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?