The never-ending saga of Toyota's struggle to gain acceptance for its Tundra pickup in the U.S. market was made more difficult today with a new recall affecting some 15,600 trucks. Apparently the rear propeller shaft on some four-wheel-drive Tundras could separate at a joint because Toyota's supplier improperly heat treated it. Automotive News reports that Toyota discovered the problem when a single owner complained about noises coming from that area of his truck. Only one case of the shaft actually separating from the joint has been reported according to Toyota, and it did not result in an accident.

Credit Toyota for investigating the issue and determining which trucks are affected, then actually issuing this recall despite knowing it will hurt in the court of consumer opinion. In addition to today's recall, Toyota has also had to deal with Tundra owners complaining of "rumble strip" noises coming from the transmission, camshaft failures on a small number of trucks, and weak tailgates that have failed.

Toyota still hopes to sell 200,000 Tundras this year, and through the end of November has actually sold 177,336 units. It will require a BIG sales month in December to move nearly 25,000 Tundras, especially considering that the pickup's best selling month this year was July when 23,150 Tundra were sold.

[Source: Automotive News, Toyota]


PRESS RELEASE:

Toyota Announces Safety Recall On Selected Tundra Pickup Trucks

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., will launch a safety recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on certain 2007 model year Tundra four-wheel-drive pickup trucks. The campaign will involve approximately 15,600 units in the U.S. and does not involve any accidents or injures.

On certain 2007 model year Tundra vehicles, there is a possibility that a joint in the rear propeller shaft may have been improperly heat treated, resulting in insufficient hardness. In the worst case, a section of the rear propeller shaft may separate at the joint. There has been one case reported among all affected vehicles that may relate to this condition. The one case involved abnormal noise and did not involve an accident.

Owners will be notified via first class mail beginning in late-December 2007. Owners are requested to contact their local Toyota dealer for inspection upon receiving their notification. If the hardness is not correct, the dealer will replace the rear propeller shaft at no charge to the owner of the vehicle.

Customers with questions or concerns should contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.