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Toyota Halts Sales of Popular Models - Accelerator Stuck Problem Recall

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  • I discussed the recall for my 2007 Avalon with my dealer's tech rep (he has been exceptionally helpful with the VVTi oil line and other issues). He said the gas pedal shim should be done, the gas pedal GRINDING and carpet rework would be optional because I have properly hooked factory carpet mats, and the ECM WOULD BE REFLASHED. He stated that Toyota had not told the service departments exactly what the reflash encompassed.

    Every dealer had a different story on the VVTi oil line fix. I hope the ECM reflash does not continue this mode of operation.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited February 2010
    "..what the reflash encoumpassed.."

    Looking at the wording, Toyota's typically carefully crafted wording, makes me wonder if the reflash really does have to do with some method of implementing BTO. TSB (service campaign recall) has caution note that no dealer personell are to talk to the press without first contacting Toyota corporate.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    edited February 2010
    I'm sure that the slow responses of Toyota, the carefully crafted wording, and what I've seen of Toyota personnel not talking to the press, are all due to the fact that any of that can be used in a court of law for the class-actions lawsuits that will follow. Toyota is having to run any written or verbal statements through their legal teams, and that takes time to review, and go thru the rewrite loops between the engineering and legal teams.

    In today's society, when you put a product out there, you better get it right, especially something like a vehicle that can cause serious injury and kill. Whether the product causes problems because of floor mats moving, bad pedals, bad pedal placement, bad software, CPU lockup, a company is going to have legal problems if it is shown these have been known product-design problems in the past. I expect companies to learn from past mistakes, such as whatever mistakes Audi had made, even if it was the driver was dumb; it's no excuse. Where I work it's not an excuse to tell OSHA, "oh that was a new kid working here and he did something dumb, he didn't read the manual, and he was killed by our machine."

    Anyway here's hoping the auto manufacturers pickup a lesson or 2 from this. I would say they need to slow down on their constant changes - coined "improvements" (which obviously aren't improvements 100% of the time), get their designs proven even if takes 5X longer, and stop changing the design 2 years later.

    Maybe some of the problem in these companies is the fact that engineers do exist after a design is made and tested a little. Why do I say this? Well what do they do after a design is done? In order to justify their existence in the company they start a) improving the existing design, or b) working on a new design. Neither a) or b) is going to be guaranteed to be free of flaws, as we can see that every manufacturer has Troubleshooting sections in the manual, Tech service depts., spare parts, service depts. How many of these problems are incurred, because a more proven design is abandoned for the next gee-whiz version?

    Consider that today. Maybe you'll read an article of someone following a GPS and getting stuck in a major snowstorm, or driving into a lake, rather than using their eyes and common sense. I got a GPS this year, love it and use it. Do I trust it 100% - no. If it had the option to hookup to the car's systems and actually drive the car, would I let it - NO!
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    edited February 2010
    Toyota loses its way

    Five years ago, Yoshi Inaba, then president of Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. sales operations, disclosed his biggest fear. It was that someday, some flaw in Toyota vehicles might go undetected and cause injuries, or worse, to the company's customers.

    Inaba was perhaps thinking of a huge scandal that had just engulfed Mitsubishi Motors Corp., a smaller Japanese carmaker accused of covering up defects for years. Top Mitsubishi executives, including its former president, had been arrested and charged.

    Such a nightmare seemed unimaginable at Toyota. It was making the most reliable cars in the industry, and its quality control methods and other elements of the legendary "Toyota Way" were being adopted by its rivals.

    But now Inaba, chairman of Toyota Motor Sales and the company's highest-ranking executive in the United States, is confronting a crisis over the safety of Toyota's vehicles and its handling of complaints from customers.

    Toyota already has recalled more than 8 million vehicles since September to fix defects that can make it very hard for the driver to stop the car. And American lawmakers are scheduling hearings this month where Inaba will face tough questions.

    It's difficult at this stage to determine exactly how Toyota went astray. But it's safe to say Toyota lost its way -- and the warning signs started flashing in recent years.

    Even to outsiders, there were actions and decisions that didn't square with Toyota's lofty standards as the company expanded.

    Perhaps Toyota will be shown to be just another car company, no better or worse than others that weigh safety and cost considerations daily and don't always make the right choice.
  • "But it's safe to say Toyota lost its way"

    more likely it is Sean Kane, his for-profit "Safety Research and Strategies" business and the plaintiff's bar have found their new revenue source, after Asbesto's, molds and now automotive OEMs and every car buyer's pocketbook.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "But it's safe to say Toyota lost its way"

    No, with regard to public disclossure of KNOWN product defects, even SAFETY related defects, Toyota may now FIND it's way.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..slow down on their refinements..."

    Sure, with the new CAFE target at 35MPG.

    When it should have been 40MPG.
  • mnfmnf Posts: 404
    Looks like NHTSA like Toyota, GM, Ford and others have lost there way. Cover ups or shut up has been going on for years. Maybe the Toyota issue will bring all them in compliance and stop the back room deals.

    http://detnews.com/article/20100202/AUTO01/2020330/Auto-recall-rules-may-be-tigh- tened-by-NHTSA

    Avoiding recalls
    Automakers have pushed back against other recalls:

    • In October 1994, NHTSA said 1973-87 GM pickups posed a serious fire hazard because of the side-saddle gas tanks. For GM, it was a problem that could have cost $1 billion to correct.

    But just two months later, the government dropped its recall investigation of the pickups in exchange for GM's $51 million donation for safety programs.

    • In 1980, Ford agreed to send notices to 20 million owners of cars and trucks, warning them their automatic transmissions could slip from park into reverse. The action allowed Ford to avoid a recall.

    After a three-year investigation, NHTSA had wanted to force Ford to mount a recall, but was overruled by Transportation Secretary Neil Goldschmidt.

    • Ford also reluctantly agreed to recall 1.7 million 1995-2003 Windstar vans after reports of engine fires -- some 17 months after the initial prodding from NHTSA. That was part of a recall of 4.5 million vehicles in October.

    • In 2008, BMW AG refused NHTSA's request to recall its 2007-08 Mini Cooper S over fears that the tailpipes would burn people since they were placed in the center of the vehicle.

    BMW said its service campaign was enough and a change in design would correct future vehicles.

    Just before NHTSA's scheduled public hearing in December, 2008, however, BMW agreed to recall 28,450 Mini Cooper S vehicles -- even though it called NHTSA's determination "factually unsupported and legally unsound."

    dshepardson@detnews.com (202) 662-8735

    From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100202/AUTO01/2020330/Auto-recall-rules-may-be-tigh- tened-by-NHTSA#ixzz0fR0dsKlm
  • "If it had the option to hookup to the car's systems and actually drive the car, would I let it - NO!"

    but the military can "drive" a GPS-guided bomb right into your chimney, from thousands of miles away, :)

    technology is not unlike people: they all make mistakes. for some applications, human is more superior; and for others, technology is more superior. or one technology is more superior to others.

    It is wrong to put all of one's egg on either human or technology; and it is equally wrong to refuse to rely on human or technology.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,668
    you are only watching the success's and assuming that's the general rule.

    I was walking the other day and was approaching a 'T' intersection from south to north.
    An older lady, with an unhappy look on her face, driving a very popular 'T' brand sedan stopped at the top of the 'T' driving west to east. She stopped, made 'the sign of the cross' and drove on. Is it related to a 'T' brand having people losing confidence in it?
    I don't really know, but I LMAO over seeing it. :P
  • sounds like she is one smart lady, and a much more competent driver than those of our driving experts who couldn't bring their vehicles under control.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,668
    doesn't seem like any car I would want to drive, if that makes a difference.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    When it should have been 40MPG.

    Just like my '82 Escort, my wife's 83 Sentra and my '88 Honda CRX (auotmatic nonetheless) achieved. It doesn't require new technology. It only requires new technology if auto manufacturers want to cater to people wanting 4,000Lb, higher performance vehicles.

    Based on what was available in the 1980's, I'm surprised when auto makers can't hit 50 mpg with their compacts today. Though I guess the ethanol-blend we use these days doesn't help.

    Maybe more of the automakers will get some 4 cyl diesels out, or 6 cyl diesels for their full-size SUV's and PU's. Doesn't Toyota sell diesels elsewhere in the world? but their not clean enough for the U.S.?
  • "doesn't seem like any car I would want to drive, if that makes a difference."

    no. our cars don't make us any better, smarter or more handsome than we already are.

    or the other way around.

    as long as we don't pre-judge others by the cars they drive.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    edited February 2010
    but the military can "drive" a GPS-guided bomb right into your chimney, from thousands of miles away

    The military doesn't buy commercial quality. Toyota or even Mercedes could not afford to put the same quality materials in their vehicles, as the military puts in their missiles. Even then they still fail frequently as last week's anti-missile test did.
    I used to work at a manufacturer of substrates for the microwave-receiving boards that guided HARM missiles. In the years I worked there we never touched the recipe, and couldn't if we wanted. Our sole work was to make the material more consistent.
    I work with a guy who's son is now a Marine and has been trained to fire TOW missiles. He's fired 1 real one, as the cost is over $50K.

    While we can be proud of our military personnel, look at the cost of what it takes to kill each enemy. It might have been cheaper to just have outsourced our wars - hire 20M Chinese, put a low-tech rifle in their hands, and everyone in Afghanistan and Iraq would be chaperoned and guarded. :P

    Toyota and other manufacturers are in price-wars and fighting to get to market first. Thus you're more likely to get cheap materials and rushed reliability testing of a design.
  • "I'm surprised when auto makers can't hit 50 mpg with their compacts today."

    gas mileage, as rated by EPA, is a reflection of vehicle weight (for local driving) and low power fuel efficiency (for highway driving).

    vehicles, especially V6/V8 equip'd ones, are clearly far more fuel efficient today than they were back then. so you will see marked improvements for highway fuel efficiency figures.

    unfortunately, vehicles are getting heavier and heavier, especially at the mid to higher end of the market. so that offsets a big portion of the fuel efficiency gains.

    on top of that, you have the theoretical limits for any thermal machines so the gain is limited.

    I am not sure about diesels as they bring their own problems.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,668
    why make the assumption that the driver is the problem when something goes wrong?
  • "The military doesn't buy commercial quality."

    the discussion isn't about the commercial viability of such technology but the viability of such technology.

    But if you want to talk about the commercial viability, yeah, what's happening to Toyota is a vivid illustration of desires-gone-wrong: if we want to hand our fate to technology and let technology correct every single deficiencies in us, well, your Camry wouldn't be much cheaper than a Trident II ICBM.
  • millwood0millwood0 Posts: 451
    edited February 2010
    "why make the assumption that the driver is the problem when something goes wrong?"

    no reason, unless you can rule out that the driver is NOT the problem.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,668
    sorry, that is a total 'toyota' corporate line and nobody is buying it anymore.
    my mother returned from europe today. when i caught her up on the local news and bought up the toyota issue in a general way, she said it's big news across the atlantic, too.
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,911
    edited February 2010
    millwood0, just so ya know, VW diesels are no problemo even in subzero weather, due to USA diesel fuel being properly treated in winter. No "plug in" is required overnight - it's not even an option on the VWs.

    The downside of VW TDI in winter is how SLOOOOW they warm up - they are just too efficient! So if you like to get warm fast in winter, you may prefer a less efficient car (one with a gasoline engine). Bun-warmers, help?

    Any USA toyota will warm up faster on a super-cold winter day, since none are available with diesel engines (waah!).

    Are toyotas available with bun-warmers? Have there been problems with unintentional bun-warmage in Toyotas? Are their bunwarmers controlled by software or mechanical bimetal-strips? If there are any seat-heater problems, probably a "shim" will fix them. :|
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    edited February 2010
    the discussion isn't about the commercial viability of such technology but the viability of such technology.

    Right, I wasn't talking about commercial viability. I'm talking quality - and I'm talking specifically about material quality. From my experience the materials that went to military applications was of a much higher quality. The military specifications (at least high-tech things like missile components) required they bought materials with very little variance.

    If my factory could produce sheets of material with a dielectric constant of 2.50 - 2.70 (based on the ability to get high quality low-variation materials, weigh, mix, remove volatiles and run accurately on a machine); and the military contrator (like TI) said they would only accept 2.58 - 2.62; we either scrapped the majority of the material, or sold the scrap to someone like a radar-detector manufacturer.
    Either way TI would pay a hefty premium to get the material in the 2.58-2.62 range. They paid for us to make and reject it if necessary and send them the best.
    So I'm speaking quality - less variation, and better expected performance.

    When you buy consumer goods you are buying from companies who have the main goals of keeping the cost low to entice the customer, and getting new technology to the market before others, with the caveat that 99% of them last longer than the warranty period.

    Most consumer products probably have a goal of 1% reject-rate coming back from the field under warranty (that does not include internal defects found which can be much higher).

    I'd love to hear YOUR experience in manufacturing for military-spec, and commercial customers.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    if we want to hand our fate to technology

    I certainly don't. Only when technology is absolutely necessary to do something, or provides a significant new capability.

    Examples of good uses of technology:
    - To calculate long lists of numbers, or other complext mathematics that need to be done.
    - Cellphones; the added capabilities to get help most anywhere at anytime outweigh any misuse or health concerns.
    - Computers

    Examples of bad uses of technology:
    - Automotive: taking systems that for years since their inception have been human controlled, and having the human now simply turning or pushing a mechanism that is sending a signal to a critical system, that was quickly designed and specced to get the lowest price. Good uses of electronics in autos - HVAC, stereo, power mirrors, monitor emissions. Bad uses of technology (if there is no effective separate override system) - brakes, accelerator, transmission, engine - critical systems.

    Again technology is fine, if you give me a foolproof way to shut it off. If my washer or computer malfunction I can yank the plug from the wall. if I'm in a vehicle and the electronics lockup on a critical system, how do I shut it off, without relying on the electronics to do so? In UA how do I kill the energy to the vehicle? Stopping the gasflow is the most foolproof and direct way.
  • Ah yes, millwood0 is back. GPS guided bombs, thermal machines, commercial viability of technology vs viability of technology, the driver is the problem if you can rule out that he is not the problem, and other theoretical diatribes.

    Would anyone like to discuss issues related to the TOYOTA ACCELERATOR PROBLEM RECALL in this thread?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,220
    edited February 2010
    Well...in keeping with the title of the thread, Toyota ads in my local paper have started back up....including ones for all the recalled models. So, at least it looks like they're selling whatever stock they have that have been fixed.

    Notable in the ads is the fact that most of the dealerships have printed a note in the ad that, although Toyota is in trouble, that there dealerships are all about their customers.....more or less trying to distance themselves from Toyota's woes, and reinforcing how they are the ones, as separate entities, who will provide good service.

    Further, I'm in the market for a new car. As most cities have, there are a couple parts of town that have so called "automalls", which has a string of dealerships, of all different makes and models bunched closely together. I visited one yesterday. Although not in the market for a Toyota or Lexus, this particular automall has both stores in close proximity. In fact, the Toyota store is probably one of the biggest in my state (OH). In both cases, I didn't note any customers in either location....on a Saturday, which is usually when most people shop for cars.

    That was quite a contrast to the other stores in this locale that carry everything from Chevies, to Fords, to Nissans, to Infinitis, to Porsches, which were all quite busy.

    Not scientific, but just a personal observation.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    I saw a Camry ad this morning on TV from a large MA dealer. A Camry for $15,999, and you get 0% financing for 60 months.

    They must be seriously hurting.
  • Very well said. I agree that some of the systems in automobiles weren't "broke" so they should not have been "fixed". Sometimes it seems the manufacturers add technology just because they have it available, not because it necesssarily works better.
  • "Bad uses of technology (if there is no effective separate override system) - brakes, accelerator, transmission, engine - critical systems. "

    that's a bad list. take brakes for example, the advances there are short of breathtaking: abs allows drivers to retain control during emergency braking, and the addtion of track control and stability control, etc.

    "Again technology is fine, if you give me a foolproof way to shut it off."

    I take that you wouldn't fly a modern airplane, and certainly not the space shuttle.

    It is simply foolish to not use technology because of your fear of not being able to control it.
  • "I'd love to hear YOUR experience in manufacturing for military-spec, and commercial customers."

    it is hard to tell. most of the military acquisition programs are going cots now and it is not uncommon to see commercial products or ruggedized commercial products in military products, or aviation products.

    we were once in a company that does life-cycle management and one of the biggest revenue sources was to use modern hardware / software to mimic old hardware that has since gone out of production.

    the military may pay a lot for a comparable products but those products also require additional engineering, or small scale production, etc. so that in the end, you don't necessarily make more on them than you do on commercial products.
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