Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Update: Transportation Secretary says you should stop driving recalled Toyotas. Would be nice if Toyota agreed

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today that he thinks people should stop driving recalled Toyota vehicles, and take them to a dealership to be fixed.  From the NYTimes:
Mr. LaHood said his advice to owners of recalled Toyotas was to “stop driving it, take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it.”

“We need to fix the problem so people don’t have to worry about disengaging the engine or slamming the brakes on or put it in neutral," Mr. LaHood said in response to questions.
While I'm glad LaHood realizes that Toyota's proposed solution is ludicrous, his urging is pretty useless if Toyota doesn't put in place mechanisms so that consumers can follow this advice.  Most consumers can't just stop driving their cars until Toyota is ready to fix them, and Toyota has specifically said consumers need to wait until their dealership is ready to fix their car, which given the volume could take quite a while.  Toyota needs to be offering rental cars of a different make to every consumer driving a recalled vehicle until their dealerships are able to fix them.  And to expedite that process, they need to be hiring additional staff and adding resources immediately.  All of this will cost an arm and a leg, but in the long term, a lot less than another accident happening after the recall was supposedly put in place.  Let's hope Toyota's message to consumers catches up with LaHood's.

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