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Engine failures in MR2 Spyders

6/11/2014 - Updated the original post by entering direct links to reference material, and added remarks about the legal issues involved with...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Toyota = The One You Ought To Avoid

At least Toyota makes a great acronym.  In their case, "The One You Ought To Avoid" is just about as good as acronyms get.  Today's recalls, totalling out at 1.7 million units, make over 12 million units recalled since 2009, and a whoppin' 27.6 million since '05.  Referrin' to Toyota as the "Recall King" is apropos, but the acronym gets down to the ol' bottom line when you factor in lousy dealerships, blame-the-customer attitudes, racketeering charges, a federal grand jury look see, three record setting government fines in one year, and a judge ruling that allegations of fraud are sufficient enough for an avalanche of lawsuits to proceed.  There's more, but whew.  That's enough.

U.S. sales have plunged, global production is droppin', and the Recall King has nobody to thank but itself.  There's an old sayin', Toyota, that "the customer is always right."  Ignore it at your own peril.  Worse yet, remain aloof.  Act like customers aren't too bright - regardless of evidence to the contrary - and wait for problems to just somehow disappear.  Then, to really ice up the cake, get charged with tryin' to keep stuff quiet.  See what happens.

As "The One You Ought To Avoid" stews in its own juice, consumer advocate Charlene Blake put it quite well:  "Didn't its 'Mama' teach it that what goes 'round comes 'round?!? Tsk, tsk, Toyota!  You should have seen it comin'!!"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Volt upstages Prius. Toyota features Akio.

GM's Volt musta shocked Akio Toyoda when it won the North American Car of the Year award at this year's prestigious International Auto Show.  It happened while Akio was makin' his first ever appearance at the Detroit show, wringing his hands about recalls, and carrying on about the Prius, Tesla's production techniques, Toyota's outdated styling, a sudden determination to cater to customers, and - believe it or not - Toyota's commitment to safety.  The Recall King would have been better off if the "Prince" had stayed home.  And kept quiet.

Toyota was apparently hoping to steal the show by unveiling a "family" of new Prius models.  But these aren't the good ol' days.  Too many recalls.  Too many fines.  Too many disclosures, charges, investigations, lawsuits, and settlements.  Too many angry customers, Prince.  And correcting the situation will take a lot more than silly advertisements focusing on how to make the word "Prius" plural.  Nonetheless, insofar as the little glitch-mobile is concerned, your new Prius collection is about as exciting as the ad campaign. 

Please, Akio.  Pretty please.  Don't tell us any more about the recalls, the Prius, a lack of production and styling expertise, attitudes toward customers, or Toyota's commitment to safety.  Really, Prince.  Over the past year, we've heard quite enough about all that.  Instead, tell us why thousands of customers have signed an online petition complaining of continuing problems with oil sludge.  Tell us about all those engine failures in MR2 Spyders and why you've stonewalled complaints from owners, as well as two major car clubs.  Please, Prince.  Give us reason to believe that your company has changed.  For the better.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Toyota Prius best coined "GLITCH-mobile"

It was a cute little marketing ploy - presented not long before the North American International Auto Show - for GM's CEO to refer to Toyota's Prius as a "geek-mobile," touting it as no match for GM's new Volt.  Gee.  I certainly hope GM's new product is better than the Prius.  Fact is, it wouldn't have to be all that great.  A better nickname for Toyota's little wonder car would be "glitch-mobile," underscored by Toyota's latest Prius recall:  650,000 units to repair poorly designed water pumps, even though the Recall King says this wasn't actually a recall, blabbering something about customer satisfaction.  Regarding "customer satisfaction," its interesting that the models with the botched water pumps are '04 thru '07.  Given currently-charged-with-racketeering Toyota's reputation for being a bit slow to acknowledge defects, I can't help but wonder how long Toyota has known about these problems. 

Lookin' over my blog posts concerning the Prius, its no wonder the things are not sellin' as well lately.  Glitches galore.  Acceleration problems, braking problems, headlight problems, and the list continues right up to the defective water pumps.  Seems Toyota's discounts aren't workin' too well either...

Its a shame the media spotlight somehow keeps missin' all those engine failures in MR2 Spyders.  Two major car clubs have been screamin' about the situation for years, along with consumers posting complaints all over the Internet.  Wonder what other problems Toyota has been having - such as continuing problems with oil sludge - that the media has chosen to ignore?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Whistleblower was good enough for Congress, but...

Its too bad former Toyota attorney Dimitrios Biller wasn't able to present his case to a jury instead of an arbitrator. Had he done so, I believe he would have won, and its noteworthy that Toyota and its dealerships seem to have a strong preference for arbitration.

Simply put, "where there's smoke, there's fire," and if any automaker has been literally engulfed in smoke lately, its Recall King Toyota. Biller's allegations and disclosures hardly stood alone.  Similar accusations have been coming out for well over a year gratis the sheer avalanche of lawsuits filed against Toyota, along with a headline grabbin' congressional investigation, racketeering charges, three record-setting government fines, a federal grand jury investigation, an ongoing parade of recalls involving a spectacular assortment of defects, and a recent, court ordered disclosure of a $10 million settlement in a runaway Lexus case. In the roar - dare I say racket? - Biller's cries of foul play were almost drowned out.

Especially disturbing is the fact that Biller's boxloads of documents - now ruled privileged between attorney and client - were subpeoned by congress and found beneficial, spotlighting such things as Toyota boasting about saving 100 million dollars by cutting corners with NHTSA on a safety issue. Had congress subpeoned Toyota instead of Biller, does anyone believe such information would have been released? Toyota has long been accused of dirty tactics, including the witholding of information the company is legally required to turn over in lawsuits. Biller apparently confirmed such accusations, prompting a Texas court to initiate contempt procedings against Toyota for witholding information pertinent to rollover crashes in a case involving a 17-year-old victim paralyzed from the neck down.

Attorney-client privilege is justifiably a cornerstone of law. But there are, as another old saying goes, exceptions to all rules. Amidst safey issues galore involving the Recall King, whistleblower Biller acted in the public's best interest, yet wound up being ordered to keep quiet, return the documents, and give Toyota 2.6 million dollars. 

Let's face it. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yahoo censorship re insurers suing Toyota

Yahoo is again refusing to publish my comments.   

I guess Toyota is extra touchy now that seven insurance companies have filed suit based on the Recall King's refusal to install brake override systems.  As the below referenced article points out, these suits are a major challenge for Toyota. 

Just for the record, here's what I had to say:

"Toyota is finally getting its just desserts for refusing to install overrides while other automakers offered this safety feature.  As one of the Recall King's many dissatisfied customers - been bloggin' 'bout 'em for quite some time at (this blog's url) - I'm especially pleased that Toyota is accused of failing to disclose known defects."

I've noticed quite a few comments lately complaing of Yahoo censorship.  Hey, Yahoo:  the world is watching.

Update 1/7/2011 Yahoo continues to censor my comments.   Toyota has now made the list for america's most hated 15 companies, and Yahoo immediately removed my comment, "Toyota should be at the top of the list, and not only for recalls.  The complaints are many, including lousy service and equally lousy attitudes toward customers.  I've been bloggin' 'bout the Recall King for quite some time at (this blog's url)." http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110106/ts_alt_afp/usconsumerbusiness

D.A. drops charges - driver of runaway Lexus sues Toyota.

This case - another big embarassment for the Recall King - is shockingly similar to that of wrongfully convicted Toyota driver Koua Fong Lee. In fact, prosecutors weighed the Lee case heavily before dropping the charges against Unmi Suk Chung.  Fortunately - unlike Koua Fong Lee - Chung didn't have to spend four years in prison.

Koua Fong Lee is also suing Toyota, and if his case is any precursor of events, expect Toyota to suddenly claim that Unmi Suk Chung's vehicle was somehow altered. That's the latest Toyota tactic regarding Lee's runaway Camry, and we now await - with bated breath - further elaboration from the Recall King. Maybe this sort of thing is what Toyota means when they threaten to defend themselves "vigorously."

Chung's suit alleges problems with Toyota's electronic throttle control and also highlights the fact - as do similar suits - that while other automakers were installing brake override systems, Toyota neglected to do so. Lack of an override is now a major issue, further emphasized in lawsuits filed last week by seven insurance companies.     

Stay tuned. The air is rife with allegations that Toyota is guilty of cover-up and fraud, and there's sure to be plenty of headline grabbin' revelations as both of these cases - along with the sheer avalanche of class action and individual lawsuits filed against Toyota - work their way through the courts.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Car and Driver slams Toyota for 2011

Talk about a coincidence:  Toyota's 2011 Sienna recall was announced shortly after Car and Driver magazine let it be known that no Toyota would be included in its top 10 picks for 2011.  Great timing, Toyota.       

Based on my experience, most any automaker would be preferable to the Recall King,  and I'm especially pleased to see a few rear wheel drive vehicles makin' the grade for CD's top ten.  Notably enough, that's an area where Toyota has no offerings whatsoever.  Their last rear wheeler was the MR2 Spyder, plagued by a rash of engine failures in 2000 thru 2002 models.  If they offer another sports car, I sure wouldn't wanna risk buyin' one.   

The Recall King is suffering from exposure, and its glaring absence from CD's top picks for 2011 speaks volumnes.  The word - no pun intended - is out, Toyota.