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Hitachi seeks to quell Toyota recall hysteria

Date: 09 February 2010

Tim Bowden of HItachi Capital Vehicle Solutions

Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions head of operations Tim Bowden has written an open letter to the fleet industry in response to the Toyota accelerator pedal recall, in an attempt to quell some of the panic caused by hysteria from elements of the mainstream consumer media.

"The effects of the Toytota recall are certainly being felt globally, but I thought it was completely irresponsible for the US transport chief to over-react to the situation. It was nothing more than scaremongering on his part, which was confirmed by his later back-track on the comment.

"The key advice that I would offer concerned fleet managers is not to panic. The symptoms described - accelerator pedal that sticks, is hard to depress, slow to return or is unsmooth during operation - are likely to be caused by progressive wear and will not occur suddenly.

"Toyota has already identified the unique VINs of those vehicles potentially affected and is working with DVLA and VOSA to link these numbers to the names and addresses of the correct registered keepers. Amid all this panic, it is important to remember that the vehicle recall process in the UK is well established under a code of practice and all participating manufacturers are committed to ensuring that any recalls are acted upon efficiently and effectively. In fact, the UK process is recognised as being the most robust and successful programmes in Europe.

"Another concern I have with this media hysteria, is that fleet managers will arrange precautionary checks with their fleet provider. This is completely unnecessary, a waste of time for all parties and will simply increase the queues at the dealerships. Fleets will be notified of affected vehicles at the earliest opportunity, by which time Toyota dealers should also be in possession of the necessary parts to complete the work required.

"My advice would be to wait to be notified if any of your vehicles are affected and then take the action required."