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Toyota’s Recall Antics Spread Virally




Over the past few weeks I have been watching the Toyota recall fiasco out of the corner of my eye. It began as a news story (which is different than its actual start date) and it has not gone away. Well, you know the online “you know what” has hit the fan when you can go to Comedy Central’s site and see this

Now, it appears that Toyota has really done some serious long-term damage to one of the most respected brands in the world. How? By being slow to react and being aloof enough to give enough fodder to someone like Jon Stewart to skewer them. Sure Jon’s not NBC, ABC or CBS but he’s more influential ;-)

So what will this do to the car industry? Many other manufacturers will reap some of the benefit of Toyota getting bad press both online and off from the likes of traditional media and even Steve Wozniak. Yup, that Steve Wozniak. Jalopnik reports:

At a speech on Monday Wozniak claimed his new 2010 Toyota Prius, which isn’t under the current Toyota recall, randomly accelerated while in cruise control mode and that he could duplicate the event. After reading a similar story on Gizmodo Wozniak commented that he was having difficulty reaching the manufacturer to tackle his issue.

We called Toyota and they were clearly anxious to speak with Wozniak and so was he according to his assistant. “That’s exactly what we were hoping would happen,” she told Jalopnik. After passing on the contact info for a Toyota technical expert the company called us and asked us if we could actually send him Toyota U.S. President Jim Lentz’s personal number.

Ouch. Well, here is my totally unprofessional and unbiased thought on who could reap the greatest reward from Toyota’s mess. Hyundai. I say unbiased because I don’t own one and I get no remuneration for this opinion. I just hear really good things about their cars as of late. They have real strong word of mouth and what is the car buying public gonna do, turn to Detroit? Ha! Toyota with its feet dragging approach has left the door open for someone to knock them down several notches. I know they are off my list for future car purchases, what about yours? In this day and age if you can lay low and do some good work you can count on the top dog of your industry doing something really boneheaded at some point to create opportunity. And the mistakes of today are more deadly because of the online spread of the bad news. Where have you heard that before?

So here’s to Toyota’s taking the mantle for reputation gaffe of this short year. Can’t wait to see what the rest of 2010 holds regarding “stupid company tricks”.

  • Karla

    I’m sure you’ve received a bunch of these emails, but here’s another one. I own a 2009 Toyota Prius, my husband drives a 2007 (or 2006?) Prius. No problems with sticking accelerators (knock on wood) and no problem with floor mats. Our floor mats have holes that latch onto hooks in the floor–it is physically impossible for them to move forward. But if you buy cheap Wal-Mart floor mats to save a few bucks, doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive, you can jam the mat up under the accelerator. As for the acceleration problem, *IF* that were to happen, no matter what kind of car you drive, shift it into neutral and hold down the brake with both feet. If you have a car with a Start button (like the Prius) you have to hold the button in for a full count of 3 seconds to turn off the engine while it’s moving. (When I park my car, I don’t have to hold in the Start button.) Personally, I think it’s just a lame attempt to resurrect the American car market. Good luck with that! I happen to like my 45 mpg Prius!

    • Jeff

      Karla,

      You might want to inform yourself a little more before you write such nonsense. Toyota didn’t have a floor mat recall – then a pedal recall because of Wal-Mart floor mats!!!!!!! Remember to hit those brakes hard!

      • Karla

        Not nonsense at all. They did have a recall because of “defective floor mats” before the pedal recall. The Wal-Mart reference was an editorial comment referring to non-standard Toyota parts. (I never said the pedal recall was because of wal-mart floor mats.) (Disclaimer: My husband works at a Toyota plant. Guess I should have mentioned that in my first post.)

      • Karla

        http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/toyota/toyota-consumer-safety-advisory-111943.aspx.
        “Recent events have prompted Toyota to take a closer look at the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open position due to an unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mat. ” Dated September 2009.

  • http://digitivity.org Digitivity @ The Digital Life & Tools Blog

    Resting on your laurels is never a good strategy.

    I like the fact that social media allows us to hold corporations feet to the fire.

    Toyota was once the underdog against GM & Ford and the rest of the low-quality Detroit auto manufacturers. But customers will be quick to drop it once they learn that they put their corporate interests ahead of customer safety.
    .-= Digitivity @ The Digital Life & Tools Blog´s last blog ..After the iPad: the Google Tablet? =-.

  • Bill R.

    Toyota has been involved in a cover-up of its accelerator pedal issues, possibly dating back to 2002.
    This current recall of more than 2 million vehicles has Toyota drivers either stranded or risking injury driving to work.
    If you feel you were the victim of unintended acceleration, please consult this Web site for important legal information: http://www.toyota-class-action-lawsuit.com/
    Toyota is also set to announce a recall on nearly a quarter-million Prius cars due to a malfunctioning brake system.

  • JFK

    “TOYOTA” The manufacturing sacrificial sacrifice. Complaints of deaths due to sudden acceleration in Toyota cars, like the Audi that went 0-60MPH at a turn of a key that involved death and injury, I don’t recall any apologies from Audi. Recalls aren’t new take a look: http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/saf-sec-sur/7/vrdb-bdrv/search/search.aspx?lang=e Ford 1419 recalls, Chrysler 309 recalls, Cadillac’s alone 190 recalls Toyota 139 recalls; and them with out sin cast the first stone. Domestic(?) auto makers now push to produce everywhere but north America, Toyota and Honda with plants in US and Canada are turning more domestic then Ford, Chrysler or GM who just opened a new line in Asia. “Domestic” means production that takes place within the country’s borders (Wikipedia). http://twitter.com/economicblow