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How do you like your Toyota now?

Toyota's dramatic decision yesterday to halt sales and manufacture of eight of its most popular models has dealt a heavy blow to the Japanese automaker's reputation for safety and reliability.

As our reporters visit dealerships today to talk to sales people and customers about how this changes the car buying dynamic and how it hits existing Toyota owners, we'd like to hear your views and stories about what you're planning to do if you already own one of the Toyota models in question.

The problem Toyota has identified is a palpably scary one--the idea of the accelerator pedal getting stuck in the depressed position is something right out of a harrowing movie scene. So, what to do?

Will you stop driving the car? Will you take extra precautions of any sort? Have you had any contact with your dealership yet and if so, how did that go?

And if you've been out to a Toyota dealership, what have you seen there--are service desks overwhelmed? Over at the Washington Auto Show, which opened this morning, Toyotas are still on display, but what kind of reaction will the dealers there get from visitors?

Come ahead with your thoughts and reactions and we'll follow the story throughout the day, incorporating your ideas into our coverage.

By Marc Fisher  | January 27, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Build-A-Story  
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Comments

My Husband and I traded in our 2006 Rav4 in October for a 2010 Rav4. I didn't want to trade but we had been in an accident and although the car drove fine to me, Husband thought it didn't drive the same. He's the main driver so we traded up.

This is our only car. Right now, Husband is out on disability so he's not making his daily 2hr commute. I use it only for errands, since I use mass transit to get to work, and we still have less than 2K miles on it.

Right now, we don't have a lot of choice. I'm going to keep driving the car. I've researched how to stop the car, should the accelerator get stuck so I at least know WHAT to do. Whether or not I'll be able to actually do it if I need to remains to be seen.

It'll be interesting to see if we hear directly from our dealer. I haven't called because I figure they are going to be overwhelmed with calls. We're in a holding pattern right now. I still love the car and still love Toyota (my first car was a '79 Corolla that I drove from 1986-1997).

Posted by: KnockKnock | January 27, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I meant to also say that while at the dealership discussing the new car, I actually asked about the acceleration issue and was told the Rav4s were not involved and that it was a car mat problem...

Posted by: KnockKnock | January 27, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I spent a year thinking about buying my first car and since my family is a Toyota Family (I had been driving my sister's 1996 Toyota which had 350k miles on it and my dad drives a 1992 Camry) in the end I decided to go with the company we knew and trusted. Ended up buying a 2010 Toyota Corolla on Black Friday in 2009.

While the recall is upsetting, I plan to keep driving my car. That being said I've read about the various ways to stop the vehicle if the accelerator problem happens and will probably take a different car out or the metro if I need to travel further then the 15 miles around my house.

I did talk to my dealer before the news about the plant closing down. They said that if and when they figure out the problem Toyota will send me a letter--but until then just pay attention to my vehicle.

Posted by: jade51999 | January 27, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I own two of the recalled vehicles. Not worried in the least. Other cars and trucks have had similar problems (Ford's cruise control problem a couple years ago). Just be aware of what to do if this happens to you. I doesn't have to end in disaster.

Posted by: pzjagd1 | January 27, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I own a 2008 Avalon, loved it when I bought it and still do. Called dealer this morning, got right through, asked if I needed to do anything, they offered to put me on list for a call when they are told how to fix the problem or I could wait to be contacted directly by the Company when they have something to tell me. I opted to wait to hear from Toyota. I will continue to drive my Avalon even though I have a Mazda M5 convertible for back up. Given the zillions of vehicles on the road that have not experienced a problem, I'll take my chances. If only Toyota could recall all the idiots on the road who continue to yack on cell phones!

Posted by: dem4life1 | January 27, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I have a 2010 RAV4 (traded in my 1996 Rav4), and what I researched in regards to stopping the car goes like this:
1) Put the car in neutral
2) firmly apply the brakes

Anyone have a link to more info?

Posted by: EGTuna | January 27, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I have two Corolla's and they have been the most trouble free vehicles I have ever owned. I have had the accelerator stick in other cars. It's pretty simple to bump the gearshift into neutral and coast to the shoulder. Anyone too dumb not to figure that out shouldn't be driving a car.

Posted by: wensay | January 27, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe you all give Toyota a pass on this. If it was a domestic vehicle you would be jumping up and down talking about how unions ruined the car industry. Sue them. My first car was a 1968 Chevrolet Impala (250K + miles). My current car is a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid we are very pleased with. Look at the customer satisfaction for Ford (#2) and Chevy (#5) before buying a new Toyota or Honda.

Posted by: hdimig | January 27, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I purchased a 2010 corolla last month. When I called the dealer last week questioning about that recall, they were pretty quick to pass the buck and say that I "would hear from Toyota directly" if my car was affected. Not sure how the dealership isn't "directly Toyota", however. I can't stop driving the car as I need it for my commute, but the lack of information from Toyota is astounding. Other than "push the brake" if your car careens out of control, they are giving us no helpful information.

Posted by: agh22 | January 27, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Thank you hdimig for making that point. If this were a US automaker, people would be calling for criminal indictments and vowing never to buy from them again.

I am still waiting to find out about how long Toyota knew about this problem before the recall.

And finally, if it were just a floor mat problem, they would just take them out of the vehicles. The fact that they've stopped production and sales seems to indicate that it's a fundamental issue with the construction of the gas pedal that will require significant work to fix--and they're scrambling to figure out how to do that.

Posted by: JoeSchmoe06 | January 27, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

They seemed to imply that is was just a problem with a US supplied part. If that were the case then they could just replace the part with a Japanese one. The explanation seems fishy to me. They are being nice to you while insulting you on the sly like the Japanese toy company in "South Park".

Posted by: hdimig | January 27, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I have owned five Toyotas - 3 Camry and 2 Prius. We use only the Prius models now.

The only complaint I have had about all of those cars was a propensity of the 2002 Camry's rear brakes to retain road dust that eventually made the brakes wear out prematurely. Warranty covered it the first time, but not the second. That's it - no other problems in several hundred thousands of miles of driving.

Trust Toyota? You bet! Especially when they were willing to shut down production to solve this problem, a move that will cost them millions but will result in a safer car. We continue to buy Toyota because they produce excellent vehicles.

Posted by: washpost16 | January 28, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

My Toyota has always been a great car for which I have received excellent service. This company not only knows how to make a great car it also knows how to run a successful business and how to treat its employees. Toyota has had to fight anti-import sentiments for decades and it has prevailed because it produces a superior vehicle--all while providing gainful employment to tens of thousands of Americans and without taking taxpayer dollars! Despite losses of the past couple of years, they are putting customer safety and brand loyalty ahead of the dollar. And both their product and their actions speak louder than these criticisms because in the long run, customer loyalty is exactly what they'll get.

Posted by: kb001 | January 28, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

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