Somehow, we're guessing that the "any publicity is good publicity" cliche isn't ringing particularly true with Toyota these days. That said, we do have to give some props to the automaker for being open about the current state of its recent recall woes. According to Toyota, roughly 3.2 million of its many recall notices have been fulfilled.
The past few days have seen a new rash of stories about Toyotas run amok. First, a 2009 Venza struck a house in Hamilton, Ontario. According to The Hamilton Spectator, the driver said he lost control of the vehicle after experiencing uncontrolled acceleration. While 2009-2010 Venzas were recalled for the infamous floor-mat issue, police have yet to determine whether the Hamilton incident was a result of faulty hardware or driver error. No one was injured.
The Los Angeles Times scoured public records and discovered that the number of deaths possibly linked to Toyota's unintended acceleration issue could top more than 100 – twice the amount previously reported earlier this year.
"Toyota deserves a public retraction and formal apology from ABC News." At least according to the automaker itself. For what, you ask? For ABC's "irresponsible broadcast entitled "Expert: Electronic Design Flaw Linked to Runaway Toyotas." You surely remember the piece, which originally aired the night before a Congressional Panel began investigating the issue of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.
Could cosmic rays from space be to blame for Toyotas that uncontrollably speed out of control? Could such cosmic rays put you in danger of becoming a bright orange superhuman rocky man-Thing? These are the questions that a number of researchers are suggesting need a closer look to see if electronic glitches could be the root cause of Toyota's unexplainable rash of unintended acceleration.
The hits keep on coming for Toyota, with reports of unintended acceleration multiplying like rabbits with aphrodisiacs and grandstanding of all sorts going on at every level. Orange County, California District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has added another layer to the cake with a lawsuit alleging Toyota sold cars it knew had problems.
Just yesterday, Toyota Motor Company's president Akio Toyoda (yep, the grandson of the company's founder) indicated that he had no intention of attending a February 24 Congressional hearing before the House Oversight Committee. Instead, Toyoda said that Yoshimi Inaba, president of Toyota's operations in North America, will appear on behalf of of the automaker.
Another day, another major story on Toyota's recent recall woes. As you may have already heard, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration – and particularly U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood – is less than pleased with the way Toyota has handled its various vehicle callbacks.
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.
Much of the controversy surrounding Toyota's latest recall of 2.3 million vehicles for defective accelerator pedal mechanisms has to do with the fact that the automaker didn't have a fix ready when the announcement was made last week. These assemblies can reportedly wear over time, causing the accelerator pedal to return to position slowly or even stick and cause unintended acceleration. Since there was no fix at the time of the announcement, Toyota halted sales of all eight models involved in t