Toyota Canada outlines recall process and confirms no evidence of unintended acceleration caused by vehicle electronics
OTTAWA - Appearing before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities, executives from Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI), Toyota Motor North America (TMA) and Toyota Motors Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) described its contribution to the Canadian economy and outlined the detailed process of identifying issues with its products and initiating recalls. They also confirmed that Toyota has no evidence of unintended acceleration caused by a fault in the electronic throttle control system found on some models.
TCI President and CEO Yoichi Tomihara told Committee members that, "A Canadian perspective is really important when explaining the recall and all issues related to this campaign, as well as what we are doing in the future to minimize the possibility of such issues reoccurring."
TMA President and Chief Operating Officer Yoshi Inaba explained that TCI operates as a separate joint venture licensed to distribute vehicles in Canada. In that respect, the responsibility for the Toyota and Lexus vehicles on the road and compliance with the laws and regulations of Canada, including the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, rest with TCI. He also stressed that Toyota is taking the issues seriously and has been focused on identifying root causes for the issues and developing appropriate remedies. He added that Toyota is confident that the remedies it has developed address the issues.
TMMC President Ray Tanguay profiled the operation's contributions to Canada and the addition of an upcoming second shift at its Woodstock facility. "With about 75 per cent of the vehicles we make being exported, we are a major contributor to Canada's balance of trade," said Mr. Tanguay.
TCI Managing Director Stephen Beatty described Toyota's product servicing approach, based on a system called Early Detection Early Resolution (EDER). "This process actively looks for issues - not just related to safety, but covering all aspects of the Toyota ownership experience," he explained.
EDER is enhanced in Canada with a data-sharing agreement between TCI and all Canadian Toyota and Lexus dealerships. "This single, tightly integrated, industry leading system means that we can review and query all unusual service patterns. An additional system automatically alerts us to any unusual warranty activity," Mr. Beatty told the Committee. "Together these systems allow us to quickly detect potential problems in our vehicles."
Additional measures include:
- Toyota field engineers in North America who go on-site to investigate
issues - whether raised by Toyota customers, or by investigations by
Toyota or regulators such as Transport Canada.
- A dedicated team of field engineers in Canada in winter months, to
rapidly identify potential issues related to our unique Canadian
- A requirement that when an issue is identified, Toyota takes action.
Toyota executives also addressed speculation that unintended acceleration may be a result of a defect in the electronic throttle control system (ETCS) installed in many Toyota and Lexus vehicles.
"We want to put those questions to rest. Every Toyota and Lexus vehicle that features our electronic throttle control system is equipped with a multiple failsafes system which, in the event of malfunction, reduces or shuts down the engine speed, rather than allowing the vehicle to accelerate unintentionally," Mr. Beatty explained. "I want to be absolutely clear: as a result of our extensive testing, we do not believe that unintended acceleration has ever occurred because of a defect in our electronic control system."
Mr. Beatty noted Toyota has extensively tested its ETCS. He added that the robustness of the failsafes in the ETCS in Toyota vehicles has been confirmed by Exponent, a world leading engineering firm that conducted its own, independent tests.
The Woodstock facility opened in 2008 and produces the RAV4. It is the first new automotive assembly plant opened in Canada since the 1980s. In just six days - on March 22 - a second shift will start, increasing capacity to more than 150,000 vehicles annually. To support the launch of this second shift, more than 800 new team members have been hired over the last few months.
Between TMMC's locations, they will be able to produce more than 420,000 units annually. Direct employment will be almost 7,000 team members. In addition, TMMC does business with more than 78 suppliers in Canada, providing thousands of additional employment opportunities for Canadians.