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Pontiacs Ensnared in Toyota’s 15th Recall of Year

Almost 200,000 of the NUMMI built Pontiac Vibes are affected.

by on Aug.27, 2010

Ah the joys of a joint-venture car. How long will owners have to wait for parts?

Toyota Motor Co. announced a safety recall Thursday for 1.13 million Toyota Corolla and Matrix models from the 2005-2008 model years. It was the beleaguered company’s 15th recall of the year. Also included in the recall, but not the release, are 199,163 Pontiac Vibe models from same model years because of a faulty powertrain control.

During the past year, Toyota consistently denied that there was a stalling problem with the vehicles, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened up a more detailed investigation into the problem last  week as consumer complaints continued to appear.

NHTSA, of course, is under heavy criticism for dismissing complaints about Toyota safety matters, and two former Toyota employees were working at the safety agency on Toyota matters while unintended acceleration and floor mat entrapment complaints were dismissed.

Compounding the problem is the fact that Toyota in the U.S. does not have the authority to recall vehicles, only the parent company in Japan can, as was revealed during harshly critical U.S. Congressional hearings on Toyota quality and safety matters.

Recalls and Analysis!

The 2-wheel-drive Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix are sister vehicles built between April 2004 and January 2008 at the former New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. joint venture in California between GM and Toyota. The vehicles were designed and engineered by Toyota.  Toyota closed the unionized plant in its largest U.S. market this past April in favor of moving production to a new non-union plant in Alabama, which will build the next generation 2012 Corolla – the world’s most popular nameplate since surpassing the previous tile holder, the Volkswagen Beetle.


Toyota Recalls a Million Corolla and Matrix Models

Add another million or so to the growing Toyota defect list.

by on Aug.26, 2010

More than a million Corollas in the U.S. and an unknown amount globally are recalled.

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today announced that it will conduct a voluntary safety recall involving approximately 1.13 million 2005-2008 Model Year Toyota Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles sold in North America.

Defective engine control modules are the latest safety defect at the beleaguered Japanese company.

On vehicles equipped with the 1ZZ-FE engine and two-wheel drive, a crack may develop at solder points or on the electronic component used to protect circuits against excessive voltage (varistor) on the ECM’s circuit board.

In most but not all cases, Toyota says if a crack occurs the check engine may illuminate, harsh shifting could result, or the engine may not start. In some instances, if cracking occurs on particular solder points or varistors, the engine could stop while the vehicle is being driven.


There are three unconfirmed accidents alleged to be related to this defect, one of which reported a minor injury.

As part of the recall, the ECM on involved vehicles will be replaced at no charge to the owner as is required by U.S. regulations.


Another Major Safety Investigation Targets Toyota

Best-seller Corolla, Matrix face new troubles over stalling.

by on Aug.26, 2010

A new NHTSA investigation targets potentially faulty circuit boards that could cause engine stalling with the 2005 - 07 Corolla and Matrix.

Toyota is facing yet another major investigation, involving what has been one of the company’s best-selling vehicles.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has launched a new investigation into possible defects with the maker’s Corolla and Matrix models, sold between 2005 and 2007, which reportedly face problems with unexpected engine stalling.

In The News...In The Know.

If the NHTSA investigation validates claims of a safety defect, Toyota could be pushed to order a recall of 1.2 million vehicles.  The situation compounds the Japanese automaker’s already severe safety-related problems, more than 8 million of its vehicles being recalled since last October due to two separate sudden acceleration-related defects.  Over a million more products, from the Toyota Tundra pickup to the Lexus HS250h hybrid, have been called back for reports covering everything from severe corrosion to leak fuel tanks.

(Jeep under investigation for fuel tank leaks involving up to 3 million vehicles. Click Here for more.)

Problems involving Corolla come at a particularly bad time considering both the increased competition in the compact car segment – and investigations into other problems with the popular Japanese product.


Toyota Subpoenaed By Grand Jury

Potential criminal charges could be another black eye.

by on Jul.20, 2010

Toyota says the steering behavior of its Corolla is "appropriate," but a grand jury is now investigating its actions.

Toyota could be in trouble yet again, and the subpoena it has received from a U.S. federal grand jury in New York suggests that its latest setback could result in criminal charges relating to steering problems with its Corolla and other models.

The newest subpoena was issued on June 29, Toyota confirmed today, without explaining why it waited so long to confirm the development.  It also was advised in March that the company would have to supply documents to a grand jury investigating matters related to its unintended acceleration recalls and braking problems with the Toyota Prius.

Since a spate of safety-related recalls began last October, Toyota has recalled more than 8.5 million vehicles, most for fixes related to unintended acceleration, but also to deal with problems as diverse as hybrid braking issues and extensive corrosion of pickups and minivans.  It has also had to address concerns about steering problems with the Corolla and Matrix, 500 owners complaining the vehicles wander at highway speeds.

Breaking News!

A week ago, Toyota announced that its own investigation had concluded “the design and performance of the steering system is appropriate” in the two models.  But it has also issued a Technical Service Bulletin, or TSB, that would permit dealers to replace their power steering units if customers complain.  The move stops short of a recall that would have added yet another 750,000 vehicles to the list of those recently called back by the maker.

“The company and its subsidiaries are sincerely cooperating with authorities on the probe,” the maker said in regards to the latest subpoena.


Corolla May Be Next on Toyota Recall List

Maker preparing fix for unexpected stalling problem.

by on Mar.18, 2010

This 2006 Corolla sedan could be the next model on Toyota's recall list, here for stalling issues.

Toyota’s nascent attempt to overcome image problems regarding the safety of its vehicles could be in for another setback, with the automaker telling U.S. regulators it is considering ways to prevent the unexpected stalling in the world’s most popular nameplate.

In a letter to the National Highway Safety Administration, the embattled automaker insisted the problem does not pose “an unreasonable risk,” but is nonetheless looking at ways to prevent stalling, which it has traced to engine control modules provided by two of its suppliers.

Critics of course have said that Toyota – and all automakers – do not properly test software, and that the safeguards used by other industries are not in place. Worse, NHTSA has only one software engineer on staff, and its regulations were developed before the onset of the widespread use of electronics in vehicles, including drive by wire systems that are now ubiquitous.

Your News Source!

NHTSA reports it has so far received 76 complaints involving 2005 through 2007 versions of the Corolla and Matrix models involving stalls that have occurred unexpectedly, sometimes at high speeds.

The problem is, ironically, believed to be related to a fix for a previous problem with those two vehicles.


Toyota Faces Yet Another Safety Probe

Feds looking at stalling problems with Corolla, Matrix.

by on Dec.05, 2009

NHTSA is investigating potential stalling problems involving the 2006 Toyota Corolla (shown here) and Matrix models.

NHTSA is investigating stalling problems 2006 Toyota Corolla and Matrix models.

Still struggling to deal with the fallout from the controversial recall of 3.8 million vehicles, Toyota is facing the challenge of yet another federal safety probe.  Government regulators are probing complaints that some of the automaker’s vehicles may stall in traffic, sometimes at high speed.

Long known for bullet-proof reliability, the growing number of problems attributed to various Toyota products threatens to tarnish the automaker’s carefully-cultivated image.

Complicating the situation is an ongoing battle with a whistle-blower claiming the Japanese giant has hidden damaging evidence connected to potential vehicle rollover problems.

Safety News!

Safety News!

The latest problem involves one of Toyota’s most popular models, the Corolla, as well as the compact Matrix crossover.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it has so far received 26 complaints that versions of those two models produced during the 2006 model year experience “stalls occurring randomly while driving, including some on highways and some in intersections.”