• Nov 30, 2009
Last week Toyota publicly announced that it was recalling 3.8 million Avalon, Camry and Lexus ES 350 models on account of fears over unintended acceleration. The fix for Toyota's sudden acceleration issue includes the reshaping and/or replacing of accelerator pedals, with replacement pedals reportedly arriving in April. As you'd probably guess, the massive recall has led to many customers calling dealers for additional info, but unfortunately dealers weren't exactly prepared to respond.

Wards Automotive is reporting that Toyota didn't inform its dealer body of the proposed changes, which apparently includes the reconfiguration of the floor of some models, before the announcement was made. The industry trade journal says that a Toyota spokesman told them that the severity of the situation meant there was no time to inform dealers first, though all dealers have been informed by now.

Wards spoke to a couple dealers who sound more than a little frustrated by the situation. Earl Stewart of Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Bay, FL reportedly called the situation "confusing" and "embarrassing," adding that his dealership has been fixing floor mats the past few months without getting paid by Toyota for their work.

While we agree that Toyota was right in getting this information out to the public as quickly as possible, we're surprised it didn't first alert its dealer body. After all, the dealership is the public face of the company, and if customers call and dealers don't have answers, it looks like the situation is anything but under control. The official recall notices for the Avalon, Camry and ES are expected to come by year end, while five other models, including the Prius, Tacoma, Tundra and Lexus IS 250/IS 350, will receive similar notices sometime in 2010.

[Source: Wards Automotive, sub. req'd]


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  • 35 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Consider the following before blaming Toyota for this.

      The car had the incorrect floormats installed by the dealer.(not the manufacturers fault)

      The driver did not shift the transmission into neutral, or downshift the transmission.(not the manufacturers fault)

      The driver did not press the ignition button to shut off the car.(not the manufacturers fault)
      • 5 Years Ago
      You know, one look at that photo makes this a pretty important story in MY mind. All those talking about THIS not being news need to look at that picture again and ask themselves if THEY want that happening to a loved one that's in a Toyota.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Perceived quality and actual quality can be quite different.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Man, AB never fails. The week won't pass without one anti-Toyota story.

      Go ahead, start downrating me now, but you know it's true, haters.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Look like this is site is paid by bailout GM!

        But look at GM with their ridiculous adds against Honda.
        Because they know Honda and Toyota are WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY BETTER!

        Should we buy GM cars now because they don't recall their cars???
        Probably NOT!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        WAH!!! My poor precious Toyota. YOU never fail, Luis. You are constantly berating anything Detroit. It's just a big celebration for the Detroit haters every day for people like you. Look, it's news and it's auto industry. Just like Eddie's father said,"And if you don't like it you can get the f*** out!"
        • 5 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho: there is no doubt that the driver contributed to his own death but keep in mind he was in a loaner vehicle from the dealership. This shouldn't have been an issue in the first place though, if a company is going to install drive by wire systems there needs to be some sort of shut off for the engine if the brake is completely depressed. on a side note this is another reason to drive a manual transmission car; i use neutral all the time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I lease one of these out of control accelerating vehicles and this recall is because of a few absolute retards. It was the negligence of the officer/owner and the negligence of a single dealer that installed (improperly) the wrong all-weather floor mat. The dealer screwed up the floor mat, but the owner must have been a true imbecile. To not possess a basic understanding of how to stop an automobile that accidentally has the accelerator pegged is criminal negligence.

        Having messed around with my floor mats and accelerator pedal...attempting to re-create this scenario...god...so many things would have to go wrong.

        This whole recall is simply ignoring any negligence of the driver/owner and dealership.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Hey Luis, I upgraded you, just for the hell of it. I am not a Toyota hater, I actually owned 4 remarkably unremarkable Toyotas. Toyota has become the "Old GM".
        • 5 Years Ago
        I did down rate you. Please explain, in detail, how this is an "anti-toyota" article and not a legitimate news item.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, Autoblog - stop reporting news. Please, it's upsetting people.

        I'm not anti-toyota, they just dont build anything I want. I'm pro-automobile and can find the good in almost any product... I'm still working on something nice to say about the Accord Crosstour.

        Anyway. The fact that they did not or could not get their dealers up to speed first is a little unsettling.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @paul34 - I guess his contention would be why it has never been reported before. For fun, go take a vw with a faulty dsg into the dealer and see how many are prepped and ready to fix it pre recall letter. Most won't be. That's the rub.

        Luis has a point, this situation is NOT unusual, it's typical pre formal notification to the public. What is unusual is that autoblog chose to mention this single instance - I'm guessing due to the amount involved. Were autoblog doing this independent research with every recall pre notification it would be 'basic and pure news' but the hand picking is bound to get a few asking why, why we've not been alerted before and why, specifically, it is being reported on now. Again I'd wager it's the scope of the recall, but Shunk's tone implies autoblog as a collective body has never ever been aware of this happening before, which is alarming if accurate or a bit sensationalist if merely his own limited experience posturing as the position of AB.

        Pure Simple news requires objective reporting (kinda a farce) which is largely based on journalists researching a topic prior to reporting it. Had Chris been inclined to at any moment before publishing this excerpt, he would see it’s not usual.

        Perhaps if Luis was a bit lest snarky we could have had this reasonable discussion from the get go.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So to understand what you are saying is that you are equating bad news for a given entity (in this case, Toyota) as being anti-toyota?

        If that is so, then Autoblog should stop posting sales figures for anyone that is selling fewer units then they did last year, major news outlets should not have reported on thanksgiving because they were anti-turkey, and so on.

        We get it, you love Toyota, we all have brands we love. That said, this constant drivel about it being "anti-Toyota" gets really really really old.

        You are right, it does fit their business model: Report breaking news of the auto industry. This is important and breaking (or braking if you are into puns) news.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How old are you, Luis? 12?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Autoblog posted about a recall for the v6s in pontiac grand ams a few months ago at the peak of bad big 3 news and I don't recall you commenting about some autoblog bias or conspiracy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "While we agree that Toyota was right in getting this information out to the public as quickly as possible, we're surprised it didn't first alert its dealer body"

      Really, autoblog as a collective is surprised? Do they know any techs at any car companies? This isn't unusual with large dealer networks. I've experienced it on the toyota, vw, and audi side of things a few times, especially when we're discussing changes which carmakers haven't had a chance to brief dealers on and which, more relevantly, haven't gone out formally to customers in letters.

      Just because we hear things first in the digital age doesn't mean carmakers have radically changed how they do business. When was the last time pre-web 2.0 you went in for a recall before receiving a letter?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The source of the story says the same thing:

        http://wardsauto.com/home/dealers_toyota_recall_091125/

        Bob Moran, owner of Acton Toyota in Littleton, MA, says he, too, was not told of the situation until an announcement already was made.

        “They notify the public and get them all stirred up, and then the phones start ringing here,” Moran tells Ward’s.

        Louis J. @ http://www.providagroup.com
        • 5 Years Ago
        Right, because that's how car companies work. VW got the same shaft not long ago when news of the dsg recall went out on national tv before dealers were prepped. Car makers notify their service departments of recall procedures when they've been ironed out. In situations like this, they notify the public when they're working on a solution. Unfortunately, the two hands are not congruent. Keeping the public abreast of research into a solution is vital for marketing needs, unfortunately most techs and service advisors don’t spend all day on the blogs or automotive websites.
      • 5 Years Ago
      er, putting zip ties on floormats = work?
      • 5 Years Ago
      LETTS GET REAADDYYYY TOOO RUUUMBLLLEE!!!!!

      Autoblog's favorite textual sparing match has once again begun!!! A close second maybe Japanese racism and the Japanese trade imbalance. In fact, just mention "Japan" and watch the electronic "Shock and Awe" commence!!!

      F you! Noo F youuu!! Die Liberal!! Die you Conservative!! Walmart sucks and so do you!!!!! Take your Jap crap and shove it!!! and on and on and on and on....
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota has a long history of trying to hide problems with their cars, such as the toyota sludge.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs7WI2s-CVw

      They did not recall until accident happen.

      Toyota execs knew of SUV control defect for years: cops
      July 13, 2006

      KUMAMOTO (Kyodo) A vice president and managing director at Toyota Motor Corp. both knew about a serious steering defect in the Hilux Surf sport utility vehicle in 1996, eight years before it was recalled due to an accident in Kumamoto Prefecture, police sources said Wednesday.
      they were professionally negligent for not recalling the model for the eight years until the accident injured five people. Toyota officials said they felt it was not necessary to recall the model in 1996 because the defect was not frequent enough.
      http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060713a1.html

      According to CBS News, an ex-lawyer for Toyota of North America has filed a racketeering suit against his former employer. ToMoCo’s former managing counsel Dimitrios P. Biller accused the automaker of illegally withholding evidence in hundreds of rollover death and injury cases, in a “ruthless conspiracy” to suborn evidence of its vehicles “structural shortcomings.
      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/08/29/cbsnews_investigates/main5273636.shtml
      • 5 Years Ago

      Toyota's troubles too long ignored
      http://hamptonroads.com/2009/11/toyotas-troubles-too-long-ignored



      Toyota Denied Sudden Acceleration Problem For More Than 5 Years
      http://kansascity.injuryboard.com/automobile-accidents/toyota-denied-customer-complaints-on-sudden-acceleration-problem-for-more-than-5-years.aspx?googleid=274028



      “More than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported since 2001 that their vehicles suddenly accelerated on their own, in many cases slamming into trees, parked cars and brick walls, among other obstacles, a Times review of federal records has found.
      The crashes resulted in at least 19 deaths and scores of injuries over the last decade, records show. Federal regulators say that is far more than any other automaker has experienced.”
      "Dr. David. W. Smith, an emergency room physician from San Dimas, has yet to receive a satisfactory answer from Toyota about his Lexus GS 300. Smith said he was driving with his cruise control in Central California on Highway 99 last year, not touching the accelerator, when suddenly the vehicle accelerated to 100 mph. The brakes did not release the cruise control or slow down the vehicle, Smith recalled. Finally, he shifted into neutral and shut off the engine. "I am sure it is the cruise control," he said. "I haven't used it since.""
      http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-fi-toyota-recall8-2009nov08,0,6120294.story
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would think that part of the ~$5 billion dollar kitty that Toyota bragged about having would cover a few overnight Fed Ex/UPS packages to their dealers informing them of what to do and how to do it. At least, that's the way the manufacturers I've worked for have handled critical issues such as this.
        • 5 Years Ago
        An overnight e-mail message in whatever dealer to company communications device 'Yoda uses would work equally well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well sure, emails are free, but they can be overlooked. There's just something about a package that has to be signed for addressed to the dealer principle/service manager that is a physical tangible object. They should've done both.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Unfortunately for Toyota, this smells of the way GM addressed problems 15-20 years ago. Its tough being the big boy on the block.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "apparently includes the reconfiguration of the floor of some models"

      wait.. what? like to get it correct they hit the floor with a big hammer?

      WOW. what a half-assed fix
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