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Posts Tagged ‘toyota production halt’

Toyota Confirms Reports of Prius Brake Problems

Automaker launches investigation of Unintended Brake Release.

by on Feb.03, 2010

Storm clouds coming for the Toyota Prius? The automaker acknowledges the hybrid may have braking problems.

The 2010 Toyota Prius, arguably the most important car in the Japanese maker’s line-up, is now under investigation for Unintended Brake Release, following mounting owner reports that the vehicle’s brakes might release after hitting a pothole or bump.

Toyota’s announcement comes more than a month after’s Editor Ken Zino first reported on the Prius braking problem, citing complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as information provided by owners to this publication.

It appears the investigation may have been spurred by the Japanese Ministry of Transportation, however, which has been worried by complaints received about Prius which is, in Japan, now the country’s best-selling automobile.

For its part, Toyota still downplayed the problem, suggesting that it is a manner of “inconsistent brake feel,” rather than the actual release of brakes, as numerous owners have described to

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“Toyota is currently in the process of confirming these reports and investigating the vehicle driving conditions under which the reported phenomenon occurs. It would be premature to comment until the investigation has been completed.”


Transpo Sec. LaHood Calls Toyota “Safety Deaf”

Regulators now looking at possible electronic control problems, despite Toyota’s denials.

by on Feb.02, 2010

Toyota is "safety deaf," proclaims Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

(This story has been revised since it was first posted to reflect revisions in wire copy quoting Sec. of Transportation Ray LaHood.)

Even as Toyota struggles to get underway with the repairs to millions of vehicles with potentially sticky accelerators, Washington is taking aim at the embattled automaker, the Secretary of Transportation suggesting the maker is “safety deaf,” while federal regulators begin looking at the possibility electronic control systems on Toyota vehicles could be another cause of “unintended acceleration.”

On Monday, Toyota formally provided details of its repair plans for the latest in a series of safety recalls, announcing that it would begin fixing owners’ sticky accelerators later this week.  The automaker also insisted that safety is its number one priority, that it had acted quickly and reasnably, and that it was confident it had identified all the problems with its vehicles.

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But in an interview with the Associated Press, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood had sharp words for Toyota, suggesting that it took longer than necessary to get the automaker to respond to mounting reports of problems with so-called “unintended acceleration,” an issue that also prompted the recall of 3.8 million vehicle for “carpet entrapment,” last October.


Apple Co-Founder “Woz” Wozniak Reports Safety Problems With His Prius

Claims his hybrid “goes wild;” blames onboard computer.

by on Feb.02, 2010

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is weighing in on Toyota's safety problems and insists there's an electronic glitch with his 2010 Toyota Prius.

Despite claims by Toyota that it has finally found and solved the various problems with “unintended acceleration” affecting millions of its vehicles, one of the most respected high-tech specialists in the U.S. contends the Japanese maker is either missing or denying another serious safety issue.

In a series of interviews, the legendary co-founder of Apple, Steve “Woz” Wozniak, has been pressing his position that some sort of glitch with the electronics controlling the powertrain in his new Toyota Prius “goes wild.”

After initially denying its vehicles could surge out of control unexpectedly, Toyota last October conceded there was a “carpet entrapment” issue, in which loose floor mats could jam the pedal and make it difficult to slow down, and recalled 3.8 million cars, trucks and crossovers.  At the time, Toyota Division boss Bob Carter insisted claims of other problems were “unwarranted speculation.”


But last month, the maker added another 2.3 million vehicles to the recall list – a figure since boosted to 4.5 million – because of a problem with sticky accelerators.  Again, in a teleconference with reporters, on February 1, company officials insisted that they had isolated all the problems.


No Timetable Yet for Repairs on Pontiac Vibe

GM says it's waiting to hear from Toyota, as are millions of Toyota owners on affected vehicles with sticking pedals.

by on Feb.01, 2010

Vibe, sold by the now defunct Pontiac division, is functionally the same as the Toyota Matrix.

It looks like Pontiac Vibe owners will have to wait a bit longer before finding out details of the recall of their crossover vehicle, which was built on the same assembly line as the Toyota Matrix, one of eight vehicles due to undergo repairs because of  a potentially sticky accelerator pedal.

A total of 4.5 million vehicles have been targeted by the Japanese giant as part of the latest in a series of safety-related problems.  The Vibe, produced by the now defunct General Motors division, is functionally the same as the Matrix, sharing the same accelerator assembly that is giving Toyota so much trouble.

Repairs of the various Toyota models should begin later this week, Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, announced Monday as part of a media blitz designed to defuse the impact of the automaker’s quality problems.

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As for Vibe, “We just don’t know,” said GM spokesman Alan Adler, adding that, “We’re working it out with them.”


Toyota’s Lentz Lends Mea Culpa to Recall

“It’s up to us” to make customers trust Toyota again, says exec.

by on Feb.01, 2010

It's all on the line for Toyota, said the maker's top American exec, Jim Lentz, during a teleconference to discuss Toyota's recall plans.

“It’s up to us,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota’s top American executive, as the maker struggled to put a human face on what is rapidly becoming the worst problem in its history.

Saving an enviable reputation for quality, reliability and safety will depend, said the president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, (TMS), on the plan the maker today outlined to fix a problem with cars that can suddenly surge out of control.

Toyota announced plans to recall 2.3 million vehicles on January 19th due to its recognition that their accelerators could, under certain conditions stick, making it difficult to slow the vehicles down.  Since then, the maker has increased the tally to 4.5 million, reflecting cars that it has sold in Europe and China with the same potentially defective accelerator pedal assembly.

The crisis has been worsened, analysts contend, by the fact that Toyota also recalled 3.8 million vehicles, last October, for another issue that could lead to so-called “unintended acceleration.”  That problem involves loose floor mat that can “entrap” the accelerator pedal and make it difficult to release.  That recall has increased in size, as well, and now includes about 5.3 million vehicles in the U.S. and Canada.

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There have been reports of problems involving runaway Toyotas dating back a number of years, which is leading many observers – including analysts, government overseers, media and consumers – to question what Toyota knew and when.


Toyota Says Accelerator Recall to Begin This Week

With plants idled, automaker says parts heading to dealers.

by on Feb.01, 2010

Toyota officially announced details of its "fix" for the accelerator recall this morning.

With the first replacement accelerator components on their way to dealers around the country, Toyota officially announced today that it will begin repairing vehicles this week as part of its latest in a series of expanding safety recalls.

In an early morning news releae, the automaker said that it is working with dealers to complete repairs “as quickly and conveniently as possible,” and added that in some cases, dealers may stay open 24 hours a day until repairs are completed.

Meanwhile, a key automotive analyst suggested just the direct cost of the accelerator recall – which has grown from the original 2.3 million vehicles to 4.2 million in customer hands – will exceed $550 million, but the indirect costs, ranging from subsidies for dealers to settlements in lawsuits could dward that figure.

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“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive,” said Jim Lentz, president and Chief Operating Officer, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) U.S.A., in a press release.  “We deeply regret the concern that our recalls have caused for our customers and we are doing everything we can – as fast as we can – to make things right.”


Toyota Reverses Course, Sends Parts to Dealers First, Delaying Plant Restart

“Minor Repair,” says one major Toyota dealer.

by on Jan.31, 2010

Toyota dealers should begin getting replacement accelerator parts later this week, but repairs will only begin with federal approval of the fix.

Reversing course, Toyota Motor Co. has decided to ship replacement accelerator units to its U.S. dealers before using them to get five shuttered North American assembly lines back in operation.

Describing the replacement as a “minor repair,” one major Washington, D.C. dealer said it hopes to begin start contacting customers to make repairs as soon as it has a “sufficient” supply of the parts on the had.  But while Toyota is pressing its supplier, CTS Corp., to turn out accelerator assemblies as rapidly a possible, it’s unclear how long the latest in a series of safety setbacks for the automaker will be resolved.

The problem is that there are three major steps that must be taken before things get anywhere back to normal:

  • Toyota must notify owners of eight affected vehicles of the recall; dealers must schedule appointments and then complete repairs;
  • Dealers must also complete repairs of the un-sold vehicles sitting on their lots. There are an estimated 200,000 or more of the affected vehicles that will need new accelerator assemblies before they can be sold;
  • Toyota’s factories cannot begin producing the new vehicles until the plants have a steady supply of the replacement components.

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The automaker initially planned to ship the first of the new accelerator parts to its factories, but when word hit the news media, including  Ken Zino’s report click here, that triggered a hue-and-cry that led the embattled company to re-direct the components to dealership

Brian Lyons, a Toyota spokesman, told the AP that the parts “are on their way to dealers,” but he cautioned it was unclear when they would arrive and how soon repairs could begin.


Toyota CEO Apologizes, Even as Signs Suggests More Recalls May Follow

Electronic problems could be key issue; could they trigger recall over Prius brakes?

by on Jan.29, 2010

Could the third-generation, 2010 Prius be next among Toyota products to face a recall?

With Toyota announcing nearly 3.5 million recalls since just the beginning of this year – on top of a record 4 million in 2009 – the embattled Japanese maker’s top executive issued his first official comment, in the form of an apology, today.

“I am deeply sorry,” declared Akio Toyoda, president and CEO and heir to the founding family of the Toyota Motor Co.  Toyoda spoke with the Japanese network NHK after leaving the annual summit of world leaders held in Davos, Switzerland.

“Truly we think of our customers as a priority and we guarantee their safety,” the executive said, according to a translation, but Toyoda cautioned that he could not explain the source of a series of problems that have led Toyota to announce the recall of 7.6 million vehicles since just last October due to safety problems that could result in runaway cars, an issue also known as sudden, or unexpected, acceleration.

Even as the executive apologized, there were growing signs that further problems could be in store for the Japanese giant.

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As Ken Zino, editor of and World Auto Reports first reported, on December 24th, there are mounting concerns that 2010 Toyota Prius models may experience unexpected problems with brakes that can suddenly release when the vehicle hits a bump or pothole.  In recent days, as word of the problem has begun to spread, TheDetroitBureau has received calls and letters from a number of additional owners, including Wisconsin’s Jill Krahn, who says her third-generation Prius has experienced unintended brake release on a number of occasions.


Toyota Halting Sales of 8 Recalled Models

Automaker hoping to assess problems with accelerators.

by on Jan.26, 2010

The recall of 2.3 million Toyotas, including the Camry shown, has led the maker to halt sales of eight models and stop production at five North American plants.

Days after announcing another recall of 2.3 million vehicles due to a problem with sticking accelerator pedals, Toyota has announced it will halt U.S. sales of eight models impacted by the recall.

The maker says it will also halt North American production of those vehicles in February, which include the popular Camry and RAV4 models, while it takes steps to “assess and coordinate activities” related to the problem.

It is extremely rare for an automaker to stop the sale of a single vehicle model, let alone multiple models in the line that make up the bulk of its sales.

The latest news only adds to the mounting quality and reliability woes facing a manufacturer long known for near bulletproof reliability.  Last year, Toyota recalled nearly 4.5 million vehicles in North America, including 4.2 million impacted by a separate problem with runaway acceleration.  The maker has asked owners of those vehicles to remove floor mats, which it says can inadvertently entrap the throttle.  Dealers are preparing to begin repairs, which will include the replacement of the gas pedal and, on some models, the installation of a digital controller to prevent a driver from inadvertently activating both throttle and brake simultaneously.


Of the 2.3 million vehicles affected by the latest sticky accelerator recall, a total of about 1.7 million are also going to need repair for the floor mat entrapment problem.