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Automotive News reports that a federal grand jury in New York has subpoenaed Toyota for documentation related to a component in the steering mechanism of some of its vehicles. The company announced that the subpoena came on June 29, but isn't yet saying publicly which vehicles are involved with the issue.

What we do know is that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated an investigation in February of 749,685 2009 and 2010 model year Corolla and Matrix vehicles for a potential steering issue. Toyota has received 437 reports, including 11 injuries and 18 crashes, since 2008, and NHTSA has received 168 complaints. In affected Corolla and Matrix models the electric power steering units are reportedly prone to drifting or locking up, with the problem most notable when cruising at highway speeds. The Japanese automaker has stated publicly that the issue is not a safety recall, though it intends to service the vehicles of Corolla and Matrix owners who say they have an issue. NHTSA still has not revealed the results of it's investigation.

This subpoena is the third Toyota has received so far in 2010, with the first coming in February due to unintended acceleration issues and the second from the Michigan Attorney General for recall issues in March. Toyota has recalled 10.8 million vehicles worldwide for acceleration-related issues.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req. | Image: David McNew/Getty]


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  • 36 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Allow me to turn that frown upside down :-) I hope this never ends :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's PAYBACK time. Now that we know the NHTSA's witch hunt was nothing but a witch hunt (someone from NHTSA already admitted as much to the WSJ) the NHTSA is trying it's best to find another way to tarnish Toyota's good name.

      Is this the US? It's looking more and more like the old Soviet Union.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Will the cycle of bad news regarding Toyota never end?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I hope not..........not until they change their ways.......In the nineties I owned a Toyota and loved it. Then in 2004 a girlfriend of mine had a Camry that was nothing but trouble, they blamed everything on her, it was always her fault. Actually the problem was, she had bought a crappy car from a company that valued the dollar more than the customer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        HA !
        • 5 Years Ago
        sure when toyota steps up to the bat and spoends the money to fix their crappy cars, until then ,a consumers b est bet is to ovoid buying toyota's unless they feel lucky ..not wroth the chance to me as my life is wroth more then a toyota, I;ll stick with better reliable cars like hyundai, ford, GM....
        • 5 Years Ago
        once they finish addressing everything they've swept under the carpet for 3-10 years, sure.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Could it be a well engineered car with poor quality parts? Ex. Made in Chine.....
        • 5 Years Ago
        no. toyota was very public about pressuring parts suppliers to cut costs a few years ago, they were engineering them cheap or approving cheaply engineered parts as the whole accelerator debacle taught us, and now valve springs, and whatever up fails prematurely. Toyota's not the only company doing it, but that doesn't mean their not responsible for the results of pressuring their suppliers to cut costs and as a result quality.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Another life-threatening product failure and subsequent coverup from the least ethical major automobile manufacturer on the planet. No surprise here.

      For all the Toyota apologists: Toyota sold their boring, otherwise unappealing cars on one repeat message -> "Toyotas are perfect and never break." Now we've found out that not only did their cars break and they don't actually focus on quality in the manufacturing process, but they covered it in every unethical way possible to protect their dishonest brand image.

      At least when BMW says they make the ultimate driving machine, they make an attempt to design cars that live up to that reputation. Toyota hasn't even bothered with quality in the last 10 years while simultaneously lying to customers and saying it was their top priority. So what if other brands have more recalls? Ford doesn't tell customers "our cars are perfect and if something is wrong, it must be you."

      It's not that Toyota's have problems that's at issue here, every carmakers will have product issues at some point. It's that up until a few months ago, Toyota's entire brand image (flawless quality) was based on a lie fraudulently and maliciously perpetuated by all levels of the company to customers for OVER 10 YEARS. Toyota has been running a perpetual scam (by covering up quality issues at any cost) since the late 1990's that has caused countless accidents, ruined lives and killed customers. No other major auto manufacturer, even in the mishandling of one recall or another, has come close to the kind of disgusting evil perpetuated by Toyota.

      I am a consumate capitalist, and I believe profitable businesses get that way by serving their customer well. However, Toyota has not sold an honest product since the late 90's. Their entire sales pitch was based on the "quality" scam. They are no more a legitimate car company than Pablo Escobar was a pharmacist. They deserve to be wiped from the market and crushed by any force willing to do that, be it angry customers, legitimate car companies, government, the media, consumer advocates or any combination of those groups... and the apologists for the Toyota scam need to see psychiatric care for stockholm syndrome.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What get's me is Toyota's zeal to be the biggest automaker and the resultant "cutting corners" to get there.

      Was it not enough to be the world's second largest automaker while producing solid, dependable cars.

      I wonder what questions, if any, have been asked of Mr. Watanabe and is role in Toyota's fall from grace.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nope its looking alot like America to me. Just sucks for the asian makers maybe they should hire some union guys or something. Just face it Big Red is no better than Chrysler, GM or Ford. The only thing they have going is that so many consumers drank the kool aid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It could also be related to the recall on the Highlanders back around 2005. It's where they recalled the Hilux in Japan and other places years earlier then they did here.

      However, it could be all wrapped up together.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't know how many accidents there were, but GM had this issue with their EPS units as well. GM had over 1000 complaints on the Cobalt alone...yet NHTSA sat on their hands for years. This issue also affected the G5, G6, Aura, and Malibu...

      I just don't want to see favoritism...

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703807904575097134094293008.html
        • 5 Years Ago
        Epix,

        'Ford wasn't transparent in their dabacle'?

        Ford hasn't HAD a debacle! That's my point, they haven't had to answer to anyone! And NO, I'm not happy!

        What facts have you given/heard? The same facts we waited for in the SUA cases?
        The Cobalts affected were from 2005-2010. +other shared models. 1.3 million vehicles. GM new about these issues for years! I'm not even saying they needed to react any quicker than they did. But they still knew about it! Facts don't make me sick, I just haven't heard many yet. I totally understand that you want to blame someone for years of horrible management at the D3 of the past, but I really don't think it's Toyota's fault! I just don't! Toyota could be blamed for other plenty of other management decisions without making sh!t up! Toyota does, in fact, put a lot of emphasis on waiting for root cause. Unfortunately this takes way too much time. Sometimes they have to make an educated decision and go with it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        what you fail to see is that it's really simple. The big 3 have been beaten up several times for recalls, what you've posted is yet another example. GM has been transparent, they didnt hide it. Now Toyota hasnt had to deal with this kind of treatment, they just enjoyed sitting on the side lines tossing cash at Cabinet members laughing at the Big 3 while they got a serious pounding, which cost them marketshare. Well guess what, times up! It's Toyota's turn. Funny the big 3 choose to take it like a man, Toyota took the thief route, hide/deny everything. I find it funny. They'll keep getting burned until they fix it, but thats looking to be a long time. I guess GM/Ford took the right approach.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL...funny how facts make people sick.

        And no, Ford wasn't transparent with their debacle. Happy?

        None of this is good for the industry, but don't be one to withhold facts for the sake of your own argument and/or bias.

        Uh oh...we've ventured back into the territory of "withholding" things...sound familiar?
        • 5 Years Ago
        1. The condition wasn't an instantaneous occurrence. It took time to develop and occurred mostly on out-of-warranty vehicles. (beyond the typical 3 yr/36k warranty)

        2. GM was completely transparent with it and didn't use subversive tactics to cover it up...or try to blame the problem on customers.

        • 5 Years Ago
        You GM apologists make me sick....
        I suppose you think For has bee pretty transparent with burning cars too?


      • 5 Years Ago
      I think people are blamming toyota for everything now. How many recalls do other companies have that are worse that never make the news.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's not valid, recalls from Ford, GM, and Chrysler have always made the news regardless of how serious it was, it was Toyota and the other Japanese brands that very little attention because it was easier to pick the Detroit 3 at one time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Willie,
        We never heard about Toyota's problems because they hid them.............Toyota is the devil.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ colin

        Toyota is the devil. And might I add, Toyota is the devil.

        In other news... Toyota is the devil.

        cwutididthar?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Colin,
        Toyota is the devil................news at eleven.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You know what Tom, I'm sorry but pull your head out of your....well, you know.

        You are probably one of those people that said "Death To Ford" over the supposed Crown Vic debacles without knowing a single fact.

        Same with the cruise control switch issue (something like 14 million vehicles were recalled and how many actually had issues? Or are you only allowed to use that question?). It is regrettable that there were deaths but look at that number and the amount of vehicles. And people were dumb enough to ignore the recall.

        To say that the domestics don't make their recalls seen is absurd. The recent recall on the Transit Connect got more air time then 95% of the Toyota recalls (except the whole pedal issue).
        • 5 Years Ago
        This website makes me laugh in disgust sometimes.

        "That's not valid, recalls from Ford, GM, and Chrysler have always made the news regardless of how serious it was, it was Toyota and the other Japanese brands that very little attention because it was easier to pick the Detroit 3 at one time."

        Or maybe it's because the Detroit 3 have almost for every year had WAY more recalls than Toyota, Honda, etc. Look up the statistics before blaming bullying.

        "Not reporting known safety defects which cause death, is an issue, unless you're a lemming or a moron."

        Right. Which is why Ford has had more UA incidents than Toyota before the media frenzy, and they did NOT tell the NHTSA and the NHTSA did NOT investigate, tar and feather them.

        "I don't recall a company that has lied the way Toyota has, they have lied to the customer, the government and whomever would listen. "

        How do you know? Since when did the Detroit 3 get investigated for their UA incidents? After all, they had either similar or more UA incidents than Toyota and they weren't investigated. I guess your assumption is that if the government doesn't investigate them, it means they're innocent.

        • 5 Years Ago
        You Toyotapologists make me sick to my stomach. Like groupies angling for convicted murderers, you fail to see the crimes of your sainted automaker. I suppose that is why your ilk may be called "useful idiots".
        • 5 Years Ago
        agreed. I'm so tired of hearing about these stupid "toyota is the devil" stories
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