Toyota is having a rough week - make that, month. One of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers is taking major heat for recalls and a leaked document that CNN’s Anderson Cooper got his hands on. As a Philadelphia auto defects lawyer, I have handled many cases involving defective airbags, defective tires, and steering column defects.
Toyota has recently announced that nearly 700,000 vehicles will need to be recalled. The recall was triggered because of a trace of silicone grease and a steering-wheel flutter found in several Toyota models. The recall is affecting 187,000 Toyota Camrys from 2009, and Toyota Venzas from 2009-2011. Toyota found that a stray daub of silicone grease might contaminate the stop-lamp switch, potentially causing a series of mechanical troubles. Some of the most dangerous problems caused are failure of the brake light, failure to start the vehicle, and an inability to shift from park to automatic. For the 495,000 Tacoma pickups that are being recalled from 2005-09, it is reported that there is a risk that the driver’s air bag may not deploy in a crash. Toyota learned about these problems from their own internal investigations and from many car owners who contacted the company with problems that they had to pay out of pocket because their warranties were up.
On the Toyota Tacoma, the wheel flutter that exists may cause friction on a cable that is required for an air-bag to deploy properly. If this is left untreated, the friction can wear down the circuit and you could be left in a crash without protection. While some Toyota owners have already figured this out and paid out of pocket for the repairs, Toyota has not announced any repayment plan.
In the midst of this, Toyota is also taking heat from CNN. It was reported that in 2006, a confidential document was produced by the company showing that a pre-production vehicle in Japan experienced unintended acceleration. While the model was not released in the U.S., the report did show that a “fail-safe overhaul” would be needed for the Tundra, which is in U.S. consumption. Toyota tried to fight this by saying that the document was misinterpreted because of its translation from Japanese to English. So CNN paid another translator to look at it, producing a very similar translation. Toyota had to bite the bullet on this one, although they did fight CNN hard not to leak the information.
The Philadelphia auto product liability lawyers at Reiff and Bily realize how important it is to get this information out there and keep you safe on the road and in your car. If you think you were at fault for an accident that actually was the fault of an automobile manufacturer, call Reiff and Bily for a free consultation at 1-800-421-9595 or contact us online at www.reiffandbily.com.