Toyota Embarrassed, Still

Toyota Quality Alliance, 2008

As if they didn’t have enough troubles with the gas pedals, Toyota now is recalling 110,000 2000-2003 Tundra trucks for rust problems. The rear cross-member that supports the spare tire could fail, dropping the tire onto the road, which would be embarrassing to say the least.

Further embarrassment, and possibly death, could result from unintended acceleration if the gas pedal in some 4 million vehicles jams, either because of the floor mat or the pedal’s design. You have undoubtedly heard about this, the largest recall in U.S. history, and the company has been taken to task about its prior response. Now, Toyota declares it

will install a brake override system on the involved Camry, Avalon, and Lexus ES 350, IS 350 and IS 250 models “as an extra measure of confidence.” The system will shut off engine power if drivers press the accelerator pedal and brake pedal simultaneously.

This will not only cost the company many millions but blemish its reputation as Quality King of the auto industry. Adding to the problem is the report today that 8,700 Toyota managers will have their bonuses cut by 20 percent (18 percent for union workers). This comes not just to defray the cost of the recalls but because of the declining dollar and slow sales—a 68 percent drop is forecast for this year.

For the world’s now-second-largest auto company, this is more than an embarrassment.

Will these developments encourage you to buy Toyota—or keep you away?



  1. Just how inept and clueless are American drivers? One driver, supposedly someone who has actually been trained in police driving, fires his SUV (with family inside) off the road at over 100MPH while describing whats going on over a cell phone. What ever happened to simply TURNING OFF THE KEY? I’m also not aware of any typical production vehicles sold in this country that the brakes can’t override the engine (even at full throttle) and slow and/or stop the vehicle. If you don’t believe me, try it on your own car. But simply turning off the key (or shifting into neutral) will save the day. This kind of “crisis” just demonstrates how totally unprepared American drivers are for anything outside the usual hum-drum drive to work. No wonder we kill tens of thousands on the road every year.

  2. That overide system has to be the stupidest idea ever have they really thought it out. Holding the car on the footbrake on a steep hill start will kill the engine and a lot of us left foot brake in traffic again dead engine just throw the mats out.

  3. This would not deter me from ever buying a Toyota if I were in the market for one. I would bet you that these Tundras are built or assembled in American probably with union labor and union rules. Any takers??

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