For Toyota, 2010 was a year that'll live in infamy. The year'a biggest car story was the automaker issuing safety fixes for every Toyota-brand model car and truck sold in the United States. Here's the damage in one easy-to-see graphic.
With 7.1 million vehicles recalled for 18 different issues in the United States so far this year, Toyota has set a record for itself and a new high mark for trouble among automakers. Some were minor problems, like having the wrong labels for load capacity. Others like the stuck pedals and trapped floormats linked to crashes and deaths, posed all-too-real dangers.
A few months back, a Toyota executive told an industry gathering that "'recall' is not a four-letter word," and the company was moving faster than ever to fix problems even with just a handful of complaints. Of course it's not a four-letter word — it's six letters. Six very expensive letters.
While the numbers are big, they don't tell the complete story. In addition to its safety recalls, Toyota launched two large "customer service campaigns" — essentially recalls for problems that don't pose safety concerns — involving another 600,000 cars — including cooling problems on the Prius hybrid. It's still facing probes by U.S. authorities into delays of previous recalls, and a massive class-action suit in California over the sticking pedal defects.
Have the troubles ended for Toyota? Only time will tell if more vehicles will need fixing, but at the very least their legal woes are far from stopping any time soon.