FROM Jeffrey Liker
More Acceleration Problems for Toyota Toyota is investigating the Prius again after an incident yesterday on Interstate 8 near San Diego. Sixty-one year-old James Sikes says, when he started to pass another car, his accelerator stuck and he couldn't stop his Prius from speeding faster and faster. He called 911, and the California Highway Patrol sent a car that gave him instructions on its loudspeaker. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Toyota is investigating Sikes' car and is planning a recall. Toyota is facing lawsuits for deaths and injuries and at least 89 class-action cases from owners who say their cars have lost value because of safety recalls, according to the Associated Press.
Toyota's Total Recall After reported links to 19 deaths and many injuries, Toyota recalled almost 8 million cars for safety problems with floor mats and sticky accelerators . The owners of models that are subject to recall are waiting for notices to take their cars in for repair. Today, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told drivers of those models to park their cars; hours later he retracted the warning. Meantime, electronics are now under investigation, and concerns are being raised about the braking system on the hybrid Prius. How long did Toyota know about the problems before announcing the recalls? Will the repairs work? How serious are the latest concerns? What about Toyota's reputation for the best on the road? What kind of crisis management will it take to protect its brand?
Toyota's Reputation Takes a Hit with Recall Expansion Toyota became the world's biggest car company, building a reputation for unparalleled excellence. But did rapid growth come at a high cost to consistent quality? The auto maker's recall of vehicles needing corrective action extended to Europe yesterday, and competitors, including General Motors, are already seeing opportunities. Jeffrey Linker, Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan, has written several books on Toyota, including The Toyota Way .
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