Behind every buzzworthy headline of the past year has been someone in charge, someone to blame, or just someone to laugh at and talk about. From the debacle of Toyota’s millions of recalled automobiles, to a fed-up flight attendant with a flair for drama, we’ve become familiar with a few new faces in 2010, for better or for worse.
It almost seems like Toyota is gradually recalling every vehicle it manufactured over the last decade. The latest — 1.13 million 2005-2008 Toyota Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles have been recalled to “address some Engine Control Modules (ECM) that may have been improperly manufactured.”
Today in Tokyo, Toyota president Akio Toyoda met with shareholders for the first time since the world’s largest automaker began issuing recalls on millions of its vehicles last October. And fittingly enough, the grandson of the company’s founder kicked things off humbly.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced today that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking the maximum civil penalty of $16.375 million against the world’s largest car maker “for failing to notify the auto safety agency of the dangerous “sticky pedal” defect for at least four months, despite knowing of the potential risk to consumers.”
Uh-oh, (fake) Mr. Toyoda is mad. He went on Letterman to call the latest runaway Toyota report a hoax, and he’s going to get revenge for this blatant attempt to shame him. “From now on, Toyota no brakes!” Also, he’s apparently upset about Jay Leno for some reason. All are punish-ed!
Fake Toyota CEO Yells at David Letterman, Mocks Jay Leno [Gawker.TV] (Thanks to GitEmSteveDave!)
A newly uncovered document shows that Toyota alerted dealers to complaints from some drivers of 2002 Camrys about “surging during light throttle input at speeds between 38-42 mph” and that the resolution to the issue is an electronic, not mechanical issue.
Another day, another report of a Toyota crash being blamed on a stuck gas pedal. This time, it’s a 76-year-old woman in Connecticut claiming her recalled Toyota Camry went nuts on her and — in spite of her best efforts to stop it — crashed into a church.
As more reports of runaway Toyota Prius vehicles begin to pile up, there is an ever-widening chasm between those who ask “Why didn’t the driver just put the car into neutral?” and those who reply “Because it doesn’t work on a Prius.” Well, one series of incredibly interesting — but also entirely unscientific — road tests will likely only add fuel to the debate’s fire.
Things went from bad to worse to downright awful for Toyota on Tuesday as yet another of their Prius hybrid vehicles was involved in an accident involving a stuck accelerator pedal.
A day after a 2008 Toyota Prius went rogue at speeds over 90mph on a California interstate, Toyota has admitted that, even though the Prius is on the current recall list, they don’t quite know how to fix the problem.
This is probably not how Toyota wanted their week to start. Yesterday afternoon in Southern California, a man called 911 because he was unable to unstick the accelerator pedal of his 2008 Toyota Prius and continued to drive at speeds of over 90 mph until finally coming to a stop.
Adding a bit of fuel to the anti-Toyota fire, six Toyota manufacturing employees now say they wrote a memo to company executives in 2006 voicing concerns about vehicle safety and long-term impact on the company, only to be completely ignored.
As Toyota continues to slog through the millions of cars and trucks on it massive recall list, several drivers whose vehicles have been to the dealer and back are saying that there cars are still experiencing problems with sudden acceleration and bad braking.
Toyota might be getting a pity party at home in Japan for the skewering the car company is receiving over their recall of 8 million vehicles, so this latest report will probably turn them into saints. A new look at almost 13,000 speed-related complaints over the last decade shows that Toyota led the pack in with the most complaints involving a crash.
Apparently the Stateside uproar over the recall of 8 million Toyotas — and worries that the company may be attempting to conceal potential defects — has had the inverse effect in the car company’s homeland. According to a new report, the Japanese public thinks America is overreacting to the situation.
Why do the Toyota car company and the Toyoda family that founded it have different names? It’s not because of transliteration magic exactly: it’s because the company changed the characters that form its name in order to have a luckier number of brush strokes, and aid in their quest for world vehicular domination. Or something.
Last week, the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform issued a subpoena for documents from former Toyota lawyer Dimitrios Biller as part of their investigation into exactly when the car giant knew about possible defects in their now-recalled vehicles. And now that they have their hands on Mr. Biller’s papers, they are accusing Toyota of deliberately holding back important information.