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TheStreet Open House

Toyota Recalls: Are Ford, Honda, Nissan Just as Bad?


In October of 2009, Ford completed a series of recalls involving 14 million vehicles with a faulty cruise-control deactivation switch. Ford's latest recall involved some 4.5 million vehicles. Ford decided to recall the 1.1 million Windstar minivans pictured above made between 1995-2003 as part of this move.

Amid all the recall frenzy, it has come to light that the total number of deaths linked to Ford (F - Get Report), Chrysler and other automakers' vehicles together exceed that of Toyota's, according to U.S. regulator data pooled from 30 years of unintended acceleration reviews, Bloomberg reported.

According to the report, Ford and Chrysler vehicles were connected to the majority of fatalities, 20 and 12 respectively, following Toyota's 51.

All in all, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received roughly 15,000 complaints related to unintended acceleration in the last ten years and ran about 140 probes on the incidents since 1980, the report says. The agency reportedly sealed most of these cases without any remedial action, instead attributing the accidents to the accidental overexertion of the gas pedal, which eventually became the general assessment for runaway vehicles and led to such cases being taken less seriously, according to safety activists who spoke with Bloomberg.

"The Toyota case has brought new scrutiny to other factors, and NHTSA has to look at other causes," said Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSA administrator cited in the report. Meanwhile, none of this diminshes the fact that Toyota could take a painful financial hit from its recalls, legal battles and battered reputation. JP Morgan believes that Toyota could take a financial hit of $5.5 billion, which includes costs tied to both the recalls and law suits and experience a significant dent in marketshare, AP reported.

With all of this as a backdrop, we at TheStreet now ask you: Are you more inclined to forgive Toyota, knowing that Nissan, GM, Ford, Chrysler and Honda have recently experienced vehicle defects and recalls of their own? Or do you still think Toyota's actions have been uniquely rebrehensible? Take our poll below to learn what TheStreet has to say....

Are you more forgiving of Toyota's recalls knowing that Nissan, GM, Ford, Chrysler and Honda have also experienced similar problems?

Yes. I commend Toyota for engaging in recalls without pointing fingers at the rest of the auto industry.
No. Recalls by the other automakers do nothing to diminish Toyota's many problems.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York


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