We’re near the end of August and Toyota hasn’t announced a recall ye… oops… spoke too soon. The automotive giant, once the poster child for efficiency and value, announced on August 26, 2010 that it would be recalling certain model 2005-2008 Toyota Matrix and Corolla vehicles for Electronic Control Modules that may have been manufactured improperly.
Another Toyota recall? What’s going on? Believe it or not, we think it’s actually something good—for everyone involved.
Since the reports of runaway Toyotas first garnered national media attention in November 2009, Toyota has announced a recall every subsequent month with the exception of December. That’s every month of the year 2010, so far. Prior to the 4.2 million vehicles recalled to address floor mats and improperly constructed accelerator pedals that could lead to unintended acceleration, Toyota had not had a recall since August 25, 2009.
For those keeping score, that’s a total of 16 recalls since the start of Toyota’s woes. To put that in perspective, for the one year period prior to the Prius crash heard around the world, the world’s largest auto maker only issued a total of four recalls.
With a 400% increase in the number of recall incidents, it seems Toyota’s vehicles aren’t the only thing running away. But those numbers say much more than what their startling first impression implies. At first glance, one could argue that the reason for the substantial increase in recalls is that Toyota quality has been abandoned in favor of mass production, profit and their focus on overtaking GM as the number one automaker in the world.
Now that Toyota has achieved top dog status, it’s not surprising people would want to take the easy way out and point out the negative side of the recalls. After all, we like to take the top dog down a couple notches as much as we like to give the underdog our support—just ask Brett Favre (and you have no idea how much it kills me to say that without adding something derogatory).
So no, we won’t hop on the Toyota bashing bandwagon. Instead we’ll actually argue that four times the total number of recalls over the prior year shows Toyota’s commitment to re-establishing their reputation as one of the most reliable vehicles on the road. The recalls demonstrate Toyota is making every effort to correct past mistakes and regain the public’s confidence, and that may mean even more recalls ahead.
And so what if it does mean more recalls? Good on Toyota for going back and making things right—not just for their customers, but for themselves. To continue down the path they momentarily veered onto, could have resulted in their own need for a government bailout down the road as their vehicles developed an increasing reputation of poorer and poorer quality. The last thing anyone needs is another automotive giant with its hat out. Thank you, Toyota.
A list of all recalls from January 1, 2009 to August 26, 2010 follows, with links to the corresponding Toyota recall bulletin. In many instances, not all models are included in the recall, please read the official Toyota release after the link to see if the vehicle you are looking for is included or not.