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Toyota Announces Recall of More Than 400,000 Hybrids

I know this is becoming the “Toyota Recall Blog,” but this is important information for anyone who drives a Toyota or Lexus. The problems that have been announced can lead to very serious accidents. If you have one of the recalled vehicles please get it repaired immediately.

Heavy coverage of Toyota’s safety issues is continuing, with all three networks running reports. ABC World News (2/9, story 7, 0:25, Sawyer) reported, “Toyota, hitting another bump in the road today. This time, it’s an official recall of the new 2010 Prius and some Lexus hybrids. Recalling almost half a million additional cars worldwide, about a third of them in this country. The reason? That delayed reaction when the brakes are pressed. Toyota blames a glitch in the software in the car.”

On the CBS Evening News (2/9, story 3, 2:00, Couric), former NHTSA administrator Joan Claybrook was shown saying, “Toyota took the position that it could delay and defer and not deal with these issues, it would be cheaper to do it that way; and in fact, it’s cost them so much more.”

The Washington Post (2/10, Harden, Ahrens) reports that Toyota announced yesterday it would recall “more than 400,000 Priuses and other hybrid cars with braking problems — on the same day that the U.S. Transportation Department said it is reviewing driver complaints about hard-to-handle steering on the 2009-10 Toyota Corolla.”

The AP (2/10, Zalubowski) calls the Prius recall “the latest embarrassing safety lapse at the world’s largest automaker. ‘I don’t see Toyota as an infallible company that never makes mistakes,’ President Akio Toyoda said at a news conference today. ‘We will face up to the facts and correct the problem, putting customers’ safety and convenience first.’”

The Wall Street Journal (2/10, A6, Shirouzu) also reports on Toyota’s hybrid recall, portraying the firm as unenthusiastic about the move.

LaHood says DOT will “hold Toyota’s feet to the fire.” In an interview with NBC Nightly News (2/9, story 3, 4:40, Williams), Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “We are going to hold Toyota’s feet to the fire when it comes to these recalls.”

Waxman accuses Toyota of vacillating on cause of sticky accelerators. The Los Angeles Times (2/10, Vartabedian, Hirsch) reports that House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman is accusing Toyota of “conflicting statements” about “the exact cause of the defects” causing uncontrolled acceleration in its vehicles. Waxman “said that although Toyota was reassuring the public in the last two weeks that it had identified the cause, it was telling House investigators that getting to the bottom of the issue was very difficult. That leaves open the possibility that it had not identified all of the potential root causes of the condition that has been blamed on 19 deaths and more than 300 crashes over the last eight years, he said. … Waxman has previously pointed out Toyota’s contradictory statements, but his comments Tuesday go further by suggesting that Toyota may simply not know what is causing its cars to accelerate out of control.”

Meanwhile, the AP (1/28, Thomas) reports that MI Rep. Bart Stupak “expressed concern Wednesday” about the Toyota recall.

Toyota tells regulators it received Prius brake complaints in 2009. The Detroit Free Press (2/10, Hyde) reports, “Toyota told U.S. safety regulators today it was first aware of complaints about the brakes in the 2010 Prius hybrid as early as October 2009, but decided the anti-lock system was ‘operating as designed.’” The piece notes that this announcement juxtaposed against the recall “added to questions about how it handled safety issues in its vehicles.”

Congressional hearing postponed. The AP (2/9) reported, “A congressional hearing into Toyota’s massive recalls has been postponed because of a snowstorm expected to hit the capital beginning Tuesday afternoon. A House oversight panel says it hopes to hold the Toyota hearing on Feb. 24.”

Toyota seeks to kill lawsuit. Bloomberg News (2/9, Pettersson) reported, “Toyota Motor Corp. is seeking to dismiss a consumer class-action lawsuit over its electronic throttle, saying plaintiffs haven’t suffered any injury and can’t sue.”

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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