I do not even know where to start. The Toyota situation is getting so far out of hand it is not even funny. This started months ago when a family was killed when driving a loaner Lexus ES350. That situation has since come into the limelight of both the media and the government. Currently, the total recall count is a little over 6 million vehicles. This is due to the “sticky accelerator.”
The decision came down Tuesday that all sales would come to a halt on the vehicles affected. This sales freeze will be in affect until a fix can be implemented. Toyota has said they expect a fix in the next two weeks rather than months. With that said, they failed to mention what that fix might be. I would call this a “we are scrambling as quickly as possible” tactic. Many are convinced Toyota does not have a fix yet. Others are reporting Toyota already has the fix and new parts are starting to ship. It is hard to know what to believe at this point. The freeze affects eight models which makes up about sixty percent of all North American sales for Toyota. The list of affected vehicles is as follows-
• 2009-10 RAV4
• 2009-10 Corolla
• 2009-10 Matrix
• 2005-10 Avalon
• Certain 2007-10 Camry
• 2010 Highlander
• 2007-10 Tundra
• 2008-10 Sequoia
Avis/Budget car rental announced they will be removing nearly 20,000 Toyota’s from its fleet immediately. Enterprise Rent-A-Car, who now also owns Alamo and National Car Rental, will be pulling all Toyota’s and Pontiac Vibe’s included in the recall. While numbers were not provided by Enterprise it is estimated to be about 4% of their fleet.
It is coming out now that Toyota has known there was problem since mid 2008. In June of 2008, Toyota announced “sticky pedals” are a drivability issue not a safety issue. Well we all know how that turned out now that people have died. Toyota has ignored this problem. They continued to sell cars when they knew something was wrong! This is just ridiculous. Even further, Toyota was contacted last Friday by NHSTA after they heard the models were still being sold. It took four days for Toyota to make the announcement of the sales freeze on the affected models. It almost seems as if they had no intentions of stopping sales until it started hitting the public and governmental eyes.
I have spoken with many people who are shocked at this whole situation. In a conversation with a gentleman in the baby boomer generation the words, “Never in my life have I seen an auto manufacturer halt sales of over half their line up. This is history in the making.” He continued to compare this situation to 9/11, the difference is that this is going on inside Toyota. Another friend compared Toyota to big tobacco.
Many see this whole situation as getting out of control. I have heard some say it is snowballing. I personally think this is far from over and it will get much worse. Toyota’s reputation has now been thrown into question in front of the public view and in a terrible way. It will be interesting to see how current Toyota owners react when it is time for them to purchase a new car. This could benefit Ford, Hyundai, and General Motors. Time will tell if that happens. In recap, Toyota knew what was going on before people were killed, they continued to sell vehicles, more people died, did not fully think through the recall, things are going to get worse. I think I’m going to get sick.