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]