Toyota's got its sticky-pedal fix in high gear, with dealers exorcising an impressive 50,000 unintended acceleration demons per day. Thus far, 225,000 of the several million recalled vehicles have already been repaired. Going all-in on the fix was the only choice for Toyota, anything less would telegraph an attitude of apathy toward safety, and brand perception has tumbled precipitously lately.
There's a long way to go to finish all the fixes for the various massive recalls of Toyota vehicles, but there have been positives lately, too. MotorWeek named the Prius its 2010 Car of the Year, overall customer complaints have been low for the past decade, and a refreshed Avalon rolled out in Chicago. On the other hand, some members of Congress would like Akio Toyoda, president of the company, to pay a visit to Capitol Hill for what's likely to be a less pleasant experience.
As a result of the runaway acceleration issues, Toyota is also considering forward-looking revisions to its Smart Key pushbutton start system. The changes wouldn't be part of any recalls, and would be for yet-to-be-birthed cars. Adding a three-press shutdown feature, instead of the current mode of holding the start button for three-plus seconds is a change that would bring Toyota in line with other automakers that use pushbutton start. The hope is that in an emergency, shutting down the vehicle will be quicker and more intuitive.
[Source: Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post]