Putting A Break On Toyota Cars

Most people know a Toyota lover. Someone who has an undying and insatiable love for his or her Toyota. If they could have any car, it would no doubt be a Toyota. And well for me, I am the dedicated one to Toyota.

As far as I have seen, Toyota’s have always been reliable. My little 1999 Toyota Corolla, whom I named Mea A`a (Hawaiian name meaning Adventurer), has taken me more than 27,000 miles in the past year and a half. I bought the car at 120,000 miles and I plan to run up the mileage as much as possible. Back and forth from Columbia, to Chicago, to Indiana is where my black beauty takes me.

I suppose you could say the dedicated loyalty runs in the family. My mom has a Toyota Camry and my dad had a Toyota. In fact he ran that car for so long the exhaust pipe produced a loud roar, the seats were worn and torn up, and the red paint rusted away giving way to the name “Old Rusty”. (Although being picked up at school by “Old Rusty” isn’t exactly ever child’s dream.)

As the current story about Toyota’s recalls breaks, I’m interested in seeing how it plays out. Recalling more than 2.3 million cars for a car manufacturer that dominates the market will be detrimental. Especially because there are eight types of cars, made from 2007 and on, being recalled. Or will it be? Fear is a compelling emotion to avoid something and the fact that 19 people have died from sticking accelerators will surely tarnish the name of Toyota. But one most factor in a Toyota lover. Some people won’t just drop a brand at the drop of a hat.

From a journalist’s aspect, this story could be covered in a number of ways. What about local dealers, how do they feel? What about Toyota stockholders? I noticed the stocks went down by more than 8% this afternoon and they may continue to fall. What about the assembly line workers? What is going to happen to them? How do they plan on repairing all 2.3 million cars? How about other car manufacturers in competition with Toyota? I’m sure Ford is gloating around in their factories. How long did Toyota know about this and not do anything? According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, it wasn’t even Toyota’s decision to stop manufacturing; it was the Department of Transportation. ABC News posted part of a letter sent from Toyota to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Jan. 21: "Starting in March 2007, Toyota received field technical information regarding reports of accelerator pedals demonstrating symptoms such as rough operation or being slow to return to the idea position.”

I’m sure there will be facts like these coming out in the next few weeks that will shock many of us and uncover some of these detailed questions. But stakeholders in Toyota will be sure to keep these facts behind close doors as long as they can.

Most importantly though, it is extremely important to look at the people who own these cars. How do they feel? What do they plan to do? What about the families of those who died because of the sticking accelerators? This story affects the public greatly.

A journalist could take it from a legal standpoint find a lawyer of someone who has filed a class action lawsuit against Toyota. Take a look at a blog posted by Jeremy Korzeniewski on Nov. 9, 2009: Class Action Suit Filed Against Toyota Over Sudden Acceleration

How about from an international standpoint, what about the Japanese? How are they going to react? This morning The Sydney Morning Herald posted an AAP story that stated Japanese stocks fell to their weakest level since Dec. 21 because Toyota Motor’s recall woes undermined investor confidence.

As any big story, the amount of people involved or being affected is enormous. The safety of our lives is of course a huge concern. I feel this story will continue to grow and surprise us. In the end, I hope journalists take steps to be the watchdog for the public, making sure they find out how and why this happened.

My biggest question, will Toyota recover from this and if so, how?

Toyota recalled:

  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2009-2010 Carolla
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • Certain 2007-2010 Camrys
  • 2010 Highlander
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia


*photos courtesy of WSJ, Nextautos.com, and cardata.com


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