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Toyota Recalling 6.4 Mil Vehicles Worldwide

Nearly 30 different models impacted by a variety of problems.

by on Apr.09, 2014

The Toyota Highlander is one of many vehicles covered by the Japanese maker's huge new recall.

In one of the largest announcements in several years of major safety-related news, Toyota Motor Co. is recalling nearly 6.4 million vehicles for a variety of problems worldwide.

Some of the vehicles are actually covered by more than one recall, and the announcement also impacts products sold by two other makers – Subaru and General Motors — that were produced by Toyota. Adding the Subaru Trezia and Pontiac Vibe to the list brings the total number of vehicles involved in the recall to 6.76 million worldwide.

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Toyota says it has no reports of crashes or injuries related to any of the recalls – though it did note two fires linked to one problem, a defective engine starter that can keep a motor running even if the motorist wants to shut the vehicle off.  That is not related to the defective engine switch problem that has led GM to recall more than 2.5 million vehicles since mid-February.


Toyota on the Defensive

Japanese giant faces tough challenges; bets on new, updated products.

by on Aug.01, 2013

The 2014 Toyota Tundra remake will be pulling a heavy load for the Japanese maker.

For a vehicle with a payload capacity of 2,000 pounds and the ability to tow a 10,000-pound trailer, the 2014 Toyota Tundra will be expected to do some heavy lifting — and not just on the jobsite.

It’s been an unusually tough year for Toyota, both here and abroad. While the maker recently revealed it had narrowly retained its global sales lead, the gap between the Japanese giant and arch-rival General Motors markedly narrowed and while GM gained 4% for the first six months of 2013, Toyota was down 1.2%.

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It hasn’t helped to be caught up in an ongoing political dispute between China and Japan that even saw rioters burn a Toyota dealership. But the maker has also had some unexpected setbacks in what has long been its most profitable market, the U.S., where two key lines: the midsize Camry and the Prius hybrid “family” suffered unanticipated sales declines.  Meanwhile, the outgoing Toyota Tundra pickup has failed to take advantage of the revival of the U.S. truck market, the fastest-growing segment in the industry this year.


Toyota Recalls 2.8 Mil Prius Hybrids, Other Models

Follows a month after maker’s biggest recall ever.

by on Nov.14, 2012

The Prius and four other Toyota hybrids are covered by the maker's latest large-scale recall.

A month after announcing its biggest single recall ever, Toyota has revealed some new quality problems that will force it to make safety-related repairs on another 2.8 million vehicles – including its high-profile Prius hybrid models.

The news could deliver a further blow to the Japanese giant’s image despite having landed atop the latest Consumer Reports Automotive Reliability Study. It also puts Toyota in a position where it again is vying with Japanese rival Honda for the dubious distinction of having the most vehicles of any manufacturer recalled in the U.S. this year.

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The newest recall is the result of a water pump problem and a steering shaft defect. These can result in steering problems with a variety of Toyota products using the components.  The maker commonly shares parts on numerous models to reduce costs – but that approach risks the possibility of creating widespread recalls if there’s a problem. In this case, two problems may exist on the same vehicle.


Toyota Announces New Round of Recalls

700,000 vehicles involved in separate safety-related actions.

by on Mar.09, 2012

Toyota is recalling the Venza again.

While Toyota sales in the U.S. are trending up with the market, the Japanese auto giant can’t seem to shake the recall bug that’s haunted it for the past two years.

Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. has just announced it is recalling nearly 700,000 cars and trucks due to a variety of potential safety-related problems.  The recall comes barely a month after federal regulators opened an investigation into reports of fires in the driver’s side door of the maker’s popular Camry sedan and RAV-4 crossover.

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As part of the new recall, Toyota said certain Camry and Venza vehicles from the 2009 to 2011 model-years will need to have their the stop lamp switches replaced. Approximately 70,500 Camry and 116,000 Venza vehicles are covered by this recall.

In addition, certain 2005 to early 2009 Tacoma pickups will be recalled to replace the steering wheel spiral cable assembly. Approximately 495,000 Tacoma vehicles are covered by that service action.


Study Points Finger at Driver Error for Toyota’s Unintended Acceleration Problems

But 2-year review also suggests electronic issues may have played role.

by on Jan.18, 2012

Toyota's unintended acceleration problems likely weren't the result of electronic gremlins, says a new study.

A two-year study looking for possible causes behind Toyota’s rash of unintended acceleration issues has put primary blame on driver error – but the review by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) also cautioned that some problems may have been caused by inadvertent interactions involving vehicle electronics – an issue frequently cited by the automaker’s critics.

Though there was no hard evidence of specific electronic defects, the 139-page report cautioned that “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”  Warning electronic faults may be “untraceable,” it calls for stricter government involvement in setting standards for the use of electronic control vehicle systems.

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The new report completes a series of studies set in motion by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which, in March 2010, asked both the NAS’s National Research Council, as well as NASA, to see why there were so many complaints about what the media was referring to as “runaway Toyotas.”


Toyota Tells Suppliers to Gear Up

Despite recent problems, the maker is planning on big growth.

by on Aug.03, 2011

Toyota will count on an array of new products, including an update to the Camry, to help drive big sales growth in 2012.

Even as it prepared to report a 99% drop in its global earnings, Toyota was telling its worldwide supplier network to buckle up and get ready for a fast ride as it lays out plans for record production — backed by one of the most aggressive product roll-outs in its history.

Reports out of Tokyo indicate that the Japanese giant intends to come back from the setbacks of the last two years by launching a big growth effort that could boost production to a record 8.9 million in 2012.  That would be nearly a million more than Toyota said, on Tuesday, it will build this year.

It has been a tough couple years for the maker – which is expected to lose its crown as the world’s largest automotive manufacturer this year.  In 2010, it was hammered by a series of safety-related problems, at one point idling a number of plants to make repairs.  This year, Toyota has been struggling to overcome the effects of the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami which – during the first quarter of its fiscal year alone – cost it nearly 600,000 units in lost production.

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But Toyota officials tell that they are moving ahead on the global expansion program announced by CEO Akio Toyoda – ironically just days before the Japanese disaster.  And now, the maker confirms, it is telling its suppliers to get ready to support the push.

According to a report in Japan’s Kyodo News, Toyota plans to boost production at its Japanese assembly network to 3.5 million in 2012, adding another 5.4 million vehicles at “transplant” assembly lines in the U.S., Europe, China and other parts of the world.


Toyota Production Slips – Even As Japanese Rivals Expand

Troubled maker still set to remain global #1 for 2010.

by on Oct.26, 2010

Closing the Corolla plant in Fremont, CA is one reason why Toyota production is down.

A variety of challenges, notably including its ongoing safety problems, are taking a toll on Toyota Motor Co., the maker reporting its production fell last month, even as its home-market rivals posted production increases.

Even as Toyota struggles to overcome its challenges, Honda and Nissan are making headway tapping into the booming China, a market traditionally resistant to Japanese products.

Toyota reported worldwide production slipped to 672,604.  The 1.2% decline was the first in 12 months, and the maker blamed sluggish demand in Europe and North America.  In the critical U.S. market, Toyota has been struggling to overcome the impact of a string of safety-related recalls – the most recent, announced last week, covering potential brake problems with more than 700,000 vehicles sold in the States.

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North American production also took a hit because of Toyota’s decision to close an assembly plant it had run, in California, for more than two decades, as part of a joint venture with General Motors.  Production of models like the Toyota Corolla will eventually be transferred to a new plant, in Mississippi, now under construction.  Overall, North American production slipped 4.1% last month.


Sales Numbers Show Toyota Still Taking Hits From Safety Scandal

Latest sales up, but lagging key competitors despite hefty incentives.

by on Oct.05, 2010

Like its American rivals, Toyota now sells more trucks than passenger cars in the U.S. market.

Half-empty or half-full, Toyota’s performance in the U.S. market last month all depends on your point of view.

The maker reported what were unarguably its best sales numbers in five months during September, a 16.8% increase, prompting Group Vice President Bob Carter to proclaim, “Sales, in fact, were so strong during Labor Day, it felt like 2006 again.”

But after a year-long crisis that has undermined consumer confidence in the Toyota brand, the sales numbers for the current year indicate the Japanese auto giant has suffered some serious and potentially long-lasting damage.

While the sales improvement in September was certainly a bright spot, Toyota’s increase was notably smaller than those posted by several key competitors, including Ford Motor Co., Hyundai, Honda, Nissan and even Chrysler as the overall seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, for the U.S. market increased to 11.8 million units.

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Strong sales of the  RAV4 , 4Runner Highlander sport- utility vehicles, Sienna minivans, Prius hybrids and Tacoma pickup trucks gave Toyota a boost during September,  the company said.


Toyota Brand Losing Value

But it could have been worse, study suggests.

by on Sep.17, 2010

The world's number one automaker suffers a sharp slide in brand value, according to a new survey.

With a record number of recalls, a grand jury investigation and a plague of lawsuits facing it, Toyota has seen a sharp drop in its ranking in the annual Best Global Brands study.

Conducted by the brand consultancy Interbrand, the latest survey found Toyota has dropped from 8th to 11th – with an even more significant loss in its actual brand value. By that measure, Toyota lost 16% of its value, according to the annual survey – more than other damaged brands such as Dell and Citi Services lost since the last Interbrand report.

“Although the Toyota recall caused the brand to lose 16% of its brand value, its long-standing reputation for reliability, efficiency and innovation helped it weather the crisis better than expected,” Interbrand noted.

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Nevertheless, only Harley-Davidson and BP, which was at the center of huge environmental disaster, did worse in the Interbrand survey than Toyota, which was once the envy of the auto industry and is now facing permanent damage from the massive recalls of the last 12 months.

By contrast, Goldman Sachs, which has faced sharp criticism in the media and on Capitol Hill, saw its brand value actually increase by 1%.


NHTSA Finds No Electronic Defects With Toyota

But findings don’t completely clear troubled Japanese maker.

by on Aug.11, 2010

NHTSA cannot find electronic gremlins in Toyota vehicles, and says many unintended acceleration incidents resulted from driver error.

Federal safety regulators are giving Toyota some much-needed good news, though they aren’t completely absolving the troubled Japanese maker in an ongoing safety scandal.

With Toyota facing a rash of lawsuits for its various safety problems – legal problems some analysts estimate could cost the maker more than $2 billion to resolve – there’s significant good news for the  Japanese company in the finding by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it could not find any sign of electronic glitches that might cause Toyota vehicles to unexpectedly race out of control.

In fact, after reviewing the vehicle data recorders taken from scores of Toyota products involved in unintended acceleration incidents, NHTSA found that the brakes were not applied in 35 of 58 cases.  That finding, supported by black box data, suggests that driver error, rather than mechanical problems, were responsible. This should not be surprising to anyone who has followed the history of such charges.

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The additional incidents, however, appear to be the result of mechanical – but not electronic defects.  Toyota has so far recalled more than 8 million cars, trucks and crossovers to resolve problems that could cause a vehicle’s accelerator to stick, including faulty accelerators and loose carpets that could jam under the accelerator pedal.