Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Dear Toyota

Do you remember that whole + 1 BILLION $ fine you got hit with when you tried to brush off the whole unexpected acceleration thing?  You know, the defect that killed more than 80 people and that you knew about but tried to hide or explain away as various types of driver error?

Well, I can tell you that just being a passenger in a 2009 Toyota that does that FOUR FRIGGIN TIMES is SCARY!  The only thing that kept it out of the realm of utter terror was a son-in-law who realized what was going on, stood on the brakes, and knocked it into neutral each time.  Otherwise we would have rear ended someone.

And then your dealer knows enough about it to hand out a pre-printed form about the defect but shrugges their shoulders about the fix.  You've had YEARS and you still don't have a fix?! You are still telling people to live with it until disaster strikes?!

My family is not within your "acceptable risk" tolerance. Especially my 5 year old granddaughter.

The floor mat is 3 to 4 inches from the gas pedal.  It happened while we were stopped.  The accelerator did not stick open. It took off from a stop.  There was no user error.  We were lucky the user knew what to do and got us home.

The defect showed up in 2009 to 2012 models.  Somewhere there are computer lists of the VIN of every vehicle involved.  And somewhere there is a computer list of every part and its manufacturer for every one of those vehicles.  And lists for the same models from 2013 on.  It's basic forensics.  What part changed? That change is your fix, idiots.

And why are you still willing to get taken to court over it? Because you don't get to wave vaguely and tell us to just take the vehicle home until someone is injured or dies.

And why the @#$!!@$ did my son in law have to raise hell and start walking home just to get enough attention to get a shuttle, leaving a vehicle too dangerous to drive in the hands of vaguely hand waving Toyota service employees? This is on Toyota - there should have been a loaner until Toyota deals with this.

I'm just one person.  But damned if I'd buy a Toyota now.


  1. They're lucky he didn't park it in their showroom window.

    1. He was getting pretty loud right next to the show room, which was clearly making them nervous.

  2. I assumed that the problem had been attended to, long before now. Hadn't heard anything about it not being fixed. I'm not terribly surprised, though. The Japanese have an inability to point fingers and declare someone has made a mistake after the fact. Especially if that someone is of higher rank.

    It's entirely possible that they trashed the entire throttle control system and started fresh, so no comparison can be made between an early and late version. Odds are this was done deliberately, since tossing the whole thing is wasteful of engineering time. Fixing it would be the same as pointing fingers at the culprit.

    BTW, some of those problem cars would not allow you to shift into neutral while moving, and had an ignition control setup that also did not allow one to turn it off when moving.

    Bear in mind that MOST cars have more brakes than engine power. Only when you get into really high performance engines does this change, and the makers normally start adding much more braking capabilities when the engine power goes up. I'm talking 300+hp, 2wd. If the vehicle is AWD, it is much easier to strangle the engine, since the power is spread to all 4 axles. However, the brakes must be used correctly. You cannot be half-assed about it. You must apply them HARD, and bring it to a stop RFN. Otherwise, you are very likely to cause brake failure by using them as you would for a normal stop. Essentially, you get one shot at doing it right. Waiting until it hits triple digits before attempting to stop it invites this failure mode.

    One of the problems MOST drivers have is that they never practice ANY sort of emergency moves. They don't do hard stops, or quick avoidance turns, or sliding the back end in corners. They have no idea how the vehicle responds when it is pushed harder than it is normally driven. They have no safety cushion. It's all a surprise to them.

    1. I think everybody assumed that. But they still keep pre-printed forms for it.

      Just found out that they refused to do anything. So now they have a vehicle that is unsafe to drive that they still owe money on sitting in the driveway. They are looking at contacting the media.

    2. Toyota needs to be threatened with the loss of their US certification for selling vehicles here. To include their Korean/Chinese subsidiaries. For starters. That MIGHT get some action. What really needs to occur is to get the Japanese government to understand that if things proceed to this point, ALL Japanese vehicle sales will circle the drain here in the US. I suspect that Toyota's management would be invited to take a tour of one of their prisons, to get a feel for their future accommodations.

      The mistake the Feds made is to think that a fine would motivate the Japanese to fix the problem. The Japanese assumed (correctly, it seems) that the fine was in trade for lack of action on their part. In most of the world, fines are like taxes or bribes. Just an accepted part of business.

  3. I would go to the media and tell my story

  4. Spent three decades in the retail automobile business. Never was a fan of Toyota and never applied to work in a Toyota franchise. Toyota the invincible? After the T-100 pickup was on the market for several months, Toyota was giving dealers a hidden $4000 (what we called truck money) just to sell them to the public. Lots of other Toyota failures covered up.