Bloomberg News reports that Toyota received complaints about engine stalls as far back as March, 2007. The problems “sparked recalls this week of more than 100,000 Lexus and Toyota vehicles in Asia.” The first complaints about “defective valve springs” came in March. “The problem occurs when foreign substances enter the material used to make the part, causing the spring to weaken and break, Tokyo-based spokeswoman Monika Saito said. While Toyota decided to address the problem in August 2008 by altering the design of the valve spring and making it thicker, the company didn’t feel that a recall was necessary given the rarity of the problem at the time, she said.”
The AP reports that Toyota devised a fix for the problem, but “did not think a recall was warranted until recently.” The firm thought that the issue was too unlikely to warrant a recall, but “the complaints started climbing, and Toyota decided recently they weren’t isolated problems after all, but a design defect, and decided to issue the recall.” Reuters reports also reports that the first signs of trouble came three years ago.
From the American Association for Justice news release.