Posts Tagged ‘Vehicle

12
Aug
10

Recovery still distant as GM turns a corner

NEWS
Recovery still distant as GM turns a corner
General Motors profits move past $1 billion

Thursday, August 12, 2010

••• General Motors said on Thursday its profits hit $1.3 billion in the second quarter, as the car company prepared to break free of U.S. government ownership by relisting on the stock exchange.

‘I am pleased with our progress on achieving our business objectives,’ said chief financial officer Chris Liddell, announcing the second consecutive quarter of growth.

The company erased a loss of $13 billion in the same period last year, as sales and revenues increased.

The firm saw stronger sales in North America in the quarter, even as sales in Europe floundered and market share around the world sank.

GM captured 15.4 percent of the U.S. market for cars versus 17.5 percent in the second quarter of last year, but elsewhere faired poorly.

GM’s executives have said that a public offering will come soon, a process that will help the U.S. government unwind its majority stake in the firm.

The U.S. Treasury Department still owns 61 percent of GM, which received $50 billion of U.S. government financing for its bankruptcy restructuring that led to mass layoffs, plant closures and billions of dollars in debt wiped out.

GM’s drive for an IPO will be boosted by news that the firm’s revenues swelled to $33 billion in the second quarter, a third more than the same period last year.

GM as well as its U.S. competitors Ford and Chrysler were hard hit by the recession which struck the United States in December 2007, caused by a home mortgage meltdown.

Of the so-called Detroit Three car makers, Ford was the only one to avoid bankruptcy, managing to stay afloat thanks to massive loans it had obtained prior to the credit crunch and because it moved more quickly to revitalise its product portfolio.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
Share

08
Jul
10

Toyota Recalling 138,874 Lexus Vehicles

NEWS
Toyota Recalling 138,874 Lexus Vehicles

Thursday, July 8, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp on Tuesday filed a recall of 138,874 luxury Lexus vehicles sold in the United States to fix faulty engines in the latest quality problem to afflict the world’s No. 1 automaker. The move follows a recall of over 90,000 Lexus and other vehicles in Japan over the same problem, which was filed with the Japanese transport ministry on Monday.

The Japanese automaker said flaws in valve springs, a crucial engine component, could make the vehicle stall while in motion. Toyota confirmed in a statement it plans to file paperwork with the government on the recall next week.

The recall affects certain GS, IS and LS vehicles from the 2006-2008 model years powered by 4.6 and 5.0 liter V8 engines and 3.5 liter V6 engines. No accidents or injuries have been reported. Vehicles from the 2009 and 2010 model years are not affected.

Toyota had announced in Japan that it would recall 270,000 Lexus vehicles around the world to address the engine stalling problems. The global recall affects seven luxury Lexus sedan models as well as the popular Crown sedan, sold primarily in Japan. Of the 270,000 recalled cars, some 180,000 were sold overseas, including the United States, and 90,000 in Japan.

The company has received about 200 complaints in Japan but no accidents were reported there or abroad, said Toyota spokesman Hideaki Homma. Some drivers told Toyota that engines made a strange noise.

The automaker was already scrambling to repair its reputation after 8.5 million vehicles were recalled beginning in October because of problems with sticking accelerator pedals and other issues. Toyota was slapped with a record $16.4 million fine in the United States for acting too slowly to recall vehicles with defects.

Japan’s major daily Asahi said Friday the latest recall of 270,000 vehicles could cost Toyota around $227 million. Toyota could not confirm the report, which gave no sources.

Subject to the recall in the United States, filed with the Department of Transportation, are 2006-2008 Lexus models, including the top-of-the-line LS460 sedan, IS350, GS460, GS450h and the LS600hL models. Toyota plans to recall 270,000 vehicles worldwide due to the defective engine valve springs.

Toyota said owners will be notified of the recall by mail and dealers will repair the engine’s valve springs at no charge. The company said owners can continue to drive their vehicles. If they notice vibration, unusual engine sounds or rough idling, they should bring the car to a dealer for service.

Lexus general manager Mark Templin told dealers in an e-mail that “we understand the frustration and embarrassment these recalls cause and appreciate your reassuring Lexus owners that there is nothing more important to us than their safety, satisfaction with our products and confidence in you and the brand.”

Toyota dealers have repaired millions of vehicles following the massive global recalls, but the automaker still faces more than 200 lawsuits tied to accidents, the lower resale value of Toyota vehicles, and the drop in the company’s stock.

Toyota said last week it will recall 17,000 Lexus luxury hybrids after testing showed that fuel can spill during a rear-end crash.

U.S. regulators were working with scientists from NASA to investigate what caused some of Toyota’s vehicles to suddenly accelerate. That review is expected to be completed by late August.

Officials were also investigating whether Toyota waited nearly a year in 2005 to recall trucks and SUVs in the U.S. with defective steering rods, a case that could lead to additional fines.

Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact their local Lexus dealer or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.
• Customers who have any further questions are asked to visit www.lexus.ca or contact Lexus Canada at 1-800-265-3987.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corporation
Share

25
Jun
10

Toyota recalls Lexus HS250h hybrid for fuel spills

NEWS
Toyota recalls Lexus HS250h hybrid for fuel spills

Friday, June 25, 2010

••• Toyota said on Friday it will recall 17,000 Lexus luxury hybrids after testing showed that fuel can spill during a rear end crash.

The Japanese automaker said tests conducted for the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration found that fuel leaked during a rear impact crash at 50 miles per hour on a 2010 HS250h sedan. The test, conducted by a NHTSA contractor, showed that fuel spilled as the vehicle spun around after impact. (NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V285000)

Toyota’s own testing has not shown any spillage, but a spokesman said the company plans to issue a voluntary recall as it continues to try to replicate the government’s results. It is notifying dealers to stop selling the car.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has attempted to rebound from a series of recalls tied to reports of unintended acceleration and other defects. The U.S. administration penalized Toyota with a record $16.4 million fine for acting too slowly on the recalls.

Dealers have repaired millions of vehicles, but the auto giant faces more than 200 lawsuits connected to accidents and the lower resale value of vehicles.

Earlier this week, Toyota Motor Corp president Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the automaker’s founder, apologized to shareholders for the trouble caused by the recalls. He said the company was doing its best to improve quality control.

Toyota said it has not identified a fix for the reported problems of fuel spillage.

Detailed information about this recall is available through Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
Share

11
May
10

Toyota logs $1.60 billion 2009 profit despite recall woes

NEWS
Toyota logs $1.60 billion 2009 profit despite recall woes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

••• Despite massive recalls that dented its safety image, Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it logged a $1.60 billion group operating profit for the business year that ended in March, reversing the $4.99 billion loss recorded a year earlier.

It posted $2.27 billion in group net profit, compared with a loss of $4.73 billion in the 2008 business year, when the global financial crisis hit and car sales in the United States and Europe tanked. Group sales slipped 7.7 percent to $205.56 billion from $221.79 billion.

The steep rebound in profit – the first in two years – comes mostly as a result of cost-cutting efforts.

The safety woes mainly affected sales in the United States and Europe, but incentives in some regions helped shore up sales, limiting the fall in revenue.

“It was a year of being constantly on alert due to the series of recall matters, which caused concerns,” President Akio Toyoda said. “The severe conditions will likely continue, but I believe there is light far away amid the storm.”

Toyota now expects profits to grow in the current business year to next March. It forecasts a $3.03 billion group operating profit and $3.35 billion net profit on $205.56 billion in sales.

The company said it will focus on next-generation environmentally friendly cars by improving technology for hybrids and expanding its lineup. Also, it will gear up sales in fast-growing economies, particularly China and India.

Profit for the last business year mainly came from production cost cuts amounting to $5.63 billion, as well as $5.08 billion worth of reductions in fixed daily costs, including for labor, research and development, the company said.

Toyota said costs linked to its spate of worldwide recalls – $1.84 billion to $1.95 billion for the business year – were within expectations.

But concerns about potential massive recalls over accelerator defects continue.

The earnings results came a day after U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hinted at a news conference at Toyota’s headquarters in Aichi Prefecture that more fines could be imposed if needed.

Last month, Toyota agreed to pay a record $16.4 million U.S. government fine for delaying a January recall over defective accelerator pedals.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement issued Monday in Washington that it has opened an investigation into whether Toyota in 2005 notified the agency of a steering relay rod safety defect within five business days of learning of the defect’s existence, as required by law.

“We will fully cooperate with the investigation,” Toyoda said at the news conference.
• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corp.
Share

28
Apr
10

Toyota Recalls 50,000 Sequoia SUVs

NEWS
Toyota Recalls 50,000 Sequoia SUVs

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp will recall about 50,000 2003-year Sequoia sport utility vehicles in the United States and Canada to fix a problem in their vehicle stability control system, the company’s U.S. sales unit said Wednesday. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. said the recall will be conducted to adjust the VSC system, which is designed to control a loss of traction in turns as a result of front or rear tire slippage during cornering.

Without the adjustment, the VSC system could activate at low speed for a few seconds after acceleration from a stopped position, Toyota said. As a result, the vehicle may not accelerate as quickly as the driver expects, the company said, adding there have been no reported injuries or accidents as a result of this condition.

Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
» See: Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall on 2003 Model-Year Sequoia to Upgrade Program Logic in Vehicle Stability Control System

Share

27
Apr
10

Ford Recalling 33,000 Vehicles Over Front Seat Defects

NEWS
Ford Recalling 33,000 Vehicles Over Front Seat Defects

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

••• Ford is recalling 33,256 cars to make their front seats comply with federal safety standards, according to a notice on the U.S. transportation department’s Office of Defects Investigation website.

Models affected include the 2010 Fusion (above), Explorer, Explorer SportTrac and Mercury Mountaineer and Milan vehicles made between Dec. 15, 2009, and Feb. 3, 2010, and equipped with manual front-seat recliners.

According to the safety agency, “The recliner gear plate teeth may be out of dimension specification, which could result in limited pawl to gear plate tooth engagement.”

“In the event of a crash,” the department said, “the seatback and head restraint may move rearward, increasing the risk of injury.”

A Ford spokesman told the Associated Press that no accidents or injuries have been reported due to the issue.

Dealers are expected to begin remedying the issue for free on or before April 30. If you own one of these cars and want additional information, Ford has a help line set up at 866-436-7332.

Share

27
Apr
10

NHTSA Announces Recall on 2010 Porsche Panamera

NEWS
NHTSA Announces Recall on 2010 Porsche Panamera

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

••• Porsche is recalling models of its new Panamera four-door sports car due to an issue that can cause the front seat belts to not work, according to a notice by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall affects 3,176 Panamera S, 4S and Turbo sedans, all from model-year 2010.

According to NHTSA, “If the front seats are adjusted towards an extreme position, resulting in unfavorable tolerance of the mating components, it is possible that the function of the locking mechanism of the seat belt mount can no longer be guaranteed. The seat belt mount could detach from the anchoring system when the seat belt is fastened or opened.”

In the event of a crash, the seat belts “may not provide adequate protection for the seat occupant,” the notice said.


To remedy the situation, Porsche dealers will for free install an additional locking device in both front seats. Porsche has not said when owners would start to receive notice with further instructions, but if you own one of these cars and are concerned, you can call the German automaker’s hot line at 800-545-8039.

» See The NHTSA Porxche Panamera Recall Notice

Share

24
Apr
10

Recalls? Toyota Still Showing Profit

NEWS
Recalls? Toyota Still Showing Profit

Saturday, April 24, 2010

••• Results from Toyota Motor to be released next month are expected to show the auto giant returning to profit in the year to March, despite a massive recall scandal, news reports say.

The Japanese automaker is expected to post a group operating profit of up to 50 billion yen ($531.75 million), reversing a 461 billion yen ($4.90 billion) operating loss for the previous year, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.

The uptick is mainly due to cost-cutting and a weak yen, which offset the costs of the global recalls, the daily said.

The company has recalled around 10 million vehicles worldwide since late last year due to accelerator and brake defects, but nevertheless expected to see a ‘good earnings situation’ a Toyota executive told Kyodo News.

Toyota had earlier forecast an operating loss of 20 billion yen ($212.7 million) for the year to the end of March.

Sales were expected to show a five percent fall to 7.2 million units, Nikkei said. The better-than-expected sales were partially due to strong demand for its new Prius hybrid car in Japan.

A Toyota spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the report.

The firm is due to announce its earnings results in early May.

On Monday the company agreed to pay a $16.4 million fine, the largest for an automaker in the United States, for hiding for at least four months accelerator pedal defects blamed in more than 50 U.S. deaths.

Toyota faces at least 97 U.S. lawsuits seeking damages for injury or death linked to sudden acceleration and 138 class action lawsuits from American customers suing to recoup losses in the resale value of Toyota vehicles.

The company overtook General Motors in 2008 as the world’s top automaker, but the safety recalls raised questions over whether it sacrificed quality to become number one.
• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corporation & Nikkei Inc.
Share

24
Apr
10

Weekly Address: Good News from the Auto Industry

NEWS
Weekly Address: Good News from the Auto Industry

President Obama Says Promising News From the Auto Industry Doesn’t Reduce Need for Wall Street Reform

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In his weekly address, President Obama said that while the government is ending many of emergency programs put in place to stabilize the financial sector and restart lending, Wall Street reform remains urgently needed. General Motors announced that it has repaid its loan to taxpayers with interest five years ahead of schedule, and Chrysler Financial has already fully repaid with interest its loan as well. While this is good news, it is also a reminder that the crisis in the auto industry was caused in part by problems in the financial sector. To help prevent another crisis, Congress needs to enact reforms to hold Wall Street accountable and protect consumers.

It was little more than one year ago that our country faced a potentially devastating crisis in our auto industry. Over the course of 2008, the industry shed 400,000 jobs. In the midst of a financial crisis and deep recession, both General Motors and Chrysler – two companies that for generations were a symbol of America’s manufacturing might – were on the brink of collapse. The rapid dissolution of these companies – followed by the certain failure of many auto parts makers, car dealers, and other smaller businesses – would have dealt a crippling blow to our already suffering economy. The best estimates are that more than one million American workers could have lost their jobs.

The previous administration extended temporary loans to both companies. Even so, when I took office, the situation remained dire. We had to determine whether or not we could justify additional taxpayer assistance. After all, many of the problems in the auto industry were a direct result of poor management decisions over decades. So it wasn’t an easy call. But we decided that while providing additional assistance was a risk, the far greater risk to families and communities across our country was to do nothing. We agreed to additional help, but only if the companies and their stakeholders were willing to break with the past. They had to fundamentally reorganize, with new management that would reexamine the decisions that led to this mess and chart a path toward viability. I knew this wasn’t a popular decision. But it was the right one.

So, GM and Chrysler went through painful restructurings: ones that required enormous sacrifices on the part of all involved. Many believed this was a fool’s errand. Many feared we would be throwing good money after bad: that taxpayers would lose most of their investment and that these companies would soon fail regardless. But one year later, the outlook is very different. In fact, the industry is recovering at a pace few thought possible.

Just this week we received some encouraging news. Since General Motors emerged from bankruptcy, the auto industry has actually added 45,000 jobs – the strongest growth in a decade. And Chrysler announced an operating profit in the first three months of this year. This is the first time Chrysler has reported a profit since the beginning of the economic crisis. What’s more, GM announced that it paid back its loans to taxpayers with interest, fully five years ahead of schedule. It won’t be too long before the stock the Treasury is holding in GM can be sold, helping to reimburse the American people for their investment.

In addition, Chrysler Financial has already fully repaid with interest the loans it received to support auto financing. And we are closing the books on the temporary program that helped parts suppliers weather this storm – returning this investment to the Treasury in full, with interest, as well. Finally, we are bringing to an end many of the emergency programs designed to stabilize the financial sector and restart lending so folks could finance cars and trucks – as well as homes and small businesses.

On Friday, in fact, the Treasury Department informed Congress that this financial rescue – which was absolutely necessary to prevent an even worse economic disaster – will end up costing taxpayers a fraction of what was originally feared. This is a direct result of the careful management of the investments made by the American people so that we could recoup as many tax dollars as possible – and as quickly as possible.

These steps, as well as others we’ve taken, have meant that millions of people are working today who might otherwise have lost their jobs. But these steps were never meant to be permanent. As I’ve said many times, I did not run for president to get into the auto business or the banking business. As essential as it was that we got in, I’m glad to see that we’re getting out.

At the same time, even as we have come a long way, we still have a ways to go. The auto industry is more stable today. And the economy is on a better footing. But people are still hurting. I hear from them just about every day in letters I read and in the towns and cities that I visit. No matter what the economic statistics say, I won’t be satisfied until folks who need work can find good jobs. After a recession that stole 8 million jobs, this is gonna take some time. And this will require that we continue to tackle the underlying problems that caused this turmoil in the first place. In short, it’s essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis – or we risk repeating it.

Now, part of what led to the crisis in our auto industry – and one of the main causes of the economic downturn – were problems in our financial sector. In the absence of common-sense rules, Wall Street firms took enormous, irresponsible risks that imperiled our financial system – and hurt just about every sector of our economy. Some people simply forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged, there is a family looking to buy a house, pay for an education, open a business, or save for retirement.

That’s why I went to New York City this week and addressed an audience that included leaders in the financial industry. And once again I called for reforms to hold Wall Street accountable and to protect consumers. These reforms would put an end – once and for all – to taxpayer bailouts. They would bring greater transparency to complex financial dealings. And they will empower ordinary consumers and shareholders in our financial system. Folks will get clearer and more concise information when they make financial decisions – instead of having to worry about deceptive fine print. And shareholders and pension holders will have a stronger voice in the boardrooms of companies in which they invest their savings.

That’s how we’ll restore trust and confidence in our markets. That’s how we’ll help to put an end to the cycle of boom and bust that we’ve seen. And that’s how – after two very difficult years – we will not only revive the economy, but help to rebuild it stronger than ever before.

Thanks.

Share

19
Apr
10

Toyota recalls 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV in North America

NEWS
Toyota recalls 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV in North America

Tuesday, April 19, 2010

••• After duplicating a leading consumer magazine’s tests that showed its 2010 Lexus GX 460 sports-utility vehicle may be susceptible to rolling over, Toyota Motor (TM) will recall the luxury SUV to fix the potential safety problem, it said Monday.

The company will voluntarily recall about 9,400 of the vehicles to update their electronic stability control software. Known as VSC, the system helps control the SUV during a loss of traction that can occur as a result of front or rear wheel slippage during cornering.

▪ A message from Mark Templin, Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager
“Since it was launched more than 20 years ago, Lexus has built its reputation on customer respect and concern for safety. With the news from Consumer Reports that our 2010 GX 460 did not pass its “Throttle Lift-Off” test, we immediately stopped selling the vehicle and commenced vigorous testing to identify and correct the issue.

Today, I’m happy to announce that we have developed a remedy that will be quickly implemented to help address customer concerns. We will be voluntarily recalling all 2010 GX 460s that have been sold in order to update the Vehicle Stability Control system. We will begin implementing this program in the next two weeks and our dealers will be reaching out to customers shortly to set up appointments to make this modification.

Lexus is confident that the update will make the performance of the GX even better for our customers.

As announced earlier, we will provide a courtesy vehicle to anyone who has purchased a 2010 GX 460 and has concerns about driving it until the recall work has been completed.

Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact their local Lexus dealer or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.”

Toyota said owners of affected models will begin receiving notices in early May. The company will provide loaners to vehicle owners who don’t wish to drive them before the recall work has been completed.

The recall follows a report last week by Consumer Reports magazine, which discovered in road tests that the GX 460 could roll over during certain maneuvers, such as decelerating onto a highway exit ramp. The nonprofit publication determined the problem was severe enough to warrant a “don’t buy” warning, its first such rating on a vehicle in almost a decade.

When subjected to a standard track test involving driving the vehicle through a turn as the driver lifts his foot off the accelerator, the rear of the GX 460 slid out until it was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control, Consumer Reports said last week. In a real world situation, such a control failure might cause the the vehicle to hit a curb or the side of the road, leading it to flip over.

After Consumer Reports published its findings on April 13, Toyota halted sales and production of the GX 460 and began its own tests. On Friday, Toyota said it had duplicated the problem that Consumer Reports encountered with the vehicle’s electronic stability control system.

Toyota has struggled with quality and safety issues in recent months. It recalled millions of vehicles last fall for uncontrolled acceleration problems believed to be associated with bulky rubber floor mats. Other recalls soon followed, including one for sticky gas pedals, which led to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fining Toyota a maximum $16.4 million for failing to act quickly enough in notifying the agency of the problem.

On Monday, Toyota agreed to pay the fine, but denied any wrongdoing. Toyota said that while executives could have done a better job of sharing information, both within and outside the company, “We did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem.”

▪ Lexus Canada has announced a voluntary safety recall affecting 2010 model year GX 460 vehicles to update software in the vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system

Toronto, ON – April 19, 2010 – Toyota Canada Inc. has announced a voluntary safety recall affecting approximately 446 2010 model year GX 460 vehicles to update software in the vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system.

Toyota’s vehicle and design evaluation objective is to meet or exceed customer expectations and regulatory requirements. Toyota’s engineering team undertook similar tests to confirm the issue raised by Consumer Reports on April 13, 2010 and we are confident that an update to the VSC software addresses the concern.

All Canadian Lexus dealers will have the VSC software update by end of April. Letters will be sent to owners included in this recall in early May.

No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles are involved in this recall.

• Customers who have any further questions are asked to visit www.lexus.ca or contact Lexus Canada at 1-800-265-3987.

Share

16
Apr
10

Toyota recalls 600,000 mini-vans over corrosion on spare-tire cable

NEWS
Toyota recalls 600,000 mini-vans over corrosion on spare-tire cable

Friday, April 16, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it was recalling 600,000 Sienna minivans sold in the United States to address potential rusting spare tire cables that could break and create a road hazard in the latest safety problem to strike the beleaguered automaker.

The recall came as House investigators said they planned to hold another congressional hearing in May to review potential electronic problems in runaway Toyotas. The Japanese automaker has recalled more than 8 million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals, humbling a car company long known for its quality and safety.

Company leaders vowed to respond quickly to the safety concerns.

Toyota said its latest recall covered the 1998-2010 model year Siennas with two-wheel-drive that have been sold or registered in 20 cold-climate states and the District of Columbia. Toyota said rust from road salt could cause the carrier cable that holds the spare tire to rust and break, allowing the tire to tumble into the road. The problem could threaten the safety of other drivers.

Toyota said it was unaware of any accidents or injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received six complaints of spare tires falling off Siennas.

The company said it was working on a fix for the problem. In the meantime, customers will receive a notice telling them to bring their vehicle to a dealership for an inspection.

• The recall involves Siennas in the District of Columbia and the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

“Toyota is listening to its customers attentively, and we want to make sure their voices are heard,” said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America.

St. Angelo said the company was providing free inspections of the spare tire carrier cable across the nation, including states not included in the recall. Owners can call (800) 331-4331 for more information about the recall.

Lawmakers remain focused on the spate of recalls affecting the company. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., a subcommittee chairman, said they plan to hold a May 6 hearing to look into potential electronic causes of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

Toyota has said it has found no evidence of electronic problems, attributing the issues to sticking gas pedals and accelerators that can become jammed in floor mats.

Toyota said in a statement Friday it was “more than willing to meet with the committee and discuss the ongoing testing related to our electronic throttle control system, as well as the steps we are taking to improve our quality assurance processes. Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive.”

The Transportation Department has fined the company $16.4 million for failing to promptly notify the government about defective gas pedals among its vehicles. Toyota has until Monday to agree to the penalty or contest it. The fine is the largest civil penalty ever issued to an automaker by the government.

Transportation officials have not ruled out additional fines. The department is reviewing whether Toyota delayed for six weeks the late January recall of the 2009-2010 Venza in the United States to address floor mats that could entrap the accelerator pedal after making a similar recall in Canada.

Toyota recalled the Venza in Canada in December and reported to the U.S. government on Dec. 16 that the floor mats could move forward while the vehicle is in use and “may interfere with the accelerator pedal.” Toyota told U.S. authorities at the time that the floor mats in question were not imported into the U.S. but the Venza was added to the floor mat recall in late January.

Automakers are required to notify the U.S. government within five business days when they find a potential safety defect.

Waxman and Stupak, meanwhile, have asked Toyota and outside consulting firm Exponent Inc. to provide documents detailing a review of possible electronic problems in its vehicles. Exponent, which was hired by Toyota, said in an interim report it could find no evidence that electronic malfunctions had caused sudden unintended acceleration.

Committee investigators said in February that the Exponent testing was flawed because it studied only a small number of Toyota vehicles and consumer groups have said electronics could be the cause of the acceleration problems. Reviews of some high-profile crashes in San Diego and suburban New York have failed to find either mechanical or electronic problems.

Share

15
Apr
10

Mazda Recall Adds To Japan’s Car Woes

NEWS
Mazda Recall Adds To Japan’s Car Woes

Thursday, April 15, 2010

••• Japan’s Mazda Motor will recall nearly 90,000 passenger cars domestically and in China due to an oil hose defect, the company said on Thursday.

The company, which is part owned by U.S. auto giant Ford, will start recalling 35,181 units in Japan and some 54,000 in China of the Mazda 3, known as the Axela in Japan, the automaker’s most popular model.

Mazda said the cars, produced from January 2006 to March 2009, have been recalled because an oil hose and a radiator shroud panel have been placed too close together and may be damaged by friction when travelling on bumpy terrain, leading to potential leaks.

‘The company has received two cases of complaints due to the problem, both in China,’ said a Mazda spokesman who asked not to be named.

‘No accident because of it has been reported.’

The Mazda 3 compact car is widely sold in Japan, China and Europe, said the spokesman, who added that no decision had yet been taken if the recall will affect the European market.
Japanese car maker Toyota has suspended worldwide sales of the Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicle due to a roll-over risk, saying it will test all its SUVs for safety.

‘The company has decided to suspend the SUV’s sales worldwide …,’ Toyota spokeswoman Mieko Iwasaki said on Thursday.

The move comes a day after Toyota suspended sales of the GX in the U.S. and Canada after U.S. magazine Consumer Reports gave the SUV a rare ‘Don’t Buy: Safety Risk’ rating.

The report claimed that when pushed to its limits, the rear of the GX ‘slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control’.

Having now suspended the SUV’s sales worldwide, Toyota said it will work on analysing potential safety risks in the model which has sold 6000 units, as well as its other SUVs.

Toyota will start testing all the other SUV models, including the Land Cruiser, Land Cruiser Prado and Rav4 but the company will continue to sell those models.

The car maker has recalled millions of vehicles worldwide since late 2009, mostly over a series of problems linked to ‘unintended acceleration’.

Toyota, which overtook General Motors in 2008 as the top-selling car maker, has been bedevilled by a series of safety issues that have raised questions about whether it sacrificed its legendary quality to become world number one.

The recalls have caused an outcry in the U.S., with Toyota executives hauled over the coals in the US Congress and the company’s previously stellar reputation for safety left in tatters.

The company faces a record $16.4 million fine in the U.S. for its failure to notify authorities quickly about vehicle safety problems.

• Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987.

Share

08
Apr
10

Toyota Executive Urged Company to ‘Come Clean’

NEWS
Toyota Executive Urged Company to ‘Come Clean’

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Toyota’s bid to present itself as a company that puts customers first has been shattered by an internal memo in which a senior American executive begged Japanese management to stop concealing safety issues from the general public.

“The time to hide on this one is over,” warned the email, “We need to come clean.”

The emergence of the email follows the decision by U.S. safety regulators earlier this week to issue Toyota with the maximum possible fine of $16.4 million. That judgment, which punishes the Japanese giant for its slow response to safety issues, has left the company in a difficult position: appeal and prolong its public grilling or accept the decision and risk admitting liability in scores of class-action lawsuits.

Written in mid-January, just days before the company was plunged into its most damaging vehicle recall ever, the email refers directly to company efforts to cover-up mechanical problems with accelerator pedals.

Before January, Toyota had only acknowledged publicly that accelerator pedals could become stuck by becoming entangled in loose floor-mats.

But the internal emails now in the hands of U.S. investigators reveal a tussle within Toyota over whether or not to inform the public over more fundamental flaws in the pedal mechanism – problems that had not at the time been fully understood by Toyota’s engineers and to which there was no clear “fix” available.

Irv Miller, who has since retired but was then Toyota’s vice president for public affairs, sent the email in response to comments by his Japanese colleague, Katsuhiko Koganei – a senior executive who had been dispatched from Toyota’s Japanese headquarters to co-ordinate with his U.S. colleagues.
Mr. Koganei argued in a previous email that the company “should not mention about the mechanical failures of the pedal”, because the cause of the fault had not yet been identified and that a statement by Toyota would unsettle motorists.

“We are not protecting our customers by keeping this quiet,” replied Mr. Miller, who then used capital letters to stress his concern, “…WE HAVE a tendency for MECHANICAL failure in accelerator pedals of a certain manufacturer on certain models.”

The email is among a massive collection of over 70,000 documents currently held by U.S. government safety investigators as they continues their probe into Toyota’s handing of its “sticky” accelerator problems. The paper trail includes a large number of internal emails and memos.

Those documents include a letter sent in 2006 to the then president of Toyota from the leader of one of the company’s unions. The letter cited direct and long-term experience from the factory floor and identified systemic “safety sacrifices” made as the company had expanded.

Toyota said that it would not comment on internal communications within the company but said that: “we have publicly acknowledged on several occasions that the company did a poor job of communicating during the period preceding our recent recalls.”

Toyota said that it had subsequently taken “important steps to improve our communications with regulators and customers”.

Share

06
Apr
10

U.S. Department of Transport to fine Toyota $16.4 million

NEWS
U.S. Department of Transport to fine Toyota $16.4 million

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp faces a proposed $16.4 million fine from U.S. regulators who said the automaker knowingly delayed a massive recall for defective accelerator pedals.

The U.S. Department of Transport has announced that it plans to fine Toyota Motor Corporation $16.4 million after the family-controlled automaker failed to notify U.S. transport regulators about defects that allegedly cause unintended acceleration.

According to a statement released yesterday, the investigation into the Toyota recalls by the Department of Transport revealed the world’s largest car manufacturer was aware of the so called “sticky-pedal” defect for at least four months before revealing it to safety authorities. U.S. law states carmakers must inform authorities of any problems the find within five days.

Toyota, which now has two weeks to decide whether to appeal against the decision, is yet to respond to the news.
The defect in question is at the centre of the current recall crisis that has seen Toyota recall over 8 million vehicles worldwide since November. Third-generation family head Akio Toyoda has been accused of mishandling the recalls, as he remained largely silent on the matter until February.
However, he has since attempted to rectify the company’s negative publicity, appearing in public often and personally heading a Toyota committee that is investigating the safety recalls.

Toyota has two weeks to decide its response.

The “sticky pedal” case was the only one in a string of voluntary recalls where a formal defect finding was established.

Documents obtained from Toyota showed the automaker had issued repair notices in Canada and Europe to address complaints about “sticky pedals,” sudden acceleration and sudden engine revving in late September, but did not begin a U.S. recall until late January, regulators said.

Manufacturers are legally obligated to notify U.S. safety regulators within five business days if they determine that a safety defect exists. The documents showed Toyota was aware U.S. consumers were experiencing the same problems, the Transportation Department said.

As part of the pedal recall, Toyota has offered to add a metal shim or replace them completely.

Previously, the largest fine was $1 million against General Motors Co for failing to promptly recall windshield wipers in 2002-2003 model vehicles.

Fines for violating auto regulations were increased earlier in this decade after massive recalls involving Firestone tires.
Related: Toyota to Replace Accelerator Pedals for Unhappy Owners GO
Share

27
Mar
10

GM Recalls 5,000 Heavy Duty Vans for Engine Fire Risk

NEWS
GM Recalls 5,000 Heavy Duty Vans for Engine Fire Risk

Saturday, March 27, 2010

••• General Motors is recalling about 5,000 heavy-duty vans because of a risk of engine fire, the company said Friday.

The vans involved in the recall are the 2010 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana passenger and cargo vans. The company also is halting production and sales of the vehicles “until a fix for a suspected faulty alternator can be determined.”

GM spokesman Alan Adler said there have been no injuries or accidents reported in connection with the vans.

The company warned customers who purchased the vans, which were built in February and March, to stop driving them and park them outside away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

Relatively few of the recalled vans are in the possession of retail customers, with about 1,300 in rental and other fleets,the company said.

GM issued a stop sale order on Friday, preventing the fleet-owned vans from being rented or those on dealer lots from being sold. Others are being held at dealerships or in ports before being exported.

Only the 2500, three-quarter ton, and 3500, one-ton, Series vans are affected. Light-duty (half-ton) Express and Savana vans use a different alternator.

It is rare for an automaker to halt sales because of a safety defect. GM’s decision to stop sales of the vans comes two months after Toyota Motor Corp. halted sales of eight models because of faulty accelerator pedals.

▪ Vehicles affected are the Chevrolet Express 2010 van, Model 2500 / 3500 with vehicle identification numbers from A1129327 to A1142523.

▪ Also, the GMC Savana 2010 van, Model 2500 / 3500 with vehicle identification numbers from A1128784 to A1901915.

▪ About 1,400 AC Delco aftermarket parts also are affected by the recall. The affected part numbers are: 15200110; 15288861; 15263859 and 15847291. Customers who had a heavy duty alternator replaced in February or March in a 2005-2010 heavy-duty Express or Savana van or other 2005-2009 GM truck or SUV also are being urged to check their repair order receipts to determine if a suspect part was involved. If it was, or the part used is unknown, they are urged to stop driving their vehicles, park them away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

These owners also are asked to contact their Customer Assistance Center to provide their contact information, so we can follow up with them when more information is available. ▪ www.gm.com

• Source(s): General Motors

Share

23
Mar
10

Toyota to Replace Accelerator Pedals for Unhappy Owners

NEWS
Toyota to Replace Accelerator Pedals for Unhappy Owners

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

••• NHTSA gets over 100 complaints on fixed Toyota vehicles.
It was reported earlier this month that some Toyota drivers are still experiencing unintended acceleration after their recalled vehicles were repaired. According to an Associated Press analysis of government data, complaints of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles repaired under recall have nearly doubled in the past two weeks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received complaints from 105 drivers, raising the question about whether Toyota’s recall repairs are actually working.

Toyota has previously said that it is confident in its repairs and found no evidence of other problems, such as a problem in the electronics.

David Strickland, NHTSA’s administrator, did say in a statement Wednesday that the agency has found “several instances in which a dealer made mistakes in applying one of the recall remedies.” He said that the NHTSA is working with Toyota to improve instruction to dealers.

Toyota has recalled more than 8.1 million vehicles worldwide since October.
Just last week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received complaints from 105 drivers complaining that their vehicles were still experiencing unintended acceleration issues after they took their vehicle in for a recall fix.

Toyota has now told its dealers that it will provide a replacement accelerator pedal to owners who are unsatisfied with their repairs.

Toyota sent out a memo today, obtained by the Associated Press, stating that if customers are still unhappy with with the feel of the accelerator after being repaired, the dealer can provide them a replacement pedal at no additional charge.

“A replacement pedal should only be offered to a customer after the reinforcement bar has been installed and the customer has expressed dissatisfaction with the operation and/or feel of the pedal,” Toyota said in the memo to dealers.

“If a customer is not satisfied with the operation and/or the feel of the accelerator pedal after the reinforcement bar has been installed, please assist us by assuring a replacement pedal is provided at no charge to these customers,” the memo said.

The memo addresses eight Toyota vehicles including:

▪ 2005-2010 Avalon
▪ 2007-2010 Camry
▪ 2007-2010 Tundra
▪ 2009-2010 Corolla, Matrix
▪ 2009-2010 Toyota RAV4
▪ 2008-2010 Sequoia
▪ 2008-2010 Highlander.

Share

17
Mar
10

Honda recalls 453,000 US vehicles

NEWS
Honda recalls 453,000 US vehicles

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

••• Drivers have complained that brake pedals feel ‘soft’ in the latest safety scare to hit the automotive industry.

Japanese carmaker Honda is recalling 453,000 minivans and sports utility vehicles in the US because of complaints from drivers that brake pedals feel “soft” in the latest safety scare to hit the automotive industry.

Honda announced today that it intends to make adjustments to 344,000 Odyssey minivans and 68,000 Element vehicles built in 2007 and 2008. The company said motorists had found that as the vehicles age, they had to press the brake pedals closer to the floor in order to reach a halt.

It blamed the problem on air accumulating in a piece of equipment called the vehicle stability assist modulator. It encouraged owners to take their cars to an authorised dealer and said formal notifications to potentially afflicted motorists would begin at the end of April.

Honda said British and European cars are not affected. The recall comes amid an anxious environment in the industry as rival Japanese manufacturer Toyota struggles to overcome problems with sticking accelerator pedals.

Since the end of last year, Toyota has been obliged to recall more than 8m cars in response to safety scares and its president, Akio Toyoda, was hauled before a congressional committee in Washington last month to offer apologies. In the latest headline-grabbing incident, a Californian estate agent last week claimed his Toyota Prius had accelerated uncontrollably to 94mph on a San Diego freeway, although safety regulators have raised questions over discrepancies in his account.

Today’s recall by Honda is on a far smaller scale than Toyota’s difficulties. Honda said several crashes and three minor injuries with a possible link to soft brakes have been reported to the US national highway traffic safety administration. But spokesman Chris Martin told AFP that it was “tough” to link the injuries to the specific problem because it develops so gradually: “It’s a very slow progression because it’s a tiny, tiny amount of air that gets in – it’s smaller than a drop of water.”

Share

12
Mar
10

California Lawsuit Claims Toyota Hid Defect Evidence

NEWS
California Lawsuit Claims Toyota Hid Defect Evidence

Friday, March 12, 2010

••• Southern California prosecutors filed the first U.S. consumer protection lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp on Friday, claiming it had engaged in “fraud” by hiding evidence of dangerous vehicle defects.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said his office along with private attorneys sued the U.S. sales arm of Toyota, charging that the world’s top-selling automaker has endangered the public with defective vehicles, and engaged in deceptive business practices.

“Against this backdrop of fraud and concealment, Toyota has for decades touted its reputation for safety and reliability and knew that people bought its vehicles because of that reputation and yet purposefully chose to conceal and suppress the existence and nature of defects,” said the 18-page lawsuit filed on Friday morning.

The suit seeks to keep Toyota “from continuing to endanger the public through the sale of defective vehicles and deceptive business practices.”

A Toyota spokesman said the company had no immediate comment.

Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles globally to address the risk that accelerator pedals on a range of its vehicles could become stuck because of a loose floor mat or a glitch in the pedal assembly.

Unintended acceleration in the company’s Toyota and Lexus vehicles has been linked to at least five U.S. crash deaths since 2007. Authorities are investigating reports alleging 47 other fatalities over the past decade.

The suit charges that Toyota knew about the defects in “selling and leasing hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks with defects that caused sudden unexpected and uncontrollable acceleration.”

Rackauckas told a news conference that his office will work with private attorneys from Robinson, Calcagnie and Robinson of Newport Beach in Orange County.

Rackauckas, a Republican who is up for re-election this year, defended his office’s filing of the suit and the hiring of the private attorneys.

The news conference drew a lone demonstrator carrying a green sign that read, “I (heart) Toyota.” The demonstrator, Kerri Wilson, said her husband worked for Toyota. She briefly engaged a Rackauckus staff member over the DA’s involvement in the case, suggesting that it was done for political gain.

Rackauckas told reporters he was becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of consumers and that his office has jurisdiction because Toyota’s U.S. headquarters is in California. He also said that the private attorneys will be paid from any proceeds of the lawsuit.

Orange County is just north of San Diego County, where a California Highway Patrol trooper and three members of his family were killed in a crash last August involving a Toyota vehicle. It abuts Los Angeles County, where Toyota has its U.S. sales headquarters in Torrance.

Share




Calendar

July 2020
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2 other followers

© Copyright 2010 Dominic Stoughton. All Rights reserved.

Dominic Stoughton's Blog