Toyota issued a new recall on July 29, 2010 for its Avalon and Lexus LX 470 brands. In total 480,000 Avalons, Lexus LX 470s and Land Cruiser 100s are being recalled worldwide with Steering problems. Toyota is now erring on the side of disclosing everything which is a positive step in restoring its image. But this recall tarnishes Toyota’s reputation in a new way.

1. The Avalon recall is for the 400,000 Avalons from the  2000 – 2004 models in the US, Canada, China and Saudi Arabia. The recall is designed to repair a problems with flawed steering locks. According to Consumer Reports, the steering lock bar could break due to improper casting. A crack may develop on the surface and expand after repeated lock and unlock operations. This may, eventually, lock the steering wheel and increase the risk of a crash.

2. The Lexus LX 470 recall is for 80,000 LX 470s (also known as Land Cruiser 100s outside the US) from the 2003 – 2007 model years. This recall is also related to steering, only this time it is related to steering shaft disengagement. According to Consumer Reports, the snap ring on the shaft may disengage when the vehicle has an impact to the front wheels like hitting a pothole.

Recall notices are being sent to affected Avalon and Lexus 470 LX / Land Cruiser 100 owners.

This continued barrage of bad news is not helping Toyota’s reputation. It has been suggested that Toyota had dropped the ball in recent years on  its quality due to its race to out perform GM. With these latest recalls, it appears the that the lax quality started more than just a few years ago. This will draw into question the CEO’s assertion that the  quality problem is fairly recent.

This sad news will not help Toyota’s customer satisfaction reputation despite their openness to disclose defects now. It takes much longer to restore a bad reputation than to ruin it. First customers have be willing to try your brand again. The new Toyota models need to gain a reputation of high quality and customer satisfaction. And this needs to be consistent across all the brands.

Update: Aug 2, 2010: In addition to the Avalon,  Lexus 470 LX, and Land Cruiser recall, Toyota also announced a recall of 6,750 Pronard vehicles made for the Japanese market.

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

2 Responses to “Toyota’s Reputation takes another hit with Avalon / LX 470 / Land Cruiser Recall”

  1. Linda Locke Says:

    Toyota seems to bounce back after each of these incidents. The public seems to forgive Toyota because there is a depth of respect for its products, perhaps? Or perhaps because there are so many other companies whose mistakes have had even deeper ramifications. Goldman Sachs? BP? The outrage against Toyota pales in comparison.

  2. J.G. Says:

    Do NOT go to TOYOTA. Besides the recalls, they will rip you off. Be very careful since they will scam you with the extended warranty. I purchased a Used-vehicle in 2005. The seller said to me that the extended warranty was for six years. Every time when I took the car for service (oil, or broken parts), the invoices came out ALL THE TIME, with the expiration date for the warranty for six years. Now that I needed to use that warranty, Toyota service department/employees are telling me that my warranty expired 6 months ago.
    When I showed them all the paperwork that states that the warranty is still in place – The expiration date, as printed in all my paperwork is 6 months into the future – Their lame excuse was: “oooppss. it was a mistake., this date is inserted manually…[…Manually for 5.5 years..???? yeah… right…] and someone made a mistake”.
    My BIG mistake was to trust the sales person and the printed documents when they told me that the warranty was for six years. I was treated very poorly when I complained about this. DO NOT GO to TOYOTA. Customer service is lousy/crapy. They do not care/respect the customer. The only thing the want, of course, is your money!

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