Founded in 1937, the Toyota Motor Corporation is a multinational auto manufacturer with worldwide distribution. Originally a department of Toyota Industries, founder Kiichiro Toyoda spun the company off from his family's empire to focus on the production of automobiles. Toyota manufactures vehicles under its own name as well as under other brand names like Lexus and Daihatsu. The company also owns a stake in several other automakers including Subaru, Isuzu, and Mazda.
Once a regional automaker focused on small vehicles, Toyota is now a worldwide brand with offerings for every type of non-commercial vehicle out there. The company is listed on the New York, Tokyo, and London Stock Exchange and has annual revenue of more than $270 billion.
Popular Toyota Models
Toyota has one of the most expansive selections of vehicles available. While Toyota is well-known for their gas-powered vehicles, the company has also become a leader in hybrid electric technology. At the top of the list of hybrid vehicles is the Toyota Prius. Originally a subcompact car released in 1997, the Prius has eventually grown into a compact sedan that offers both standard and hybrid engines.
When it comes to gas-powered crossover SUVs, a favorite model is the Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 was first released in 1994 and, like the Prius, also comes in a hybrid option. The main selling point of the vehicle is the storage space and visibility of an SUV with the gas mileage and maneuverability of a compact car.
Toyota has been building pickup trucks since 1947, but none have been more successful than the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma. The Tundra was first produced in 1999 and is a full-size pickup truck that comes in regular, double, and crew cab sizes. It is the first full-size pickup manufactured in the United States by a Japanese automaker. The Tacoma is a mid-size pickup truck that has become very popular in California.
Toyota Safety Ratings and Concerns
Toyota has for years made an effort to score highly in safety ratings. The results are mixed, however. While Toyota generally scores well, there have also been some glaring issues in their safety ratings from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).
Take, for example, the 2019 Toyota Tundra. While the Tundra mostly receives perfect scores, it does have some low crashworthiness score including a “marginal” rating for driver-side impact and a “poor” rating for the passenger side.
On the other hand, the Toyota Avalon is a 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick. In fact, the vehicle has a perfect score across the board, even getting the rare achievement of bonus points for the ease of use of the child safety seat anchors.
The 2019 Toyota Corolla sedan splits the difference between the two. While the 4-door version is not a Top Safety Pick, the vehicle still managed a near perfects score. However, it was held back by “average” ratings on its headlights and child safety seat anchors. This marks the fourth year in a row that Toyota has managed these rankings and is a major improvement over previous years.
Toyota Recalls, Defects, and Safety Issues
Even the best safety rating doesn't guarantee nothing will go wrong with your Toyota. In fact, Toyota has reported millions of their vehicles were subject to recalls over the year. That only addressed issues that Toyota has responded to – there are many issues that Toyota has not yet addressed at all. Curious if your Toyota is subject to a recall? You can search their official site using your VIN to learn more. Below, we discuss some of the major issues that have affected Toyota vehicles in recent years.
Faulty Airbag Wiring in Toyota Yaris
More than 43,000 models of the Toyota Yaris released between 2015 and 2017 have been recalled due to faulty wiring within the airbag system. The issue is only present in the hatchback version of the vehicle and is related to harnesses for the airbag wiring. If the harnesses corrode over time, the airbags may not deploy correctly or at all. It is also possible that your vehicle would give a false positive with the deployed airbag light on your dashboard. Despite the recall, Toyota claims there have been no injuries or crashes caused by the issue.
Airbag Failure in Toyotas
The airbag issue described above is not the only airbag failure issue Toyota has dealt in recent years. According to U.S. regulators, more than 12 million vehicles may have potentially defective airbags. Many of those 12 million were produced by Toyota from 2013 through 2019.
The issue comes from a failure in the application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). The ASIC is responsible for ensuring that airbags deploy and seatbelts tighten during a collision. Unfortunately, testing has shown that the ASIC in these models tends to short out during hard impacts. That means neither the airbag nor the seat belt will be working properly in a crash. There are at least 8 deaths caused by this defect so far, with more potentially coming.
Stalled Vehicle Problems for Toyotas
After years of complaints from consumers, Toyota was served in a class action lawsuit relating to ongoing problems with the Toyota Prius hybrid model stalling out while driving. The stalling has been linked to overheating in the hybrid inverter assemblies. Toyota ultimately issued a recall for the Toyota Prius for model years 2010 through 2014, but owners complain the proposed fix didn't work. According to the lawsuit, Toyota knew of the potential issues of the inverter but chose to continue using the parts each year until 2014. Additionally, there are allegations that the Prius is less responsive and more sluggish after the supposed fix to the issue was introduced.
Toyota Problems? Discuss Your Options With An Attorney And Get The Help You Need.
Accolades and Top Safety Pick awards don't mean much if Toyota still routinely releases subpar automobiles. If you have purchased a Toyota and are dealing with a safety defect or recall issues, contact The Lemon Lawyer today. If you purchased or leased your vehicle in California, you may have a potential claim under the California Lemon Law. To learn how the Lemon Law may apply to you, call The Lemon Lawyer to set up your free consultation right away.