Another day, another recall. At least it seems that way. Today it was Toyota that announced a recall of 740,000 U.S. vehicles to fix a brake and fuel pump problem.
Because it was a Toyota recall we have received lots of calls connecting this to Toyota’s problems earlier this year. “What does this all mean?” is a typical question.
Here’s my take: First off, what got Toyota into so much trouble earlier this year was not a recall, or even a series of recalls. It was that their response to a string of complaints seemed lethargic. To the outside world, they seemed slow to act. So when the recalls were finally announced, they looked way overdue. (I will dig deeper into what I think happened in a later post.)
Every car company has learned from this episode. In fact, we have seen the volume of recalls skyrocket this year as car companies have become very aggressive in tackling potential safety issues. (What once might have been handled with a Technical Service Bulletin now triggers a recall.)
Vehicles have thousands of component parts. Recalls are going to happen. From what I have learned, no accidents, injuries or fatalities are associated with Toyota’s current recall.
Will it raise questions with consumers whose confidence in Toyota as the default brand for a “safe” automotive purchase was shaken earlier this year? Certainly it won’t help. Toyota has been working to reestablish their credibility with this key group. (And any good salesperson can spin this as a plus; that car companies have redoubled their efforts to protect consumers and more recalls are the inevitable result.)
I am not sure that completely regaining their exalted position is even possible. In any event, it will take time. This recall is just a speed bump—and a small one at that.