Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Toyota recalls and F1 plans
I know they are out of F1 now but I want to raise a point in regards to the following news. Toyota told its U.S. dealers Tuesday to immediately quit selling the new and used cars and trucks that it recalled on Jan. 21 because their throttles could stick open. Moreover, it will quit building 2010 versions of the models effected until it finds a solution for the throttle problem.
It has suspended U.S. sales of eight models. These models are: 2005-10 Avalaon, 2007-10 Camry, 2009-10 Corolla, 2010 Highlander, 2009-10 Matrix, 2009-10 RAV4, 2008-10 Sequoia and 2007-10 Tundra. Toyota has had 2 recalls related to throttle issues affecting over 6 million cars. This problem may also impact 2 million more European model Toyotas.
It makes you wonder how long they knew of the problem or whether the scope of the issue was not realized until much later. Toyota had made strong commitments to F1 going forward before their eventual pull out in November. As late as early September there was strong support for the program. Perhaps these events give us a little more insight to why Toyota chose not to engage in a series where expenses are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. When they announced their pull out they cited "current severe economic realities". Wonder if that meant that in an economic recession could they afford F1 and a large scale vehicle recall? At the time Toyota was verbally re-pledging its commitment in F1, it was looking to slash the F1 budget by at 40%. Their first recall was in late September dealing with floor mats supposedly hitting the throttle. Again, something to consider.
Coincidentally, Toyota offers a virtual good bye this week to F1 via its website.