It’s been a rough year for Japanese automakers, especially Toyota.
First there was the bad publicity with the Camry and then the Earthquake and Tsunami.
If you are a Toyota executive you could be forgiven for wondering if you somehow offended the publicity gods.
Now, an outside supplier of one tiny microchip has forced a recall of thousands of trucks.
Toyota is rightfully proud of their green credentials and pioneering efforts in the field of hybrid cars. The Prius is more than a vehicle, it’s an icon.
So, when the leading Japanese automaker announced the recall of 82,000 hybrid trucks, it hurts.
The Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX hybrids are being called in for a transistor on a control board in the Hybrid system inverter may have a bad solder.
“And what we have is a circuit board inside what’s called the intelligent power module,” says Brian Lyons of Toyota. “And some of the transistors responsible, there’s a transistor that wasn’t adequately soldered. And it will be damaged during high load and large current flow during driving.”
That’s right. One bad solder that finally gives way and your Lexus will either simply limp home on half power or…
“Uh, coast to a stop,” Lyons said. “I want to clarify, it doesn’t just stop, but yeah, you would lose all motive power.”
The company says, it is a voluntary recall.
“Uh, yes, well, to be precise it’s more of an influenced recall. The federal…NHTSA had begin an investigation into the problem back in February,” according to Lyons.
Owners will get a letter in July and the fix, if necessary, will take about 4 hours.
Although Toyota sales are rebounding finally, the company expects the cumulative effects of both publicity and national disasters to reduce their 2011 profits by one third.