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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: 9,448
    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: 9,448
    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: 9,448
    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: 9,448
    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.
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