Posts Tagged ‘Toyota’

Toyota Recalls 2.5 Million Vehicles in US for Window Switch Fires

Toyota is recalling 2.5 million cars in the United States due to faulty power window switches that can cause a fire in the driver’s door.

Toyota said that the driver’s side window switches may not be completely greased from the factory, which can result in the switches sticking or feeling “notchy.” If aftermarket grease is then applied, the switch could short and cause a fire. Among the included models: The 2007 to 2009 Camry, Camry Hybrid, RAV4 and Tundra; 2007 to 2008 Yaris; 2008 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid; 2008 to 2009 Sequoia; 2008 to 2009 Scion xA and xD; and the 2009 Corolla and Matrix.

Dealers will begin repairing the switches and applying “special fluorine grease” in late October, Toyota said. Affected owners can visit www.toyota.com/recall or call Toyota at 1-800-331-4331.

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Toyota, BMW Fuel-Cell Technology Sharing Agreement Almost Finalized

Toyota and BMW may announce the final details of their fuel-cell technology sharing agreement this week. From the Japanese automaker, BMW will lease fuel-cell technology including drivetrain and hydrogen storage technology, Automotive News reports. BMW plans to show a fuel-cell prototype by 2015 and have a production car by 2020.


A fuel-cell converts hydrogen (or other fuel) into electricity, which is then used to power a vehicle. Refueling with hydrogen can be much quicker than the hours typically required to recharge an electric car, though the U.S. currently lacks a hydrogen fueling infrastructure that might make such vehicles more appealing to automakers. Fuel-cell vehicles can also run up to five times longer between refueling than battery electric cars can between charges.


BMW i8 concept left side 300x187 imageThis isn’t the first collaboration between the two auto giants. Toyota and BMW inked a deal in December 2011 to work together on lithium-ion battery development for hybrid and PHEVs, while BMW would supply Toyota 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engines for Euro-market cars. The automakers hope to produce lighter, higher-performance batteries with the agreement.


In June, the automakers signed an agreement for joint development of a hydrogen fuel-cell system, collaboration on electric powertrains, work on lightweight technologies, and a new lightweight sports car. While Toyota and Subaru jointly developed the lightweight rear-drive GT86/Scion FR-S/BRZ triplets, some speculate that Toyota and BMW could work together on the next-generation Z4 and a new Supra.


The new agreement could give the automakers an advantage over others that are currently developing fuel-cell technology, which include Mercedes-Benz, GM, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, and Hyundai.

Toyota Recalls Another 2 Million Cars. Apology Needed.

When NASA released the results of a 10-month study on Toyota vehicles on Feb. 8 concluding that the automaker’s cars did not have an electronics problem that caused unintended acceleration, one of Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s columnists said the media owed the company an apology. There is no ghost in the machine and the intense media coverage caused a frenzy, Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist Ed Wallace wrote. I know Ed personally and have tremendous respect for him. But I must part ways on this issue.


Toyota may not have had electronic throttle issues. But certainly the company had plenty of other problems. Just today, Toyota announced its biggest recall in a year. The Japanese auto giant recalled 2.17 million vehicles because of carpet and floor mat flaws that could jam gas pedals. Toyota has recalled more than 12 million vehicles globally since November 2009, many of them related to unintended acceleration claims. Of those actions, 5.3 million vehicles were recalled to fix floor mat problems. Some of the cars were recalled because of a sticking accelerator pedal. It may not have been electronics, but there were problems.


Toyota has had other investigations and recalls not related to unintended acceleration. Last week, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration opened an investigation into the 2006 Highlander hybrid amid claims that the SUV stalls frequently. In January, Toyota voluntarily recalled 1.7 million vehicles for potential defects in fuel pipes and pumps, Bloomberg reported. On Jan. 10, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda told reporters that the recalls have inflicted “big damage” on the company, but he maintained that its cars are safe, Bloomberg reported at the time.


Back to the apology. While it’s clear that there is no mystery magnetic glitch in Toyota’s cars and that they are as safe as anyone else’s vehicles, forget the apology. First of all, investigations are news. So long as the media reports the conclusion, it’s in the public’s interest to know what’s happening. Second, Toyota’s lost its once-astute focus on quality. Rapid expansion of its model lines and sprawling archipelago of factories has made it difficult to mind every detail, which was a principal tenet of the company.


Consumer Reports has found a decline in the quality of interior finishes in Toyotas for the past three or four years, David Champion, the magazine’s director of automotive testing, told Bloomberg for a Jan. 12 story. The company whose customers once relied on Toyota for bullet-proof quality and reliability suddenly suffered a rash of problems. In fairness to my old pal Ed, some media reports accepted the unintended acceleration claims as gospel. But that alone does not exonerate Toyota. Sorry Ed, but it’s the customers – not Toyota – who deserve the apology. Toyota’s executives have apologized, and justifiably so.

Toyota Recalls Another 2 Million Cars. Apology Needed.

When NASA released the results of a 10-month study on Toyota vehicles on Feb. 8 concluding that the automaker’s cars did not have an electronics problem that caused unintended acceleration, one of Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s columnists said the media owed the company an apology. There is no ghost in the machine and the intense media coverage caused a frenzy, Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist Ed Wallace wrote. I know Ed personally and have tremendous respect for him. But I must part ways on this issue.

Toyota may not have had electronic throttle issues. But certainly the company had plenty of other problems. Just today, Toyota announced its biggest recall in a year. The Japanese auto giant recalled 2.17 million vehicles because of carpet and floor mat flaws that could jam gas pedals. Toyota has recalled more than 12 million vehicles globally since November 2009, many of them related to unintended acceleration claims. Of those actions, 5.3 million vehicles were recalled to fix floor mat problems. Some of the cars were recalled because of a sticking accelerator pedal. It may not have been electronics, but there were problems.

Toyota has had other investigations and recalls not related to unintended acceleration. Last week, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration opened an investigation into the 2006 Highlander hybrid amid claims that the SUV stalls frequently. In January, Toyota voluntarily recalled 1.7 million vehicles for potential defects in fuel pipes and pumps, Bloomberg reported. On Jan. 10, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda told reporters that the recalls have inflicted “big damage” on the company, but he maintained that its cars are safe, Bloomberg reported at the time.

Back to the apology. While it’s clear that there is no mystery magnetic glitch in Toyota’s cars and that they are as safe as anyone else’s vehicles, forget the apology. First of all, investigations are news. So long as the media reports the conclusion, it’s in the public’s interest to know what’s happening. Second, Toyota’s lost its once-astute focus on quality. Rapid expansion of its model lines and sprawling archipelago of factories has made it difficult to mind every detail, which was a principal tenet of the company.

Consumer Reports has found a decline in the quality of interior finishes in Toyotas for the past three or four years, David Champion, the magazine’s director of automotive testing, told Bloomberg for a Jan. 12 story. The company whose customers once relied on Toyota for bullet-proof quality and reliability suddenly suffered a rash of problems. In fairness to my old pal Ed, some media reports accepted the unintended acceleration claims as gospel. But that alone does not exonerate Toyota. Sorry Ed, but it’s the customers – not Toyota – who deserve the apology. Toyota’s executives have apologized, and justifiably so.

Toyota Recalls Another 2 Million Cars. Apology Needed.

When NASA released the results of a 10-month study on Toyota vehicles on Feb. 8 concluding that the automaker’s cars did not have an electronics problem that caused unintended acceleration, one of Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s columnists said the media owed the company an apology . There is no ghost in the machine and the intense media coverage caused a frenzy, Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist Ed Wallace wrote

Is the Chevy Volt an EV or a Hybrid? Who Cares?

To hear one critic tell it, General Motors got caught in an out-and-out lie when the company described labeled the Chevrolet Volt an extended-range electric vehicle. Edmunds.com said in a headline that “GM Lied.” The Volt is really a hybrid-electric vehicle like the Toyota Prius, Edmunds said. Critics from Motor Trend and Popular Mechanics made a similar argument, though they stopped short of saying GM was dishonest