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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