Problems keep mounting for the foreign car maker Toyota, which is considering another recall. This time, instead of run away vehicles, Toyota is faced with engines potentially stalling.
As of this posting no accidents have been linked to the engine stall problem. There are roughly 270,000 Lexus brand vehicles affected world wide. The recall is not official yet and Toyota PR team has not announced their intentions as of yet.
The idea of an engine stalling while in motion could be hazardous indeed. It’s not been released yet what causes the engine stall, whether under acceleration, slowing down, just that it affects some engines while in motion. Consider speeding up to merge into interstate traffic and suddenly have no ‘Moving Forward’.
It’s a recall and it must be reported, but the latest recall from GM is hardly as serious as the recalls made by Toyota so far in 2010. The Hummer H3 has been recalled due to a faulty fake hood vent, which can become lose and actually release during normal driving. All Hummer H3’s made from 2006-2010 are affected and should be brought into car lots for a fix.
There is a simple fix for the Hummer H3 recall, which involves actually gluing the fake hood vent down. And yet a better idea, how about not putting fake hood vents on vehicles anyway, make it real or leave it out. Pretty silly recall involving almost 200,000 Hummer H3, which is the smaller version of the Hummer models.
Toyota isn’t the only one having recall issues as of late, although Toyota tops the quantity of recalls, high end cars are not without problems as well. Today Porsche recalled all 11,300 Panameras built to fix a seat belt issue, a malfunction in the seat belt tensioner.
It should be noted that Porsche has always received top marks from J.D. Power and Associates for quality and it’s a sobering reminder that no one is perfect. It’s also worth noting that the recall is a minor one compared to the headlines coming from Toyota lately.
Today Toyota announced another recall, this time affecting the 2003 Sequoia. The item affected in this model year is a potentially malfunctioning stability control system. I would think by now Toyota would be offering a special Recall Promotion Event, to help move some cars out the door.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Toyota has agreed to pay a fine of $16.4 million to resolve the gas-pedal sticking recall. They do however deny any allegations that they attempted to hide the problem. The money seems a bit excessive, if in fact they were honest, and did not attempt to cover up an issue with over 2.3 million vehicles.
The fine was paid to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for not notifying them of a problem within 5 days. Federal law requires manufacturers to notify the NHTSA within 5 days, Toyota failed to disclose the the defect in a timely manner.
“We agreed to this settlement in order to avoid a protracted dispute and possible litigation, as well as to allow us to move forward fully focused on the steps to strengthen our quality assurance operations,” Toyota said in a statement.
The fine is the largest ever by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The next closest fine was paid by GM over a windshield wiper recall, which cost GM $1 million. Like me, most officials and industry experts believe that Toyota paying the fine is an admission of guilt to some degree.
At this point I know I’m not the only one a little bit suspicious of the incidents surrounding Prius recall incidents. Specifically referring to the out of control Prius doing 80 down the freeway in San Diego. It all kind of smells like Balloon Boy and people looking to taste nano second fame in the wake of Toyota’s woes.
In San Diego a guy claimed that he couldn’t get his Prius to stop because of a stuck accelerator pedal. However, analysts are quick to point out that shifting into neutral, standing on the brakes, shutting the car off, or all of the above should have brought the car to a stop. Slowly but surely the above should have worked and if not there are a lot more problems at stake here than just a stubborn gas pedal. Of course that doesn’t make an interesting news headline, nor damaging enough to the foreign manufacturers name.
Again, I’m not the only one making the Balloon Boy reference, but it’s the most fitting. Perhaps it’s even worse, maybe the goal of the media and guilty parties is to damage a name, rather than just a chance to be on TV. It’s a volatile economic market and if we can burn Toyota at the stake it can only make our domestic manufacturers stronger. We all know underhanded deals go on everyday with big time corporations, maybe this is an operation involving damaging a corporate name. Toyota presented an opening for criticism and guilty parties took notice and are not exploiting it as much as possible.
Toyota has been spending a metric butt load of money on advertising and claiming to have the fix in place for their accelerator problems. The recalls have been widely televised, dealers have been compensated, and you can get online without seeing an advertisement featuring a Toyota owner pleased with their cars safety record. Toyota knows what’s going on, they see the writing on the wall, and I suspect it will be a long time before they ever make it back to the top of the sales charts in the US.
It’s not a bad thing that domestic car manufacturers retake the top sales figures again, I just hope that it’s done without any fancy business. It’s been pointed out that Ford has been making huge gains in quality, leadership, and efficiency for a few years now, which has helped place them where they are. Let’s focus on the good things our country has to offer in the automotive industry and leave Toyota to clean up it’s own mess, consumers will still be around when they are done.