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Toyota Recall

Sports stories such as Shannon Brown's engagement have taken a back seat as Toyota recall efforts in 2009 and 2010 were focused on an accelerator problem that was baffling company researchers. For some reason certain vehicles made by Toyota were showing a tendency to unexpectedly accelerate seemingly on their own. The company looked into the problem and in late 2009 issued a recall for millions of vehicles based on an allegedly faulty driver's side floor mat which they theorized had caused gas pedals to become lodged or pinned and therefore cause these sudden acceleration problems. The recalled cars were given new mats when they were brought in.

This was not the end of the issue, however. In the beginning of 2010, Toyota had to issue another recall for the same issue because it had been shown that some cases were not being caused by a faulty floor mat. This time the recalled part in question was actually the accelerator. The company posited that the accelerator might have had some sort of mechanical defect which was causing the problem. By this time is was known that deaths as far back as 2000 were being traced to this sudden acceleration issue [1] and the company had a real public relations problem on its hands.

ABS Brake Software Recalled

In a separate event in February of 2010, the world's leading automaker also recalled hybrid anti lock brake software from some of its models. The cost of all of these recalls plus the ongoing and ever mounting litigation combined to cost the company a fortune. As the announcements came to light about the recalls, more and more complaints from past accidents surfaced and the accelerator trouble was blamed for many of them. Of course, some of the past claims were very difficult to prove, and only time would tell how it all would turn out. The court system is currently at work to try to determine if Toyota did anything criminal in its handling of each Toyota recall or the way the reports surfaced years after some of these incidents.

All through 2010, Toyota worked to try to protect its image with the buying public. In the wake of the ongoing Toyota recall investigation it launched an ad campaign meant to illustrate its commitment to safety and to thank customers for their loyalty. The recall aftermath even caused the company to offer special loyalty incentives and some of the cheapest financing in company history to get people to keep buying cars. Presumably these efforts fell short of also offering to pay for online car insurance, but there were some very good offers on the table. It was obvious that after the Toyota recall, the company was in full damage control mode and doing what it could to limit the fallout with its current and past customers.

The Toyota recall of 2009-10 is another example of ways in which problems that start out small or are even ignored at auto companies can end up becoming very large and very painful. The full extent of the damage caused the recall is unknown at this point. The company is still reeling and trying to get through various court cases and other obligations tied to the matter. It does not seem as though this is any kind of death knell for the automaker. But it is obvious that some real financial damage has been done. Interested industry observers will be watching to see how the story unfolds and to find out what happens next. The Toyota recall that has so far turned into three of them may not be fully resolved just yet.


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