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Will recall hurt the Toyota brand?

January 29th, 2010
12:28 PM ET

The world's largest car maker, Toyota, has announced a worldwide recall of more than 5 million cars that seriously threatens the image of the Japanese company.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/29/toyota.blog.jpg caption ="Toyota has announced a recall of millions of cars."]

Thursday's recall in China of 75,500 sport utility vehicles because of potential accelerator pad problems is part of a global recall that includes 5.3 million cars in the United States.

The recall has also affected cars across many parts of Europe.

The Toyota brand is synonymous with having a high safety standard and many car owners purchase their vehicles for this very reason.

This begs the question - has the massive recall hurt the Toyota brand?

How much of an impact will it have on the Japanese automaker, particularly in places like China?

Some are even suggesting that this could mean the end of Toyota.

We want to know what you think - please leave your questions and comments below.

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Filed under:  General
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. David K

    IS IT THE FLOOR MAT OR THE ASSEMBLY? Who do you trust to give you an honest analysis? The manufacturer, the dealer? It's time for NHTSA, U/L (underwriters laboratories), or Toyota's biggest drum beater for years, Consumer reports to weigh in, AGGRESSIVELY.

    Toyota market share is around 16%, meaning 1 out of every 6 cars out there is Toyota. On either coast, market share may be double that amount. It's not just the occupant of a Toyota in danger, but everyone who shares the road with one, other drivers and kids playing on cul-de-sacs, yikes.

    Audi had a similar problem in the mid 1980's and it took more than ten years to recover, even though it turns out that no defect was found and was due to driver error.

    I believe that Toyota is getting effectively a free pass because of what happened with Audi. Don't believe me? Just read the LA Times article published yesterday on NHTSA and it's failure to raise red flags when it had the data in its hands from several years ago.

    Toyota has only halted sales and production because NHTSA finally got around to twisting their arm. This is a huge problem that needs to be remedied first by addressing the cars already on the road, not just getting plants back in operation.

    January 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  2. Ed Leaders

    It's not the floor mat...its most likely the redundant fly by wire programming system coupled with possibly the mat or some other obstruction.

    Fly by wire is supposed to fail safe. However, something as simple as putting a positive wire on a negative terminal can really screw things up in the system.

    My guess is they will find that in one facility the process was incorrect.

    Something like this ALWAYS has an impact on reputation. The speed of t.heir response should tell us THEY care about their reputation.

    An example of a company who may not care as much, possibly because it's not a life threatening situation, is a certain software giant who, after finding a major flaw in an OS, didn't warn users or come out with a fix for over a month.

    In the software industry this is a lifetime and the companies reputation SHOULD have taken a huge dump.

    Toyota is serious about this serious problem. Don't expect Toyota to be asking for federal assistance due to this problem.

    They will be just fine.

    To those impacted by this flaw,... I hope your loss was not serious. We'd like to hear from you if you experienced the problem/s that prompted this recall.

    Please post here on line.

    January 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  3. Rowny J Vidot

    These are temporary hiccups that happen to any corporation. I think Toyota will get over this and emerge yet stronger than before.

    January 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  4. Lim Boon Chuan

    The recall will certainly make a dent on the reputation of Toyota who is well known for their quality control. There will be a lot of work on their marketing and PR side to do the damage control and to slowly win back the trust of the consumers and the reputation of their brands.

    January 29, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  5. Jay

    The fact that Toyota are scrambling to fix this is a good sign. For heaven's sake, they stopped sales of the cars affected, this will have an adverse effect on their bottom line. That's how serious they are to fix this issue. And remember, the sales suspension was self imposed by Toyota, themselves, it wasn't federally mandated.

    I hope Toyota pull themselves through. Customers are clever enough to know that it's not whether a car maker has a recall, it what the car maker does about the recall that counts and on that basis, Toyota will be fine and it'll be business as usual in a few months.

    At the same token, I hope Toyota learn from this debacle and take the necessary step to improve their quality control.

    January 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  6. James Marshall

    Is everyone is America completely brainwashed!!! Toyota has known about this problem for MANY YEARS! They first tried to blame it on floormats. Then they tried to frame the issue as an American Supplier issue. Bottomline, a shocking percentage of their fleet has a serious safety issue and they ducked it as long as they could. If the NHTSA hadn't gotten ivolved (albeit too late), I don't think Toyota would have done the shutdown. And don't kid yourself to not think that the shutdown doesn't coincide with over-production and the largest day-supply of vehicles that Toyota has ever had on the ground. TMC may have a great reputation, but they chase the bottomline like everyone else. If Ford or GM had behaved in this same manner, they would have been crucified by the press and the public.

    January 29, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  7. Kent Johnson

    While this is an unfortunate situation for Toyota, there will be little if any impact on their brand image. Toyota is the best car manufacturer in the world, and will learn from this experience to be even better. Who would you trust more? Toyota, who will aggressively address the recall issues, or General Motors, who would sweep it under the rug?

    January 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  8. Greg

    By the time all is said and done it will be US auto makers fault. The media will bash US products, or maybe the US workforce.

    January 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  9. Marty

    Everyone should be aware that Toyota was required by US law to stop seeling the vehicles. They are not doing at out of the kindness of their heart. In fact, once the recall was annouced, sales should have been stopped on that day–not 5 days later. Toyota is not doing a good job communicating what the problem is and how to fix it–just try and speak to the company or talk to you dealership and you will get the run around. Just wait until the Congressional hearings and you will find out that Toyota knew of this problem for years. Comments from people like Jay are just laughable

    January 29, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  10. Delicia Dawn

    Kent you are exactly right. Toyota acted on this safety issue in 3 years. Although that might sound slow to many, it is fast in automobile industry terms. I own a 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII , My son and his girlfriend died in this car of thermal injuries on dec-9-06, I received a recall notice for a cruise control switch defect , that may catch fire in August of 2007 14 years later. Now, in 2010 I am a plaintiff in a wrongful death suit against Ford Motor Company. ( public knowledge in court filings)
    Toyota is loosing millions by doing this recall. The part that would have repaired my car cost 20.00. So, who would you buy a car from?

    January 29, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  11. richard bond

    Toyota needs to identify this technical problem immediately and advise customers of their intended recall program. If the dealer networks are not capable to fit any new parts or change the electronics in a reasonable timeframe then contractors need to be appointed to do the job. FORD EXPLORER and the MERCEDES-BENZ A Class experienced recalls but on a much smaller scale. The response by MERCEDES-BENZ on their recall was highly successful and actually helped sales. TOYOTA seems to be unsure of the extent of the problem which may be very simple to diagnose and rectify. Now HONDA have a recall on their FIT/JAZZ model. So we should not be suprised to see more recalls.

    January 29, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  12. Richard

    Those cars should be taken off the road ,fixed them & on the road again.Just imagine if more accidents happens...now that people know about the problem.Toyota are responsable off there products not the who makes them.They gave the approval for QC .

    January 30, 2010 at 1:02 am | Reply
  13. Jay S.




    January 30, 2010 at 2:41 am | Reply
  14. Bill Johnson

    A throttle cable from the gas pedal to the engine has worked just fine for the last 50 years. why have a complex computer and wires working your gas pedal ( drive by wire). snow and water on the floor mats so close to vital electronics just does not make any sense. I know for a fact that the GM vehicles have a fail safe system if the gas pedal fails. the computer will prevent the engine from going over 2000rpm and lock the transmission in high gear. The vehicle basically will not move and turn on a check engine light. I believeToyota has an electronic problem not a mechanical problem; with no fail safe system or check engine light/code for this situation. The floor mats and sticking pedals are an excuse. Any way its great to see Ford in number one slot and GM is making a great recovery. I use to be a huge Japanese auto fan; but after the economy failed I think we should buy our OWN.

    January 30, 2010 at 2:48 am | Reply
  15. Steve

    It has become clear that this issue has been out their for a while. There was an accelerator issue going back to the people in California who died when their Lexus accelerated out of control. This happened about a year ago. There have obviously been many other incidents and other injuries (or worse) that have occured over the past year or longer. Strange that there was nothing done on Toyota's part until NHSTA and the media jumped on it. Seems like they have been sweeping it under the rug for a long time....

    January 30, 2010 at 3:50 am | Reply
  16. Mike

    Toyota has been riding high for years now because of perceived quality. As a 2010 Camry owner, I am a little ticked they knew about this problem for years and just acted now because the NHSTA has started to grow some brawn. Toyota thought they could sway the public and ignore this problem because of their prestige. I agree with comments that Ford or GM would be attacked worse in the press but I really hope people realize that Toyota grew too fast and let quality slip. The younger generation will not let Toyota forget about this blunder and sales will suffer accordingly.

    January 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  17. Delicia Dawn

    Ford Motor Comany, Wow, they love to pounce on companies and people when their down, offering trade allowances from Toyota owners.
    Ford Knew they had a defective cruise control switch since the 90's. Ford was advised by Texas Instruments that the switch was not up to standards, yet Ford said deliver the part or we will find someone who will. My 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII had 86K miles on it in 2006. I received a safety recall notice regarding the cruise control switch's defect, and fire hazard in August of 2007. That's 14 years!!!!! and Payton and Samantha were killed in this car dieing of thermal injuries. a 20.00 part was needed to repair, some even say a 1.00 part would have prevented my son's death and many others suffered the same. Houses burned because the recalled vehicles can catch fire while not in use.

    January 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  18. Akosua ogyiri

    I beleive that it takes a comany with good business moral and ethics to do what toyota did.the recall,tough,unfortunate will certainly not have an effect on the company any effect,will be positive.

    January 31, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  19. Swyck

    IMO this will hurt Toyota and deservedly so.

    I came very close to buying a Camry with my last purchase and perceived reliability and value were the main buying points for me. If those qualities are not a selling point any more then why buy a Toyota over other cars?

    Things change and they were the best at one time, but this is not a trivial item that they can just shrug off. My perception, right or wrong, is that they got too big, too rich and too lazy and quality has suffered as a result. This doesn't make them worse then others, but they're just another car company now.

    February 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  20. Rick

    I am an owner of a 2010 Camry that is under the pedal recall. I have been a loyal Honda and Toyota owner for years because of my bad experiences with American made cars in the past. I can honestly say, that the years that I have owned either a Honda or Toyota, neither has ever left me stranded so I am not ready to write the company off yet. The American car companies have had MANY recalls over the years but worse yet they put out inferior cars that were unreliable and cheap for almost all of the 80s and 90s its just been recently that Ford and GM have ramped up their reliability mostly with the Fusion and Malibu but you still can't buy other models and trust their reliability because their ratings are still spotty at best. I like my new Camry. It runs extremely smooth and quiet on the road and is very comfortable and I am not worried about the pedal issue. All newer cars have the drive by wire system and Toyota will not be the first or last to experience problems with systems that rely so heavily on computers...we all know computers will inevitibaly have glitches now and then so just be prepared for more in the future not only from Toyota but from other makers too as the "Global Economy" and bug-prone electronic systems waters down the integrity of our manufacturing systems and products.

    February 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  21. 715YAJ

    i think that this problem will be bad for Toyota because of all the problems they had with there vechical....

    February 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  22. TMMK employee

    To those who think Toyota just stopped production because we have too many cars out there, you couldn't be more wrong. The truck plant in Texas just started their 2nd shift, the Ky plant is working overtime to produce ENOUGH cars everyday, the positives could go on and on. Toyota shut down production to get the problem fixed, ASAP, end of story. I own two of the recalled vehicles and I'm as concerned as anyone else about the safety of my children, but come on people get your story straight.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  23. Edward Eng

    Absolutely. The recall is an astronomical headache for Toyota, especially in China. More and more people are looking to buy cars as the middle class continues to grow. And for many, it’s their first time buying a car. A recall is not something that will attract a first-time car buyer let alone a loyal customer.

    Let’s focus on what Toyota should do to help turn that frown upside down in the world’s largest automobile market.

    1. Fix the problem as fast as possible.
    Actually, Toyota is already doing a phenomenal job at finding affected vehicles and replacing the faulty parts. Keep up the pace, Toyota.

    2. Be honest.
    Honesty is the best policy. There’s no point trying to cover up anything. Just like Donald Trump said, “Any news is better than no news.” Toyota can actually turn this blunder on its head and saturate the world’s largest car market (and one of the newest for Toyota) with its name. Get in the consumers’ faces, own up to the problem, fix it, and show new buyers that their products are still of great quality.

    3. Market the market.
    This mechanical mix-up will make Toyota even stronger. They just need to show how much they really care about their customers, current and potential. Everyone makes mistakes. With the right marketing and advertising, Toyota will get through this in no time.

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    Edward Eng
    getchee Staff Writer

    February 4, 2010 at 6:28 am | Reply
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  25. roger

    I think toyota could overcome the quality issue, its the gd lawyers in this country who will do them in. The lawyers in my neighberhood skipped synagoge and worked all weekend to make sure they had all their ducks in order. I understand some of the rabbis are even helping out. they want to make this the event of their lifetime,

    February 10, 2010 at 12:14 am | Reply

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