Toyota to Stop Building & Selling 8 Models in US Market

After issuing recalls since late last year, Toyota has decided to stop building and selling eight of its models in the US market. The Camry, Corolla, Avalon, Matrix, RAV4, Tundra, Highlander, and Sequioa are affected. The company will resume sales and manufacturing after it figures out why accelerators have been sticking. The Dallas Morning News has more:

It took the unusual step five days after announcing a recall of 2.3 million vehicles for what it described as a “rare” condition in which the pedal can stick and cause a vehicle to speed up unintentionally.

“Toyota had a bulletproof reputation for quality, and now it’s been tarnished,” said Jim Hossack, an industry analyst at AutoPacific Inc. “It’s a dramatic move, and an expensive move.”

Halting sales and production of some of Toyota’s best-selling U.S. models may mean hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue…It has the potential to further damage a reputation that has been taking a beating from the latest recall and from a November recall of 4.2 million vehicles, the largest in Toyota’s history.

(D)ealers can still sell models built in Japan – including some versions of the popular Camry and Corolla sedans. The models affected accounted for more than 1 million sales in 2009, 57 percent of Toyota’s total for the year.

Toyota is risking millions of dollars in sales in order to stop a dangerous problem for recurring. This sends the right message. Although Toyota’s reputation has been sullied since the recalls started taking place, the company is sending a message that it cares more about safety than income. That’s the right message to send, especially for a company whose customers bank on safety. It’s be harder to make the blanket statement that “Toyotas are unsafe” or “Toyotas suck” after this kind of drastic action.

I bet that in the long run, this move will have been worth the risk.

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