Toyota Recalls Two Models, Corolla and Lexus, in First Large Vehicle Recall of 2013
On Wednesday, January 30th, Toyota announced two vehicle recalls that involve nearly 1 million vehicles in the United States.
The first vehicle recall is for Corolla Sedans and Matrixes in model years 2003 and 2004 – nearly 752,000 vehicles – which have problems with an airbag control module. The second vehicle recall is for their Lexus, model years 2006 to 2012, which involves about 270,000 vehicles. The Lexus models have a loose nut in a windshield wiper blade.
The first vehicle recall is the more important, safety-wise, of the two. The fault with the Sedan and Matrix models could be a faulty circuit board in the airbag control, which is in the supplemental restraint system. If the circuit board malfunctions, it can cause a buildup of heat due to a short, which might cause the airbags and seatbelt pretensioners to deploy, although no crash occurred. Minor injuries in car accidents can sometimes occur because of airbags or seatbelts, so this increases the risk of physical harm to the car’s occupants when no crash caused the safety restraints’ deployment. There have been two reported accidents and 18 injuries linked to the problem, said Brian Lyons, a Toyota spokesman.
In the Lexus vehicle recall, the loose nut in the wiper blades could fail if they encounter a heavy load, putting them under pressure – such as a buildup of snow or ice. There have been 25 reports of wipers not functioning correctly, but no reports of accidents as a result.
Toyota will send vehicle owners a letter informing them of the recall, and advising them to take their vehicles to a dealership for repairs. Dealers will fix the problems at no cost.
Toyota Named Best-Selling Automotive Manufacturer Just Before Vehicle Recalls
The vehicle recall notices come the same week that Toyota regained its title of best-selling automotive manufacturer, knocking General Motors out of the number 1 spot. Toyota’s share of US auto sales rose in 2012, to 14.4% from 12.9% in 2011. Global sales surged to 9.75 million.
Despite their success in sales, Toyota also had a series of large recalls last year, and has paid record federal fines for not recalling vehicles fast enough. The manufacturer recalled 5.3 million vehicles in 2012. Honda was in second place for vehicle recalls, with a much smaller 3.9 million vehicles recalled.
Reportedly, Toyota’s troubles began in 2009, when it began recalling vehicles due to acceleration problems. The first involved vehicles whose carpets could trap the accelerator pedal, an issue highlighted when a California Highway Patrol Officer and several family members were killed in a fiery crash. A second sticky accelerator pedal in 2010 forced Toyota to recall millions of vehicles, as well as halt product on several US assembly lines because of safety concerns.
The manufacturer recalled 8 million vehicles in those two years, and was also slapped with a series of large fines for illegally delaying vehicle safety recalls. Although 2009 and 2010 were possibly the worst years for Toyota’s vehicle recalls, the manufacturer was again hit with a huge fine for delaying safety recalls last year.
Although Toyota starts the year with two large vehicle recall notices, Toyota owners continue to be loyal to the brand. “Toyota is keenly aware of post-recall challenges and continues to be extremely proactive about announcing even the smallest of problems to ensure a positive consumer response,” says George Cook, professor at the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Defective Products Cases, Including Vehicle Recall Safety
To protect yourself and your family, it’s important to know what products have been recalled because they are defective or unsafe. Federal agencies such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) frequently issue recalls for medical devices, drugs, and products that may be harmful to consumers.
If you have experienced a problem with a defective product in your automobile, especially if a defective part has led to an auto accident or personal injury, and a proper vehicle recall notice has not been issued, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We can help you with complicated auto insurance claims, and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve to help you with lost income and medical bills. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today at (803) 252-4800.