1995, Okuda called his Detroit rivals "stupid" for trying to import bulky cars ill suited to Japan's narrow side streets.
Toyota needed Okuda's in-your-face approach. Glacial decision-making and poor execution were resulting in major mistakes. Toyota stuck with conservatively styled sedans when everybody in the U.S. and Japan wanted the more daring, off-road stuff. It also botched some key product launches. It introduced the T100 truck in the U.S. with an underpowered engine, and a 1995 redesign of the Corolla for the Japanese market fell flat.
Okuda and his team started turning things around on the product front while embarking on one of the most aggressive overseas expansions in automotive history. Between 1995 and the end of 2009, Toyota roughly doubled, to 50, the number of overseas plants and manufacturing facilities in North America, Asia, and Europe in a bid to improve its market responsiveness and sidestep potential trade disputes about car exports from Japan. This coincided with a massive product rollout that penetrated new categories ranging from the boxy Scion xB to the one-ton Tundra pickup to the hybrid Prius compact. In the U.S., Toyota gained market share at "a kind of speed no other carmaker has ever experienced in the past," said Koji Endo, an analyst with Advanced Research Japan in Tokyo.
By the late 1990s the Corolla sedan and the 4Runner and RAV4 sport-utility offerings were all selling well, and plans were under way to invade Detroit's cash-cow minivan and large pickup truck categories. In the all-important North American market, Okuda spent big to double total vehicle capacity, to 1.2 million units, by 1998. To launch the Sienna minivan, he expanded capacity at Toyota's Georgetown (Ky.) plant, already the production base for its Camry and Avalon sedans.
Early in Okuda's tenure as president there was a lot of talk about grabbing a 10% share of the global auto market. By the time he moved up to the chairman's job in 1999 to make way for Cho, the goal was 15%. Cho was less flamboyant than Okuda and studied law at the prestigious University of Tokyo. Yet early in his career Cho became fascinated with the Toyota Production System and mastered its best practices. (He put that knowledge to use in 1988, supervising the launch of the Georgetown plant.) Cho often talked about the "criticality of speed" in product development cycles and the importance of responding to changes in the marketplace. Ohno's precepts were beginning to morph into something he might not have recognized.
By 2003 a lot of things were going right at Toyota. Profits were booming, and in November of that year it enjoyed a market capitalization of $110 billion—more than that of GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler combined. (Today, despite its troubles, Toyota is valued at $132 billion.) In the U.S. it had finally pieced together a strong lineup of high-margin SUVs, once the profit sanctuary of U.S. automakers, ranging from the $19,000 RAV4 to the $65,000 Lexus LX470. Meanwhile, the Prius was starting to take off, creating mass market interest in eco-friendly cars.
At the same time, Cho, Okuda, and other top executives were pushing ahead with a program dubbed CCC21 ("Construction of Cost Competitiveness for the 21st Century") that had been started in 1998. In implementing CCC21, no detail was too small. For instance, Toyota designers took a close look at the grip handles mounted above the door inside most cars. By working with suppliers they managed to cut the number of parts to five from 34, which helped cut procurement costs by 40%. The change slashed the time needed for installation by 75%—to three seconds. "The pressure is on to cut costs at every stage," Takashi Araki, a project manager at parts maker and Toyota affiliate Aisin Seiki, told BusinessWeek at the time.
By mid-decade, when Watanabe, a trained economist, became president, Toyota had incredible numbers to share with Wall Street analysts. On the job as Toyota's chief executive for less than three months, Watanabe told New York's financial community at a Sept. 12, 2005, meeting in Manhattan that CCC21 had wrung out more than $10 billion in savings over six years. "Under CCC21 activities, which I led, Toyota realized cost reductions of more than 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion) a year on a consolidated basis," he said.
It wasn't enough. Next up was what he called an "aggressive version of CCC21," dubbed Value Innovation, which promised more savings by making the entire development process cheaper and faster, further trimming parts, production costs, and time to market. Toyota had managed to slash the time it took to bring models into production once a design was final to about 12 months, compared with an industry average of between 24 and 36 months.
A credit bubble and soaring home prices in the U.S. had Americans buying Camrys and Lexus SUVs in droves. Toyota raked in $55 billion in operating income during its fiscal years running from 2006 to 2008. Shares traded in Tokyo (Toyota also has stock listed in New York and London) shot up 112% from mid-2005 to February of 2007.
Yet during these hyperspeed growth years there were signs of trouble. That's when Press, Toyota Motor's top U.S. executive, warned his bosses that quality was slipping and that regulators were stepping up scrutiny.
Reports of more serious problems started to get the attention of U.S. regulators far earlier in the decade. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened eight investigations of unintended acceleration of Toyota vehicles from 2003 to 2010, according to Safety Research & Strategies, a Rehoboth (Mass.) group that gathers data from NHTSA and other sources for plaintiff's attorneys and consumers, though the carmaker's problems only became widely known to the public this year.
Toyota's fortunes, and that of the entire industry, took a nasty turn starting in late 2007 as the financial crisis hit and oil prices spiked to $145 per barrel in July of 2008—a combination that brought on the global recession that later pushed GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy. Last September, at a meeting with Toyota investors in Tokyo, Akio Toyoda, who succeeded Watanabe in June 2009, said an annual goal had been to boost global sales by as many as 700,000 vehicles a year, more than three times the previous increase, according to a former executive who attended the gathering. The accelerated production had outstripped the abilities of company engineers and led Toyota to outsource more development work to suppliers.
On Feb. 24 of this year, the grandson of company founder Kiichiro Toyoda said during testimony before a congressional committee: "I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick....Priorities became confused, and we were not able to stop, think, and make improvements as much as we were able to before."
Toyoda and other top executives have vowed to fix the sudden-acceleration problems and other quality lapses that have surfaced in so many of its models. In a bid to win back customers, Toyota is offering incentives such as no-interest loans and discounted leases, which may reignite sales. Still, Toyoda and his team will be spending many months trying to absorb a painful lesson about what happens to a great company when ambition gets too far ahead of tradition.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a probe last
November into 26 complaints of engines stalling in 2006 Corolla and
Matrix models, the Free Press' Justin Hyde reports. Since then, the
number of complaints has mushroomed to 76. Several owners said the
problem happened without warning. Sometimes the engine was hard to
restart or kept stalling. There were no reports of injuries or crashes
linked to the models.
The stalling can happen at bad times, such as when drivers are trying to merge onto highways.
a letter to NHTSA, Toyota said the problems was due to physical faults
in the production of the vehicles' engine control units, which it
blamed on mistakes at two suppliers, one of which was identified as
Delphi, the Free Press said.
"Toyota has been investigating
this issue and is now considering how to address our customer
concerns," the automaker said in a March 2 letter to NHTSA obtained by
the Free Press. "Based upon its analysis, Toyota does not believe that
the alleged defect creates an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle
The automaker said the problems would always
trigger a dashboard warning light, and estimated the problem would only
affect 0.8% of the models in question over 10 years. It added that
while some owners were "inconvenienced" by engine stalls, they were
"preferable as opposed to allowing the engine to become damaged."
(March 2) -- A man sentenced to eight years in prison for vehicular
manslaughter maintains that the guilty party in the accident that
killed three people was his 1996 Toyota Camry.
Fong Lee, then 29, was on his way home from church on a Sunday
afternoon in June 2006. Also in the car were his pregnant wife, his
daughter, father, brother and niece. Upon exiting Interstate 94 in St.
Paul, Minn., Lee says, his car inexplicably sped up as he approached an
"Brakes," Lee says he shouted to his family as they sped toward two stopped vehicles. "Brakes not working!"
Jeff Baenen, AP
Fong Lee claims his 1996 Toyota Camry is to blame for a 2006 fatal
crash that killed three people. Lee, shown during an interview at a
Minnesota state prison last month, was found guilty of vehicular
manslaughter in the incident and is serving eight years in prison.
Traveling between 70 and 90 mph, Lee's Camry slammed into the cars ahead of him, CNN reported,
killing 33-year-old Javis Adams and his 10-year-old son, Javis Adams
Jr. Another passenger, Devyn Bolton, 6, was paralyzed in the accident
and later died from her injuries.
Prosecutors argued that
there was nothing wrong with the car and said that Lee had his foot on
the gas pedal at the time of the crash, CNN reported. Two examinations
conducted by mechanical engineers concluded that the brakes in Lee's
Camry were working properly at the time of the accident.
The jury did not find Lee's account convincing and convicted him.
know that lives were lost that day, but I did everything within my
power to try to stop that vehicle," Lee, who is a Laotian immigrant,
recently told CNN affiliate KARE from the Minnesota state prison where
he is serving his sentence. "I never intended for this to happen."
in the wake of massive recalls of Toyota vehicles due to
sudden-acceleration problems, Lee's lawyers are asking that the court
re-examine the Camry, which is still impounded.
"We plan to
employ experts familiar with the '96 Camry and the components that make
up the car to show that rapid acceleration is to blame for the
accident, not Mr. Lee accidentally stepping on the accelerator," one of
Lee's lawyers, Brent Schaefer, told CNN.
Toyota has issued a recall for several models and years of its vehicles, but the 1996 Camry is not one of them.
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's database, CNN was
able to locate "at least two dozen" complaints from owners of the '96
Camry concerning "vehicle speed control."
STINGRAYSSTUDIOS EDITORIAL COMMENT ON THE "DEATH OF TOYOTA" :
If indeed we take the "Big Picture" and put all
of this into perspective, the question is not really about people who
died in automobiles, rather it is that:
FOR OVER 10 YEARS TOYOTA HAS DELIBERATELY AND WITH INTENT TO SERVE
ONLY THEIR OWN BOTTOM LINE, SOLD VEHICLES THAT IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER
WERE & ARE DEFECTIVE IN PRIMARY FUNCTIONAL OPERATIONS AS REQUIRED
BY ALL AUTOMOBILES, (ie.) ACCELERATION, BRAKING, SHIFTING GEARS,
CHASSIS FOUNDATION, RADIATOR COOLING, SEAT BELTS & OTHER AREAS OF
NEED TO DEPEND UPON THE SAFE OPERATION OF AN AUTOMOBILE.
Toyota has failed to acknowledge what is so obvious, that the
products are NOT Qualified to deserve the "promotional reputation" of
quality they have purported to have attained. That is just a bold Face
LIE, one devised as a "sales gimmick" to increase the market share of
the company, by deceptive trade practices aimed at those buyers who are
not well versed in automobiles.
More so than that, in the last 10 years, by Toyota's OWN ADMISSION,
the company has been "taken over" by industrial "pirates" from within
the company, WHO UNDER "MARKET PRESSURE" decreased the manufacturing
cost of over 180 component parts used in ALL Toyota products resulting
in a 30% reduction in each, increasing the corporate profits, and
lowering the reliability of the "whole" construction design, hence the
reason (so say Toyota) for installing a new CEO & bringing back the
"Family" name into leadership of the deteriorating corporation,of
course this was done just as the "sushi hit the floor", and the recalls
The previous management ALL resigned or "retired" in the last 24
months, taking their profits with them, leaving the public to deal with
the garbage they had been sold, and sold to them with FULL KNOWELGE
that the cars & trucks ARE DEFECTIVE.
That is the Real Point here, in proper perspective...it is NOT
about numbers or even recalls, as that of course is a condition of all
manufacturing, instead it is the greed and malice with which Toyota has
"covered up" and continued to sell poorly designed & malfunctioning
products and the degree of severity of those malfunctions.
This is all about ethics, trust and consumer rights to be able to
safely engage in the ownership of an automobile which is a big ticket
purchase, and be able to trust that this is a reliable product for the
use of families and commerce.
Toyota has and still to this day, failed to deliver that.
Worse, they are continuing to make excuses and offer "band aid"
repairs in order to sell MORE cars !!! Claiming that they "don't
recall" or "were not aware" of the complaints or even the deaths caused
by their products !!
BS. THEY KNEW. THEY DID NOT CARE.
THAT IS THE PROPER PERSPECTIVE HERE & NOW.
As Auto Designers, it is vital that WE really do
understand exactly what has happened here, as this is a extreme example
of "Design Failure" resulting in disaster & tragedy.
By TOM RAUM and KEN THOMAS, AP 24 minutes ago
7:47 pm 2/24/10 Loading...
Under blistering criticism, Toyota President Akio Toyoda personally and
repeatedly apologized to Congress and millions of anxious American
car-owners Wednesday for deadly defects in popular models produced by
his Japanese company. But angry lawmakers forcefully declared it was
"Where is the remorse?" scolded Rep. Marcy
Kaptur, D-Ohio. And Republican John Mica of Florida held aloft what he
called an "absolutely appalling" Toyota report bragging of defusing a
Of Toyoda's apology, Kaptur said, "I do
not think it reflects significant remorse for those who have died."
Federal safety officials have received reports linking 34 deaths in the
United States to safety defects in Toyota cars and trucks over the past
"I extend my sincerest condolences to them from the
bottom of my heart," responded Toyoda, grandson of the founder of the
world's largest auto company. "I'm deeply sorry for any accident that
Toyota drivers have experienced."
But what's most important to
American drivers — and what lawmakers pressed Toyoda and a top aide to
provide — was a better explanation for slow actions to deal with the
defects and believable assurances the problems that led to sudden
unintended accelerations will be fixed. Toyoda said those changes are
being made nearly around the clock, but he repeated the company's
insistence that there is no link to the cars' electronic systems.
drivers filing complaints with Toyota and the government say their
acceleration problems had nothing to do with floor mat interference or
sticky gas pedals — the culprits the company is pointing to. Outside
experts have suggested electronic problems.
Toyota has recalled
8.5 million vehicles, more than 6 million of them in the United States,
mostly to fix problems with floor mats trapping gas pedals or with
pedals getting stuck. Toyoda said great strides were being taken by his
company to put "safety first" and it was working hard to refit the
millions of cars and trucks that have been recalled.
^ THE PEDALS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM WITH TOYOTA...THE PROBLEM IS THE COMPANY AND IT'S CONTINUED EFFORT TO HIDE THE TRUTH THAT THEY ARE KNOWINGLY BUILDING AND SELLING JUNK CARS & TRUCKS.
also said Wednesday it will offer free at-home pickup of vehicles
covered by the national safety recall, pay for customers' out-of-pocket
transportation costs and provide drivers free rental cars during
repairs. The deal was initially announced as part of an agreement
between Toyota and New York state.
Toyoda also said that new systems to allow brakes to override gas pedals were being put on new models.
"Notwithstanding that, accidents actually happen," he told the House
Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the second of three
congressional panels examining Toyota's troubles.
Toyoda, 53, remained calm when some Democratic and Republican lawmakers scolded the company for the recalls and safety problems.
stood firm on many points, including saying he was "absolutely
confident" the causes of runaway acceleration were mechanical, and not
a design flaw in the company's electronic throttle control system. Many
safety experts and lawmakers have suggested that the electronics
systems should not be ruled out.
Rep. Mica said it was an
embarrassing day not only for Toyota but for U.S. safety regulators,
whom a number of lawmakers said should have acted more quickly and
Mica held up a copy of a July 2009 internal Toyota
document boasting of a "win" for Toyota in striking a deal with the
U.S. government for a more limited recall involving floor mats. The
document said the agreement saved the company $100 million.
internal presentation was addressed to Yoshimi Inaba, chief of Toyota
Motor North America, who sat next to Toyoda at the witness table.
"It is inconsistent with the guiding principles of Toyota," Inaba told Mica.
testimony got off to an agreeable start, as he promised to tell the
truth and gave an opening statement in clear, if heavily accented,
< THE TOYODA, OR TOYOPET WAS THE ACTUAL NAME OF THE CARS AT FIRST, UNTIL "TOYODA" WAS CHANGED VIA SOME JAPANESE MAGIC TO TOYOTA.
HOW CAN YOU TRUST A MAN WHO STARTS OUT,... LYING ABOUT HIS OWN NAME !!!
"My name is on every car. You have my personal
commitment that Toyota will work vigorously and unceasingly to restore
the trust of our customers," he said.
Committee members praised
him for voluntarily venturing onto a potential minefield. Under
intensifying grilling, Toyoda chose to answer all questions in
Japanese. He brought a translator with him.
Although he answered
every question put to him, many of the answers repeated company talking
points. He did not offer any new company concessions beyond a general
promise to be more vigilant, open in communications and responsive to
calls for change.
Toyoda testified for a little over three hours.
Toyoda met with a more receptive audience: a group of U.S. Toyoto
dealers who have been in town lobbying members of Congress. "Words
cannot express my gratitude," he said in English. "We need to rethink
everything about our operation to regain customer confidence."
Shares of Toyota traded on the New York Stock Exchange rose steadily Wednesday as Toyoda testified, closing up 4 percent.
the hearing, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., spoke of "injuries and the
damages suffered by innocent Americans ... who like myself have grown
up in an atmosphere that we had a great deal of faith in something that
was stamped 'Made in Japan.'"
"It was of the highest
reliability. You injured that thought process in the American public,
and you will be called upon in our system to pay compensation for
that," Kanjorski said.
And Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told the
Toyota chief, "It's one thing to say you're sorry. It's another when it
seems as if time after time there are pronouncements that problems are
being addressed and over and over again it seems like they're not being
He asked why Americans "should pay hard-earned money on a Toyota in hard economic times."
< THE START OF TROUBLE AS TOYOTA STARTED TO IMPORT CARS TO AMERICA IN THE 1960'S... AFTER SEEING THE SUCCESS OF THE VW BEETLE. THE CARS WERE KNOWN AS "SEWING MACHINES" AS THAT WAS & STILL IS TOYOTA'S MAIN BUSINESS...YES, MARTHA,....TOYOTA DOSE BUILD SEWING MACHINES !! CAR PRODUCTION STARTED BY DECREE OF THE EMPEROR OF JAPAN, WHO FUNDED "TOYODA" TO BUILD CARS & TRUCKS DURING THE WAR WITH THE CHINESE.
"I sincerely regret that some people actually encountered accidents in their vehicles," said Toyoda.
one pointed exchange, Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., asked Toyoda
whether U.S. regulators should require automakers to report all defects
throughout the globe. When Toyoda gave a lengthy response through his
translator, promising to "minimize those troubles," Bilbray became
"In all fairness, I'd just like a yes or no,"
Bilbray said, pointing his finger at Toyoda. Toyoda quickly said
through the translator that the company would "extend full
cooperation." Bilbray shot back, "We'll take that as a yes."
Committee members did not spare federal safety regulators from their withering criticism.
Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., the committee chairman, said the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration failed to follow through
aggressively on thousands of complaints dating back a decade about
sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles.
NHTSA , which is part of
the Transportation Department, "failed the taxpayers and Toyota failed
their customers," Towns declared.
Towns asked Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood, who preceded Toyoda in the witness chair, a
question on behalf all of Toyota owners and drivers: Are the cars safe
"We have listed every Toyota that's up for recall,"
LaHood said. "I want anybody who has one of those cars to take it to
the dealer and make sure it gets fixed."
LaHood said the recalled vehicles posted on his department's Web site, http://www.dot.gov, "are not safe."
Darrell Issa of California, the leading Republican on the panel, waved
a gas pedal before LaHood and complained that Toyota knew about
problems of sticking gas pedals and improperly placed floor mats years
ago and made some fixes on models sold in Japan but delayed addressing
the problems on other cars, including some of its most popular models
sold in the U.S., until just recently.
What Is Toyota Hiding Behind Its Black Box?
For almost a decade, the increasing sophistication and
interconnectedness of the electronically-controlled devices and systems
in passenger vehicles has offered the opportunity to collect and store
ample data for post-crash accident investigation.
Since the late 1990’s, individuals have participated in
DOT-sponsored workgroups with the aim of developing industry guidelines
(e.g. IEEE & SAE) for and advising government rule-makers on
EDR-related topics. Represented were the US and Canadian governments,
EDR suppliers, universities, the insurance industry, and certain OEM’s,
among them GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, VW, Honda and Toyota.
According to an August 2001 report from the workgroup,
“The results of a NHTSA-sponsored engineering analysis show that EDR
data can objectively report real-world crash data and therefore be a
powerful investigative and research tool, by providing very useful
information to crash reconstructionists and vehicle safety researchers.
Due to significant limitations however, EDR data should always be used
in conjunction with other data sources.”
The types of data that can be captured and stored are limited only
by the available sensors, integration into a vehicle-communication
protocol (i.e. CAN-BUS or Flex-Ray), software-design, computing power,
and available memory. At the time of the NHTSA report (2001), GM’s EDRs
were already capable of the following:
Capture: State of the driver’ belt, vehicle speed, engine RPM, “brake odoff,” and throttle position;
Transmit and Input: The driver seat belt switch signal is typically
input into the SDM, while the remaining sensors are monitored by one or
more other electronic modules that broadcast data according to a ”send
on change” based design (e.g. a change in engine speed of more than 32
RPM, broadcasts the new RPM value on the serial bus).
Store, archive, update and recover: In airbag deployment or a
near-deployment crashes, the last 5-seconds of data are stored in an
EEPROM (recoverable with appropriate PC-based equipment.) This means,
every second, the SDM takes the most recent sensor data values and
stores them in a recirculating buffer (RAM), one storage location for
each parameterfor a total of 5-seconds. When the airbag sensing system
“enables” on impact, buffer refreshing is suspended;
Certain 1999 models had this capability, and almost all GM vehicles
were expected to add that capability over the next few years.
Compare where GM was in 1999, with the claims found by the L.A. Times
on the Toyota website. Toyota’s EDR’s are capable of recording data
including, among other things, brake pedal application and degree of
application of the accelerator pedal.
On the side of reading data out of EDR’s, in 2000, the Robert Bosch Corporation developed their CDR
(Crash Data Retrieval) unit. Many models by GM (1994), Ford (2001),
Chrysler (2005) and Nissan (2007) have the capability for crash-event
data to be stored in their proprietary EDR’s, and to be freely
retrieved by licensed 3rd parties via a Bosch CDR unit.
While the Bosch CDR units can be freely purchased and used, and
training and support is widely available through Bosch, in North
America, Toyota takes a totally opposite posture. Toyota appears to
engage in practices intended to limit access to the data recorded by
Contrast the situation surrounding the OEM’s above with Toyota’s own answers to questions from the L.A. Times
(edited for brevity). Given Toyota’s apparent lack of confidence in the
software or electronics in its prototype crash analysis tool, one can
not help but wonder if this is really due to the tool, or the
production systems it was designed to analyze:
“Toyota does not yet have a commercially available EDR
readout tool and currently has only one prototype readout tool in the
U.S. Toyota performs EDR readouts for law enforcement under certain
circumstances. We are also occasionally ordered by various courts to
perform EDR readouts. A readout for law enforcement is a community
service that Toyota performs. Toyota does not have the capacity to
perform readouts using its one prototype tool in all cases.”
“Toyota’s EDR is capable of recording only the previous several
seconds of activity before and/or a fraction of a second after a crash
or near-crash situation.”
“Given the fact that the readout tool is a prototype and has not
been validated, it is Toyota’s policy not to use EDR data in its
investigations. However, Toyota has used the readout tool under certain
“EDR data ownership varies state by state. The prototype software
used by Toyota to perform EDR readouts is proprietary, as is the case
with all auto manufacturers. Toyota does not contend that the EDR
readout data is proprietary. When a data retrieval tool is commercially
available, any data retrieved will then as now be subject to applicable
“Federal regulators require Toyota and all other OEMs w/EDR equipped
vehicles to make a data retrieval tool commercially available by
9/1/12. Toyota will, of course, comply with this requirement.”
Given the mature nature of EDR technology and the degree to which
its competitors have made their EDR data available for 3rd-party
download; the limited circumstances (e.g. court order) under which
Toyota makes its single “prototype” device available, the way in which
Toyota characterizes the software within as “unvalidated” and
unreliable, and Toyota’s persistence in these actions despite the
obvious conflict of interest (as the sole party that can release EDR
data), one has to wonder what Toyota is hiding behind their black box.
ITS THE PEDAL MAKERS FAULT....WELL, NO IT IS NOT !!!
What's more, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has
conducted eight investigations into sudden-acceleration problems in
Toyota vehicles over the last seven years, none of which identified a
sticking pedal as a potential cause.
"The way the
sudden-acceleration problems are occurring in reported incidents
doesn't comport with how this sticky pedal is described," said Sean
Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies, a Rehoboth, Mass.,
auto safety consulting firm. "We know this recall is a red herring."
Sudden-acceleration events in Toyota and Lexus vehicles have been
blamed for at least 19 fatalities and 815 vehicle crashes since 1999.
Toyota last fall blamed the episodes on floor mats that entrapped the
gas pedals, leading to a massive recall. Then last week Toyota said
sticking gas pedals were also causing sudden acceleration by not
springing back into idle position, triggering another recall.
On Tuesday, the automaker stopped sales and production of eight models until it could remedy the problem.
Independent auto safety experts have been skeptical of Toyota's
explanations, saying floor mats and sticky gas pedals can't fully
explain the large number of complaints that have been mounting for the
last decade, covering some of the most popular models in the company's
lineup, including the Camry.
That argument was given more weight
Friday when the manufacturer of the suspect pedals insisted its
products had been unfairly blamed.
CTS Corp. of Elkhart, Ind.,
said in a statement that it had "deep concern that there is widespread
confusion and incorrect information" about its products linked to the
"The problem of sudden unintended
acceleration has been reported to have existed in some Lexus vehicles
and Toyota vehicles going back to 1999, when CTS did not even make this
product for any customer," the company said.
TOYOTA backhandedly singled out a U.S. Partsmaker — CTS Corp.,
of Elkhart, Ind. — as the supplier of defective pedals while
exonerating a Japanese company, Denso, that makes the same part. But
CTS CEO Vinod M. Khilnani wasn't about to take the fall. He says his
company met Toyota's engineering specifications and notes that the
recalls tied to unintended acceleration extend to vehicles built as
long ago as 2002. "CTS didn't become a Toyota supplier until 2005," he
There was more to come. In early February, Toyota managed to back
over any remaining political goodwill it had when it voluntarily
recalled more than 400,000 Prius and other hybrid cars — this time, to
update software in the antilock brake system that could cause a glitch
if the car traveled over a bumpy surface. The Lexus is Toyota's
top-selling luxury model — bad enough — but the Prius is its darling, a
car that demonstrated the company's ability to solve technical issues
that kept other automakers from fielding gas-electric hybrids, at the
same time clinching Toyota's green cred. Only last month at the Detroit
Auto Show, executives described the Prius as the cornerstone of
Toyota's future growth. Toyota planned to sell a million hybrids a year
globally, most of them in North America.
As Toyota dithered, it lost hold of the wheel. Lawyers and politicians
took charge. In Washington, Toyota executives are poised to replace
bankers as populist targets before a congressional hearing. "Toyota
drivers have gone from being customers of the company to being wards of
the government," says Jim Cain, senior vice president of Quell Group, a
marketing-communications firm in Detroit, and a former Ford
media-relations executive. "It's absolutely the worst possible position
to be in." Tort lawyers around the U.S. have filed class actions. SRS
says it has identified 2,262 instances of unintended acceleration in
Toyotas leading to at least 819 crashes and 26 deaths since 1999.
Bookout couldn't control her revving car, even after she pulled the
emergency brake. It slammed into an embankment beside an Oklahoma
interstate, killing her best friend.
Ezal was about to park his car for lunch when it was propelled over a
curb, plowed through two decorative fences and plunged over a 70-foot
cliff beside the Pacific Ocean, killing his wife.
Alberto, on the way to the family convenience store, found herself
racing at speeds of as much as 75 mph before she slammed her car into a
tree. A witness said she appeared terrified as she flew by.
As the first congressional hearings on Toyota get underway Tuesday, one
key question will be whether the automaker has fully diagnosed the
causes of its runaway cars.
The company says it has discovered the source of the problem in sticky pedals and interfering floor mats, and is fixing them in the millions of cars it has recalled.
in each of those three fatal episodes, the car involved was a 2005
Toyota Camry, a model that the company has indicated is free of the
acceleration defects: It has not been recalled for either the sticky
pedal or the floor mat interference.
"This raises a huge red flag," said Clarence Ditlow, director of the Center for Auto Safety.
and other safety advocates have their own suspicions, aroused by a
history of glitchy behavior in the electronics that control Toyota's
unintended accelerations do not appear to be explained by floor mats
and sticky pedals," said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), who is
holding the Tuesday hearing on the recalls. "One of the key questions
we will ask at the hearing is whether electronic defects could be
Toyota officials declined to comment on the cases because they are in litigation.
never want to see any injuries or fatalities in our vehicles regardless
of the circumstances," spokesman Ed Lewis said, "and nothing is more
important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our
throttle systems were introduced in Camrys in 2002, replacing the old
mechanical connection between the accelerator pedal and the engine, and
it is the operation of these sensors and other electronics that has
been the focus of many industry watchdogs.
year, a study by Randy Whitfield, a Maryland researcher, showed that
the portion of complaints filed with federal regulators against Toyotas
involving "speed control" as much as tripled after the company
installed electronic throttles.
Whitfield said his company, Quality Control Systems, which analyzes auto safety data,
initiated the research on its own. It was first posted online in
October 2008. A companion piece, published this month, was paid for by
trial attorneys and victims' families.
Warning signs missed?
attorneys, victims' families and their consultants say several clues
suggest that engine electronics could cause Toyotas to malfunction.
example, in 2002, the company issued a service bulletin to dealers
warning that some Camrys "exhibit a surging" at speeds between 38 and
It called for revisions in the calibration of the "engine control module," the electronics that run the engine.
About the same time, the Camry
owner's manual offered a warning that the installation of a mobile
two-way radio system "could affect electronic systems" in the car,
including the electronic throttle system.
then in 2007, an investigation by federal regulators found that
magnetic interference could cause an increase in engine speed in a
Toyota Lexus ES 350.
investigators seemed to consider the increase small, noting that the
increase of 1,000 rpms is similar to engine operation in idle, and
focused instead on the threat posed by floor mats interfering with the
accelerator. But safety advocates say the increase in the engine speed
should have been taken as a warning sign.
In response to the suspicions, Toyota has said it has studied its electronics and found no defects.
"If you are looking for a needle in a haystack
and you don't find it, it doesn't mean it wasn't there," said Antony
Anderson, an electrical engineer who has specialized in electrical
Federal safety regulators, meanwhile, have repeatedly opted not to pursue deeper investigations.
officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
announced recently that they would review the potential electronics
problems, they made clear their skepticism.
is not a defect investigation, because the agency has no reason at this
point to believe there are safety defects in these systems," the NHTSA
said in a written announcement.
Drivers at fault?
Toyota hasn't acknowledged any sudden acceleration defects in the '05
Camry, or in the '06 Camry, which is involved in another fatality, what
caused the acceleration may remain a mystery.
court, manufacturers often blame alleged acceleration problems on the
driver, attributing the acceleration to "pedal misapplication," or the
driver accidentally hitting the accelerator instead of the brake.
a 1989 report, the NHTSA asserted that drivers over 60 were far more
likely than younger drivers to be involved in such an incident,
suggesting that deteriorating reflexes are a contributing factor, too.
In each of the three fatal cases involving '05 Camrys, the driver was older than 70.
the prolonged duration of the three fatal rides, as well as witness
accounts, may make it more difficult to blame driver confusion.
caused by "pedal misapplication" often unfold in just moments -- before
the driver has time to realize the mistake and avert trouble.
But the 2005 Camry cases lasted more than a moment.
the Oklahoma case in September 2007, for example, the police report
notes that one of the Camry's rear tires left a skid mark of 150 feet,
apparently as Bookout, then 76, applied the emergency brake. Before
dying, her passenger told first responders that the car had sped out of
control, said Graham Esdale, the attorney representing plaintiffs in
then 73, was braking as he entered the parking lot and had enough time
to run over a curb and plow through two decorative fences before the
Camry carrying the retired engineer and his wife went off the cliff.
the Michigan case, Alberto, 77, was driving an estimated 75 mph on a
street with a 25 mph speed limit on the way to work at her family's
both hands on the steering wheel and her eyes were wide open like she
was scared or, you know, terrified," a witness, Dante Hairston said in
a sworn statement.
for the question of the driver's age, statistics from the Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety show that drivers between 70 and 75 years
of age experience police-reported accidents at a slightly higher rate
than their middle-aged peers on a per-mile basis. But they are roughly
the same as drivers between 25 and 30 years old.
Alberto's accident cannot be explained in terms of what Toyota has
offered so far with its claims of driver pedal misapplication, floor
mats or sticky pedals," said the family's attorney, Edgar F. Heiskell.
"The electronic throttle control took over the throttle."
Documents: Toyota boasted saving $100M on recall
By KEN THOMAS, AP 2 hours ago
- 10:49 PM EST 2/21/10 Loading...
Toyota officials claimed they saved the company $100 million by
successfully negotiating with the government on a limited recall of
floor mats in some Toyota and Lexus vehicles, according to new
documents shared with congressional investigators.
Toyota, in an
internal presentation in July 2009 at its Washington office, said it
saved $100 million or more by negotiating an "equipment recall" of
floor mats involving 55,000 Toyota Camry and Lexus ES350 vehicles in
The savings are listed under the title, "Wins
for Toyota — Safety Group." The document cites millions of dollars in
other savings by delaying safety regulations, avoiding defect
investigations and slowing down other industry requirements.
documents could set off alarms in Congress over whether Toyota put
profits ahead of customer safety and pushed regulators to narrow the
scope of recalls. Two House committees are holding hearings this week
on the Japanese automaker's recall of 8.5 million vehicles in recent
months to deal with safety problems involving gas pedals, floor mats
The world's largest automaker has been criticized
for responding too slowly to complaints of sudden acceleration in its
vehicles, threatening to undermine its reputation for quality and
The documents were turned over to the House Oversight
and Government Reform Committee and obtained by The Associated Press on
Sunday. The presentation was first reported by The Detroit News.
said in a statement: "Our first priority is the safety of our customers
and to conclude otherwise on the basis of one internal presentation is
wrong. Our values have always been to put the customer first and ensure
the highest levels of safety and quality."
Kurt Bardella, a
spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the top Republican on the
Oversight Committee, said the documents raise questions on "whether
Toyota was lobbying for less rigid actions from regulators to protect
their bottom line."
Transportation Department spokeswoman Olivia
Alair called the document "very telling. And that's why Secretary (Ray)
LaHood has been saying we're going to hold Toyota's feet to the fire
and make sure they do what's necessary to make their cars safe for the
The new documents show the financial benefit of
delay. In the presentation, Toyota said a phase-in to new safety
regulations for side air bags saved the company $124 million and 50,000
man hours. Delaying a rule for tougher door locks saved $11 million.
defect regulations, the document boasts that Toyota "avoided
investigation" on rusting Tacoma pickup trucks. The National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration investigated the case in 2008 but closed
it without finding a safety defect. Toyota agreed to buy back certain
rusty pickups, inspect other and extend warranties.
lists seven "Wins for Toyota & Industry," including "favorable
recall outcomes," "secured safety rulemaking favorable to Toyota" and
"vehicles not in climate legislation." Another page lists "key safety
issues," including "Sudden acceleration on ES/Camry, Tacoma, LS etc."
In one passage, the document says Toyota "negotiated 'equipment' recall on Camry/ES re SA; saved $100M+, w/ no defect found."
had launched an investigation in March 2007 over allegations that floor
mats were interfering with accelerator pedals. Toyota told the
government a month later that there was "no possibility of the pedal
interference with the all-weather floor mat if it's placed properly and
By that August, the government had connected the
problem to a dozen deaths and a survey of 600 Lexus owners discovered
10 percent reported sudden or unexpected acceleration. But the recall
in September 2007 was limited to 55,000 Camry and ES350 vehicles to
replace the floor mats.
The 10-page internal presentation was
dated July 6, 2009, less than two months before a high-speed crash near
San Diego killed a California highway patrol officer and his family and
reignited concerns over sudden acceleration in Toyotas.
October 2009, Toyota issued its largest-ever U.S. recall, involving
about 4 million vehicles, over concerns of pedals getting stuck in
The presentation lists Yoshi Inaba, Toyota's chief
executive in North America, on its cover. Inaba is scheduled to testify
before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, along with
Toyota president Akio Toyoda and Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor
Sales USA. The committee is also expected to hear from LaHood, NHTSA
Administrator David Strickland and safety advocates.
Oversight Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday with Lentz, LaHood and
Strickland. A Senate committee is planning a March 2 hearing.
has said it will create an outside review of company operations, do a
better job of responding to customer complaints and improve
communication with federal officials.
Separately, the government
said Sunday it was already investigating reports of sudden acceleration
in Toyota vehicles when the nation's largest auto insurer shared
complaints about the issue.
The Transportation Department
released documents showing that in December 2003 it began investigating
39 complaints of sudden acceleration involving 2002-03 Toyota Camry
sedans. That was about three months before State Farm shared with NHTSA
complaints of sudden acceleration in 2003-04 Lexus ES300s and 2002-04
The document released by LaHood said the department had
received allegations of 26 crashes and 4 injuries involving drivers
complaining of their vehicles surging when backing up, pulling in and
out of parking spaces and shifting gears.
Reports of deaths in
the U.S. connected to sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles have
surged in recent weeks, with the toll of deaths allegedly attributed to
the problem reaching 34 since 2000, according to new consumer data
gathered by the U.S. government.
says it knew there were problems with accelerator-pedal assemblies from
supplier CTS late last year, but not enough to warrant a recall.
The automaker says it hurriedly announced last
Thursday a planned recall of 2.3 million Toyotas, back to 2005 models,
because the defect trend had picked up. "The quickness that this all
came together is one reason why I don't have numbers" of complaints,
the automaker's U.S. safety spokesman, John Hanson, says. "And why we don't have a fix."
The recall includes an unspecified number of 2009-10 Pontiac Vibes, designed and built by Toyota for General Motors' now- discontinued Pontiac brand. Vibe is similar to the Toyota Matrix that's part of the recall.
Toyota did not identify Vibe in its announcement of the recall. GM made no announcement, but confirmed Vibe is included.
GM spokesman Alan Adler says: "We do not
typically do pre-recall announcements. We tend to wait until there is
something that can be done," before notifying owners.
Hanson has said it could be weeks before Toyota
determines a remedy and gets it approved by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Toyota says it has no direct reports of injuries or deaths . ( ? !!!!!) But the day Toyota
announced the recall, ABC News broadcast a report, prepared before the
recall announcement, linking the problem to four deaths
The car company says that the latest
sticking-throttle recall is separate from one it announced in November.
That one involved 4.3 million Toyota and Lexus models. Their gas pedals might get caught under floor mats and send the cars out of control.
That problem is linked to the death of off-duty California Highway Patrolman Mark Saylor and three family members Aug. 28.
"I think it's questionable" whether the two
recalls are separate, says Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry
trends for TrueCar.com, an auto-pricing and industry-tracking site.
Toyota says 1.7 million vehicles are affected by
both recalls. Toprak notes that Toyota first identified the previous
recall as a floor mat issue, then said the accelerator pedals
themselves were partly at fault. Now, most vehicles in the
sticking-throttle recall announced Thursday also are involved in the
"Their biggest error was not to do a deep dive into the issue last year," Toprak says.
Toyota says the potentially faulty pedals came
from a CTS facility in Streetsville, Ontario. CTS has not returned
calls asking for comment.
Toyota says drivers whose throttles stick open
should shift into neutral, pull off the road and call a dealer. Dealers
have been told to help on a "case-by-case basis," until Toyota can fix
Adler says GM dealers would do so, too. He says
that no Vibe owners have reported the problem. Adler says the recall
repairs will be made by GM's Buick and GMC dealers.
Toyota won't say how much leeway dealers have —
whether, for example, they can install new pedal assemblies, or provide
long-term loaner cars until there is a recall remedy.
Toyota says the problem appears to be due to
premature wear of some mechanical parts in the CTS throttle assemblies.
Hanson says that means new vehicles should be risk-free, at least long
enough for Toyota to come up with a fix.
Throttle-pedal assemblies from Toyota's other
supplier, Denso, are not all interchangeable, eliminating that as a
quick-fix solution, Toyota says.
CTS also supplies throttle assemblies to Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi. Those companies say their designs are different and pose no risk of sticking open.
Hanson says the first symptom of the latest
throttle problem is when the gas pedal feels rough, instead of smooth,
when the driver presses down. The next stage: The throttle pedal
doesn't return promptly when the driver lets off. Finally, the throttle
sticks open even after the driver's foot is removed.
Hanson says drivers should contact dealers if
they experience the first step and not wait for the gas pedal to begin
working sluggishly. "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.
Toyota continues selling models involved in the
recall, expecting that they work fine because they are new and the
throttles don't seem to begin sticking until the vehicle ages, Hanson
SO,.....IF YOU OWN A TOYOTA....GET RID OF IT,...NOW !! DON'T TRY TO SELL IT AS ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD BUY A TOYOTA TODAY. JUST TAKE IT TO A SHOPPING MALL PARKING LOT AND HAVE YOUR FRIEND WITH THE 4x4 PICKUP RUN OVER IT A FEW TIMES, THEN CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY AND TELL THEM YOUR CAR GOT TOTALED WHILE YOU WERE SHOPPING !!...
....& THEN GO BUY A CHEVY !
^ 2011 CHEVROLET CRUZE - ALREADY A BEST SELLING CAR WORLDWIDE !!
Congress: Mother of Lexus crash victims to testify at Toyota hearing
This Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
will hold a hearing on Toyota's recent recall woes entitled "Toyota Gas
Pedals: Is the Public at Risk?" The committee released a full witness
list today, which includes a number of people we were expecting to
testify like Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, National Highway
Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland, President and CEO of
Toyota Motor North America Yoshimi Inaba and his boss, the President
and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda.
Along with representatives from a couple of consumer safety groups,
there's one witness on the list who took us by surprise: Mrs. Fe
Lastrella, a relative of four family members who perished late last
August when off-duty California Highway Patrol officer Mark Saylor lost
control of a loaner Lexus ES350 when it experienced sudden unintended
acceleration. Mrs. Lastrella is the mother of Saylor's wife, Cleofe,
and brother-in-law, Chris Lastrella, who were both killed in the
accident. Lastrella's 13-year-old granddaughter Mahala also died in the
The fatal crash was arguably the catalyst for Toyota's recent fall from
grace, as it led to the first recall last October of 3.8 million
vehicles for defective floor mats that could entrap accelerator pedals
on certain models. That recall has since been expanded to 4.9 million
vehicles and was followed by another recall in late January of 2.3
million Toyota vehicles with pedals that could also experience
unintended acceleration in certain situations.
What effect will Mrs. Lastrella's testimony on Wednesday have on the
hearing's outcome? The presence of a family member, a mother no less,
who has been so devastatingly impacted by an accident involving a
Toyota, will serve to put a human face on the question of whether or
not the tragedy could have been prevented – and equally important,
whether Toyota, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – or
both – are to blame.
Toyota spokesperson ZoeZeigler declined comment on the class
action complaint, saying company lawyers have not yet had a chance to
The suit seeks to represent all plaintiffs who lost or settled
cases in which Toyota allegedly concealed evidence. It was filed late
Friday by lawyers for Bella Basco and Crystal Ennis, both of whom
suffered catastrophic injuries in rollover wrecks when vehicle roofs
Basco, 36, of Saskatchewan, Canada, sued Toyota in 2005 after a
crash of a Toyota Corolla left her a quadriplegic. In August, 2007, a
jury in Los Angeles absolved Toyota on a 9-3 vote, finding that the
design of the roof structure was not a substantial factor in her
Ennis, 24, of San Bernardino County in California, sued Toyota in
2003 after becoming quadriplegic in a rollover of a Toyota Camry. Her
case was settled on confidential terms in September, 2007.
Triggered by Biller's sensational allegations, the class action is
the first salvo in what will likely be a wider campaign to reopen cases
previously won or settled by Toyota. Richard McCune of McCuneWright,
LLP, in Redlands, CA., which represented Basco and Ennis and filed the
class action, acknowledged that he had no independent confirmation of
But in the Basco and Ennis cases, there was key information "that
a company like Toyota should have had, and which they claimed they did
not have, such as fundamental test reports,'' he said. If Biller is
correct, significant evidence was withheld, and everyone else who had
cases in the same time period "was in the same boat that we are,"
Biller, a managing counsel for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., in
Torrance, Calif., from 2003 to 2007, claimed in his lawsuit that he
repeatedly complained to supervisors that the company was illegally
withholding evidence. He said the conflicts caused him to suffer a
mental breakdown and leave the company in September, 2007, with a $3.7
million severance agreement.
Biller, 46, said that when he learned of the company's failure to
produce test data from an engineering subsidiary, he attempted to
collect and preserve the information. Nonetheless, the engineering unit
"was allowed to destroy relevant information and documents that should
have been produced in, approximately, over 300 rollover accidents
involving roof crush issues.'' The suit also claims that Toyota
regularly withheld records on its internal standard for roof strength,
and allowed witnesses to testify that the standard didn't exist.
In a statement issued Friday on the Biller case,
P. Biller, who in
a separate racketeering case accused his former employer of concealing
and destroying evidence that should have been provided to plaintiffs.
Toyota called his
accusations "inaccurate and misleading.'' Company lawyers have not
filed an answer to his lawsuit, but have brought a motion to seal the
complaint, claiming it is "rife with privileged and confidential
information'' that Biller, as a former Toyota lawyer, has no right to
Like the Biller complaint, the class action names Toyota Motor
Corp. of Japan, Toyota Motor Sales, and five current or former
executives and lawyers with Motor Sales. It seeks certification of two
separate classes -- one of Californians and the other of plaintiffs
from other states who lost or settled cases with Toyota.
USE THE LINK BELOW TO FILE YOUR OPINION WITH CBS NEWS :
Lexus Crash: An Avoidable Tragedy
Toyota's Recall Highlights A Problem That Could Have Been Fixed
Toyota Motor America recalled over 4 million of its Toyota brand and
Lexus brand vehicles to stem a problem that's hung over the automaker's
head for months.
Back in August, a family of four crashed in a LexusES350 after the
driver noticed he couldn't get the car to slow down. With a floor mat
stuck underneath the accelerator pedal, the car traveled out of
control, through busy intersections under its own uncontrollable power.
Traveling at a rate of over 100 MPH, the car finally came to a stop
after it bounded through an intersection at a dead-end road, swiped
another car, crashed through a fence, jumped over a dirt berm and
landed into a riverbed below. All four people died from the injuries
sustained in the crash and the ensuing fire. The driver of the other
vehicle escaped with minor injuries.
Toyota's advice for owners of the above vehicles: Until
the company sends you a letter asking you to come into the dealership,
it is asking owners of specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any
removable driver’s floor mat and NOT replace it with any other floor
The details of Toyota's safety advisory and recall are now known (view our story on the recall),
with hopefully no further accidents. Toyota says the full scope of the
recall, which includes the shaving of accelerator pedals and the
installation of a brake override system in some models, could take a
But, absent in the dry discussion of the recall are two critical
things: the loss of a young family and the tragic fact that the entire
thing could have been avoided.
On Their Way To Soccer Practice
Mark Saylor lived the kind of life most kids dream about. After a
childhood playing sports and trading baseball cards, he grew up to join
the Air Force, where he traveled the world, including a stint of two
years in Okinawa, Japan. Eventually he moved to his final Air Force
commission in Sacramento, achieving the rank of Sergeant E4. He was
well regarded amongst his friends and fellow soldiers.
Saylor's life of service didn't stop with the Air Force, however. He
joined the California Highway Patrol after the Air Force, serving for
In California as a CHP, Saylor would go on to meet his wife to-be,
Cleofe. CleofeLastrella, born in the Philippines but raised in the
Midway Islands and San Francisco, was a smart and pretty young woman
with a degree in biochemistry from UC Davis. In 1995, the two wed in
One year later they gave birth to their only daughter, Mahala, who
took to her father's love of sports. She was an avid soccer player and
loved playing with her friends. After graduating from St. John's Middle
School earlier in the year, she was due to start high school in the
The morning of August 28, 2009 started like any other for the Saylor
family, save for the fact that it was a Friday. Officer Saylor started
early like he normally did -- 5:30 a.m. -- with a brief break in the
morning to take his car for service at Bob Baker Toyota/Lexus. He
brought in his 2006 LexusIS250 for a problem with the CD player and
was given a loaner vehicle, a 2009 LexusES350. He left the dealership
at 9:35 in the morning, returned to work at the California Highway
Patrol Special Duties School and finished his shift at 2:00 p.m. It
being Friday, he was looking forward to spending time with his family.
That afternoon Saylor returned home to the family's residence in
Chula Vista, where he picked up his wife, daughter and brother-in-law
(Cleofe's brother, Chris Lastrella). Officer John Concepcion, Saylor's
close friend at the CHP, said the family usually spent Friday evenings
at Mahala's soccer practice. They were on their way to such a practice
on Friday afternoon when their Lexus experienced problems.
Chris Lastrella, riding in the back seat next to Mahala, called 911.
"The accelerator is stuck," he said to the operator. "We're approaching an intersection..."
Santee, California's intersection of SR 125 and Mission Gorge Road
is one of the busiest intersections in San Diego County. The Saylors
and Lastrella died only moments later.
An Avoidable Tragedy
Any tragedy of this sort leaves plenty of tough, unanswered
questions. Chief among them is: why couldn't Mark Saylor get his car
stopped? With the sort of rigorous training a California Highway Patrol
officer goes through, there's little doubt that Saylor tried every
possible option in his attempt to slow the car and save his family.
Toyota called the issue one of "pedal entrapment," brought about by
the car's floor mat sticking under the pedal. The vehicle, on loan from
Bob Baker Toyota/Lexus, actually had the wrong floor mat installed. It
was an all-weather floor mat from a LexusSUV, which -- given the angle
of the ES350's floor and its distance to the bottom of the accelerator
pedal -- caused the jamming. Saylor and his family were caught in the
wrong place at the wrong time. It was a complete and utter tragedy.
Was it Toyota's fault? Was it the dealership's fault? It's tough to say, but we can be certain it wasn't Mark Saylor's fault.
When the news broke that the vehicle had the wrong floor mats in it,
our hearts sank. Nobody double-checked it. Nobody from the dealership
considered what might occur. But, how could they see the future, right?
In a world of a thousand possibilities, it would be difficult for them
to expect acceleration problems with any of their vehicles, let alone
the Lexus they loaned Mark Saylor.
We believed that until something we learned this week.
When the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Report No. 09056454.1
became public information last week, we learned that the very same car
that Mark Saylor drove on August 28 had been reported as having
unintended acceleration problems.
Earlier in the week the
Saylor family died, Frank Bernard and his wife picked up the very same
loaner vehicle -- a white LexusES350 with California dealer plate
6DRT323. In a police report, Bernard told the San Diego Sheriffs that
that as he was merging onto a freeway, he saw a truck nearby and
accelerated briskly to get in front of it. Once in front of the truck,
he let his foot off the accelerator. The vehicle "kept accelerating on
its own, to about 80-85 MPH."
Bernard said he stepped on the
brakes and tried to lift up on the accelerator with his right foot. He
got over to the shoulder, was able to slow the car to 50-60 MPH, but
was unable to stop the car's ignition (the Lexus has a push-button
start system that requires a three-second hold to turn off the car).
Trying everything he could, he eventually placed the car into neutral.
The engine "made a very loud, whining, racing sound" but the car
He was safe.
Bernard noticed the floor mat had
become stuck under the accelerator pedal. After he cleared the mat, he
drove normally, although likely a little shaken.
returned the vehicle to Bob Baker Toyota/Lexus on the evening of August
25, he reported the problems to the receptionist.
"I think the mat caused it," he told the receptionist upon handing her the keys. "You need to tell someone."
days later, Mark Saylor picked up the same LexusES350 with the same
all-weather floor mat installed. Hours later, he and his family were
A Problem To Be Fixed
Reports recently uncovered NHTSA's log books from 2008 that showed
Toyota and Lexus vehicles accounted for over 40% of the complaints
about uncontrolled acceleration in 2008 models. That's a significant
percentage, especially considering that Toyota doesn't sell 40% of the
cars on the market (it sells about 15% of all cars).
Toyota's President, AkioToyoda, recently went on record to say,
"Toyota has become too big and distant from its customers," we knew the
tragedy had hit home at the mother company.
"We are grasping for salvation," Toyoda said.
the cold, hard truth of the safety business that it usually takes a
tragedy to jumpstart a widespread innovation that eventually saves
It's heartbreaking that Mark Saylor and his family
became that tragedy, especially when it's now clear they didn't have to
suffer such a fate.
Toyota's told dealers to attach recalled floor mats to seat frames on the driver's side of affected vehicles with self-locking zip ties to prevent them from snagging on gas pedals, causing unintended acceleration and then, fiery death. Yes, zip ties.
Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons told Automotive News: "We have
reviewed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration what
we're calling a semipermanent floor mat installation process, and we're
providing these instructions to our dealers."
Lyons says the mats are to be secured to the driver's seat frame
with "nylon self-locking wire ties," described as plastic straps that
loop back into themselves and lock when pulled tight. In other words
Dealers also are to attach a label to the wire tie warning dealers
and customers to ensure that the mat is secured with restraining straps
and not to stack one mat over another.
Although we always knew either duct tape or zip ties would save us
all from fiery death, but we'd love to see some proof in the way of the
"mat installation process" from a Toyota dealership. Anyone out there
have the instructions or can find them for us? Similarly, anyone have
pictures of the "semipermanent" solution in action?
^ WOULD YOU REALLY BUY ANYTHING FROM THESE GUYS, ... LIKE A CAR YOU TRUST YOUR FAMILY IN ???
death of a Japanese Toyota engineer in January 2006 has now been
attributed to working too many hours according to an official ruling
this past month. The 45-year-old man, lead engineer on the Toyota Camry Hybrid, was reportedly working an average of 80 hours overtime
per month during the several months before his death from ischemic
heart disease. The official ruling allows his family to collect
benefits from his work insurance, and Toyota is saying they will work
to improve monitoring of the health of their workers. Let's hope they
mean it, because this occurence, known as "karoshi," has steadily
increased since the Health Ministry first recognized the phenomenon in
It's especially tough to see someone work themselves to death in a
white-collar job as opposed to going out doing what they love. We're
not saying engineers don't enjoy what they do, but it's a shame to see
a life wasted creating a boring mid-size sedan that gets slightly
better fuel economy. We imagine that somewhere, Eric Stromer is laying a single rose on his Camry Hybrid. - [Yahoo News]
Toyota CEO Says Brand is "Grasping for Salvation"; Offers Apologies For Recall
"Toyota has become too big and distant from its customers," the chief executive said.
In the U.S., the automaker's sales are down 13% in September from a year ago. Globally, sales are down 28% for the brand.
have mentioned that much of the company's financial turmoil still has
to do with a weak U.S. economy, as well as a poor dollar-to-yen
exchange rate. At one point earlier this year, analysts expected sales
of 10 million units for the 2009 calendar year, but have now revised
the estimate down to 7.34 million. Last year, the company sold 8.97
million units worldwide.
Given a stable exchange rate of $1 to 92 yen, a loss of $8.4 billion is said to occur for the financial year ending next March.
"When you get to this level, it makes it difficult to return to profit on sales growth alone," Akio said to reporters.
would like to pay our deepest condolences for the loss of four precious
lives,” Toyoda announced. “Customers who chose Toyota and Lexus cars because those brands are safe and secure are now beset with anxiety. I regret and apologize for this development."
TOYOTA "SKUNKS OUT" ON RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEATHS CAUSED BY THEIR CARS, IT IS THE OWNER WHO CAUSED THE DEFECT THE COMPANY IMPLIES:
THE CURRENT RECALL — the largest U.S. recall for Toyota —
was prompted by a high-speed crash in August involving a 2009 Lexus
ES350 in which four people were killed. Occupants in the vehicle made a
frantic 911 call, saying the accelerator was stuck and they couldn't
stop the vehicle.
Toyota said it began mailing owners of the
recalled vehicles letters about the possible problem with the mats. The
recall includes the Toyota Camry for the model year 2007-2010, Toyota
Avalon (2005-2010), Toyota Prius (2004-2009), Toyota Tacoma
(2005-2010), Toyota Tundra (2007-2010), Lexus ES350 (2007-2010) and
Lexus IS250/IS350 (2006-2010).
Toyota said there is no evidence
that unintended acceleration could be caused by any defects other than
an improperly installed or incorrect floor mat. It said the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reviewed allegations of
unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles six times, clearing the
automaker each time.
"The question of unintended
acceleration involving Toyota and Lexus vehicles has been repeatedly
and thoroughly investigated by NHTSA, without any finding of defect
other than the risk from an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor
mat," said Bob Daly, senior vice president for Toyota Motor Sales USA, in a statement.
In yet another example of Toyota Typical Two Faced BS, the company which is bleeding red ink worldwide now found a way to avoid taking the FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY for the DEATHS of Camry & Lexus Owners, who Must be Total Idiots if they cannot keep the floor mats connected to the floor, RIGHT ?......well yes they ARE Idiots for buying the cars in the first place, but the "attachment system" is completely "foreign" to the way most all other American Auto Company Floor Mats are attached... SO ONCE AGAIN TOYOTA PROVES THEY ARE DEAD WRONG. THE TOYOTA RECOMMENDED "FIX " TO THE FLOOR MAT IS A "ZIP TIE" ATTACHED TO THE SEAT & FLOOR MAT !!!
^ UH,.....GEE WHIZ MISSER TOYODA....WE SEEM TO STILL REMEMBER ALL THOSE "STICKING ACCELERATOR" CRASHES IN NASCAR !!!
APPARENTLY TOYOTA THINKS ALL AMERICANS ARE DEAF, DUMB & BLIND.
OH, BUT PLEASE READ ON....AS THE PLOT "THICKENS" WITH EVEN MORE AMAZING TRUE DISASTER STORIES OF THE REAL TOYOTA HERE BELOW....:
TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota is recalling 1.3 million
vehicles worldwide due to a seat belt defect. The recall includes more
than 130,000 Yaris models sold in the U.S. Toyota Motor Sales USA says
it is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
to recall 134,900 model-year 2006 and 2007 Yaris subcompact cars.
automaker says in severe front-end collisions,.... The seat belt is at risk
of causing a foam pad in the vehicle to ignite, burning the car & Driver !
^ The infamous "666" logo of Toyota
Toyota "ethics" Destroys The Company Value :
Toyota remains second to GM in
U.S. sales, but it suffers the perception of being Number One
everywhere. The quest for first place prompted Toyota to spend millions
of U.S. dollars on the latest Tundra full-size pickup, a truck that
will struggle to maintain six-digit sales here, just like the last
Being number-one isn't necessarily a good thing, though.
Toyota execs admitted as much a couple years ago as the company
prepared to pass GM globally. Much of the public sees the largest
manufacturer of anything as being a huge, impersonal entity concerned
only about boosting profits and cutting costs (employees). A good
portion of the public sees manufacturers of cars and trucks as being
purveyors of gas guzzling, polluting deathtraps, no matter how many hybrids they sell.
is Number One with a bullet. It's a huge target, waiting to be pulled
down by some upstart like Hyundai. That upstart then will face a
challenge from another upstart. The next lead change won't take 50
So far, Toyota has handled its ultimate position
completely lacking grace, complaining of the same awful global economy
that's making every other automaker miserable. Not what I'd expect of a
company with such a good work ethic, and one that has built so many
good cars -- and quite a few wonderful cars -- over the years.
Toyoda has been quoted recently as saying Japan's strong yen could lead
Toyota to "irrelevance or death." I didn't hear Toyoda's comments live.
I don't know how clearly he spoke English, or whether his comments
might have been poorly translated. I know this much: "irrelevance or
death" and "grasping for salvation" are not "the penalty of leadership."
Lexus Consumer Safety Advisory :
Potential Floor Mat Interference with Accelerator Pedal
Recent events have prompted Toyota to take a closer look at
the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open
position due to an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat. A
stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and
make it difficult to stop the vehicle, which could cause a crash,
serious injury or death.
Toyota considers this a critical matter and will soon launch a
safety campaign on specific Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Throughout the
process of developing the details of the action plan, it will advise
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Until Toyota develops a remedy, it is asking owners of
specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any removable driver’s
floor mat and NOT replace it with any other floor mat. The following
models are affected:
• 2007 – 2010 ES350
• 2006 – 2010 IS250 and IS350
"Lexus apologizes for any inconvenience or death you may encounter & offers you a FREE SERVICE IN MIAMI AND A MASSAGE AT OUR SPA LOCATED IN THE LEXUS OF NORTH MIAMI DEALERSHIP IN SOUTH FLORIDA".
To claim you free RECALL SERVICE & MASSAGE,....just use the link below to schedule an appointment at your convenience, CLICK ON THE TOYOTA SERVICE PICTURE BELOW TO CONTACT US & SET UP YOUR RECALL NOW :
LEXUS OF NORTH MIAMI - BUILT BY CRAIG ZINN WITH A $76 MILLION DOLLAR LOAN FROM TOYOTA CREDIT :
YOU MUST BRING YOUR LEXUS TO THE NORTH MIAMI DEALERSHIP FOR SERVICE TO CLAIM THIS APOLOGY OFFER.
- WE ADVISE THAT YOU DO NOT DRIVE TO MIAMI, BUT RATHER HAVE YOUR CAR SHIPPED VIA CARRIER TRUCK.
LEXUS OF NORTH MIAMI TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS, CRAIG HAD TO PUT UP HIS HOUSE TO CONVINCE TOYOTA HE WAS SERIOUS ABOUT SELLING LEXUS CARS FROM A SPA LOCATION, SO HE CAN'T REALLY AFFORD TO PAY FOR YOUR TRIP HERE. SHIT, HE CAN BARLEY AFFORD TO SELL YOU A CAR !!!!....
BUT HE FIGURES IF ENOUGH OF YOU IDIOTS COME TO MIAMI HE CAN GET PAID TO FIX YOUR JUNK PILE & PAY OFF HIS MORTGAGE ANYWAY, & THEN TELL TOYOTA TO GO STRAIGHT TO HELL WITH THEIR CRAPPY LEXUS CARS.
Toyota floor mats also suspected in 2007 death
Widow urges Japanese automaker to act quickly to prevent more accidents
Yuri KageyamaThe Associated press
TOKYO–Two years before the fatal accident that prompted Toyota to warn
3.8 million American car owners to take out floor mats, Troy Johnson
died in a crash also suspected of being caused by a floor mat jamming
Melodie Bohuchot, the widow, pleaded with Toyota Motor Corp. Thursday to act quickly to prevent any more accidents.
"I just want Toyota to fix the problem now. Don't wait,'' Bohuchot, 30,
told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Sacramento,
Calif. "How many people have to die before they take this seriously?''
Earlier this week, Toyota informed the U.S. government it will be
sending letters by first-class mail to owners of the best-selling
Camry, the Prius hybrid and other models to remove floor mats on the
driver's side and not replace them. It was the second time in a little
over two years that Toyota has acknowledged problems with floor mats in
Toyota said the gas pedal may get stuck when the floor
mat is unsecured or incompatible, making it difficult to stop and
potentially causing a crash that could result in serious injury or
Toyota has also distributed a statement of warning
through the media and on its website. It expects to begin sending the
letters in late October and complete the effort in December.
But Bohuchot was worried people may find out too late, and urged Toyota to get the word out immediately.
Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said it takes time to reach every
customer. "There are a lot of customers involved. Our objective is to
contact them as soon as possible," he said.
The latest recall –
Toyota's biggest in the U.S. – followed a a high-speed crash in August
involving a 2009 Lexus ES350, that killed California Highway Patrol
Officer Mark Saylor, 45, his wife, 13-year-old daughter and
Johnson, 39, was killed July 26, 2007 – the same
day he got a job as a dispatcher for a taxi company, and appeared on
track to turning his life around after years of drug problems and being
in and out of jail on assault charges.
Johnson's Honda Accord
was hit from behind on a highway near San Jose, California, by a 2007
Toyota Camry, whose accelerator had gotten jammed by a Toyota-supplied
floor mat, according to court documents.
The Camry was speeding
out-of-control at up to 190 km/h, and slammed into Johnson's vehicle,
killing him instantly. The car burst into flames, burning his body
beyond recognition, court records say.
Toyota recalled the floor
mats at that time. Charges against the driver of the Camry were
dropped. Bohuchot said she bore no ill feelings toward him.
Bohuchot sued Toyota in the Santa Clara County Superior Court in
California, and reached a settlement with the world's biggest automaker
in 2008. Bohuchot and her lawyers declined to disclose the amount.
Toyota declined comment on past litigation.
Last week, Toyota president Akio Toyoda apologized for the worries the
floor mat problems were causing for those who had bought Toyota
vehicles believing in their safety.
"Four precious lives have been lost," Toyoda told reporters in Tokyo of the August crash. "I offer my deepest condolences.''
Toyota says floor mats on the driver's side must be removed from the
2007-2010 model year Toyota Camry, 2005-2010 Toyota Avalon, 2004-2009
Toyota Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma, 2007-2010 Toyota Tundra, 2007-2010
Lexus ES350 and 2006-2010 Lexus IS250/IS350.
Bohuchot's attorney, said her client has nothing to gain by speaking
out but was doing what she thought was the right thing.
said her three children – aged 8, 7, and 5 – still write letters to
their father, attach them to balloons and let them go into the sky.
"He was a loving caring person. He was my best friend. He was a good
father," she said, her voice choking.
a move that marks Japanese automaker Toyota’s very first plant closure,
either in Japan or abroad, the company has decided to shut down a
Fremont, California plant known as NUMMI. Toyota once ran the plant as
a joint venture with General Motors, but when GM had to pull out of the deal, Toyota decided that it could not afford to keep the plant open alone.
New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., which produces Toyota Corolla cars
and Tacoma pickups, will shut down in March 2010. According to Toyota,
which had previously vowed not to close down any of its plants, the
move came as an act of desperation after an extended period of poor
U.S. auto sales due to the economic crisis.
NUMMI’s shutdown marks the end of 5,400 jobs, to which Toyota paid $523
million in payroll and benefits. The situation comes at a time when
California, a state already suffering from a variety of problems of its
own, has had to deal with a staggering 11.9 percent unemployment rate.
Reports of Toyota RAV4 gearbox woes mount as owner anger grows...
merging into speeding highway traffic when your transmission suddenly
balks at the shift, leaving you struggling to choose between that
70,000-pound semi filling your rear view mirror or the shrinking median
on the right side of the road.
This scenario is just one of the
complaints being lodged against Toyota's 2001-2003 RAV4 as owners
complain about the Japanese automaker's reluctance to acknowledge a
fault with the so-called cute-ute's electronically-controlled
According to the reports (more than 120 complaints
have been lodged to the NHTSA so far), the engine control module (ECM)
may fail and send mixed signals to the transmission. Once the tranny
starts to misbehave (noticed through rough or missed shifts), the ECM
needs to immediately be serviced to avoid major transmission damage.
Long story short, owners are miffed that Toyota has internally
confirmed the issue (a TSB was issued to dealers in March of 2006), but
has failed to notify consumers who are facing costly repair bills to
replace transmissions when all many needed was a simple electronic
A spokesman for the NHTSA says the agency doesn't like
to open investigations unless the problem is identified as a clear
safety issue, but they "are watching it very closely." Toyota,
meanwhile, is studying the issue to determine whether to extend its
warranty on the parts in question.
TOYOTA LOST OVER $5 BILLION DOLLARS (USD) & IS EXPECTED TO POST A LARGER LOSS IN 2009.
By Cornelius Rahn and Kae Inoue - Bloomberg
Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. said western
European car sales for the industry may fall 10 percent next
year without any extension of government stimulus programs.
Car sales in that region are “artificially inflated” this
year, Tadashi Arashima, chief executive officer of Toyota Motor
Europe, told reporters at a press meeting in Frankfurt today.
“Next year, without any government incentives, they could be
down another 10 percent.”
President Akio Toyoda narrowed Toyota’s loss forecast last
month as government measures to spur car demand took effect. The
U.S., Germany, Japan and China offered consumers credits and
subsidies for trading in old cars as the industry’s worst slump
in decades forced Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. into
“We ask governments to take more of a ‘soft-landing
approach’ rather than all of a sudden” ending incentives,
Toyota is struggling to return to profit as it forecasts a
second straight loss this fiscal year. The Toyota City, Japan-
based company expects a net loss of 450 billion yen ($4.95
billion) in the year ending in March, smaller than an earlier
forecast of 550 billion yen. Toyota didn’t include the
effect of government incentives in the earlier estimate.
The carmaker is “in the middle of a storm,”
according to Toyoda, who plans to cut costs by at least
800 billion yen to help offset a decline in global vehicle
sales this fiscal year.
Industry demand in Europe was 20.95 million vehicles last
year, Toyota said.
“In eastern Europe, we see signs of recovery,” Arashima
said. “But recovery will not be so brisk.” Reaching 2007 sales
levels in the U.S. may take 3 to 5 years, Toyota said.
While Toyota’s plants in Turkey and the U.K. are running at
as low as about 60 percent of capacity, and its French
production facility operates as low as 80 percent, the company
doesn’t “have any plans” for laying off employees in Europe,
said Didier Leroy, European executive vice president.
Toyota's troubles keep growing
By SARAH A. WEBSTER
FREE PRESS AUTOMOTIVE EDITOR
Is it just me, or do the troubles of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. seem more American every day?
are down 34% this year. The automaker lost $4.8 billion in its last
fiscal year. The company says it might not be profitable again until
2011. Toyota is now cost-cutting and confronting a list of problems
that always seem to catch up with global companies that have been
around for a while.
CBS this weekend reported
that a former Toyota attorney is accusing the automaker of illegally
withholding evidence in hundreds of rollover death and injury cases, in
a "ruthless conspiracy" to hide evidence of "its vehicles' structural
Toyota calls the accusations "inaccurate" and accuses the attorney of violating "his ethical and professional obligations."
But regardless of the truth, it's pesky stories like these that nibble away at a company's image over the long haul.
Plant closure won't help Toyota
still has a lot of cash to fix its problems, and it was the No. 1
beneficiary of the cash-for-clunkers program. But the automaker's
decision last week to close its assembly plant in California is
probably not going to help its image matters.
Toyota said it would close its New United Motor Manufacturing
Inc. plant in Fremont, Calif., in 2010, after General Motors decided to
pull out of the 25-year-old joint venture as part of its broad
reorganization plan. The NUMMI plant employs 4,500 UAW-represented
autoworkers and an estimated 35,000 supplier and other spin-off jobs
are expected to be indirectly impacted.
Images like this, combined with news stories accusing Toyota of
bad conduct, might give many consumers, even Toyota loyalists, cause to
West Coast opportunities
All in all, I'd say Toyota's slippage translates into a grand opportunity for Detroit's automakers in California.
California is the top auto-buying state in the country, largely
because of its size and population. So if the Detroit Three are ever
going to truly recover in the United States, picking up market share in
the Golden State will be critical.
But Detroit's automakers have struggled mightily there for decades.
In many ways, that's the Detroit Three's own fault. They
resisted regulatory changes there and too long lagged Japanese
automakers in quality and fuel-efficiency.
While the facts have supported a positive shift in the Detroit
Three's favor for some time, however, it's been more difficult to make
Given Toyota's stumbles, though, there seems to be an
opportunity for the Detroit Three to take back some of the California
Jeremy Mayfield, NASCAR TOYOTA DRIVER ... has been slapped an indefinite suspension for his failure to pass a random drug test.
Mayfield drives #41 All Sport Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series.
The officers of the NASCAR race officials report that Mayfield
failed the drug test which was conducted as a routine surprise test at
Richmond International Raceway last weekend. Jim Hunter, the NASCAR
spokesman did not want to reveal what exactly was the banned substance
for which he was banned. But he did confirm that it was not an offense
related to alcohol. Hunter emphasised that, “There is no place for
substance abuse in our sport.” On the part of Mayfield the followiwas
released: “In my case, I believe that the combination of a prescribed
medicine and an over the counter medicine reacted together and resulted
in a positive drug test. My doctor and I are working with both Dr.
David Black and NASCAR to resolve the matter.”
MAYFIELD HAS BEEN PERMANENTLY BANNED FROM PARTICIPATING IN NASCAR FOR LIFE !
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