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February 9, 2010
Toyota seeks to make amends for engineering defects

The world’s largest automaker is attempting to fix its cars and its reputation.

In Tokyo today, the company announced its latest recall — more than 400,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide — bringing the total recalls to 8.5 million.

The announcement was accompanied by a new apology by Toyota’s chairman, who said the company will face up to the facts and correct the brake problem — putting customers’ safety first.

For more, Daljit Dhaliwal interview Roben Farzad, a senior writer at Bloomberg Business Week. He talks about who might benefit from Toyota’s troubles– including Hyundai and Ford.

What do you think about Toyota’s response to the problems with its cars?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please be respectful and on-point. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned.




The “gas pedal” problem is a very low probability problem that was probably undetectable until millions of cars were put into use. The real solution for anything that causes a car to become uncontrollable for any reason, is a POSITIVE KILL SWITCH that is not dependent upon any other system in the car to function. I would never buy a car that is dependent upon a complex system to shut down. So I’ll stick to carefully selected old used cars for now.


Toyota and most of the major car manufacturers are really assemblers. The two major components made by the manufacturers are bodies and engines. Most of the other components are all farmed out to suppliers (sometimes the engines are also outsourced). Most recently the suppliers have been squeezed by the car assemblers to reduce costs by ½ % to 1% per year to keep their prized supplier relationships. In the meantime raw materials and overhead continue to creep up. Something has to give. The supplier relationship at Toyota is the chink in their amour. The reason they farmed out the components was to reduce cost, eliminate employees, and not improve quality. All specifications of these components are provided by Toyota. It is also handy to have suppliers that the car assemblers can shift the blame when there are failures. Trust is something that has to be earned every day at every level. The car assemblers that win major market share will be those that have supplier relationships that benefit the assembler, component manufacture, and last but not least the employees and consumer. This will result will be higher shareholder value. May the best car company win!


Toyota has handled their problem with grace and sincerity. I have a new ’09 Honda accord and it has become apparent that the rear breaks have a design problem causing them to need replacing around every 15,000 miles. Also requiring rotor turning. Hopefully Honda will step up to the plate and correct this serious design error in future Hondas and repair the problem that currently exists on ’08,’09 and ’10 Hondas. If repairs are not possible Honda needs to replace worn break pads as needed and turn rotors free of charge. A class action lawsuit is most probably in the works as the internet is buzzing with this dangerous design error that is devaluing our new Hondas. Toyota is correcting their errors and so should Honda!


What has happened to America? This schadenfreude against Toyota is pitiful-I hate to think of all the recalls that the ‘Big Three’ escaped that were far greater,but not subject to this media frenzy!


Finally Toyota’s arrogance is caught and its time to realize that Toyota is another for profit corporation and would continue to maximize.


I have owned Toyotas since 1974 and currently have two Prius cars: a 2006 and a 2007. I appreciate Toyota’s forthright honesty which is a refreshing difference from the typical and shameful cover up response one would expect from big business. I recall many instances where auto manufacturers willfully chose to skimp on engineering and safety, choosing cheaper and sometimes life-threatening alternatives of choosing to settle claims – if they arose. Toyota engineering and quality control is superior and has helped set standards for worldwide automotive manufacture. I’m sure they will resolve any issues. Avoiding a cover up is a wonderful thing to see – especially In our litigious times.


Even if you never owned a car this is a public safety problem because you or a family member could be injured or killed on the street or riding in a car by an out of control Toyota. It doesn’t matter what the odds are if it happens to you. Toyota did a terrible disservice to it’s customers by not protecting them. I remember the Tylenol CEO that did the right thing and got out in front of a safety issue. That was good for the public and his business. I hope Toyota doesn’t continue to enjoy the good business they had previously had. Companies should not be able to do something this outrageous and still do business as usual.


Toyota has waited too long to address its issues. When a manufacturer tells me that a problem in his product has been solved – I respond “and pigs will fly”. As a physician I know that first we must demand a sure diagnosis based upon reliable studies, the curative procedure used, followed by tests by knowledgable independant experts. Finally an explanation by those testers in language understandable to laymen.


I have 2 priuses, 2007 and 2008. the cars are excellent. However, the communication from Toyota on the floormat recall, the only one that applies to my cars, has been ridiculously ineffective.


Toyota isn’t the only one with a problem coming out of Japan. I have an 08 Honda Accord. Had to replace REAR brake pads after 17,000 miles and have the rotors turned. Unbelievable. This is happening to all of the 08, 09, 10 models…..apparently the same brake design. REAR brake pads never go out that early. The front brakes are fine. I know someone with a 07 Honda and never had to change rear brake pads….going on 52,000 miles now. Honda has a big problem here. Their exports are down 64.1%. They need to step up to the plate and save their honor and their reputation like Toyota is doing.


Toyotas’ effective and prompt actions to ensure the safety of Toyotas drivers will over-shadow any problems cause by the recall. The facts the the worlds largest auto maker has the responsibility to stand behind its products and to ensure the safety of the motoring public will both restore and rebuild any doubts abut the reputation of Toyota.


The Toyota recall issue is being completely overblown in the media. With millions of cars on the road the problems they are having represent a small, very small percentage. Although some have unfortunately been tragic it is unfair to crucify Toyota. I can remember the Ford Pinto with the exploding gas tank and the Bridgestone tire issue on, I believe, Ford SUVs being more deadly. I don’t remember any of the companies involved standing up and declaring “we made a mistake”. What I remember was denial from the Ford motor company and both Bridgestone and Ford accusing the other in the tire problem. As Mr. Farzad clearly explained when you subsystems, regenerative brakes, power steering, and motor control move from the combustion engine to electrical alternatives your automobile is truly moving to the computer age and their will be a learning curve. Detroit I hope will learn from the problems Toyota, the pioneer in electric vehicle development, has uncovered. Toyota will solve this problem and continue to be the leader in electric car development.


Organaized effort to reduce Toyotas popularity. This is not going to work, because degrading competiton will not resurrect GM or Chrysler Or Ford. Those companies have to reestablish their own quality history. I keep wondering why no one ever mentions Dr. Edward Deming who actually started this auto fiasco some 40 years ago.
Your intersegment music STINKS.That music is not compatible with Daljit’s beauty.


I hate to say it but I saw this coming. Toyota is an unmature automobile company. You get what you pay for and I’ve alway thought Toyotas were built on the cheap. Most american companies have been in business twice as long and have learned from their mistakes for over a hundred years or so.
And comptuter engineering has not helped. I have built and made a lot of machines as a farmer. I don’t use a computer. I look at and feel the part I have fabricated. Does it work as I had intended? I fear many young engineers sit behind the computer, design the part and send it into production. They have to get out there and FEEL and SEE the part in operation.
Then there is this mentality in our society of “Buy it cheap, throw it away and get a new one”.
I drive a 1985 Mercedes Benz which runs just fine, – thank you!


I’ve owned a Prius for 2 years; it’s the most enjoyable, dependable, economic car I’ve ever driven. It has get up and go, is easy to handle, load, enter, and exit, comfortably seats four average-size American adults, and STOPS RELIABLY if I’m paying attention to the road. I’ve had no problems with floor mats, which are anchored down, nor with an accelerator sticking. I’ve had excellent service at my Toyota dealer. To me, it beats out many cars I’ve previously owned: Dodges, several Buicks, a Cadillac sedan de ville, and only loses out to my Ford F150 truck in carrying large loads of dirt and gravel for work. After having a Prius, driving other cars feels like driving a TANK. It’s commendable that Toyota is upfront in admitting some of their models have “issues” they’re working to correct. All car companies (ALL COMPANIES, for that matter) should be this forthcoming with the public in showing they take safety matters seriously and address them quickly and properly. I have the utmost confidence that Toyota will correct their current problems. Why can’t the media ever take the stance of praising a company that properly addresses problems rather than trying to show how much they are on “top of things” by criticising a company or a person when they’re trying doing the right thing with a difficult situation? Let’s encourage responsible actions rather than akways trying to find something to criticise. People get sick of all the negative stuff. GIVE US A BREAK!!


Only someone who has never created anything would ask the question of how something like what has happened to Toyoda could occure. Previously, Toyoda designed and build product in Japan and would only roll out the product to the rest of the world after it was bullet proof. Efforts to accelerate product launch now shows that no one is perfect!


The consumer’s refrain about the slow response of Toyota to address their car-problems can only be echoed by this customer.Despite repeated assurances by both the dealership and Toyota about written instructions to me mailed out,nothing so far.
Now,my 2010 Toyota is sitting curbside,since I’m unable to get it repaired.
The 20 minute repair to the paddle,is evidently taking my dealer all day.After “You’ve been processed by a service associate,and line up behind the other cars”,the actual repair will take two hours.
Instead of costly,schmaltzy new TV spots,lulling the uninitiated into thinking they are seriously addressing their problems,Toyota would be well advised to fix the bugs a.s.a.p.,to try to repair their,now ailing,reputation.


I have owned a Prius for 4 years. It’s a fine car. The brakes in the Synergy drive system have always felt different, but they are fine. I think they are now on to the problem via electronics. Also note that many Americans have the worst driving habits in the world and thats a bit of the problem. Note when your right foot is on the gas where is your left. If its anywhere the brake this is very dangerous. Many people have been taught to drive this way. When you push the brake with your right foot you may also push the gas. then you hit the building your trying to stop at.


All the auto manufacturers need to replace petroleum with several alternatives: hydrogen, compressed air, methane and batteries. Governments need to mandate mass transit only in urban areas.

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