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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Toyota halts US sales of 8 recalled vehicles

Toyota halts US sales of 8 recalled vehicle models
7 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Toyota Motor Co. said Tuesday it was suspending U.S. sales of eight recalled vehicle models to fix accelerator pedals that stick, the latest quality problem to confront the world's No. 1 automaker.

As part of the plan, Toyota said it was halting production at five manufacturing facilities for the week of Feb. 1 "to assess and coordinate activities." There are 2.3 million vehicles involved in the recall, which was announced last week.

"This action is necessary until a remedy is finalized," said Bob Carter, Toyota's group vice president and general manager.

The Japanese automaker says the sales suspension includes the 2009-2010 RAV4, the 2009-2010 Corolla, the 2009-2010 Matrix, the 2005-2010 Avalon, the 2007-2010 Camry, the 2010 Highlander, the 2007-2010 Tundra and the 2008-2010 Sequoia.

It was unclear how long Toyota would suspend production of the vehicles. In an e-mail to employees, company officials said, "we don't know yet how long this pause will last but we will make every effort to resume production soon." Toyota officials did not immediately return phone messages.

Toyota said the company would stop producing vehicles at plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Texas and Canada. They said no other North American Toyota facility would be affected by the decision.

The auto company said the sales suspension would not affect Lexus or Scion vehicles. Toyota said the Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser and select Camry models, including all Camry hybrids, would remain for sale.

Toyota said last week it was recalling 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. to fix accelerator pedals with mechanical problems that could cause them to become stuck.

That announcement followed a larger recall months earlier of 4.2 million vehicles because of problems with gas pedals becoming trapped under floor mats, causing sudden acceleration. That problem was the cause of several crashes, including some fatalities.

LINK: Toyota halts US sales of 8 recalled vehicle models - Yahoo! News

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-27-2010, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Toyota had to stop troubled production

U.S.: Toyota had to stop troubled production

Posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 at 2:09 PM EST.(Employee News)

U.S. auto safety regulators said today that Toyota was legally required to stop production of eight models under recall for faulty accelerator pedals, the Detroit Free Press said.

The Japanese automaker has described its recall of 2.3 million vehicles as a voluntary move, the paper said. David Strickland, the new chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Toyota had consulted with regulators before making its move Tuesday, the Free Press said.

“Toyota’s decision was an aggressive one, and one that was the legally and morally correct thing to do,” Strickland told the paper. (Detroit Free Press)

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Avis, Enterprise pull recalled Toyotas

Avis, Enterprise pull recalled Toyotas from fleets

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 1:59 PM EST.(Employee News)

Rental car firms Avis Budget Group and Enterprise Holdings said yesterday they were pulling thousands of Toyota models covered by a recall for sticking accelerator pedals from fleets in the United States and Canada until a fix is available, the Detroit Free Press said.

In a statement, Avis Budget said the decision to idle 20,000 Toyotas was a precaution, that the affected models “represent only a small percentage of our overall fleet,” and that it would not create problems meeting customer orders, the paper said. “We believe that all of the Toyotas in our fleet are safe, given the regular maintenance and the low mileage of our overall fleet,” the company said.

Enterprise Holdings, which controls the Enterprise, National and Alamo brands, said it too would pull an unspecified number of Toyota models from its fleet, accounting for about 4 percent of the cars it has in service, the paper said. The company also will stop selling used Toyotas while the automaker finds a fix for the problem, the story said. (Detroit Free Press)

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Toyota expands recall to 1.1 million more

Toyota expands recall to 1.1 million more vehicles

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 2:07 PM EST.(Employee News)

Even as Toyota Motor Corp. late Wednesday expanded by 1.1 million vehicles a recall related to accelerator pedals, details emerged about the unusual steps U.S. officials took to urge Toyota to quickly address escalating safety and quality concerns, The Detroit News reported.

The expansion broadens Toyota’s largest-ever recall and comes one day after the Japanese automaker said it would stop selling eight models involved in a separate accelerator pedal recall until it comes up with a fix for that problem, the paper said. That affects production at six North American assembly plants. The eight models account for 60 percent of Toyota’s U.S. sales volume, the News said.

The 1.1 million vehicle expansion involves Toyota’s recall last fall of 4.26 million vehicles and comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was preparing to open a broader investigation into the central issue of that recall: whether unintended acceleration in several crashes was caused by the gas pedal being trapped by a floor mat, the paper said.

The increase means Toyota has recalled 5.35 million vehicles in the probe linked to pedal entrapment by floor mats, the report said. Toyota in November agreed to repair or replace the pedals, replace the floor mats, and in some cases modify software that controls the throttle and reshape the floor surface, the story said. (The Detroit News) vehicles

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 2:07 PM EST.

Even as Toyota Motor Corp. late Wednesday expanded by 1.1 million vehicles a recall related to accelerator pedals, details emerged about the unusual steps U.S. officials took to urge Toyota to quickly address escalating safety and quality concerns, The Detroit News reported.

The expansion broadens Toyota’s largest-ever recall and comes one day after the Japanese automaker said it would stop selling eight models involved in a separate accelerator pedal recall until it comes up with a fix for that problem, the paper said. That affects production at six North American assembly plants. The eight models account for 60 percent of Toyota’s U.S. sales volume, the News said.

The 1.1 million vehicle expansion involves Toyota’s recall last fall of 4.26 million vehicles and comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was preparing to open a broader investigation into the central issue of that recall: whether unintended acceleration in several crashes was caused by the gas pedal being trapped by a floor mat, the paper said.

The increase means Toyota has recalled 5.35 million vehicles in the probe linked to pedal entrapment by floor mats, the report said. Toyota in November agreed to repair or replace the pedals, replace the floor mats, and in some cases modify software that controls the throttle and reshape the floor surface, the story said. (The Detroit News)

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Toyota did not install brake override systems

Toyota did not install brake override systems despite complaints

LINK:washingtonpost.com

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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U.S. raised Toyota gas pedal issue in '07

February 1, 2010 U.S. raised Toyota gas pedal issue in '07 | detnews.com | The Detroit News

U.S. raised Toyota gas pedal issue in '07

Ex-NHTSA official: Carmaker insisted 'it was the floor mats'




A former top U.S. safety official said federal investigators raised concerns to Toyota Motor Corp. about the gas pedals in its vehicles as far back as 2007 but were told they weren't the problem.

At the time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Japanese automaker were investigating hundreds of reports of unintended acceleration of Toyota vehicles.

"Toyota was certain it was the floor mats," Nicole Nason, NHTSA administrator from 2006 until late 2008, said in an interview.

"If Toyota misled the federal government, they should be severely punished," Nason said. She said it was "extremely coincidental" that Toyota has issued two separate recalls involving the pedals of models NHTSA was investigating in 2007.

As Toyota's handling of this issue comes under increasing scrutiny, the company is trying to reassure its dealers, customers and the public.

Toyota is expected to outline to dealers today how it plans to check and repair the pedals of 2.3 million vehicles it recalled Jan. 21.

In addition, Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., is scheduled to appear on NBC's "Today" show this morning and other programs to explain the automaker's plan to fix the problem.

Toyota also bought ads in major newspapers Sunday and today to stress that dealers were first in line to receive new pedals so that they could work on customers' recalled vehicles.

"A temporary pause. To put you first," the ads say. They go on to explain that Toyota is halting production this week of the eight Toyota-brand recalled models "because it's the right thing to do for our customers."

The production halt, announced last week, will allow the company to ship more new pedals to dealers so they can service their customers' vehicles and repair cars in stock.

The recall to fix pedals that can get stuck or fail to spring back properly follows a huge recall in September to address the risk of unintended acceleration linked to floor mats. That recall, Toyota's largest ever in the United States, was expanded last week to more than 5.3 million vehicles.

Toyota says the two recalls are unrelated. It has attributed reports of unintended acceleration that go back many years to loose floor mats and other materials that could entrap the pedals.

Toyota officials say the company identified the problem of the sticking pedals produced by one supplier, Elkhart, Ind.-based CTS Corp., as they were reviewing reports of unintended acceleration in vehicles that didn't have mats.

Nason said NHTSA investigators asked in 2007 whether the pedals might be part of the problem during the agency's questioning about mats that were interfering with the pedals. Toyota issued a small recall of Lexus and Toyota cars in 2007 to replace all-weather mats.

NHTSA said in an April 2008 report that it sent surveys to nearly 2,000 owners of 2007 Lexus ES350 sedans and nearly 10 percent -- or 59 out of 600 that responded -- reported they had "experienced unintended acceleration," but only 35 of those said they had all-weather floor mats.

But in 2007 and 2008, the automaker repeatedly told NHTSA that no fixes to the pedals -- or anything else beyond the floor mats -- was necessary.

Nason said NHTSA's interaction with Toyota in 2007 raises questions about how much regulators have to rely on what automakers tell them.

"It goes to the larger question of trust between the agency and the automaker," Nason said. She said NHTSA took appropriate action in 2007 based on what the agency knew. "I don't think it was necessary for us to force them to do more because they presented us with a problem and a solution."

Toyota maintained that loose or ill-fitting mats were the problem until November, drawing a public rebuke at that point from the federal safety agency for saying the mats were the only issue.

Two committees in Congress are investigating how NHTSA and Toyota handled the reports of unintended acceleration. They will hold hearings this month. The last thing Toyota needs is weeks of drawn-out investigations, hearings and potentially conflicting accounts with NHTSA, said Jeffrey Caponigro, president of Caponigro Public Relations Inc., which has offices in Southfield and Tampa, Fla.

"That will just continue to remind people about the quality issues of Toyota," said Caponigro, who has advised automakers in crisis management.

Toyota officials were not available to respond to Nason's comments. But the company has said its investigations of floor mat and pedal issues in 2007 and 2008 were proper.

In a report sent to NHTSA on Jan. 21, Toyota said that in 2007 it received reports of pedals in Tundra trucks that felt rough or were slow to return to the idle position. Toyota identified a material in the pedal that could swell under humid conditions. It had its supplier use a different material but said it "considered it to be a drivability issue unrelated to safety."

Late in 2008, Toyota said it received information from its European operations about sticking pedals. It said it began a detailed investigation in March 2009.

Last week, Toyota discussed potential fixes for the pedals with NHTSA executives.

The federal safety agency is not required to formally approve a remedy but automakers involved in big recalls tend to consult with NHTSA officials. While NHTSA doesn't approve recall fixes, it has the power to object if its engineers don't think it solves the problem.

A senior Transportation Department official told The Detroit News late Saturday that Toyota had presented it with a fix, and it did not object.

Dealers expect to hear details of the remedies today and to start receiving parts later this week. It appears that most of the recalled vehicles will have the pedals repaired, while others will have them replaced.

Rick

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Toyota's Plan to Fix

Toyota's Plan to Fix Millions of Pedals; Some Dealers Open 24 Hours

Posted: Feb. 01, 2010 11:02 a.m.

Worried Toyota owners will be happy to hear that the Japanese automaker has announced details of a plan to repair 4.2 million vehicles worldwide (2.3 million in the U.S.) recalled due to a gas pedal defect that could lead to unintended acceleration.

Autoblog explains, “The fix involves installing a ‘precision-cut steel reinforcement bar’ into the pedal assembly that will reduce friction between a shoe and the adjoining surface, the place where Toyota has found these defective pedals to be sticking. The automaker says the fix is ‘effective and simple’ – it should take around 30 minutes to perform – and has been rigorously tested on pedal assemblies that have been known to stick.”

The troubled automaker says that repairs will begin soon. Kicking Tires reports, “Parts to reinforce the pedals are already being shipped for use by dealers, and dealer training is under way. Many Toyota dealers will work extended hours to complete the recall campaign as quickly and conveniently as possible, some even staying open 24 hours a day.”

The automaker will not be replacing the faulty pedals. Instead, they maintain that adding the “reinforcement bar” to the pedal mechanism will correct the defect. Jalopnik explains, “The issue involves a friction device in the pedal designed to provide the proper 'feel' by adding resistance and making the pedal steady and stable. The device includes a 'shoe' that rubs against an adjoining surface during normal pedal operation.” Over time, Toyota believes, normal use can cause these surfaces to wear, at which point they may “stick and release instead of operating smoothly. In some cases, friction could increase to a point that the pedal is slow to return to the idle position or, in rare cases, the pedal sticks, leaving the throttle partially open.” Installing the reinforcement bar – essentially a shim -- should “reduce the surface tension between the friction shoe and the adjoining surface. With this reinforcement in place, the excess friction that can cause the pedal to stick will supposedly be eliminated.”

The new approach allows dealers to fix the cars with simple parts, rather than waiting for millions of new pedal assemblies to ship from suppliers. The supplier that builds most Toyota accelerator pedals in the United States, CTS Corp, is capable of producing about 2 million pedal assemblies per year. Even if the company modified its pedal assembly today, replacing the 4.2 million pedals already recalled world-wide while re-starting production at idled factories could take years. Instead, the Wall Street Journal notes, “Toyota has told dealers that it can produce as many as 120,000 of the shims a day.” The new approach has “received clearance from U.S. federal regulators.”

So, what’s next for Toyota owners? Autoblog reports, “Toyota says owners of vehicles affected by the sticking pedal recall can expect a letter by mail sometime in the next couple of days with instructions on how to coordinate their repair with a dealer.”

Many of the vehicles included in the sticky pedal recall are also affected by an earlier recall involving improperly secured floormats that could trap the accelerator pedal in the down position. Toyota has instructed dealerships to co-ordinate a single service appointment to handle both recalls whenever possible.

LINK: Toyota's Plan to Fix Millions of Pedals; Some Dealers Open 24 Hours - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Toyota Faces Lawsuits

Toyota Faces Lawsuits, Losses, Congressional Hearings

Posted: Feb. 01, 2010

If last week wasn’t bad enough for Toyota, this week might be. The company plans a media blitz to stem a tide of bad publicity, but it might not be enough, as public reaction to two separate recalls has Toyota’s back to the wall.

Bloomberg reports, “The company's stock plummeted 14 percent last week, the worst five-day performance since October 2008, wiping out 1.9 trillion yen ($21 billion) in market value.”

The embattled company has issued two separate recalls, each involving more than 4 million vehicles, in recent weeks. In the first instance, Toyota called back more than 4.1 million vehicles due to a faulty floormat retainer, which could allow the driver’s side floormat to come loose and trap the accelerator pedal in the depressed position. In the second, the company recalled another 4.2 million vehicles (some cars are covered by both recalls) due to an accelerator pedal that can stick in the depressed position without a floormat present. Both issues could cause a car to accelerate without driver input.

The company faces a class-action lawsuit from owners. Two law firms, Autoblog reports, “Are joining forces in a bid to sue Toyota's pants off.” Representing owners of Toyotas built between 2005 and 2010, the two firms allege that “as a result of these recalls, Toyota owners lost the use of their vehicles, and sustained, among things, economic losses and severe emotional distress.”

Consumer groups and the automotive press are re-evaluating Toyota’s reputation for high-quality vehicles. Consumer Reports has “temporarily suspended its ‘recommended’ status for eight Toyota vehicle models and one Pontiac model.” The discontinued Pontiac Vibe, we should note, was built by Toyota.

Congress is piling on as well. Edmunds Inside Line reports, “Saying it is concerned by the ‘seriousness and scope’ of Toyota's recalls of vehicles with faulty accelerator pedals, the U.S. House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce subcommittee said Thursday it will hold hearings on February 25 ‘to examine the persistent consumer complaints.’”

What can Toyota do to protect its image? The automaker has already launched a “media blitz,” Bloomberg reports, aimed at rehabilitation. “The automaker ran an informational ad in newspapers today.” The ad portrayed the company’s decision to halt sales and production of eight popular models as a “temporary pause to put you first.” President Akio Toyoda, meanwhile, “Gave a 75-second apology last week in Davos, Switzerland,” at a meeting of world leaders discussing the ongoing recession.

Toyota USA President Jim Lentz appeared on NBC’s Today Show this morning to discuss the recalls. Autoblog reports, “Lentz [gave] the answers you'd expect any exec under siege to give, which is to say we don't learn much that we don't already know.”

Still, some aren’t sure that the company’s efforts will make a difference in public perception. ABC News reports, “Crisis-management experts said Sunday that the recall of millions of cars and trucks isn't the Japanese auto maker's only problem: its message to Toyota owners -- delivered in full-page ads Sunday in 20 major newspapers -- isn't as clear and reassuring as it needs to be.”

Part of the company’s problem may be that the Japanese press doesn’t seem to see the issue the same way the U.S. media has portrayed it. The Wall Street Journal explains, “In the U.S., Toyota's massive recall and production stoppage is widely portrayed as an embarrassing stumble for a quality-proud giant….Many Japanese newspapers and magazines have portrayed the issue as the resurgence of 1980s-era trade tensions, and hostility to Japanese commerce.” The Journal cites a quote from the popular Japanese weekly business magazine Toyo Keizai to illustrate the attitude of the Japanese press. “After the collapse of GM, the U.S. auto industry has lost its morale," the magazine says. It continues, “Obama may also move to protect its own auto makers in order to win the mid-term election in fall. One possible misstep by Toyota may lead to further 'Toyota bullying' which may be even more emotional.”

With what we’ve seen so far in the courts, the markets and the Congress, an appearance on The Today Show may not be enough to stop the “Toyota bullying.”

In a study released Wednesday by the auto analysts at CNW Market Research, Kicking Tires reports, “Toyota fell to seventh place for 2010 models -- from second place in 2009 -- among 20 mainstream brands in perceived quality.”

LINK: Toyota Faces Lawsuits, Losses, Congressional Hearings - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews

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