Toyota once again finds itself in the crosshairs of public and media outcry. It issued its 16th recall Oct. 22, 2010, which pushed the total number of vehicles recalled this year past the 10 million mark.
The Simmons law firm has been investigating Toyota since 2009, before the automaker recalled about 8.5 million cars and trucks worldwide over a range of problems, including unintended acceleration, and was widely criticized by the government and consumer safety groups.
Unintended acceleration is a dangerous situation caused by electronic faults or when gas pedals jam or get stuck under floor mats, causing vehicles to speed out of control. 89 fatalities have been attributed to unintended acceleration, according to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration.
The most recent recall stems from problems involving the brake & fuel pumps. In a Toyota press release, the car company explains that if consumers don’t use brake fluid made by Toyota, then part of the brake could become distorted, allowing the fluid to slowly leak and eventually causing braking performance to “gradually decline.”
Toyota is doing its best to favorably spin the reasoning for the most recent recall. A Toyota spokesperson told the New York Times last week that the voluntary recall is the company’s attempt at being “more forthcoming about potential defects.”
“Every time we announce a recall, that is a step toward increasing quality,” a spokesman for Toyota in Tokyo, Paul Nolasco, told the New York Times. The pedal-related recalls had “brought it home to Toyota that we need to refocus on quality,” he said.
I think it’s a shame that it’s taken 89 deaths, 6,200 complaints and 10 million cars for Toyota to learn that even big businesses are held accountable. Toyota should have followed Tylenol’s example during the cyanide poisoning cases and taken steps to correct the problems as soon as the first reports of fatalities occurred.