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New York - Does Toyota's Problem Go Beyond Pedals?

Published on: February 1, 2010 10:38 PM
By:  CBS News
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New York - Toyota is gearing up for the mother of all repair jobs. The company said Monday that parts to fix its dangerous faulty gas pedal problem are on the way to dealers.

Toyota has recalled more than 5.5 million vehicles in this country. And as CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds reports, the fix outlined today only covers 2.3 million of them.

Toyota says it should take trained mechanics no more than 30 minutes to fix its sticky gas pedal, but repairing its reputation could take a while longer.

An attempt to shift its image out of reverse took place today with a multi-media mea culpa.

“I am very sorry that this has taken place,” Jim Lentz, the head of Toyota in the U.S. said. “I know that we have let you down.”

Toyota’s engineers said a friction device in the pedal assembly which is supposed to give drivers the right feel when stepping on the gas can wear down and - in rare cases - catch and keep the accelerator open.

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Now a steel reinforcement bar called a shim will be inserted to eliminate that excess friction. According to Toyota, the pedal should feel the same to drivers.

“This has been tested and it is a long term fix,” Letnz said.

Service bulletins will reach Toyota dealerships Tuesday or Wednesday and repairs could start soon thereafter - though servicing all of the recalled vehicles could take months.

“We’re already taking appointments,” said Brian Weinberg, general manager of Grossinger Toyota in Chicago.



Weinberg has hired 20 additional mechanics for the rush repairs. “We’re gonna pretty much double our staff and extend our service hours so that we can do 300-500 repairs per day,” he said.

But some industry analysts and safety advocates say the problem is bigger than a pedal. They note that the federal government has done eight investigations of sudden, unexplained acceleration in Toyotas over the last seven years and none identified a stuck gas pedal as a potential cause.

They point to Toyota’s onboard electronics - the sensors and microprocessors that control the car’s throttle - which they say could be sending the wrong and potentially lethal signals.

“It is a multi-faceted problem that has multiple root causes, which is why we anticipate that this problem is going to continue even after these accelerator pedals have been replaced,” said Sean Kane of the company Safety Research and Strategies.

But Lentz says the critics are wrong. In his words, the company is “very, very confident that it is not an electronics issue.”


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1

 Feb 01, 2010 at 11:22 PM professor Says:

If Toyota is wrong about this fix, They can potentially be sued out of business.

2

 Feb 01, 2010 at 11:52 PM Anonymous Says:

As I said before, Toyota deserves all of this since Japan never played fairly by limiting access to American companies to the Jpanese markets. They were protectionists from day one while we let them take over our market for over 50 years now. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

3

 Feb 01, 2010 at 11:59 PM Anonymous Says:

It is basicaly outta business as it is, do you know any one who plans on buying a Toyota in the near future? I don't think so!

4

 Feb 02, 2010 at 12:16 AM oiberchuchem Says:

Interesting to note that I checked insurance rates with geico a month ago-before all this started and it cost $300 more a year to insure a toyota sienna then a honda odyssey

5

 Feb 02, 2010 at 12:16 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

As I said before, Toyota deserves all of this since Japan never played fairly by limiting access to American companies to the Jpanese markets. They were protectionists from day one while we let them take over our market for over 50 years now. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

The faulty part system in question was designed and manufactured by a US-based subcontractor; CTS Industries. Whatever "comeuppance" you think Toyota has coming is besides the point. In fact, this whole episode can be spun as yet one more piece of evidence that US-based manufacturers produce junk!

6

 Feb 02, 2010 at 12:47 AM with hashem's help Says:

To #3 I drive one and I'm very happy, highly recommended.

7

 Feb 02, 2010 at 03:00 AM personally I like Honda Says:

Toyota is a good company and for years has been building decent cars. American cars continue to be built worse and worse and less and less are built in the USA. Toyota and Honda operate factories in America, while American companies ship all their factory jobs to Mexico and Canada. I am loyal to Honda, but if I drove Toyotas I would forgive their first real error in over 60 years of auto building and well over 30 years on the American market. Don't forget folks the American auto industry has lost touch with people decades ago and that is how the Japanese (and nowadays the Koreans) were able to grasp the American auto market. Its very simple supply and demand. America.builds lousy cars and executives worry more about keeping their own pockets fat than building better cars and trying to recapture the American market.

8

 Feb 02, 2010 at 03:07 AM Sam Says:

Come on people, Toyota has been the standart bearer of car quality for decades now a glitch can always happen, how many such things happened by ALL other carmakers without a callback!! They at least care about quality.
I will for sure stay a toyota or any jap driver, no comparison to ANY others!!!!

9

 Feb 02, 2010 at 09:16 AM Anonymous Says:

I'm positive that all the bloggers that say the people will stop buying toyotas dont drive one. Anyone that drives one will forgive and continue to do so. Is anyone stupid enough to believe that this could not have happened to any of the idiotic american auto makers?! Personally I think the whole thing is a scam by obama to boost sales of his auto companies. Maybe there was an issue but is was definately blown out of proportion bc of alterier motives.

10

 Feb 02, 2010 at 11:31 AM Raphael Kaufman Says:

The perception that Toyota cars are better made or superior to American brands is just that - a perception, carefully promoted by Toyota. It may have had some basis in fact back in the late '70s and early '80s when Toyotas were built in Japan and American cars had truly dismal QC. Today, neither of those two conditions apply . Nowadays, Toyotas are built in the US (even for sale in Japan) and American brand cars have equally good QC and are just as reliable and well made as Japanese brand cars. Yet the perception of superiority presists. Case in Point: The Toyota Matrix outsells the Pontiac Vibe by about 10 to 1, yet they are the exact same car, built on the same production line with the same components by the same workers. Toyota's present difficulty, really a rather minor problem, wouldn't be quite so catastrophic if it had built it's marketing strategy on how much fun Toyotas are to drive instead of how reliable they are. ( They're not, particularly but, hey, neither are they any more reliable than any other car)

11

 Feb 02, 2010 at 12:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

The faulty part system in question was designed and manufactured by a US-based subcontractor; CTS Industries. Whatever "comeuppance" you think Toyota has coming is besides the point. In fact, this whole episode can be spun as yet one more piece of evidence that US-based manufacturers produce junk!

You're forgetting the part in question produced by CTS was manufactured to Toyota specifications. Again, fault of Toyota, not American manufacturer.

Also, only reason why so much manufacturing is done out of this countyr is due to low labor costs not engineering ability which American companies have always shown they are most innovative. Japan, China, Korea etc learned the vast majority of their manufacturing skills from American know how.

12

 Feb 02, 2010 at 01:22 PM LIBERALISM IS A DISEASE!!! Says:

The comments coming out of the government sound like a bunch of sour grapes. They are trying to twist this into something showing how bad Toyota is when the truth is they have no other way to prop up Government Motor Corp.

13

 Feb 02, 2010 at 04:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

The faulty part system in question was designed and manufactured by a US-based subcontractor; CTS Industries. Whatever "comeuppance" you think Toyota has coming is besides the point. In fact, this whole episode can be spun as yet one more piece of evidence that US-based manufacturers produce junk!

You don't know what you are talking about! That part was designed by Toyota with Toyota specs. As a matter of fact, there is more metal in CTS's pedal than the comparable Denso (Japanese) pedal. Since Toyota is the parts integrator, they are ultimately responsible for this fiasco and as I mentioned before, deservedly so.

14

 Feb 02, 2010 at 04:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
personally I like Honda Says:

Toyota is a good company and for years has been building decent cars. American cars continue to be built worse and worse and less and less are built in the USA. Toyota and Honda operate factories in America, while American companies ship all their factory jobs to Mexico and Canada. I am loyal to Honda, but if I drove Toyotas I would forgive their first real error in over 60 years of auto building and well over 30 years on the American market. Don't forget folks the American auto industry has lost touch with people decades ago and that is how the Japanese (and nowadays the Koreans) were able to grasp the American auto market. Its very simple supply and demand. America.builds lousy cars and executives worry more about keeping their own pockets fat than building better cars and trying to recapture the American market.

No, not true. They had to produce better cars because they were new in the American market since nobody had experience with them 50 yrs ago. Also, when the Arabs hit us with their oil embargo in 1973, the Japanese cars were the only ones that were small enough for Americans to switch to since almost all the American cars at that time were big with big engins. But let's not forget that the Japanese and Koreans were and still are very protectiontist when it comes to their own markets. That's how they were able to build up their auto industries in the first place. They never played by the same rules and sense of fair play like the Americans.

15

 Feb 02, 2010 at 07:01 PM car buff Says:

The fact is , that in japan u cant buy a ford in a ford dealership because threr is none ,if u want one u have to buy it in a domestic shop. so im happy that happend to them, and lets hope the americans will have the onions to capetelize on it.

16

 Feb 03, 2010 at 02:23 PM Car maven Says:

I owned a 20 year old Chevy van that never had a single mechanical failure in it's lifetime before I sold it. I now own a 10 year old Chevy SUV with nearly 200,000 miles that still runs strong. Anyone who claims Chevy cannot build decent cars has their head stuck in the sand or is a Toyota fanboy who drinks the Toyota koolaid.
Get a brain people.

17

 Feb 03, 2010 at 04:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

You don't know what you are talking about! That part was designed by Toyota with Toyota specs. As a matter of fact, there is more metal in CTS's pedal than the comparable Denso (Japanese) pedal. Since Toyota is the parts integrator, they are ultimately responsible for this fiasco and as I mentioned before, deservedly so.

"You don't know what you are talking about! That part was designed by Toyota with Toyota specs."

I am an engineer by training so yes I do. It is common practice for a systems integrator (e.g.Toyota) to hand off "interface" specs to a subcontractor (CTS) and tell them to make a "black box" that fits. The integrator has no interest on what is inside as long as the interface points fit.

"there is more metal in CTS's pedal than the comparable Denso (Japanese) pedal."

Indeed, CTS and Denso make a similar part using the same interface specs from Toyota but build them differently. I suspect that Toyota's specs are limited (lengths, tensile and tractive limits, tolerances, etc.) which leaves a wide range of engineering possibility for the manufacturer. Your statement implicitly acknowledges this and, in fact, proves my point that the sub bears a great deal of responsibility for this failure. This is always a risk when outsourcing. Look what happened to Boeing with the subbed 787 assemblies!

FWIW, I do not subscribe to the view that US manufacturers produce junk. I just threw it out as an equally specious counterpoint to the earlier posters dislike of Japan manufacturer.

18

 Feb 05, 2010 at 11:22 AM Anonymous Says:

I purchased a 2010 Highlander and contacted the dealer about my concerns about the recent news. They told me that I would be receiving an letter to bring it in but since my vehicle was built in Japan it would not have to have the "shim" put on the accelerator since those built there were not of concern. It seems that the "problem" really is an "American" problem for those vehicles put together here since the pedals were purchased in America.Only time and and the accuracy in media reporting will tell the true story of what is happening here. However the damage has already been done.

19

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