Toyota Updates for February 3rd, 2010

Rather than inundate you with a thousand Toyota posts a day, I’m going to condense today’s Toyota news into one post.  Bear with me, as a lot has been said today, although not much has been done.  Toyota is still in trouble, and it’s getting worse by the minute.  Now the NHTSA and the House of Representatives is on their case, as are several groups of consumers.  Between the investigations and class-action law suits, Toyota’s got a pretty full plate right now.  Read on for the play-by-play from today.

This morning, Transportation Secretary LaHood had this to say:

“We need to fix the problem so people don’t have to worry about disengaging the engine or slamming the brakes on or put it in neutral…If anybody owns [one] of these vehicles, stop driving it and take it to a Toyota dealer.”

Then, he retracted part of his statement, clarifying that consumers should take their cars to their Toyota dealership as soon as possible if their car is affected by one or both recalls.

Toyota had this to say in response to LaHood:

“We appreciate Secretary LaHood’s clarification of his remarks today about Toyota’s recall for sticking accelerator pedals. We want to make sure our customers understand that this situation is rare and generally does not occur suddenly. In the rare instances where it does it occur, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes.  Our message to Toyota owners is this – if you experience any issues with your accelerator pedal, please contact your dealer without delay. If you are not experiencing any issues with your pedal, we are confident that your vehicle is safe to drive.  Nothing is more important to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. Our entire organization of 172,000 North American employees and dealership personnel is working around the clock to fix the accelerator pedals for our customers.”

Sounds like they were very happy with LaHood following up his first statement with another, but they still have a lot of spinning and fixing to do before they can relax.

In other news, the NHTSA is reporting that it is looking into electronic causes for the acceleration issues plaguing Toyota’s cars.  This makes me think that the mechanical solution to the problem may not, in fact, solve it.  If there’s an electrical problem, Toyota could be looking at a longer time until American consumers feel safe in their cars.  Hopefully it isn’t quite that bad, and a simple fix can be found if the problem is in the electronics.

While LaHood was busy giving Toyota heartburn, the Department of Transportation is reportedly looking to fine Toyota for the delayed recall.  The maximum they can fine Toyota is $16.4 million dollars, and up to now, no automaker has received a fine for that amount.  GM was fined the most, when 581,344 SUVs had faulty windshield wipers, although the exact figure is not known.  Toyota may just set a record, but definitely not in a good way.

On the lighter side, Jon Stewart had a piece last night on the “Toyotathon of Death”.  Funny stuff, so take a few minutes to watch it.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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CBS’ David Letterman also had something to say:

by John Suit

Sources: CBS, Comedy Central, Toyota, NHTSA, AutoBlog


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