The Fix Isn’t In at Toyota
Are things going from bad to worse at Toyota? Not only has the automaker’s
reputation taken a hit with a massive recall of models representing 57 percent
of its sales, but now at least 15 consumers who thought their cars’ sudden
acceleration problems were fixed, say they were not.
Stewart Stogel, a freelance journalist, filed a complaint with the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) when finding problems with his
2009 Camry persisted after he brought the car in to be fixed.
“At first the brakes didn’t engage at all,” he told The Associated Press. “Just
as I approached Terrace Avenue, the wheels were able to get some traction,
and all of the sudden the engine did disengage."
The NHTSA has reported that as many as 52 people have died from injuries suffered
in crashes resulting from sudden acceleration in Toyota models. The company
has blamed the problem on sticky accelerator pedals, floor mat issues and driver
error. It has been suggested that the real issue may be a result of software
or electronic glitches in the vehicles.
“Anybody who has reviewed the complaints and reviewed what’s going on here
has to reach a conclusion that there’s more going on than sticky pedals, floor
mats and drivers,” Sean Kane, president of Safety Research and Strategies Inc.,
told the AP.
A new USA Today/Gallup survey found 31 percent believe Toyota and Lexus
vehicles are unsafe to drive while 55 percent believe the Japanese automaker
dragged its heels in reacting to the problems with its cars and trucks.
“We aren’t surprised by the poll results, given the intense focus on our recalls
and speculation about causes,” Mike Michels, a spokesperson for Toyota, told USA
Today. “We are working hard to earn public trust, to complete the recalls
as quickly and conveniently as possible.”
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), who was Agriculture Secretary in the Bush administration
when Japan banned all imports of U.S. beef over concerns about mad cow disease,
questioned whether a similar ban should be placed on Japanese-made cars “until
the Japanese government can assure us that all of the defects are out of these
Discussion Questions: What is your assessment of Toyota’s response to the
problems with its vehicles? What should it do now that cars that were supposed
to be fixed appear as though they have not? Do you think the U.S. government
should ban the import and sale of Japanese vehicles until they are proven
- USA Today/Gallup poll: 55% say Toyota too slow to act – USA Today
- Drivers complain that Toyota’s fixes didn’t work – The Associated Press/Yahoo!
- Senator on Toyota: Should U.S. consider ban on Japanese cars? – USA