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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...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Toyota runs, but can't hide

Reputation for defects, known far and wide; Toyota can run, but Toyota can't hide.

Heartfelt thanks to Armen Hareyan and Torque News for publishing my article, "Toyota Losin' for a Reason."  I'm honored to have my opinion featured.  Visit TorqueNews on Facebook and TorqueNewsAuto on Twitter.  

Word is gettin' out about the Recall King's lousy products and equally lousy attitude.  Things have apparently gotten to the point where Toyota is experimenting with marketing efforts that seek to divert attention away from troublesome issues such as recalls, lawsuits, fines, and investigations.  Meaningful info about the vehicle is all but eliminated, along with reporters' question and answer sessions.  Those questions from the media can be embarassing.  Much safer to spotlight a pagentry of music and models.  All in unison, girls.  Spell the plural of Prius.

But will it work?  Will consumers be mesmerized into plunking down hard earned dollars for products no longer imbued with the mistique of a manufacturer that can do no wrong?  Not likely.  At least not for a stretch.  Recall King Toyota must now face the consequences of deeds brought to the public's attention in a big way.  

Its a little late for glitzy ads, Recall King.  Try all the diversionary tactics you want, but the facts are rainin' on your parade.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ruling supports plaintiffs re Prius brakes

Call 'em Priuses, Prii, or whatever you will (try Glitch-mobiles), but a class action lawsuit alleging defective brakes will proceed.  The judge denied Toyota's request for a dismissal, and rightly so.

This lawsuit over Prius brakes stems from complaints galore, and alleges that Toyota knew about a defect years before the cars were recalled.  Based on my experience, the allegations ring true.  Even though the Internet is loaded with complaints of sudden engine failures in MR2 Spyders, Toyota refuses to acknowledge a defect, maintaining that the failures "could be caused by a number of things, such as not changing the oil at proper intervals."  When I tried to discuss the postings from two major car clubs, Toyota's "customer loyalty" guy "didn't want to hear about all that."  And NHTSA refuses to get involved because - thanks to lobbying efforts, no doubt - sudden engine failures such as those involving the MR2 Spyders are not considered a safety issue.  Of course, this all goes hand in hand with blamin' the customer (sound familiar?), who winds up on the short side when it comes to having any practical recourse.   

Like the lawsuit over Prius headlights, Toyota will probably settle this Prius brake case long before risking a jury decision.  A jury is likely to look at the number of complaints, exercise a little common sense, and hand down a hefty tab for punitive damages. 

What kind of company treats its customers in such a manner?  And what kind of government lets 'em get away with it?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Toyota a liability for Lotus, FT-86

With all those engine failures in MR2 Spyders, no wonder Toyota is relying on Subaru for the engine in the still anticipated finale of the FT-86 (Scion FR-S).  But as Toyota partners with Subaru and ventures once again into sports car land, informed consumers will also contemplate such things as Toyota's botched job designing MR2 hood releases. And now that Toyota has become somewhat less than a paragon of quality, we learn that sports car legend Lotus has been catchin' criticism from customers because of its involvement with the Recall King.

Frankly, I've always thought it strange that Lotus would link up with Toyota, even though - as I understand it - the Recall King's engines are not exactly stock by the time Lotus gives 'em a goin' over. Nonetheless, Lotus has now decided to quit with the Toyota engines. Right on for "Engine by Lotus. From scratch. Honest."

Since word got out about all those stonewalled engine failures in MR2 Spyders, Toyota seems to have a flair for teamin' up with other brands when it comes to sports cars. But I'm bettin' lots of folks see things the same way I do. Havin' been fooled once by Toyota's efforts to produce a sports car, I'm no longer impressed by anything Toyota is involved in, and certainly not the FT-86. Especially that often-loaded-with-bugs first year model. Among other things, co-partner Subaru is suddenly departing from its longstanding practice of only producing vehicles with all wheel drive.

Maybe Toyota could get Lotus to do the bodywork, chassis, and drivetrain. Then with Subaru doin' the engine... But wait. Where would Toyota come in? No problem. Just put the Recall King in charge of advertising. But by all means, keep 'em away from those floor mats.

Note: A weird thing happened when I linked to a Consumer Reports FT-86 article via a Twitter "Top Tweet" and tried to post a comment. A pop-up appeared, "We're sorry, we cannot accept this data." Such a delight. Nothin' like open communications. Thought for a minute there I was being censored.

Update 11/27/11 - Leave it to Toyota to spawn years of teaser type marketing and then spring a last minute name change to GT 86. Ho hum. Another front engined monstrosity weighing in at 2,662 pounds complete with a fish-like appearance and two squished in rear seats. Next thing you know, the Recall King will be strikin' up a partnership with Ford's Mustang.