Toyota recalls some more cars, company president apologizes for situation

Another day, another recall from Toyota. Two recalls in fact. Toyota is recalling 133,000 2010 Toyota Priuses and 14,500 2010 Lexus HS250h’s, as well as 7,300 2010 Toyota Camrys, both for braking issues, although the two separate recalls are unrelated.

In the Prius and Lexus HS recall, the ABS has software issues which can cause “inconsistent brake feel” on rough or slick roads. On Prius production lines, the new software update has been out since last month, but only now do the older cars get the update as well. Lexus HS production lines will be receiving the software update later this month. Prius owners will be receiving a letter notifying them of the recall next week, while Lexus HS owners will receive a letter within a few weeks.

Now for the Camry recall. All four-cylinder models have been recalled due to a power steering hose which could come in contact with a front brake tube. The contact could cause a hole in the brake tube, leading to a brake fluid leak, which means worse braking. 7,300 Camrys, model year 2010, are affected. Owners will be notified later this month.

So if you own any of these cars, contact your dealership and arrange for a fix. Try not to use the car until the fix is installed.

Because of the chaotic situation with recalls and such, Toyota president Akio Toyoda has made an apologetic statement. He has also organized a committee to look into Toyota’s quality issues and make sure they’re addressed. You can find Akio Toyoda’s statement below, along with Toyota’s recall notice.

Press Release:

Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall on 2010 Model-Year Prius and 2010 Lexus HS 250h Vehicles to Update ABS Software

Inspection of Power Steering Hose Position on Certain 2010 Camry Also Announced

Recalls Underscore Toyota’s Commitment to Address All Vehicle Quality and Safety Issues Promptly and Effectively

TORRANCE, Calif., February 8, 2010 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc, today announced it will conduct a voluntary safety recall on approximately 133,000 2010 Model Year Prius vehicles and 14,500 Lexus Division 2010 HS 250h vehicles to update software in the vehicle’s anti-lock brake system (ABS). No other Toyota, Lexus, or Scion vehicles are involved in this recall.
The ABS, in normal operation, engages and disengages rapidly (many times per second) as the control system senses and reacts to tire slippage. Some 2010 model year Prius and 2010 HS 250h owners have reported experiencing inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application of brakes on rough or slick road surfaces when the ABS is activated in an effort to maintain tire traction.
Toyota has responded to owner concerns with a running production change for 2010 Prius that was introduced last month, improving the ABS system’s response time, as well as the system’s overall sensitivity to tire slippage. The production change for the HS 250h is planned for later this month.
“We’re committed to doing everything we can – as fast as we can – to restore consumer trust in Toyota, and these recalls are part of this effort,” said Jim Lentz, President and Chief Operating Officer, Toyota Motor Sales. “We regret the inconvenience this recall will cause to Prius and HS 250h owners, and will do our best with the support of our dealers to make sure that it is conducted in the most trouble-free manner possible.”
Mr. Lentz continued: “As part of the quality improvement program announced by Toyota President Akio Toyoda last week, our company is undertaking a top to bottom review to ensure that our vehicles meet our own high standards of safety and reliability, now and for the future. We are taking steps to implement more stringent quality control across the company, to investigate customer complaints more aggressively and to respond more quickly to any safety issues we identify.”
The recall will allow Toyota dealers to perform the software update on 2010 Prius vehicles sold prior to this running production change. Only Prius vehicles produced since May 2009 and all HS 250h vehicles are subject to this recall. First- and second-generation Prius vehicles use a different ABS system and are not involved in this campaign.
The ABS system on the Lexus HS 250h is similar in design to the Prius. The software adjustment planned for HS 250h production and dealer modification is being finalized and will be announced very soon.
Toyota will begin mailing letters to Prius owners included in this recall next week and HS 250h owners within the next few weeks, to let them know when to bring their vehicles into a dealership. Owners will only receive a letter if their vehicle is involved in the recall.
Separately, Toyota will conduct a voluntary safety recall on approximately 7,300 early production – 2010 model year Camry vehicles equipped with the 4 cylinder engine to inspect for a power steering hose that may be in contact with a front brake tube. This contact could lead to a hole in the brake tube and cause a brake fluid leak, increased brake pedal stroke and greater vehicle stopping distance.
Owners of the involved 2010 Camry vehicles will be notified by mail starting in the middle of February.
Detailed information about these recalls is available to customers at and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Akio Toyoda’s Statement:

I, Akio Toyoda, deeply regret the inconvenience and concern caused to our customers and others by our recent recalls of multiple vehicle models across multiple regions.

Today, as so many people have expressed their sense of unease, I realized the necessity of asking you all here on short notice to share with you the following.

As Toyota revealed yesterday, new Prius now in showrooms include an improvement. For Prius in the hands of customers, I have instructed that consideration be made as soon as possible regarding the way to address such units. Once a decision is made we will inform the public.
As for the accelerator-pedal recall in the United States, Europe, China and other countries and regions, repair-work preparations are being made at our dealers. As soon as these preparations are complete, once again, we will inform you.

From Toyota’s beginning, “contributing to society through the manufacture of automobiles” has been its key principle. To that end, since taking office in June last year, I have endeavored, based on our “customer first” and “genchi genbutsu” fundamentals, to thoroughly establish a product-focused management.

However, we, the ones supposed to relay to people the attractiveness of automobiles, have, instead, imparted on them worry. I regret this more than anything.

Under the banner, “Let’s build better cars”, we will go back to the basics of “customer first” and “genchi genbutsu”, and once more, deeply consider what “customer first” really means. All our employees around the world, all of our dealers and all of our suppliers will unify in their utmost efforts to regain the trust of our customers as soon as possible.

As for specific actions, our Executive Vice President Shinichi Sasaki will soon brief you. Let me just say that I will take the lead toward improving quality around the world, by establishing a global quality special task force that will conduct regional quality improvement activities.

Concrete action plans

The Committee headed by the President will conduct various improvement initiatives.

The key initiatives are,

First, while verifying the causes that led to the recalls, Toyota will once again inspect every process — quality in design, quality in production, quality in sales and quality in service.

Second, Toyota will enhance the customer information research offices to improve regional information collection and genchi-genbutsu activities.
Third, to develop quality-management professionals, Toyota will establish an “Automotive Center of Quality Excellence” in key regions.

Fourth, Toyota will seek confirmation and evaluation from outside experts — in line with industry’s best practices — of its newly improved quality-control management, based on the above improvements.

In addition, Toyota will work to increase the frequency of communication between itself and regional authorities. To provide customers with satisfying products in each and every region, Toyota has long promoted the autonomy of its regional subsidiaries. From now on, we intend to further this autonomy, listen carefully to each and every customer and improve quality.

Source: Toyota and The New York Times via Autoblog

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