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.
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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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