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Toyota Takes Another Hit

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On: Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 4:27PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Toyota Takes Another Hit

Like an MMA cage fight Toyota takes on more hits and it's getting ugly. A growing number of complaints over steering problems with Toyota Corolla, the most popular Toyota model in the United States, has sparked a federal investigation, and may result in yet another Toyota recall. The troubled automaker has already recalled millions of vehicles in recent months over defective gas pedals, floor mats, and problems with brakes.

The Corolla uses electric-assisted steering, which is a cheaper version of power steering that uses an electric motor to reduce the amount of torque the driver needs to exert on the steering wheel to turn the vehicle. Owners of the Corolla say they have encountered difficulty steering at high speeds and have been complaining that they have had times where it suddenly became very difficult to steer the car, as though the system temporarily stopped working.

Why are we hearing about this only now? With sales of 874,000 Corollas here last year you would think that this problem would have been in the media sooner. Our government is the largest stakeholder in GM and I only hope that getting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration start an investigation is not a predatory act to get back at Japan for their lack of free trade towards us. The problem is you simply can't be a player and the referee and expect to remain neutral. And even if you could, you can't expect others to see you as neutral.

The Japanese automaker's products have been a quality byword for American drivers, so much so that its management and manufacturing techniques have long been studied and copied by rivals in the United States and abroad. Evidence has been building for years, however, that Toyota may have sacrificed its reputation for excellence to the quest for market share and that, in its smugness, it may have ignored its customers and its own management principles that got them there to begin with. The company's president admitted that when he said yesterday that the carmaker may have grown faster than it should and staff training had fallen behind as a result. "The basic rule of the Toyota production system is to only build as many cars as there is demand for, and we ourselves broke that rule."

Toyota, mired in controversy surrounding its recalls, will order workers at its US & UK factories to down tools to reflect lower demand for its cars, amid growing political controversy over its safety recalls. Toyota is also studying all avenues for reaching out to customers, including longer warranties and discounts on vehicles. . . Oh, What A Feeling.

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RoadKill | 10:57AM (Fri, Feb 19, 2010)

The cars with the problems are built here in the U.S. with U.S. suppliers? read what you want into that...

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