Things That Make You Go Hmmmm….

Floor Mat Entrapment Recall (9LG)

  • Condition: In rare cases, the accelerator pedal can get stuck in the open throttle position due to its being trapped by an unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mat.
  • Remedy: Accelerated pedals are shortened to reduce the possibility of floor matt entrapment, carpet padding is modified for additional clearance, all-weather floor mats have been revised to provide additional clearance and an electronic override is installed to cut engine power when the gas and brake pedals are pressed simultaneously.
  • Affected Vehicles: 2007-2010 ES 350

Inconsistent Brake Pedal Feel During ABS Operation (ALA)

  • Condition: Owners have experienced inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application of the brakes on rough or slick surfaces when the ABS system is activated in an effort to maintain tire traction.
  • Remedy: Dealership technicians perform an update to the vehicle’s software to improve brake pedal feel.
  • Affected Vehicles: Certain 2010 HS 250h

Customer Advisory Program for Floor Mat Entrapment (Future Recall)

  • Beginning this spring, 2006- 2010 IS 250 and IS 350 will be recalled under similar parameters as the 9LG campaign for ES350’s For the time being, these models are perfectly safe to drive as long as the original equipment floor mats are properly installed.
  • Excessive Accelerator Pedal Friction- Toyota Campaign
  • This recall is currently being performed on 8 Toyota models to reduce friction in the accelerator pedal assembly. NO LEXUS MODELS are involved in this campaign.

Resources

New Quality and Safely Programs

Improving the Flow of Product Quality Information:

  • Toyota will expand its network of technical offices and fine-tune its information gathering capabilities. Toyota’s goal is to be able to provide on-site inspections of every reported incident of suspected product malfunction with extreme expediency.

Testing the Media’s Assertion that Toyota/Lexus Vehicles Have Electrical Glitches:

  • The Electronic Throttle Control System will continue to be studied internally and by outside expert Exponent, a world-class engineering firm. Toyota’s new global advisory panel may choose another testing laboratory as well.

Brake-Override Systems:

  • In an effort to reduce the possibility of unintended acceleration, Toyota will begin to produce vehicles with a system that returns the engine to idle when the accelerator and brake pedals are applied at the same time.
    • As reported by The Wall Street Journal-BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz are other automakers which have adopted a similar system on select vehicles. Honda/ Acura do not offer this technology on any of their vehicles.

The Reality of Auto Recalls, Sudden Acceleration and Quality Control

CNN’s Sudden Acceleration Fact Check:

  • “In the past, recalls have also been issued by each of the other top five manufactures; Honda, Ford, GM, and Chrysler (among many others) to correct unintended acceleration.”

Car and Driver Article on Sudden Acceleration:

  • “With the Camry’s throttle pinned while going 70 MPH, the brakes easily overcame all 268 horsepower straining against them and stopped the car in 190 feet- that’s a foot shorter than the performance of a Ford Taurus without any gas-pedal problems and just 16 feet longer than with the Camry’s throttle closed.”

Edmunds.com Independent Analysis on NHTSA Complaints:

  • Lexus/Toyota had fewer total complaints per vehicle sold in the U.S. since 2001 than almost every other automaker. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche were the only major manufacturers to perform better.

According to the Wall Street Journal

  • “The Lexus sedan driven by Rhonda Smith, who testified in Congress on Tuesday about a harrowing incident of sudden acceleration, is still on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In fact, the new owners of the luxury ES 350 sedan have reported 27,000 miles trouble-free with the vehicle, according to the NHTSA spokeswoman. Mrs. Smith and her husband sold the vehicle after the incident, in which she thought she might die.  The federal safety agency followed up with the new owners last week. The NHTSA spokeswoman said “they have had no problems with the Lexus since they bought it with less than 3,000 miles on the car…”

All automakers conduct recalls, Toyota/Lexus conduct relatively few compared against their competitors. From the NHTSA Database:

Automaker Recalls Since Jan. 2000 Automaker Recalls Since Jan. 2000
Toyota 678 Lexus 114
Ford 2,287 Acura 184
GM 4,233 Audi 146
Honda 952 BMW 532
Infiniti 90
Mercedes 300

Accolades
Although Lexus’/ Toyota’s quality and integrity has been called into question by the media, their assertions will not obscure our accomplishments. Lexus and Toyota build some of the highest quality vehicles in the world while delivering the highest customer satisfaction of any major car manufacturer in the United States! A brief summary of our recent accolades is provided below:

Initial Quality Study (JD Power, ’09) – Average number of problems reported within the first 90 days.

Toyota earned first place in 10 out of 19 segments

    • The GS, IS, GX, LS, LX earned first place in their segments
    • Lexus has earned overall first place 12 of the 20 years we have been included in survey
    • The Lexus LX took the overall win with fewer problems reported than any other model in the industry
Overall Quality Overall Quality-Mechanical Power train Quality Body & Interior Quality Features & Accessories Quality
Lexus ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Acura *** *** *** *** ***
Audi *** *** *** *** **
BMW *** **** **** **** ***
Mercedes *** **** **** ***** **

Vehicle Dependability Study (JD Power, ’09) – Average number of problems reported within the first 3 years.

  • Toyota earned first place in 8 out of 19 segments
  • The GX (RX took runner-up spot in the same segment), SC, ES, and LS earned first place in their segments
  • The Lexus LS took the overall win with fewer problems reported than any other model in the industry
Overall Dependability Power train Dependability Body & Interior Dependability
Lexus ***** ***** *****
Acura **** ***** ***
Audi *** *** ****
BMW *** **** ***
Mercedes *** *** ****

Customer Satisfaction Survey Index (JD Power, 10)

  • For the second consecutive year, Lexus has earned first place in overall customer satisfaction for the automotive industry.

Customer Guide Best Buy (’10)

  • LS 460
  • RX 350
  • ES 350 (recommended)

Of particular note: Toyota has won more Total Quality awards than any other automaker!

Congressional Hearing Spotlights

Jim Lentz Quoted Out of Context: While the media has been quick to selectively quote the comments made by Toyota executives during the congressional hearings, they do not reflect a change in company’s position that its vehicles are safe to drive. Instances of unintended acceleration can be caused by many factors and they are not all sudden or sustained. The category is very broad, affects all major automakers, and can include issues involving cruise control, air conditioning, transmission surges and pedal misapplication. It is in the context that Mr. Lentz stated that Toyota’s recalls will “not totally address the issue”.

“Nothing cost Toyota more than the loss of customer trust in our vehicles. From the perspective, we are eager as anyone else to know if there are problems in our vehicles,” – Yoshi Inaba’s statement in response to the assertion that the company benefits from “covering up” consumer complaints.

Replicating Unintended Acceleration: Sean Kane, a Toyota critic who frequently called a “safety expert” by the media, admitted to Rep. Steve Buyer that his research is funded by plaintiffs’ legal firms that are suing Toyota. Another witness, automotive technology professor David Gilbert, who claims to have induced unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles acknowledged that Mr. Kane’s firm, Safety Research and Strategies Inc., has paid him to prepare a report questioning Toyota’s fail-safe systems.

Preventing Unintended Acceleration: According to Jim Lentz; “We have done extensive testing of this system (Electronic Throttle Control) and have never found a malfunction that caused unintended acceleration.” The initial findings of independent testing have also affirmed this he said.

Akio Toyoda’s Commitment: When a lawmaker questioned the sincerity of Toyoda’s remorse at the hearing, the president seemed stunned. Reported by the CS Monitor:

  • “He had come from Japan to express his sincere remorse, he replied, and he would now have to reflect very seriously on her skepticism. ‘All the Toyota vehicle bear my name’, he had said in English in his opening statement. ‘For me, when the cars are damaged, it is as though I am as well”.
  • Minutes after the hearing, Japanese TV broadcast video of Toyoda addressing a room full of American dealers and employees. In thanking them for their support and calling for renewed confidence, he suddenly paused, choked up and in tears.”

Did You Know?

Out of $9.0 Billion Toyota and Lexus spend annually on research and development, more money is spent on improving vehicle safety than any other area or any other automotive manufacturer. This also makes Toyota the largest spender in R&D in the world.

Toyota’s Impact on the United States Economy

  • Toyota’s direct investment in the United States exceeds $18 billion! Toyota’s five big manufacturing sites, over 1,500 dealerships, 500 suppliers and its corporate operations have help to create more than 200,000 jobs. It has major design, research, manufacturing operations in 10 states and almost half of the vehicles its sells in the States are built here. Toyota’s direct investment in the United States exceeds $18 billion!
  • Moving Forward! Mississippi, Toyota is investing $1.3 billion to build a plant that will build Prius and provide more than 2,000 new jobs for Toyota team workers and 2,500 supplier jobs.  Even though the start of production at the assembly plant has been delayed, Toyota is still keeping its financial committment which includes an annual donation of $5 million for the next 10 years to fund local education program.

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