Toyota stop-sale effectsWhen we reported yesterday on Toyota's stop-sale order of certain 2013 and 2014 models due to an issue with the fabrics on models with heated seats not conforming to flammability regulations, one of our many questions was how many vehicles were affected? More importantly, how many of those cars have already found homes?

Kelley Blue Book has the troubling statistics. Every 2013 and 2014 Avalon features heated seats. 6.2-percent of 2013 and 4.5-percent of 2014 Camry sedans, meanwhile, were sold with heated seats. That doesn't seem as bad as 100-percent of the larger Avalon, until you consider the Camry's huge volume - the 5.6-percent average still accounts for a lot of cars. Sienna minivans are heavily affected as well, with a total of 37-percent of 2013s and 46-percent of 2014s fitted with butt warmers. The stop-sale only affects 7-percent of 2014 Corolla models, but like the Camry, that number is rather misleading due to the sheer volume of cars Toyota moves. You can see the entire breakdown of percentages by clicking on the inset image.

According to Karl Brauer, a senior analyst for KBB, this problem comes at the worst possible time. "Given that much of the US is currently in the grips of a record cold snap, there's sure to be high demand for models with seat heaters," Brauer notes. The stop-sale order is a good first step, but it doesn't do anything to inform consumers who currently own the affected models and may, in these frosty temperatures, want to use their seat heaters. "Should owners of those vehicles stop using the seat heaters?" Brauer asked.

To its credit, Toyota is showing that it learned its lesson when it comes to these sorts of quality issues. "[Toyota] seems intent on doing everything it can to allay consumer fears about what at this stage is only a potential problem," said Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for KBB. That sentiment was echoed by Eric Ibara, the director of residual value consulting for the firm. "Toyota has learned from its experience with unintended acceleration that it needs to proactively take charge of safety issues involving its products," Ibara said.

As always, when more information about this issue becomes available, we'll be sure to let you know.


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  • 67 Comments
      normc32
      • 10 Months Ago
      And you thought jock itch flare up was bad?
      SpikedLemon
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'm surprised at such a low take-rate for the heated seats. I thought it'd be standard in any vehicle over $20k.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 10 Months Ago
        @SpikedLemon
        Yeah. I am amazed that fewer Camrys come with seat heaters than Corollas!
        Susan
        • 10 Months Ago
        @SpikedLemon
        Maybe many people figure seat heaters are a useless frou frou device unless they live in Alaska or the upper mid-West.
      Avinash Machado
      • 10 Months Ago
      They should give a free fire extinguisher with every Toyota purchase.
        kontroll
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        and a month of free treatment in a mental sanatorium
      jebibudala
      • 10 Months Ago
      Only the ones farted in.
      GLK
      • 10 Months Ago
      I have a BMW, one night my wife was driving us to our 4 year-old daughter's Christmas pageant when we smelled something faintly electrical. I buzzed the window down because we thought maybe it was coming in from outside but we couldn't pinpoint it. The next day with the car parked in the garage I opened the driver's side door to reach for something on the console and noticed a hole had burned right through the leather on the driver's seat. Kind of looked like a cigarette burn. Further inspection revealed my wife's blouse was burned too. Damned heated seat shorted out! No fire, but still hot enough to burn through her shirt. A little Internet searching further revealed many BMW owners have had this problem. It took 6 weeks and a rather loud and emotionally charged phone conversation but the dealer finally made good, reskinned the seat with new leather and offed to pay for my wife's blouse. The BMW drives well but hasn't been without some stupid problems and the dealer disservice has been lousy enough to make me not consider another buying one.
      bullitt2605
      • 10 Months Ago
      All of them with the affected seat fabric of coarse. Duh.
      mapoftazifosho
      • 10 Months Ago
      GM recalls 370k trucks for 8 vehicle fires stemming from engine issues...no one loses their ****...no ridiculous world ending headlines...where's the consistency?
      john
      • 10 Months Ago
      I have this picture in my mind of Toyota owners burning up in their cars and with their last breath wondering why they didn't buy American.
        404 not found
        • 10 Months Ago
        @john
        Yeah, American cars definitely don't catch fire.
        steve
        • 10 Months Ago
        @john
        All 3 of my domestic cars are built in the USA. Never owned one from Mexico....
      Scooter
      • 10 Months Ago
      Who's the moron down voting every objective, fact stating post? Really?
      Scooter
      • 10 Months Ago
      Toyota is seeking the no.1 spot for many segments. I guess if your producing thousands upon thousands of vehicles your bound to run into issues. Toyota cannot afford to tarnish its image if it wants to remain no.1. A lot of AB users diss Toyota for its high rate of recalls. I would only say to them, at least Toyota is being proactive about vehicle issues. Other makers models are known for repeat issues across model years, some which don't boil up to a recall until its too late. It does seem unusually frequent but it makes much more sense for Toyota to take an extremely proactive stance to protect its customers and its image.
        Krazeecain
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Scooter
        I think the only reason these recalls seem so frequent from Toyota (and Chrysler) is because they simply get more attention and scrutiny than everyone else. Even autoblog is an offender here, the fact that this follow-up article exists proves my point. If for example Mitsubishi had this exact same problem because they were using the SAME seat warmers/fabric as Toyota, very few people would care, and Toyota would still be mentioned prominently, with mitsu barely getting a mention in the article.
        yonomo200
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Scooter
        The way to not tarnish their image would be to not worry about being number one. This is exactly what gets automakers into trouble, when they place more value upon being number one, than upon being the best.
      JYD
      • 10 Months Ago
      Gas pedals, seat heaters, regardless of those incidents, Toyota will never stop purchasing parts made in USA. They try to be American car maker. Which do you buy, inported GM or US made Toyota.
        steve
        • 10 Months Ago
        @JYD
        Those window switches that caused door fires were not from the USA. Toyota called around 8 million cars worldwide on that recall!
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 10 Months Ago
      This whole problem stems from the fact of the insulating material not being flame retardant enough if caught on fire. Heated seats won't set your car on fire. The problem was found during a bench test, and hasn't happened in a single actual car. It's pretty much a non-issue.
        john96xlt
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        Yep, every Toyota f-up is a "non-issue", but if it were Chrysler? OH MY GAWD! THEY SHOULD CRUSH THEM ALL TO SAVE HUMANITY!
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