Keeping Perspective on Lexus Recall


Lexus GS 450h Engine

Bloomberg is reporting that Lexus has been aware of the engine problems behind the recent recall since 2007:

The carmaker received the first customer complaints in March 2007 in Japan regarding defective valve springs that may cause engines to stall, Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said by phone today from Tokyo.

The problem occurs when foreign substances enter the material used to make the part, causing the spring to weaken and break, Tokyo-based spokeswoman Monika Saito said. While Toyota decided to address the problem in August 2008 by altering the design of the valve spring and making it thicker, the company didn’t feel that a recall was necessary given the rarity of the problem at the time, she said.

Toyota received 220 complaints in Japan and 210 from overseas, Saito said. The company decided to initiate a recall after acknowledging a rising trend in the complaints, she said.

While this quote may sound well-reasoned, the article’s title Toyota Received Complaints About Lexus Defect in 2007 is anything but, insinuating that Toyota has been dishonest and slow to react. It’s this tone that’s used in articles all over the Internet, which in turn is feeding an unnecessary hysteria.

What’s missing from all these articles is any sense of reasonable expectation. Surely, no one believes Lexus should have issued a recall the minute that first faulty valve spring was discovered in 2007? More test cases were necessary, and once that number was reached, Lexus reacted. Recalls of this magnitude are a result of extensive research and much analysis, and it’s not something that happens over night. To expect otherwise would put so much pressure on all manufacturers that it would certainly bankrupt the entire automotive industry.

There’s no question that a mistake has been made, but let’s keep it in perspective: to date, 0.15% of owners have reported a problem, with the estimate that only 0.2% will ever be affected by this valve spring issue. Lexus is performing an extensive and expensive recall when it’s the last thing the brand needed. This doesn’t strike me as a company trying to hide something, instead it shows me that Lexus is putting their customers first, regardless of the cost.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Comments


  • TeamLexusIS300

    great comments. Perspective and statistical thought with a bit of sense for a situation are quite necessary. Obviously those who try to sensationalize and sell papers/”news” etc. are going to do otherwise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RDS.Alphard RDS

    This make more and more Toyota-Hater to put spike on me due to I’m a strong Toyota fans …

  • FYI

    2006 – 2008 MY Lexus Engine Valve Spring
    Part 573, Defect Information Report
    http://nhthqnwws111.odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/docservlet/Artemis/Public/Recalls/2010/V/RCDNN-10V309-8305.pdf
    (excerpts):
    1. Vehicle Manufacturer Name:
    2. Identification of Affected Vehicles:
    Based on production records, we have determined the affected vehicle population as in the table below.
    3. Total Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 138,874
    4. Percentage of Vehicles Estimated to Actually Experience Malfunction: Unknown
    5. Description of Problem:
    6. Chronology of Principal Events:
    7. Description of Corrective Repair Action:
    8. Recall Schedule: TBD Copies of the owner notification and dealer instructions will be submitted as soon as they are available.
    9. Distributor/Dealer Notification Schedule: TBD
    ==================================================================================
    What’s really going on with Toyota’s faulty valve springs [w/ video]
    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/07/02/whats-really-going-on-with-toyotas-faulty-valve-springs-w-vi/
    ===================================================================================

  • lexusjoe

    Toyota/Lexus are STILL the most Pro-Active and Reactive when it comes to safety and manufacturing problems.

  • tom wittmann

    This article contains several inaccurate comments:

    1) You write:
    “”Surely, no one believes Lexus should have issued a recall the minute that first faulty valve spring was discovered in 2007? More test cases were necessary, and once that number was reached, Lexus reacted”

    It MUST be expected that once a very few of such type of fault is reported, TOYOTA had to test the springs without further delay. And this happened within less tna 1 month, as the in the meantime is known. But Lexus took nearly 3 years to “react” in front of the customers, even if they changed the design very quickly in the posterior vehicles. This is a further case of Toyota hiding. stalling and misleading

    2) You write: “”There’s no question that a mistake has been made, but let’s keep it in perspective: to date, 0.15% of owners have reported a problem, with the estimate that only 0.2% will ever be affected””

    Assuming that the 0.15% of reports Toyota states is true (I vould not vouch for it), this apply on vehicles on average less than 2 years old. As these kind of damage
    occurs statistically in quadratical proportion to age, this means that thai it will pass in 3.75% of vehicles within 10 years. And even if it were linera, it would be 0.75%!! The estimate of 0.2% is an outrage and would justify the hharshest punishment for customer misleading.

    3) The Engines of several of the recalled Lexus are essentially the same as the installed in the CAMRYs. So, why they are not recalled too?? !!!!

  • 4tD

    @tom wittmann: \

    In a way, I agree with you Tom. Lexus, being the luxury automaker it is, should have perhaps taken more care in ensuring quick response to even potential problems and I had also thought that the Camry engine (along with those in the Venza, Sienna, etc.) should have had a similar recall. But, apparently, the engines in the Toyotas are designed differently — though I do hope Toyota looks into them nonetheless.
    Now I’m sure all this Toyota-Lexus Recall debacle has everyone upset, and that you’re incredibly anti-Toyota, but I think it’s a bit presumptuous to say that “these kind of damage occurs statistically in quadratical proportion to age, this means that thai it will pass in 3.75% of vehicles within 10 years. And even if it were linera, it would be 0.75%!!” as all your proof seems to be circumstantial.
    I know you cannot stand Toyota and I can sympathize, I cannot stand BMWs, but I don’t go around attacking them on BMW enthusiast websites without concrete proof to back up my arguments.

    By the way, posterior doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means to precede or be situated behind something.

  • tom wittmann

    Please refer to
    http://www.autoevolution.com/news/toyota-faulty-valve-springs-recall-list-announced-22268.html

    Toyota states that the cause of the Spring breaking is allegedly contamination of the material during manufacturing by foreign particles. Being already very strange that such happened to the main manufacturer of such in Japan, if so the measures taken by Toyota for the subsequent production, to avoid this problem, are even less understandable!

    Obviously, if the contamination was really the cause, the obvious task would have been taking the measures to avoid such.This is not mentioned (but we must asume it was implemented) instead the strenght of the coil filament was increased. And somewhat later, the strenght was increased again!!

    The alleged contamination should normally been easily detected by a simple material testing by Toyota. But any way, if it really existed, why the increase of of the filament?? If no explanation is forwarded, it must be assumed that the contamination explanation was fowarded to deflect the attention from the fact that the Toyota design Dptm. issued wrong specifications to the manufacturer, similarly as it happened previously with the specs of the materials of the gas pedals (different dessign in Japan and the US, postion to low to the floor, rusting components, no override by brake), the software of the PRIUS brake and several other, which is really concerning.

    And, Mr. ttD!! You HOPE that TOYOTA will look at the springs of the CAMRY models built during the same timespan. Again, all indicates that as the Engines are similar,
    the springs are so too. and the owner of these CAMRY’s shold be concerned, unless TOYOTA can formally state that they are free of this problem!!

    I hope that being TOYOTA enthusiast does not blind you to the really terrible problems this comapany faces.

  • WorldofLuxury

    @tom wittmann: We’re not blind. Krew is trying to keep perspective. Whatcha trying to do with those cap-sized “Toyota”? Trying to insult us? aha Don’t let your bias blind yourself ;-)

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    tom wittmann wrote:This article contains several inaccurate comments:

    1) You write:
    “”Surely, no one believes Lexus should have issued a recall the minute that first faulty valve spring was discovered in 2007? More test cases were necessary, and once that number was reached, Lexus reacted”

    It MUST be expected that once a very few of such type of fault is reported, TOYOTA had to test the springs without further delay. And this happened within less tna 1 month, as the in the meantime is known. But Lexus took nearly 3 years to “react” in front of the customers, even if they changed the design very quickly in the posterior vehicles. This is a further case of Toyota hiding. stalling and misleading

    Here’s a full timeline of the problem, right from its discovery to the eventual recall. There’s a process of elimination that has to be expected when looking at an issue of this size — it takes time to make the right decision.

    tom wittmann wrote:Assuming that the 0.15% of reports Toyota states is true (I vould not vouch for it), this apply on vehicles on average less than 2 years old. As these kind of damage
    occurs statistically in quadratical proportion to age, this means that thai it will pass in 3.75% of vehicles within 10 years. And even if it were linera, it would be 0.75%!! The estimate of 0.2% is an outrage and would justify the hharshest punishment for customer misleading.

    All I have to go on the numbers provided by Lexus, but considering they will be repairing ALL vehicles affected by this issue, we’ll never know how many cars this could have affected.

    tom wittmann wrote:3) The Engines of several of the recalled Lexus are essentially the same as the installed in the CAMRYs. So, why they are not recalled too?? !!!!

    The engines affected are built at a Lexus plant.

  • WorldofLuxury

    @tom wittmann: Krew made a good point. Most Toyota models in the US, if not all, don’t have the complicated engines that many Lexus models have, the engines that earned the Ward’s 10 Best for a few consecutive years.

  • tom wittmann

    WORLDOFLUXURY
    You write: “”We’re not blind. Krew is trying to keep perspective. Whatcha trying to do with those cap-sized “Toyota”? Trying to insult us? aha Don’t let your bias blind yourself””

    To write names with Capitals is usual and by no mean insulting. You are trying, by writing this, to divert the attention from the facts

    KREW

    You write:
    “”All I have to go on the numbers provided by Lexus, but considering they will be repairing ALL vehicles affected by this issue, we’ll never know how many cars this could have affected””

    Exactly. And TOYOTA,as the do not intend to be transparent, will most surly not provide these figures, which allows them to invent the 0.2% for the enthusiasts, even it is mathematically absurd

    You write:
    “”The engines affected are built at a Lexus plant**

    Nobody discuss this, This has nothing to do with the quetions why the CAMRYs are not reaclled, as the Springs are built not by Toyota, but by the supplier TOGO!!

    tom wittmann wrote:
    3) The Engines of several of the recalled Lexus are essentially the same as the installed in the CAMRYs. So, why they are not recalled too?? !!!!
    The engines affected are built at a Lexus plant.

  • 4tD

    @tom wittmann:

    Have you had, personally, bad experiences with Toyota (or Lexus)? If so, trying to convince us that Toyota is the devil isn’t going to resolve anything. And if that is what you’re trying to do, then I might add that a Lexus enthusiast blog isn’t the right place to be doing it — try the Prius haters forum or somewhere like that.
    Furthermore, unless you own or are planning on buying one of these affected vehicles, this recall should be of no concern to you. If you own one, and are angry, then file a complaint to Lexus or Toyota or whomever you blame and if you’re planning on purchasing one of these vehicles; then just don’t.
    Instead of viewing recalls as little campaigns of horror, you should look at them as gestures of goodwill — an attempt by a manufacturer to make right what it may have done wrong.

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    @tom wittmann: I see no reason why Lexus would use false figure, and it’s a moot point anyway. All affected engines have been recalled.

    The Toyota Camry does not share this engine, it uses the 2GR-FE 3.5L. The recalled engine is the 2GR-FSE 3.5L.

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    @tom wittmann: I would also echo t4D’s question: Are you a Lexus or Toyota owner?

  • tom wittmann

    As Kevin tells me, I should post here what I sent by E-mail. Here it is:

    MY RESPONSE TO KEVIN SEE SEPARATE POST FOLLOWING THIS ONE

    4tD, KREW

    I am still addressing you assuming that you are REALLY a TOYOTA-independent website. If you are not, obviously the discussion is meaningless.

    I have already written that my issue with TOYOTA is that they are mocking the US authorities and also the enthusiast as you are with their attitude, the former, because they assume that the US Authorities will close the eyes because of international policy consideration (as NHTSA does) and the latter are fanatic enough to do the same!!

    You seem to be a good example of the latter. First you publish the article \s”Keeping Perspective on Lexus Recall” trying to justify how TOYOTA is handling it, and when I with solid arguments state that the content does not reflect the facts, you tell me to go away, as opinion as the mine are not “enthusiastic” Of course, not a jota of objective argument appear in your posts (see below my comment regarding the Engine)

    KREWS comment showing that the Engine of the CAMRY is different than of the LEXUS really reinforces my suspicion that the CAMRY need to be recalled too.

    The name of the Engine is the same, the S probably means “Special” or “Super”, showing that the LEXUS- one has some improvement, as higher compression, rpm, torque and/or power. but that the basic model is the same. It is very difficult to believe that the enhanced Engine has different not-performance related accessories as the basic one.

    Also, the percentage of cars which would fail with the defective spring during the life of the vehicle is by no means moot, given the statement of TOYOTA that they make the recall only as a generous act, not needed given the facts!!!!!.

    And, by the way, I have written to TOYOTA USA regarding their problems, but of course I expect a tell-nothing response edited by some public relation guy. Hopefully I am wrong!

    TOYOTA and its enthusiasts must realize that only the ostrich solve his problem by burying his head in the sand. Also, that crying in public showing contrition, but not addressing openly and frontally the problems, lead to disaster.

  • WorldofLuxury

    @tom wittmann: Buddy, you’re digressing yourself. Look, I’ve said a lot of hateful things towards Lexus and Toyota myself; just ask Krew and the others. ;-)

    Lexus/Toyota have made mistakes; no doubt they will make more. From what we know, the problem in concern right now concern the sophisticated multi-port fuel-injected engines in certain Lexus models.

    I can’t believe you’re going into technicality and finding ways of correcting yourself with a little help of researching and then putting the hate on us. If you want to hear more criticism, go to another site; Lexus don’t even listen to us most of the times – heck… most don’t even listen to Akio Toyoda’s wish for an affordable sportscar.

    Let’s keep it this way; if you want something to be done, how about trying to show respect and generosity; also, correct your grammar if you want to talk technicalities. If things at Lexus and Toyota are really as bad as we think, do you really think your bashing is going to make them want to help you? They’ve already been through enough embarrassment; they can just ignore you.

  • tom wittmann

    To. WorldofLuxury

    1) It is cheap to argue with faulty grammar when it is obvious that English is not my first language!!

    2) As you state correctly TOYOTA will not change their ways because of anything we may write, this is valid for any blog. Therefore, following your criteria, any discussion of the issues would be useless, and so this and any other similar blog should disappear!

    3) As I see that very few persons are participating in the discussion, I will comply with your desire and walk away. Anyway, reading your post, I am not sure why you are a LRXUS (or TOYOTA) enthusiast!

  • 4tD

    @tom wittmann:

    I hope you were not led to that think we were in any way attacking you, and you have my apologies if any of my arguments were offensive to you. In a way, I guess we are somewhat deluded by our bias.
    By the way, what is your first language?