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Afraid Camry Owner - Toyota found to keep tight lid on potential safety

revitrevit Posts: 476
edited June 14 in Toyota
As a current Camry owner, I always thought I bought the best of the mid size class car. But after reading the article a friend gave to me, I am wondering if I should sell it as soon as possible due to safety problems?

Toyota found to keep tight lid on potential safety problems

During a routine test on its Sienna minivan in April 2003, Toyota Motor Corp. engineers discovered that a plastic panel could come loose and cause the gas pedal to stick, potentially making the vehicle accelerate out of control.

The automaker redesigned the part and by that June every 2004 model year Sienna off the assembly line came with the new panel. Toyota did not notify tens of thousands of people who had already bought vans with the old panel, however.

It wasn't until U.S. safety officials opened an investigation last year that Toyota acknowledged in a letter to regulators that the part could come loose and "lead to unwanted or sudden acceleration."

In January, nearly six years after discovering the potential hazard, the automaker recalled 26,501 vans made with the old panel.

In a statement to The Times, Toyota said that there was no defect in the Sienna and that "a safety recall was not deemed necessary" when it discovered the problem in 2003. The company called the replacement part "an additional safety measure."

A peerless reputation for quality and safety has helped Toyota become the world's largest automaker. But even as its sales have soared, the company has delayed recalls, kept a tight lid on disclosure of potential problems and attempted to blame human error in cases where owners claimed vehicle defects.

The automaker's handling of safety issues has come under scrutiny in recent months because of incidents of sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles, which The Times has reported were involved in accidents causing 19 fatalities since 2001, more deaths from that problem than all other automakers combined.

After Toyota this fall announced its biggest recall to address the sudden-acceleration problem, it insisted publicly that no defect existed. That drew a rare public rebuke from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which chastised the automaker for making "inaccurate and misleading statements."

In the wake of Toyota's announcement of the massive recall, The Times examined some of the ways the automaker has dealt with safety problems in recent years and found that:

* The automaker knew of a dangerous steering defect in vehicles including the 4Runner sport utility vehicle for years before issuing a recall in Japan in 2004. But it told regulators no recall was necessary in the U.S., despite having received dozens of complaints from drivers. Toyota said a subsequent investigation led it to order a U.S. recall in 2005.

* Toyota has paid cash settlements to people who say their vehicles have raced out of control, sometimes causing serious accidents, according to consumers and their attorneys. Other motorists who complained of acceleration problems with their vehicles have received buybacks under lemon laws.

* Although the sudden acceleration issue erupted publicly only in recent months, it has been festering for nearly a decade. A computerized search of NHTSA records by The Times has found Toyota issued eight previous recalls related to unintended acceleration since 2000, more than any other automaker.

* A former Toyota lawyer who handled safety litigation has sued the automaker, accusing it of engaging in a "calculated conspiracy to prevent the disclosure of damaging evidence" as part of a scheme to "prevent evidence of its vehicles' structural shortcomings from becoming known" to plaintiffs lawyers, courts, NHTSA and the public.

As a result, plaintiffs attorneys are considering reopening dozens of product-liability suits against the automaker.

Toyota has called the allegations of the attorney, Dimitrios Biller, "both misleading and inaccurate" and noted that he is also suing another former employer. The company said it had "acted appropriately in product liability cases and in all reporting to federal safety regulators."

In a written statement to The Times, Toyota said that it strove to keep government officials and consumers informed about potential safety problems with its vehicles, which it says are tested to meet or exceed federal standards.

"Toyota has absolutely not minimized public awareness of any defect or issue with respect to its vehicles," the company said.

Currently, Toyota is a defendant in at least 10 lawsuits alleging unintended acceleration that caused five fatalities and four injuries. Two of those suits are seeking class-action status.

But few, if any, sudden-acceleration cases ever make it to trial, according to attorneys who handle such cases.

After a 2007 crash of a Camry that accelerated out of control for 20 miles before killing the driver of another car in San Jose, Toyota was sued by members of the victim's family. Their attorney, Louis Franecke, said the automaker "didn't want to go to trial," and paid them a seven-figure sum in exchange for dropping the case and signing a non-disclosure form.

In an interview, Guadalupe Gomez, the driver of the runaway Camry, said he also signed a confidentiality agreement and received a settlement from Toyota. He was initially arrested on suspicion of manslaughter for causing the crash, but charges were never filed.

By settling, Toyota has managed to keep potentially damaging information out of the public eye, said Raymond Paul Johnson, a Los Angeles attorney who said he had settled four sudden-acceleration cases with the automaker.

"It's just a matter of risk control for them," Johnson said.

Toyota said that although it does not comment on individual cases, it "has resolved and will continue to resolve matters with litigants through confidential settlement when it is in both parties' interests to do so."

The majority of unintended acceleration incidents don't end up in accidents. But even after minor incidents, some consumers have obtained deals under which their cars were repurchased on favorable terms.

Tim Marks, a small businessman in Camden, Ark., parked his daughter's 2006 Lexus IS 250 in front of the dealership last year and said his family would never drive it again after experiencing four sudden-acceleration events.

"They told my daughter she was texting while driving and wasn't paying attention," Marks recalled. "She is a 95-pound, little itty-bitty thing, but she was fixing to twist off on that man."

The vehicle was bought back and the title branded as a lemon, according to vehicle registration records. It was later registered in Florida, suggesting that the dealer resold it.

Much the same thing happened to Joan Marschall, a Visalia resident whose 2003 Camry accelerated on its own three times before she complained.

"I took it to the dealer and said I wouldn't drive it again," Marschall recalled. "I
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Comments

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Of course not. The customer has to bring in the recall notice and request that it be done. Oil changes are free here anyway. Nice try tho.
  • I say keep the car. There's nothing wrong with it. The Camry is a very decent vehicle. I think that everybody is over exaggerating by claiming that the Camry has runaway acceleration problems. Drive your car and try to enjoy it. It's not a bad car. :)
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    I concerned with not only my car, but several of my relatives own Toyotas and it seems like the entire lineup may have issues. For years, Consumer Reports always recommended all the Toyota vehicles, but it now seems the quality is not all that great and there was alot of cover-up going on. Sorry, but when it comes to safety, I don't take chances and I think in a couple of weeks I might trade in the Camry on a new Ford Fusion.
  • gtgtcobragtgtcobra Posts: 259
    I LOVE my Camry. The Ford Fusion isn't anything special just so you know.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    I DID too (past tense), no longer do I want to keep an unsafe vehicle and will no longer own a Toyota until they get their act together. There is no excuse for coverup when it comes to safety.
  • comuscomus Posts: 24
    Hey GT, I love my Camry. If only it would run, 2 years old, 4 BLOWN TRANNYS, and a DEACELERATION PROBLEM when TRACTION CONTROL kicks in. Luck, just lucky a tractor trailer did not share my space...............at the time of DEACELARATION....................It all remains to be seen, what happens to my case............................................................................- ...................................
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    LIfe's too short to be unhappy. If you are worried and concerned, even though that article was mostly bogus, then you should sell the vehicle and move on to something else. Don't be unhappy.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    Oh, I agree completely about being happy, but have to disagree about the article being mostly bogus. Now what was bogus was Toyota's response to the article. People lives are no joking matter and car safety must be taken serious. There is no excuse for this and here I thought Toyota was different than the other automakers, seems they are much of the same, even worse in some cases. Shame on Toyota for trying to cover up the truth all along!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Sorry none of that happened. The LAT made up statements in that article. Pure and simple. The response to that article only came out as the actual facts after the LAT wrote their fabrications. The response to the article were the actual Qs and As that caused the article to be written.

    Believe what you wish but on this you're very wrong. You'll notice that the LAT hasn't said squat since Toyota published the actual Qs and As and slapped it around in public. But, if you aren't happy then sell it.

    BTW did you see that RL Polk yesterday gave Toyota the award for 2009 as the manufacturer with the most loyal customer base? Don't let that influence you. If you're unhappy sell the vehicle and move on.

    We move on.
  • gtgtcobragtgtcobra Posts: 259
    "BTW did you see that RL Polk yesterday gave Toyota the award for 2009 as the manufacturer with the most loyal customer base?"

    That's VERY true. The Camry is THE BEST selling car. I see a lot of 2007 to 2010 Camrys all over the place whenever I go. They are everywhere. I am curious to find out how many units have been sold for each year for the 2007, 2008, 2009 and the 2010 Camry? Does anybody in here know?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Google knows everything. The last two years are on Toyota's website right now. For '06 and '07 use Google.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    The LAT DID NOT make up statements, but simply reported the facts that Toyota for too long has been covering up their safety issues.

    BTW, the Most Loyal Base Award? Wow, who cares when the car is unsafe to drive and causes an accident. Great, all the Toyota drivers stick together, but who is going to want to drive an unsafe vehicle?
  • gtgtcobragtgtcobra Posts: 259
    "Great, all the Toyota drivers stick together, but who is going to want to drive an unsafe vehicle?"

    The Toyota is NOT an unsafe vehicle. I LOVE driving my 2010 Camry LE. It's a "GREAT" car!
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,667
    That's correct, as long as you use the clips and use only one mat, you will be fine. I have 2 Camrys, one is 3 years old. The mats don't move, and there is zero evidence of unintended acceleration. Some people wish otherwise :sick: but that's the facts. The poor cop and family was a victim of an idiot at the Lexus dealer that used the wrong mats and put one mat on top of another - that's it. The media and the haters have been running wild with the story ever since, trying to make it more than it really was. Again, I have 2 Camrys, and I was watching this story carefully because my family's safety is at stake here. But I know the Camrys are fine, no concerns, except the other people around me on their cell phones and texting!!!!

    I had a Ford and a Mazda years ago that did not have floor mat clips, and the mats got under the gas pedal. Guess what? It got stuck. I guess I should have sued Ford and Mazda :sick: Instead, I went out and bought floor mat clips, and never had a problem again.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Toyota proved that the LAT did make up statements. It published the text of the answers and showed where the LAT made up sh** for its own purposes. Notice that since Toyota slapped it around in public that the Times has shut up.

    The owners knew that something was amiss in what the LAT was stating. That's why it's having no effect on anything, except you. Have fun under your dark cloud.
  • gooddeal2gooddeal2 Posts: 749
    I think there's a report tonight about Toyota at 6:30PM EST/ 7PM CT during World News if anyone wants to see.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    Unfortunately, the LAT isn't the only source that is beginning to publish the truth. As for Toyota's response, I would have expected any further articles from the LAT at this time. The information was presented accurately.

    It is having an effect on me because I own a Toyota. I bought one for what I "thought" Toyota stood for, but the general public is now beginning to get the real story.

    Dark Cloud? How said you think so for all of those already effected by the various Toyota safety issues.

    Talk about more cover up:
    Toyota Tries to Fix its Reputation/

    Toyota claims it's not fitting throttle overrides because of sudden acceleration scandal
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I'm not quite sure I understand your motivations for posting here. It's been nearly a month since your original post and you've not taken any action, just continued to fret. What really is "the truth?"

    If you're so worried, sell your Toyota and buy something else. Many of us have tried to reassure you that there's no real problem. I'm not trembling in fear every time I drive my 2004 and 2005 Camrys (with 70K and 43K miles, respectively). I'm not worried about my son driving his 2006 Prius either (one affected by the floor mat recall). He knows about properly securing the driver floor mat, and will take the car in for the recall.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,667
    No fear hear, either. 2007 and 2010 Camry. If there was any evidence of a problem, I would be worried. Just use the clips and use only one proper-sized mat, and there will be no problem.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    Well, seems there must be some real problem for Toyota to now issue a recall:

    Toyota issues new voluntary recall for sticking accelerator pedals, 2.3 million vehicles affected

    The reason I posted here initially was because other Toyota owners have the right to know the truth. I bought my Toyota because I was "sold" on their reputation of having the best reliability; now that is obviously not the case.

    Here is the real kicker:
    "A class action law suit filed against the automaker last November alleges that Toyota has known about this problem for four years and received 2,000 complaints. It also alleges that sticking accelerator pedals have resulted in 16 deaths and 243 injuries."

    Now how about you go try telling the families of those 16 individuals and the 243 injured that the LAT just "made all this up"; shame on you for not being concerned about others safety.
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This discussion has been closed.