A look at Toyota's safety struggles
Friday, October 12, 2012
Toyota is recalling 7.43 million vehicles worldwide to fix faulty power-window switches. It's the largest recall at the automaker, which saw its reputation for quality dip after a series of safety problems two years ago.
Here is a timeline of the earlier safety woes at Toyota:
— Aug. 28, 2009: A California Highway Patrol Officer and three family members are killed in a fiery crash. The officer was driving a 2009 Lexus loaner car with floor mats from another Lexus model. Previous driver of loaner vehicle had reported to dealer that mats trapped the gas pedal. Lexus is Toyota's luxury brand.
— Sept. 30, 2009: Toyota warns owners to remove floor mats from vehicles due to potential for them to snag the gas pedal, causing sudden acceleration.
— Oct. 5, 2009: Toyota recalls 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the U.S. because floor mats could catch the gas pedal.
— Nov. 25, 2009: Toyota announces a plan to fix floor-mat problem by shortening accelerators so they won't get caught. It also expands the number of vehicles involved to total of 4.2 million.
— Jan. 21, 2010: Toyota recalls 2.3 million Toyota vehicles in the U.S. because the gas-pedal assembly can become stuck, causing unintended acceleration.
— Jan. 26, 2010: Toyota temporarily suspends U.S. sales of eight models whose accelerator pedal assemblies can become stuck.
— Jan. 27, 2010: Toyota expands an earlier floor-mat recall by 1.09 million vehicles.
— Feb. 8, 2010: Toyota recalls 440,000 Prius hybrids and other hybrids worldwide for braking problems.
— Feb. 17, 2010: Toyota President Akio Toyoda says the automaker will have systems in all future models that allow brakes to override the accelerator in an emergency.
— Feb. 24, 2010: Toyota President apologizes for recalls before the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee.
— March 8, 2010: Driver James Sikes speeds along a San Diego County freeway in a 2008 Toyota Prius for 20 minutes, reaching 94 miles per hour, before a Highway Patrol officer helps slow down the car. Toyota later dismisses Sikes' account, saying its tests show he pressed the gas and brakes rapidly at least 250 times.
— July 8, 2010: Toyota says it will open six new offices across North America to gather information about vehicle problems and customer complaints.
— Dec. 21, 2010: Toyota agrees to pay the U.S. government a record $48.8 million in fines over recalls that involved sticky accelerators, floor mats that can catch the gas pedal, and steering relay rods that can break. The government alleged that Toyota was slow to report problems to U.S. safety regulators.
— Feb. 8, 2011: U.S. Department of Transportation, aided by NASA engineers, determines that electronic flaws were not to blame for reports of unintended acceleration in Toyotas. Lawyers and some drivers had alleged that gremlins inside electronic throttles caused the problems, not floor mats and sticky accelerators.
— Oct. 10, 2012: Toyota announces its largest recall — a total of 7.43 million vehicles to fix faulty power-window switches.