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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...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stallin' the Toyota Way: '06 hybrid SUVs

Uh-oh.  The Recall King is facin' a brand spankin' new investigation, this time for complaints about engines stalling - most of 'em at 40 mph or more - in 2006 Highlander hybrid SUVs.  And here again, there's a finer point:  How long has Toyota known about this issue?  How many customers have complained to Toyota about this problem since 2006?  Surely we aren't expected to believe that Toyota first heard of it via NHTSA.

If matters rested on just this one case, it would be different.  But this is the umpteenth time we've had reason to wonder how long Toyota has known about malfunctions in its vehicles.  The question arises, for example, with those embarassing fines from NHTSA, the complaints about Prius headlights, and a current lawsuit involving allegations that Toyota knew about Prius brake problems for years before finally issuing a recall.   

When vehicles suddenly stall, won't restart, and have to be towed in, its not hard to imagine the kind of complaints voiced to Toyota.  Looks like the matter should have been settled a long time ago, without any involvement from NHTSA.  Foot draggin' can go a long way when it comes to such things as warranties and customers givin' up on pursuing a complaint.  "Aw shucks.  Let's just trade this thing in and move on."

Frankly, I don't see how on earth floor mats could... no, wait.  Floor mats were causin' sudden acceleration.  This time the vehicles are stallin'.  In fact, some other models - Corolla, Matrix - started stallin' not long ago.  Gee.  I hope someone is keepin'  track of all this.  Maybe it'll help me sort things out if I connect Toyota's '06 Highlander hybrids with how the engine in my MR2 was threatening to stall as it disintegrated.     

Lawsuits, fines, subpoenas, online petitions, investigations, recalls, multi-million dollar settlements, confidentiality agreements, criminal charges, and the list goes on ad nauseum.  Talk about consumer affairs...

Update 2/24/11 - Did I say brand spankin' new investigation?  There's been yet another massive Toyota recall, and now CHINA wants Toyota to explain.  Seems the Chinese have doubts about the Recall King's claims that vehicles sold in China were not defective.