What another recall means for Toyota

A brand new Toyota RAV4 is displayed on the Toyota of Marin sales lot in San Rafael, Calif.

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KAI RYSSDAL:If you happen to be listening to this as you drive, please do me a favor and pay extra attention to this next story. Toyota has issued another big recall. It needs to fix faulty gas pedals.

This is Toyota's second recall in just four months, as Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports.


Alisa Roth: 4.8 million. That's the latest tally of how many vehicles Toyota is now recalling.

Mary Ann Keller is an industry consultant. She says calling it bad news lets the company off easy.

Mary Ann Keller: It permanently changes perception of Toyota's once rock-solid image for quality.

Among other things, some people have asked whether the first recall -- for a sudden acceleration problem Toyota's attributed to faulty floor mats -- was actually caused by something else.

Keller says customers might not stop buying Toyotas this minute. But they might think twice about it.

Keller: Maybe today you'll consider two or three brands. And it comes at a time when there are legitimate contenders for Toyota in every category of the market.

She estimates it'll cost the company more than a billion dollars just to do the repairs.
And Toyota still doesn't know exactly how to fix the problem.

Mark Chalos is a lawyer who's represented families in a suit against Ford. He says the way carmakers work these days -- where they only get parts from manufacturers as they need them -- can have an effect on recalls, too.

Mark Chalos: There may be a delay of months before the manufacturers and their suppliers have gotten a sufficient number of replacement parts manufactured and then shipped out to all the dealers, so that they can use those to actually implement the recall service.

In the meantime, Toyota's telling drivers who experience sudden acceleration to brake steadily and firmly and then call a dealer.

I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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