Feb 12 2010 Ian Johnson
Toyota impresses over recall
TOYOTA, that manufacturer that seemed to soar above all others in terms of customer care and satisfaction has been faced with what car companies dread - a massive recall of models.
After lurid pictures on American TV of runaway vehicles having crashed it seems that there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.
The cause is that some accelerator pedal mechanisms may become worn. Toyota has had no reports of any accidents caused by this issue in Europe and the problem that has been identified is rare and does not occur suddenly.
That has been followed with a further recall on the company's eco-champion - the hybrid Prius which has suffered a sortware problem affecting braking under certain circumstances.
On February 1 the company confirmed a comprehensive fix for the accelerator pedals of the Toyota models planned for recall - seven ranges in the UK - and priority in the recall will be given to the older vehicles among those affected.
In the UK Toyota confirms that 180,865 vehicles are affected by the recall. They include certain popular model such as the Aygo and the Yaris, but no Lexus models are involved.
In the midst of it all Toyota chief Akio Toyoda issued a sincere apology saying: 'We, the ones supposed to relay to people the attractiveness of automobiles, have imparted on them worry. I regret this more than anything.
'Under the banner, 'Let's build better cars', we will go back to the basics of 'customer first' and 'genchi genbutsu', and once more, deeply consider what 'customer first' really means.'
For someone who has reported on many product problems over decades, rather than heap blame on Toyota for not noticing something that carries a small risk of going wrong, I have to congratulate the company on how it is going about solving the problem.
Many manufacturers have recalled products in the past, but the sincere way that Toyota putting matters to rights is extremely impressive.