This week, Toyota Motor Corporation, announced another massive vehicle recall. In a press release issued on Thursday, Toyota informed the public that “we will be recalling 2-million 2014 Toyota Rav4s due to a faulty passenger seat.” This news was not surprising for the troubled automaker who has issued numerous recalls affecting over 17-million U.S. vehicles since November of 2009. What made this particular announcement different is that the 2014 Rav4 is not due to be sold to the public until August. The press release was dated January 10, 2014 which has led to conjecture that Toyota is purposefully releasing vehicles it knows to be defective.
According to the release, the faulty passenger seat was due to an “unfortunate mix-up with one of our military contracts”. Apparently, the passengers’ seats on all 2-million vehicles were manufactured with airplane ejector seats that would be activated by pushing the air-bag button. The seat used was the Goodrich ACES II which has a rocket under the seat that can shoot an occupant between 100 and 200 feet in the air. However, Toyota claims that since most Rav4s have sunroofs “we don’t foresee any serious injuries”. They appeared to be more concerned with the parachute potentially impairing the vision of the driver.
On Friday, a Toyota spokesperson addressed the recall stating, “The 2014 Rav4 has yet to be released and when it is it will represent the high standards we have for all of our vehicles. The passenger seat is perfectly fine and the press release was a communications mix-up.” Interestingly, according to Car and Driver magazine, Toyota has announced that they will be pushing back the release date of the 2014 Rav4 until November of 2013 due to “inventory issues”.
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