Posted on Apr 14, 2014

Toyota Motor Corp. announced a massive 6.34 million vehicle recall worldwide. Of the 6.34 million vehicles, 2.34 million were sold in North America, with 1.77 million in the U.S. This is the second largest recall for the company; the largest was with 7.43 million vehicles that had defective power window switches. The world’s largest automaker made the recall decision to fix five defects on various automobiles it sells. Only two of those defects relate to the U.S. recall. A majority of the recalled U.S. vehicles have a wiring problem that may disable airbags, while a lesser amount are being recalled due to a bug that could cause the driver’s seat to shift unexpectedly. So far, there have been no reported crashes or injuries related to these safety faults.

One of the more compelling questions this recall prompts is: Why did Toyota make the decision to recall their vehicles, when there have been no crashes, injuries or deaths? General Motors has been dominating the media most recently with its own recall and associated events. Toyota was fined $1.2 billion from U.S. regulators earlier in 2014 (which is the largest in history) because of the questionable actions regarding an acceleration-related recall in 2009-2010.

Is Toyota taking preemptive actions to avoid the same consequences as GM? One of the cars included in the Toyota recall, the Matrix, was sold by GM as the Pontiac Vibe.  This is bad for GM, who will now have to add the Vibe to its list of recalled vehicles.

It’s a very smart decision on Toyota’s part. The cost of a recall must pale enormously to legal fees and bad publicity. This preventative action by Toyota allows them to avoid a media spotlight, and is resourceful since recall costs are nothing when compared to lawsuits or any additional fines. Making a decision to recall is an excellent characteristic for a manufacturing company. Toyota’s behavior shows awareness of their competitors and attentiveness to the status quo of the current market.

It appears that Toyota is doing everything that GM should have done. Assuming that Toyota just learned of the safety faults—the company immediately announced a recall instead of waiting over a decade to do so. When recalls are not done in a timely manner, it can cause suspicion from regulators and criticism from consumers. These auto companies are trying to avoid any public scrutiny as a result of NOT taking any precautions.

13 million cars have been recalled so far in 2014, over half of the total number of vehicles that were recalled in 2013 (22 million).

Consumers should pay attention to all recalls that are announced. If you are driving a vehicle with a defective part and you have been hurt in an accident, call an attorney who can explain the issue in more detail. Contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 for a free consultation. 

Jill Erin Wellskopf
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Director of Marketing, Hupy and Abraham