Keep the Current Recalls in Perspective, Toyota Exec Asks
The past few weeks have been challenging for Toyota and its dealerships nationwide. We have seen sales drop because of the temporary stop-sale of eight models while repairs were made. And we have struggled with the fluctuating confidence of prospective customers who have been inundated by aggressive media coverage.
However, we believe Toyota's -remedies only underline the company's commitment to drivers' safety, and we are proud to support their efforts.
As the president of Southeast Toyota Distributors, I am confident in the products we sell and proud of the impact that Toyota has had in America. Toyota recently hit an -exciting milestone - building our 20 millionth North American-produced vehicle. In an annual "American-made" index by Cars.com, the Toyota Camry ranked No. 1.
The company's total U.S. investment has grown to more than $18 billion and, together with dealers and -suppliers, Toyota has helped create more than 200,000 jobs in the U.S. Not only has Toyota contributed nearly half a billion dollars to U.S. charitable organizations in the past 20 years, but our local dealers also lend their -support in many ways.
Recalls are not unprecedented, and many other car makers are currently experiencing them as well. While the number of vehicles that Toyota has recalled may seem significant, it is worth putting this issue in context.
Confirmed incidents of unintended acceleration are a small fraction of Toyota's vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's online database -indicates that most automotive manufacturers have received numerous consumer complaints of unintended acceleration, including the other four with the largest shares of the U.S. market, and have had to recall -vehicles because of this issue.
According to an independent report by Edmunds.com, Toyota still has the fewest complaints of all major automotive manufacturers.
Among the 2.3 million vehicles that were recalled, along with those affected models that were temporarily unable to be sold because of a sticking accelerator pedal, fewer than 20 cases have been confirmed - none of which has resulted in any accident.
While Toyota takes responsibility, we want to remind you that these vehicles were recalled voluntarily because safety and quality are paramount to our company. Toyota is using this time as an opportunity to review all aspects of their vehicles and make them better.
We remain focused on our customers - their safety and satisfaction. All of our dealerships have extended service hours, some operating around the clock with a second shift of technicians, to make sure repairs are as simple and trouble free for customers as possible.
Our loyal customers continue to -support us and express their trust in Toyota. We sincerely thank them and promise that we will do everything in our power to show that it is deserved. The silver lining to recent events has been the renewed opportunity to receive feedback on everything we do.
The situation has also reinvigorated Toyota's commitment to unwavering quality in products, services and the spirit of "customer first."
Nothing is more important to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. We have a long history of successfully -navigating through difficult business cycles and challenging economic -climates - proof that we'll be here today and tomorrow to bring our -customers the highest level of service that they have come to expect and deserve.
This week, Toyota recalls have been the focus of several congressional hearings. As these issues continue to lead in the press, we hope our elected officials realize that Toyota is doing everything it possibly can in a forthright manner.
It is important for our country and our recovering economy that all of our auto manufacturers succeed. We ask our representatives in Washington for their unbiased, objective consideration during the hearing process.
Ed Sheehy is president of Southeast Toyota Distributors, which serves independent dealers in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina, including Pinehurst Toyota.
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