Consumer Complaints About Toyota Surge

There has been a surge in the number of consumer complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over Toyota cars, the Associated Press reported this afternoon, with 34 fatalities since 2000 included in those complaints. The reasons for those deaths have not yet been confirmed by the agency.

Complaints about the 2010 Prius grew by nearly 1,000 since the latest recalls were announced more than a week ago, records show. Transportation Department spokeswoman Olivia Alair said NHTSA is quickly gathering information to help guide the federal government's examination of sudden acceleration, the Prius braking system and other safety issues. Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled 8.5 million vehicles globally during the past four months because of problems with gas pedals, floormats and brakes, threatening the safety and quality reputation of the world's No. 1 automaker. The government typically receives a surge in complaints following a recall.
In other Toyota news:
  • Toyota may add more incentives or lengthen warranties after the current recall crisis is over, Group Vice President Bob Carter told the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Orlando, Fla. He said that exact plans have not yet been worked out, according to the Associated Press.  
  • Carter also said that Toyota dealers have fixed more than 500,000 of the 2.3 million cars and trucks covered by the sticky gas pedal recall, and they are repairing about 50,000 cars every day. That jibes with the number he reported last week at the Chicago Auto Show.
  • A Toyota exec apologized for the recalls to dealers in Orlando. “We're a quality brand and we stumbled. It's our fault," said Don Esmond, Toyota’s senior vice president for automotive operations in the U.S. "We'll correct it." Some Toyota dealers have complained because consumers think dealers are prohibited from selling any Toyotas. Those consumers aren’t aware that dealers are free to sell the cars once they are repaired. Carter says 88,000 of the 112,000 recalled cars on dealer lots have been repaired.
By Patrick Olsen | February 15, 2010 | Comments (19)


Derrick G

I know everyone will be blaming the media for fanning the flames but for any Toyota owners reading this: if you've experienced a LEGITIMATE issue with your Toyota accelerating even though you are SURE you were braking and/or didn't have your foot on the gas pedal, you should report it to NHTSA. Just be sure if you're going to call, write down EVERYTHING you remember about the episode so you can refer to it when you're on the phone. Better yet, do it online and give yourself time to review what you've written. Keep it to the FACTS, not your emotion. If there truly is another problem, investigators need FACTS to try to figure out what's going on. Your love or hate for Toyota won't help; keep it to yourself or to another venue, such as the user reviews on this site.


I feel that people are hyping this issues because it is a foreign car manufacturer.
I do not recall this much hype over the dozens upon dozens (if not hundreds) of recalls imposed upon the American autos in the past.

I think it is shameful behavior frankly.
How many of these new so called "complaints" are just some losers trying to blame someone else for their own problems and get paid for it.
Seems like an awful strange coincidence that complaints skyrocket once the media begins to drool at the mouth over this story.

This is bad news for Toyota. Most troubling is the Prius recall for brake glitches, which tarnishes the reputation of the maker and the model. Hybrids and electric cars are the greenest technology in the mainstream and it’s a shame to see their popularity decreased by these design flaws.

Researching how to make your company, product, or next project more Green? Go to for sustainability white papers and the largest b2b green directory on the web.

Derrick G

There's a big difference here in that with most of the big domestic recalls, the problem and the fix were already known by the time they became big stories. There's at least some evidence here that the suggested fix might not solve the problem because the two fixes offered don't cover all the cars that are claimed to have had trouble. Simply filing a report with the NHTSA doesn't get anyone any money, but it does give the government a better idea of how big the problem really may be. And as the article pointed out, it's par for the course for complaints to rise after media attention because people become more aware. Sure, some of the complaints may not be legit, but if there are deaths involved, there are accident reports that investigators can go back to and do more research on. With peoples' lives on the line, it's sad anyone would in any way discourage people from making legitimate reports to NHTSA.




^dude, were you even alive then or what? (probably not judging from the caps)

The Ford/firestone thing was HUGE news back in the day. Bigger than this if my memory serves me right.


Because our government is owning its competitors.

This just out today 2/16. This will certainly cause more Toyota pain.
This Toyota mess is all different from older Ford/Firestone recall because back then the problem was understood early on. Toyota's mess, each day more news & investgations keep popping up. Some not even understood or have an answer as it affects several different models/years. All MUCH diff then the Firestone tire recall.

Firestone and Ford denied that problem for a long long time. I don't believe Firestone ever took responsibility. Yes, it was in the news a lot. However, I think the way news is covered has changed more than the dangers of either recall. If 34 deaths are attributed to Toyota going back to 2000 that's probably out of 20 million vehicles, which while still not acceptable is quite small.

Firestone led to over 100 deaths when all was over in a much more limited amount of vehicles.

Actually, Ford has another massive recall still going on over cruise control switches, but it isn't covered as widely as the Toyota one.

Derrick G

While the Explorer/Firestone AT/ATX issue might not have received quite as media attention, but in addition to what David said about the amount of media, let's remember there WERE big congressional hearings and they led to the TREAD Act, which is what Toyota is accused of potentially violating. And that was after big congressional hearings on the Firestone 500 problems in the 1970's. So anyone claiming there's no precedent for this doesn't know their history.

Let's also remember GM got investigated and a settlement fine of $1M ($3M proposed) for failing to report windshield wiper problems in a timely manner and NHTSA took Chrysler to court for seat belts in the rear of the JA cars that didn't meet the specs as NHTSA interpreted them. I think it went all the way to the Supreme Court. I know Chrysler eventually agreed to recall the cars. So I'm not hearing any of this domestic makers get a free pass garbage.

Derrick G

OK, I'm wrong about the Chrysler thing. Chrysler won at district court and I don't think it went any farther because if I remember correctly the recall had already been done. Nevertheless, NHTSA pushed hard.



You apparently hear what you want so I don't think it really matters. I don't see anyone saying US automakers get a free pass... but you know Ford was never fined over the Firestone recall (You could have posted the link):

And more people died over that fiasco. Some say around 119.

And the matter of precedent is not just the amount of media coverage but also the fact that Toyota did not challenge the order to recall the vehicles.

And really a $1 million dollar fine for GM? Rick W. could have paid that with what was in his wallet...

Whatever it may be it’s a matter of fact that a bad period is going for this no.1 company. I personally think it’s a just about some technical problem which occurs in most vehicles nothing more. Also the company is trying its best to fix the problem of the affecting models. We have to keep patience and help the company in its bad time.

Derrick G


You seem to be forgetting a MAJOR fact: TREAD wasn't passed until AFTER the Explorer/Firestone fiasco. Plus Ford and Firestone played pass the buck and there seems to be evidence they both had at least partial fault. Regardless, you cannot be fined for violating a law not in effect at the time you violated it. The law was indeed passed because there wasn't any good mechanism to fine in the Explorer case.

Also, GM's fine was most likely set as it was in light of the severity of the problem.

As for the link, I had not seen that story, so how would I have posted it?

As for Toyota's not challenging the order to recall the vehicles, well of course not. There weren't ordered to. They were ordered to stop selling unfixed cars after they they initiated the recall after reporting the defect, but they started the recall on their own after being told they needed to do something. The question here though is when did they first know there was a problem, and have they addressed all the problems they knew of.



You understand that the NHSTA could fine companies prior to the passage of TREAD right?

And since you want to get touchy - how about this:

"We have not been asleep at the switch when it comes to Toyota,” Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood said on the program. “There are three recalls going on right now, two of them as a result of our people either going to Japan or me on the telephone with the president of Toyota holding their feet to the fire on this."

Who told them they needed to do something? The NHSTA. If you want to say they were "ordered" to stop selling, but were not "ordered" to issue a recall, then you are wrong.

There has been plenty of reports how Toyota was legally obligated to stop-selling the cars, it was not "officially" ordered by the NHTSA, it was asked to though... seems like you want to argue semantics?

LaHood said, "The reason Toyota decided to do the recall and to stop manufacturing was because we asked them to."


I own a 2007 Tacoma with Firestone tires. 25k plus miles and the only problem so far is a leaking o-ring in one of the air conditioning lines. Oh and occasionally there is a problem with the nut behind the wheel.


Toyota dealers certainly aren't helping. About 3 years ago my 2005 Toyota Prius started making an intermittent noise from the driver side of the engine. At my next scheduled maintenance I mentioned it to my dealer Bay Ridge Toyota in Brooklyn, New York. They looked it over but couldn't locate the problem and didn't do anything about it. I took the car to Wappinger Falls Toyota in Wappinger Falls, New York for a second opinion but they didn't hear the noise either, however, they told me about the coolant pump service bulletin and explained that my pump is operational but would replace it anyway. The next day the noise returned. I'm not the type of person to make a big stink, so I thought if the pump is operational I could live with it. Last Tuesday I took the car to Bay Ridge Toyota because the Maintenance Required light on the dashboard was on. I asked them to look into the noise one more time, again they didn't hear anything, but only this time I insisted on a drive with the mechanic, and after 5 minutes the mechanic heard the noise. Finally, I thought, the problem is solved. Well, not really. The manager informed me that it was the coolant control valve, and the repair would cost around $60 for the part plus labor. When I ask about the warranty, they said my warranty has expired. Not only that, they spent more time looking up the dates of my complaints in order to say they are not responsible, than actually trying to locate the noise. I don't have a problem with the cost but I lost complete faith in their ability to work on my car. I don't think they care about the inconvenience it caused me to take the car in multiple times all those years to different dealers. They showed no concern and no customer service whatsoever, and the not-our-problem attitude in light of Toyota's recent public relations fiasco with the Prius was very surprising. Toyota's reputation for quality and customer satisfaction couldn't have disappear any faster, I saw it with my own eyes.

I bought American cars all my life from Ford to Dodge. Every one broke down and cost me tons of money to fix. So, this time around, I bought a new toyota because I did not want my car to break down and I wanted a high resale value and now this. Someone give me a break.

i also got the problem

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