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Toyota's eye-popping Corolla recall news

We all knew Toyota President Akio Toyoda was going to meet the press this morning in Japan, ostensibly to give a Prius update. We even expected that Toyoda might decline Congress's "invitation" to come testify about his troubled company, despite the threat of a subpoena that could take effect the moment he steps on U.S. soil.

What we didn't expect was the bombshell out of Toyota HQ about a possible Corolla recall.

Quoting from the AP story:

"But in an alarming disclosure that could widen Toyota's recall crisis, the executive in charge of quality controls, Shinichi Sasaki, said Toyota was taking seriously the complaints about power-steering problems in the Corolla, the world's best-selling car.

Speaking at Toyota's Tokyo office, Sasaki said the company was putting customers first in a renewed effort to salvage its reputation and would do whatever is necessary if a Corolla fix is needed. He said it was still uncertain if a Corolla recall would be necessary, but it is an option the automaker is considering.

He didn't disclose model years or regions that could be affected and said there have been fewer than 100 complaints. Toyota sold nearly 1.3 million Corolla cars worldwide last year."

This a big deal for a number of reasons:

a) Toyota has finally gotten over the r-word (recall), swallowed its pride and has begun to show some transparency. The company knew all along that a Prius recall was a possibility -- a recall is always a possibility -- but refused to acknowledge it, making the Japanese auto giant look like a stonewaller.

b) So far, Toyotas have had trouble with runaway acceleration, trouble stopping and now -- trouble steering. That's the trifecta of vehicle-control issues. It suggests design flaws rather than problems with parts suppliers or driver error.

c) The Corolla was the fifth-best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in 2009, second in Toyota only to the Camry, which was No. 2 in 2009.

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 17, 2010; 2:56 PM ET
Categories:  Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Corolla recall, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota recall model and years  
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What gets me is that Toyota is still permitted to sell safety deficient cars to the American public.

Posted by: SUMB44 | February 17, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Another hit piece from the press shills for Union-Obama motors .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | February 17, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

This smells of government intervention!
Considering the government owns GM and Chrysler, two failed automobile companies who's cars Americans don't seem to want. Forcing recalls and the accompanying bad publicity on Toyota, the no.1 car company in America, in their minds will force Americans to buy GM and Chrysler products.
Wait and see, I'll bet it'll come out some time in the future that this is what's happening.

Posted by: garys_opinion | February 17, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

You want it; you got it. Toyota. Let's see so far: Cars that accelerate on their own; vehicles that won't stop - and now for all those doubters - Toyota's that can't steer. Oh what a feeling!

Posted by: tuzoner | February 17, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

For all the paranoida crowd convince this is a plot by President Obama, remember that at least two of these recalls occurred in JAPAN first. Anyone who thinks that either the UAW or President Obama could get the Japanese Government to embarass a Janpanese company like this has gone mad from Obama Obcession Disorder.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | February 17, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

So, people traded in their old 'clunkers' and bought Toyotas.

Now, the media shills are hyping anything that bad-mouths Toyota.

If, and that's a huge IF, there is anything wrong with toyotas, you can bet that's the ONLY thing wrong with them.

Meanwhile, all the Fords, Dodges, Chryslers and Chevys crap out every other day like clockwork.

All hail Gubment Motors!

Posted by: Heerman532 | February 17, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

OMG... I'm speeding up! OMG... I can't stop the car! just changed lanes on me. OMG... I just dropped my joint! This is turning out to be a really crappy day and a major bummer dude.

Posted by: DocMcCalla | February 17, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

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