Toyota Tacoma Recall – Toyota Motor Corp. said it was recalling almost 682,000 Camry, Venza and Tacoma models to fix issues with brake lights and airbags. While the number of affected vehicles is large, the problems don’t appear to be anything like the claims of unintended acceleration that dogged the automaker through much of 2009 and 2010.
In certain 2009 Camry and 2009 to 2011 Venza cars, silicon grease may have gotten into the stop-lamp switch at the factory, which Toyota said could cause increased electrical resistance. That in turn could trigger warning lights on the dashboard, keep the engine from starting or prevent the transmission from being shifted out of park. In some cases the stop lights may stop working.
Toyota is also recalling certain 2005 to early 2009 Tacoma pickups to replace the steering wheel spiral cable assembly. In some cases, the cable can rub against its retainer, possibly disabling the airbag.
Toyota is gathering the necessary replacement parts to fix the vehicles and will notify Camry and Venza owners when they should make a service appointment.
Toyota has replaced management and invested more in quality testing since the 2009-2010 unintended acceleration crisis that resulted in the recall of millions of vehicles after several severe accidents, some including fatalities. The suspicion was that software glitches were to blame, but both Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration concluded that electronics were not at fault. They blamed thick floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals and, in some cases, driver error. The National Academy of Sciences National Research Council later agreed with NHTSA’s decision to close the investigation.
But Toyota hasn’t been able to fully shake the issue. Earlier this month, CNN aired a story suggesting that an internal memo showed engineers had concerns about unintended acceleration during pre-production testing.
Toyota angrily responded, “In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, CNN has irresponsibly aired a grossly inaccurate segment on Anderson Cooper 360 that attempts to resurrect the discredited, scientifically unproven allegation that there is a hidden defect in Toyota’s electronic throttle control system that can cause unintended acceleration.”
As Forbes contributor Anne Marie Kelly wrote recently, consumer research shows that Toyota still has a long way to go before recovering its quality image.
This latest recall surely won’t help.