Automotive News reports Toyota may have known about the problem behind the company's recall of 7.43 million vehicles. The recall covers faulty window switches that may get stuck or catch fire if improperly lubricated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received its first complaint about the issue some four years ago, which singled out American supplier, Tram Inc., and its Japanese parent company, Tokai Rika Co., as being to blame for the trouble. The faulty switches in question were described as emitting a strange smell and were sent back to the supplier for analysis. Tokai Rika couldn't discern a cause for the failure.

Toyota dropped the case in that instance, but continued to monitor the switches. Similar reports flared up once again in 2010, this time with the components actually smoking, and Toyota launched a full-fledged internal investigation that eventually led to the recent recall. The campaign covers nearly 2.5 million vehicles in the US alone.

Why did it take Toyota so long to launch the recall? The company says it was trying to discern why the switches were failing before it issued a fix.


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  • 49 Comments
      Billyg75@comcast.net
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toyota apologists are in full swing.
        techie69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Billyg75@comcast.net
        No excuses for this garbage, enough is enough being a good corporate citizen and hire these local junky suppliers. I say dumped them, if they can't figure out kaizen and leave them to VW, FIAT and the Big2 to use their trash!
      Yang Xi Gua
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is nothing but a witch hunt. We all know Obama is a socialist who's in bed with the union, which is why Ford never recalls whereas Toyota does. The complete opposite was true when Bush was in office.
        Matt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Yang Xi Gua
        Can we please stop turning every freaking story into a political statement? Ford has had a bunch of recent recalls. The new Escape has had 3 separate recalls this year!
      nsxrules
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now that is excellent due dilligence, despite the fact that the supplier couldn't find an issue with the switches Toyota continued monitoring the issue for 4 years. KUDOS to Toyota! Recalls are never desired but Toyota is handling this very well.
        Basil Exposition
        • 2 Years Ago
        @nsxrules
        Nice spin! If you don't already work in PR, you should consider it!
          jtav2002
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          Spin? You can be damn sure if this exact situation involved Ford many would say the same thing and far more would agree in that situation.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        razorpit
        • 2 Years Ago
        All depends on what your definition of "great" is...
          Yang Xi Gua
          • 2 Years Ago
          @razorpit
          The world's biggest automaker by volume and sales. Yeah, that fits the definition of great.
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        I find it ironic that it seems foreign recalls have increased so much as more of these cars are being built here. Could be purely coincidental but everyone is quick to tout products built in the US but it seems quality has suffered. Alot of the issues are often tied to US suppliers too. I'm not by any means suggesting we shouldn't promote US manufacturing but the quality issues here are definitely something to consider.
          Steve
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtav2002
          "American supplier, Tram Inc., and its Japanese parent company, Tokai Rika Co." Just because a part comes from a supplier located in America doesn't mean that it is foreign owned such as this one, Tokai Rika.
      Jason Lancaster
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is a bullshit story. Toyota's NHTSA filing openly admits that the very first incident occurred in 2008 - it's not as if they're "hiding" something. What's more, when faced with one single smoking switch, what - exactly - would you have concluded? This is a classic of example of uneducated auto journalism. If you know what the hell you were talking about, you wouldn't write something so blatantly unfair.
        telm12345
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Lancaster
        Its' the anti-yota train. Who cares about facts? *sarcasm*
        mapoftazifosho
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Lancaster
        I'm not certain why they didn't give Honda the same treatment a few days go when they recalled the CR-V for something very similar...
      telm12345
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't care if I can downvoted, but the Toyota blame train is just ignorant and let us try to take the bias out of this article. If you actually read it, you will only get two facts and one inference out of this: 1. Toyota did know about the problem and per protocol sent it to Tokai Rika for investigation 2. Tokai Rika couldn't identify the underlying issue/recreate the problem 3. You DO NOT know from this article how many complaints were filed in the 4 year span, only that 4 years ago ONE (as in SINGLE) complaint was filed. If every time a car had smoke or a switch issue a recall was issued, we'd never be ablI don't care if I can downvoted, but the Toyota blame train is just completely ignorant and lets try to take the bias out of this article. If you actually read it , you will only get two facts and one inference out of this: 1. Toyota did know about the problem and per protocol sent it to Tokai Rika for investigation 2. Tokai Rika couldn't identify the underlying issue / recreate the problem 3. You DO NOT know from this article how many complaints were filed in the 4 year span, only that 4 years ago ONE (as in single) complaint was filed. If every time a car had smoke or a switch issue a recall was issued, can you imagine the cost that we'd end up paying for? So please, when you read anything, take the facts out so you can form an intelligent opinion rather than just spitting out someone else's ideas.
      DarkKnight67
      • 2 Years Ago
      FOUR YEARS?!?!? Okay, had this been a domestic manufacturer, this would have been all over the news and people would have been crying to have a recall performed and bemoaning the quality of the product. But, like the previous occurrences, Toyota always seems to get a pass and "you are forgiven".
        mapoftazifosho
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DarkKnight67
        Or the complete opposite happened... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/19/gm-isuzu-recall-258000-su_n_1806795.html
      telm12345
      • 2 Years Ago
      Don't know what happened there... anyway I don't care if I can downvoted, but the Toyota blame train is just ignorant and let us try to take the bias out of this article. If you actually read it, you will only get two facts and one inference out of this: 1. Toyota did know about the problem and per protocol sent it to Tokai Rika for investigation 2. Tokai Rika couldn't identify the underlying issue / recreate the problem 3. You DO NOT know from this article how many complaints were filed in the 4 year span, only that 4 years ago ONE (as in single) complaint was filed. If every time a car had smoke or a switch issue a recall was issued, can you imagine the cost that we'd end up paying for? So please, when you read anything, take the facts out so you can form an intelligent opinion rather than just spitting out someone else's ideas.
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @telm12345
        Yea really. NO manufacturer, none, would issue a recall based on a couple complaints when they don't know what the issue is and neither does the supplier. Especially in a situation like this. It's not like the complaint was when driving down the road, the vehicles wheels, and roof fall off causing mass chaos and death.
      Yang Xi Gua
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Automotive News reports Toyota may have known about the problem behind the company's recall of 7.43 million vehicles." MAY have. Yes, I may have eaten a mouse this morning. Yes, I may have killed myself this morning. MAY should never appear in any NEWS. End of.
      John Montgomery
      • 2 Years Ago
      Way to twist the article autoblog. Why didn’t you post the same information for the past GM, Ford, and hrysler recall? Since you didn’t I will. First, we all remember that GM had the same issue with window switch fires. http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/recalls/relatedRecallsummary.cfm?INV_ID=EA12004&recallIdlist=12V406000&ModuleType=VehiclesWell, the first complaint was registered with GM on October 29, 2008. See complaint 10247838. http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/complaints/results.cfm 242 complaints and 677 warranty complaints filed through GM, they surely knew of an issue. Yet it took them four years to issue a recall. Say it isn’t so? http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/UCM422682/INOA-EA12004-8517.PDF Take the recent Ford Escape on July 26, 2012 for stuck throttles resulting in at least one death of a teenage girl. http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/recalls/relatedRecallsummary.cfm?INV_ID=PE12019&recallIdlist=12V353000,12V357000&ModuleType=Vehicles Prior to the 2012 recall, Ford recalled the Escape in 2004 for stuck throttles. In typical Ford fashion, they did a subpar job. After the recall, around August 15, 2005 the first complaint was filed in reference to complainant saying her car still had a stuck throttle and accelerate to speeds around 100 MPH. See complaint 10132929. The next complaint lodged under complaint number 10147995 on January 16, 2006 shows another complainant saying her vehicle was not covered under the last recall but her vehicle was experience a stuck throttle. Yet, it took the death of a teenager for Ford to issue a recall some 7 years later. I guess they didn’t learn from the firestone fiasco. (Yes Ford knew about the firestone tires, yet failed to protect over 135 people who died as a result) http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/complaints/results.cfm http://fordexplorerrollover.com/explorer_rollovers/Default.cfm And last by certainly not least is the Jeep fire investigation involving 5.9 million vehicles. To date, 48 people have died as a result of fuel tank rupture after rear end collision causing fires. The first complaint came in July 9, 1996 (See complaint number 506249). Here we are, 16 years later and Chrysler has yet to issue a recall. Sure Chrysler is fast to fix simple issues, but how many more people have to die before Chrysler does the right thing? http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/UCM422686/INOA-EA12005-6191.PDF So often we here that Toyota is leading in how many vehicles have been recalled. According to auto recalls for consumers, Toyota is well behind the total numbers of recalls per manufacture (includes subsidiaries) Toyota – 919 Ford Motors – 3552 GM – 5293 Chrysler – 2743 http://www.arfc.org/autos/ It is truly amazing how many bias people there are. God forbid the truth be told about domestic cars. Say what you want, I am proud to say the Toyota has the most cars listed as a top safety p
        caddy-v
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Montgomery
        What you failed to say in your pocket novel is Toyota until a few short years ago never recalled anything they knew would bring bad publicity unless they knew they couldn't get away with it. Until the SUA recalls came about you never heard about a Toyota recall and now all of a sudden we find they're no different from any other brand. Bottom line is they hid the problems and now they don't dare.
          John Montgomery
          • 2 Years Ago
          @caddy-v
          Nice try slick. Fact, Toyota never hid their recalls. You may have never heard of them but that's not Toyota's fault. Go back and search NHSTA and you will find all their recalls available for viewing pleasure. Toyota has had far fewer recalls than the domestic competition as posted above.
          techie69
          • 2 Years Ago
          @caddy-v
          It doesn't matter with these dipsticks JM, they need any kind of reason to support why they buy GM junk!Apparently caddy-v has no idea how they re-work defects found in the manuf line at the big2, outsider looking in.
        auto3
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Montgomery
        Well ever brand has had recalls but not ever in the history of the automibile has a manufacturer had to recal a total of 14.62 MILLION vehicles since 2009. Sounds like its not a bias its just facts. Why does every article about Toyota have to have some sort of other part that screams, "well american car comnpanies did it too" like children do. Take the blame and fix the qaulity issues no manufacturer is immune to those but no manufacturer has threatned the lives of that many people in such a short time with quality issues. I dont even know how people would be able to trust a Toyota vehicle.
      PM
      • 2 Years Ago
      I see journalists are back on the Toyota witch hunt..must be a slow news day. It must suck when your whole industry is fading away
      Temple
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is how all recalls are handled for all makers. It takes years for a recall to happen. Primarily because they have to find out what happened, find the supplier and the exact component, and then find the defect in the component. This is why Ford's throttle issue, that was covered a week ago, is still looking into Ford Escape's from 2005. 7 years ago, and its still not a recall. And it probably won't be for awhile longer. Automobiles are complicated machinery.
        TCBRacing
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Temple
        What about all of the Escape recalls on the brand new model? Didn't take years to figure those out...
        mikoprivat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Temple
        you moron...Ford recalled IMMEDIATELY their new SUV upon discovering problems...what are you blabbering about years???idiot toyota zombie
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