Filed under: Hybrid , Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Crossover , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury This summer, we brought you news that Lexus was recalling over 150,000 RX and RX hybrid crossovers tied to its massive pedal entrapment issue. An update to that story included word from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it was considering launching a federal investigation into potential delays by the automaker in notifying owners about the problem. Now comes news that parent company Toyota will pay a hefty $17.35 million in fines for delaying its recall of the 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h. According to The Detroit News , the Japanese automaker is being forced to pay the maximum fine for delaying recalls – and this isn’t the first time. In fact, this is the fourth time since 2010 that Toyota has been required to do so, including paying $48.8M in civil penalties in 2010 for failing to recall vehicles in a timely manner – in three separate campaigns. In addition to the fines, Toyota has agreed to restructure the way it handles quality control and review “safety-related issues.” Though the Japanese automaker has not admitted any wrongdoing, Toyota has agreed to meet with NHTSA for six months on the matter and may extend the meetings another six months. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he is counting on Toyota to improve its ability to address such safety issues: “With today’s announcement, I expect Toyota to rigorously reinforce its commitment to adhering to the United States safety regulations,” he said in a statement. According to the report, Toyota has recalled more vehicles than any other automaker so far this year – 5.3 million in 13 separate campaigns – putting it about two million units ahead of second-place Honda . This latest fine is a drop in the bucket compared to Toyota’s expected global profits of $9.7 billion by the end of March, 2013. That said, Congress has already agreed to a new fine that will push the maximum penalty for delayed recalls up to $35 million.
Filed under: Truck , Recalls , Safety , Toyota Toyota has initiated a recall of its Tacoma pick-up from the 2001 to 2004 model years, with up to 150,000 units affected. Tacomas sold in 20 snowbelt states and the District of Columbia could have an issue with the lift plate on their spare tire carrier, which is a piece of metal that helps raise the emergency spare wheel located at the back and underneath the truck. The plate might not have been properly coated with anticorrosion protection, and this could lead to the plate corroding on trucks driven in states that use salt on the roads during the winter. A lift plate failure could lead to the spare tire coming loose and causing an accident. Toyota is working on a remedy to the situation and will notify owners when it is ready. The release below from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more information, including all of the cold-weather states in which affected trucks are registered, and indicates that the recall should begin next month. Continue reading Toyota issues recall for 150K Tacoma pickups over possible spare tire trouble Toyota issues recall for 150K Tacoma pickups over possible spare tire trouble originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Nov 2012 17:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Toyota Toyota has announced a voluntary of around 2.5 million vehicles in the US for faulty window switches. The automaker says the driver’s side power window master switch may develop a sticky or notchy feel during operation, and that if owners or technicians apply commercial lubricant, the switch my smoke or catch fire. The recall covers certain Yaris , RAV4 , Tundra , Camry , Camry Hybrid , Highlander , Highlander Hybrid, Sequoia , Corolla and Matrix models as well as Scion xD and xA units. All vehicles fall between the model years 2007 and 2009. Over 200 incidents involving the switches have been reported in the US alone, though the trouble hasn’t caused any accidents or injuries. Toyota technicians will inspect, disassemble and apply special flourine grease to the switches free of charge. Owners can expect to receive a recall notice starting later this month. The 2.5M unit total only covers US vehicles – some 7.4M units will fall under this recall globally. Take a look at the full press release below . Continue reading Toyota recalls 2.5 million vehicles over fire risk Toyota recalls 2.5 million vehicles over fire risk originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 10 Oct 2012 08:45:00 EST.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Technology , Toyota Toyota is facing further fallout from its recent unintended acceleration debacle, with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reopen its investigation into the situation that led Toyota to recall some eight million vehicles. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, Grassley has written a letter to NHTSA director David Strickland, stating in part, “Key questions about the cause of unintended acceleration remain unanswered.” Grassley’s contention is that because neither of the two independent investigations into the issue produced a definitive cause or explanation, further digging is necessary. Most of the unintended acceleration incidents in the NASA and National Academy of Sciences reports not attributed to trapped floormats or other problems with accelerator pedals were blamed on driver error, according to the report, but both studies concluded that other unknown issues could be at play. According to Automotive News , Grassley is particularly concerned about the “tin whiskers” phenomenon, in which tiny threads of conductive crystal can grow on circuit boards. Toyota has responded to the Grassley letter, issuing a statement that reads, in part, “There is no problem with the electronic throttle control systems in Toyota vehicles – and all the scientific evidence confirms it. So-called ‘tin whiskers’ are not a new phenomenon and do not represent a mysterious or undetectable problem in a vehicle’s electronics.” Sen Grassley asks if Toyota got off easy with unintended acceleration debacle originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 Jul 2012 13:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Crossover , Hatchback , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has grown its investigation into certain Toyota models to cover a full 1.4 million cars and trucks. Reuters reports the government safety agency has upgraded the investigation to a full-blown engineering analysis, which may eventually lead to a recall. NHTSA has received a number of complaints concerning fires tied to models built between September 2006 and August 2008 that use the same power window master switch design. All told, customers have reported nine injuries and 161 crashes or fires, though no deaths have been tied to the issue. The analysis covers 2007-2009 Camry , Camry Hybrid , RAV4 and Yaris models as well as 2008 Highlander Hybrid crossover. Back in February, NHTSA opened an investigation into 830,000 Camry and RAV4 units , though today’s announcement grows that number to over 1.4 million models. NHTSA expands Toyota fire probe to 1.4M cars and trucks originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Jun 2012 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Coupe , Performance , Plants/Manufacturing , Recalls , Scion , Subaru , Toyota The Scion FR-S / Toyota GT86 / Subaru BRZ triplets are being recalled due to an issue not with the car, but with the owner’s manual: pages detailing the operation of the smart airbags contain a misprint. Although it’s classified as a recall, owners don’t need to take their cars to their dealers; Scion and Subaru will be sending the nearly 2,800 owners corrected pages that can be inserted in the manual. If you’d rather have your dealer do the Elmer’s Glue work, they will have corrected pages that they can insesrt in the owner’s manual for you. Two separate issues seem to be affecting the FR-S only, even though it is built on the same line with the BRZ. Toyota issued “tech tips” to dealers to let them know that owners have reported that condensation has been forming inside the taillamp housings. According to an exchange on the FT86Club forum , the coupe’s chief engineer declared that problem fixed after remedying a detail in the production process. Another tech tip regarding body panel issues read, “Some 2013 Scion FR-S vehicles may exhibit a condition where body panel fitting may not meet customer expectations.” It refers to complaints that panels were as much as a quarter-inch out of flush. It isn’t clear how many cars are affected, nor how many owners have formally complainted, but according to a post on TundraHeadquarters.com, Toyota is “looking into it.” Scion FR-S faces teething problems, owner’s manual recall originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 11 Jun 2012 09:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Crossover , GMC , Honda , Saturn , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is evidently keeping itself very busy these days, as the federal agency has just announced it is launching or renewing investigations into Toyota , Honda and General Motors crossovers. 2006-2008 model year Toyota RAV4 crossovers are under review for allegations of rear tie-rod rust which can result in failure. NHTSA also said it is probing some 35 complaints about 2005 Honda Pilot models with inappropriate activation of the vehicles’ stability control system. The alleged malfunction can cause the vehicles to slow down or stop in bad unsafe situations. At the moment, NHTSA is reviewing a petition regarding the Pilot issue, a move that will determine whether it needs to open a full-blown investigation. In addition, Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia three-row crossovers built in 2007-2009 are getting looked at for “loss of low beam headlamp” function. One complainant said the wiring in his Outlook overheated and melted. NHTSA says it has received 415 complaints about the problem and a GM spokesman confirmed that the automaker already started a “Customer Satisfaction Program” in December to address the issue. Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons tells the The Detroit News , “We will fully cooperate with its [NHTSA] investigation.” At least four of the complaints about the RAV4 claimed the tie rod failed at speeds above 35 mph, resulting in a loss of control. The NHTSA investigation summary states, “Pictures provided by some complainants show the wheel adjacent to the failed component severely out of wheel alignment with respect to toe and camber.” No word on the timeframe for these investigations before it can be determined whether or not a recall is warranted.
Filed under: Hybrid , Wagon , Recalls , Toyota Toyota engineers have worked hard to get the emissions that come out of the tailpipe of the Prius V down to a low level, but that doesn’t mean everything is copacetic with the car’s exhaust system. To fix a known problem, Toyota has announced a service campaign for the Prius V, both in the U.S. and Japan. The Wall Street Journal reports that the problem is with “weak actuators-control mechanisms” in the exhaust-heat-recovery systems that can end up leaking engine coolant, which will then force the car into a “safe” mode. Some second-gen, 2004-07 standard Prius models were affected by a similar problem in the past. The new issue affects about 8,000 vehicles in Japan and 20,000 in North America. Prius V owners will get the problem fixed for free. Toyota announces service campaign to fix exhaust on 28,000 Prius V hybrids originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Apr 2012 08:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , Toyota While Toyota recalls are no longer the earth-shattering news they were back in 2009 , they’re still news. And today’s announcement certainly qualifies for the modifier “big,” with nearly half a million Tacoma pickups being recalled under one campaign, and 116,000 Venza crossovers and 70,500 Camrys under another. The 2009 Camry is the only model year covered by the recall, while 2009-2011 Venzas are affected. These vehicles may need a replacement stop lamp switch, which may have been installed incorrectly. Symptoms include warning lamps illuminating, a non-starting condition, and the inability to shift out of Park. The Tacoma recall covers some 2005-2009 models that may need their steering wheel spiral cable assembly replaced. Symptoms include an air bag warning lamp that does not go off after the vehicle is started, which could result in the driver’s air bag being deactivated. In both cases, Toyota says it is “obtaining the necessary replacement parts” and owners will be notified by mail. Owners may also visit www.toyota.com/recall or call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331. See below for the full release.
Filed under: Car Buying , Etc. , Recalls , Safety , Toyota If you think Toyota is still reeling from negative opinions stirred up by the company’s rash of recalls in 2009, North Carolina State University has some news for you. According to a new study conducted by researchers at the institution, the recalls had “little to no impact” on how buyers see the Japanese automaker. Robert Hammond, an assistant professor of economics at NCSU, says the research specifically looked at the used car market to negate the impact of outside factors like incentives, marketing campaigns and models not associated with the recall to begin with. The idea was that examining average prices of models affected by recalls associated with sudden acceleration would give researchers an idea of how willing buyers were to pay for the vehicles. Overall, used cars covered by the recall campaigns saw their price decline by a mere two percent. The figure is within the statistical margin of error for the study. So, what’s behind the slow in Toyota sales? Despite an abundance of fleet sales last month that saw the company’s figures swell by 7.5 percent over January 2011, Toyota still fell well behind the industry average. With production back on track after last year’s earthquake tragedy, the company may have some explaining to do.