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Formal U.S. probe of Toyota Corolla steering problems to begin Thursday

I learned moments ago that, on Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to launch a formal investigation into complaints about steering in the 2009-10 Toyota Corolla.

The agency has received more than 150 complaints about the steering on the Corolla, which was the fifth-best-selling vehicle in the U.S. last year. Drivers say that at highway speeds, the Corolla can begin to veer from side to side, sometimes changing lanes, sometimes nearly causing crashes. Just as puzzling, the drivers write, the problem stops as soon as it starts.

The probe will affect 500,000 2009-10 Corollas in the U.S.

On Wednesday in Japan, Toyota made the surprising announcement that it may consider a Corolla recall because of the steering complaints, representing an unusual amount of transparency for the company.

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 17, 2010; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Corolla recall, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota recall model and years  
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Toyota needs to do some serious failure analysis of their "brain-box" computer operating systems. --- Run-away acceleration, brakes that don't work, steering gone twitchy, all must be replaced by the old tried-and-true mechanical systems we had in the past. --- And I must have a metal key to put in the lock with no remote unlock gizmos which are being hacked by thieves.

Posted by: isenberg888 | February 17, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"at highway speeds, the Corolla can begin to veer from side to side, sometimes changing lanes, sometimes nearly causing crashes"

Uh huh. Sounds more like operator error than anything else.

Posted by: geobabe13 | February 17, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

If all of the issues are indeed electronic, then who knows, maybe someone has now hacked into the cars that we drive ?

Posted by: jralger | February 17, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they should put there cell phone down!

Posted by: moschultz | February 17, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

How about some full disclosure reporting??

An honest report would say --

"The U.S. government, which owns and operates two of Toyota's competitors, is launching a probe . . . "

Posted by: ooyah32 | February 17, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

With Electric-Power-Steering it would be possible for the system to drift the car. If one didn't have both hands on the wheel I could see how it would be a problem.

Posted by: jimjohnd | February 17, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

dear on line editor, In tis affair there are failures to be noted (1) during manufacture the quality assurance/quality control department while testuing n the riad did not notice this defect due to careless checking hence it was passed for production.Once it is imported to ISA on arrival stringent test shoud have been caRRIED OUT TO UNDER STAND THE QUALITY AND IT SEEMS THAT IN THIS PHASE ALSO THERE WAS FAIKLURE hence due to a cumulative error this problem arise after sales Here also if after sates service was strict and was in place this defect soul have beeb dected and rectifies and this information should have been passed on themanufacturing plant quality assurance department to incoroprate the rectification etc An error has causedinconvenience to the vast consumers, company lost itsimage and unwanted expens t the cmpany.this should a lesson for all manfactures maintain quality before pssing the at themanufacturing stage dated February 18th 2010 Time 0453Hrs ist AM

Posted by: pillaipmg | February 17, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Where were all the inspectors and assembly inspectors? AND WHERE IS THE FOOL THAT DESIGNED these cars anyway? How can so many autos be so defective? All of a sudden millions of TOYOTAS being recalled for not just one problem but MANY, Seems to me someone or a whole lot of someones were asleep at the wheel, (NO PUN INTENDED) when these cars rolled off the assembly line. I sure hope whoever is checking into this fiasco doesn't uncover some kind of conspiracy somewhere. NOW A DAYS NO ONE KNOWS WAHT SOMEONE WILL DO.

Posted by: itscc721 | February 17, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Government Motors (GM) is intent on sabotaging the other car companies, by hook or by crook.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | February 17, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately the Obama administration is neither an impartial or objective arbiter in this matter. It is beholden to the UAW (to which it donated GM) and Chrysler. I question the integrity, timing and panic calls. My view is that the 30,000 domestic Toyota employees will be forced by this administration into becoming union and pressuring Toyota in a way that will ultimately lead to shutting the plants, loss of jobs not just at the factories but at the design studios, sub contractors etc;. This is NOT about safety! It's all about blackmailing a profitable company into unionizing so that Honda, KIA, BMW and Nissan will follow suit! Under the Obamanation America is no longer a place to do business or be in business!

Posted by: vgailitis | February 17, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

No recall announced yet for Lexus'es, one of which killed a Calif. Hwy Patrol officer and his family last August (details- ). The car accelerated on its own to 120mph, killing the officer and three others when it hit another car in an intersection. Many independent experts say the Toyota problems can't be entirely due to brake pedals and floor mats, the electronics must be at least partly to blame-,0,5002647.story

Posted by: hairguy01 | February 17, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Amazing that a company with no union workers is being attacked by the Odumbo administration, wish, along with the UAW goons controls GM and Chrysler.

Are the media lapdogs missing something here, or are they just as dishonest as the Odumbo administration?

Posted by: LarryG62 | February 17, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Would ooyah32 and Bitter_Bill please submit comments on what it is like to live 24/7 in the paranoia zone? And, if ANYONE understands what pillaipmg wrote in his/her comment, please clarify.

Fact of Life: Toyota is just another company like any other company and is subject to periodic product screwups. While they build great vehicles, their rush to the top has caused them to falter and to experience a bonanza of headaches all at once. Even their print ads on the subject acknowledge they let their quality control guard down.

Posted by: jharveinseattle | February 17, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Gee...even more paranoics have signed in since I wrote my commment. Yes, LarryG82 and vgailitis, I'm talkin' about you.

Posted by: jharveinseattle | February 17, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Boy am I glad that we the tax payers, aka majority owners of GMC, dba Government Motors Corporation, are being protected from that evil company Toyota. Is it me, or has the US Government really stepped up its bringing Toyota into the bad limelight. I bet the UAW is just busting with pride. Or will this be just another H1N1 smoke screen to keep the disgusted voters attention away from President Potatoe Head and his sidekick Blinken.

Posted by: nosuchluck | February 17, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Toyoda dont want to go to Capital hill because he would have to drive a Toyota.He wouldn't put his childern in one;so why are you?Use some common sense.If someone say there is a killer lose.Stay out of his way.

Posted by: apez54 | February 17, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Now that fool Toyoda doesn't want to come when requested. Don't buy one of those POS vehicles.

Posted by: Classic60 | February 17, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Nothing lasts. We all have to expire at sometime. Planned obsolescence is part of the Auto Industry, like it or not. All is for the best in the best of possible worlds.

Posted by: renfieldc | February 17, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Toyota's sin is that they are non-union. This is more Obama politics. Obama's politics are a new low for this country.

Posted by: hz9604 | February 17, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

All these recalls all of a sudden just don't pass the smell test. Government Motors obviously is involved in this. Toyota employees need to go and buy about a 1,000 GM cars and start making up some complaints. Let GM start chasing its tail. Good grief -- our country is doomed.

Posted by: BadNews | February 17, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

In June 2006, Toyota had 52 overseas manufacturing companies in 27 countries outside Japan; Toyota markets vehicles in more than 170 countries / regions In the United States there were approximately 30 thousand people employed as a result of their 21 Billion dollar investment in the United states alone.

If I were Toyota, under attack by an administration bent on turning the public attention away from its constant blunders I would simply say I am sorry that you feel we are negligent, we have lost face and will cease operations in your county. Then Barry can employ all those unemployed Toyota workers at his GM plants.

Posted by: beowulf39565 | February 17, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

To all you believers that think the Government made up these "RUMORS" Buy Toyota Stock, Be double STUPID

Posted by: stick130 | February 18, 2010 5:34 AM | Report abuse

I had a 1999 Ford Exployer, it had a couple recalls one had something to do with the fuel and the other the seat. No big deal unless Ford would of pulled a TOYOTA and tried to hide the problems.

Posted by: stick130 | February 18, 2010 5:41 AM | Report abuse

hz9604, Do you really believe the Union and Obama caused the STEERING and BRAKING PROBLEMS on the Toyota? Glad I bought a Hyundai. I don't have a dog in this fight just Tax Dollars.

Posted by: stick130 | February 18, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

So, Obama is rewarding the UAW by harassing toyota. And many americans will now buy US gas-guzzlers thinking they are safer. When gas prices go up, they will be stuck with their clunkers.

Obama will be long gone :)

Posted by: SanoranTriamesh | February 18, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

My daughter has been driving a new Corolla since August 2009. Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Assist were just an option then but we got them. I am pretty sure the symptoms noted in this article are related to the normal operation of these systems in the most recent Corolla models 2009-optional, 2010 standard.

Posted by: kathynoon | February 19, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Would like to correct the previous post. My daughter has been driving a 2009 Corolla which we leased in August 2008.

Posted by: kathynoon | February 19, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

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