MANILA, Philippines – Despite the assurance of the local units of Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. that models in the Philippines are not included in the ordered safety recall of defective cars, some Filipinos are wondering if there is something wrong with their vehicles.
“Do you think I should postpone buying an Altis? I am planning on getting one next month. I am such a big Toyota fan but this is a serious issue,” wrote Cathy_for_you on the Toyota forum of automotive website Tsikot.com.
Green_machine, a 2009 model Altis owner, said he also became “a bit worried” upon hearing the news of the Toyota recall.
Toyota Motor Sales USA recalled 2.3 million Toyota cars and trucks in the US because of the sticking accelerator pedal problem. It also suspended sales of 8 models while it examines problems with the accelerator pedal.
The models are 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia.
“For now, wala pa namang nababalitang ‘victim" ng problem na 'to, at sana nga wala talaga. I guess the best thing we can do is really be careful in driving, kagaya rin ng sabi dito, safe distance and safe speed. Huwag munang pedal to the metal! Hehe,” said green_machine.
Niknaks88, meantime, wondered at The Pitstop forum of online community PinoyExchange.com (PEX): “Apektado kaya ang altis natin dito sa pinas? nakakatakot kasi umorder pa naman kami ng unit."
Elijah Marcial, public relations officer of Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP), stressed that its cars and car parts do not have any defects and will still be sold in the country.
"We received information from Toyota Motor Corp. that all Philippines' Toyota and Lexus models are not affected by the new US 'stuck gas pedal' safety recall," Marcial said in an interview on ANC.
No problems so far
PEX member jtow came to Toyota’s defense: “I don't think so Toyota's having deadly gas pedals. I have 2 cars of that company and they are working well!”
TMP holds about 35% of the Philippine market in terms of sales as of 2009, making it the country's top automobile brand, an official of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) said.
"They have the biggest share as of 2009 at about 35%," CAMPI secretary-general Homer Maranan told abs-cbnNEWS.com in a phone interview.
TMP's best-selling vehicles include Vios and Innova, a distributor told abs-cbnNEWS.com. Both brands are not affected by the US sales suspension as of posting.
According to Agence France-Presse, the Toyota recall has affected almost 8 million cars, including up to 1.8 million vehicles in Europe. Toyota will also recall almost 5.3 million US vehicles to replace floor mats that could trap accelerator pedals.
Several online users, for their part, complained about other Toyota models.
Mulatah of Tsikot wrote: “I have a Vios E second generation and a Fortuner, so far wala pa naman akong problem except that sa vios ko is parang may delay ang gas pedal pag apak (electronic throttle system or some thing to that effect). Other than that so far, okey pa rin.”
Xda2jojo added: “Biglang ganoon ang avanza ko, two times na nagyari sakin, nasa 7k pa ako ngayon. Paakyat ako from basement parking, Noong nasa taas na ako then shift to neutral, naiwan ang accelator for around 3 to 4 seconds pagtanggal ko sa paa ko then slowly down. I thought na floor mat lang eto, pa-check ko nga eto sa casa.”
Samcoy talked about his Toyota: “What's happening is sometimes my Corolla Altis' gas pedal is hard to depress and I think this is part of the problem... I don't want the worst case to happen. My car is a bit old so I think my gas pedal is just worn out. Is it best to have a Toyota casa check my car or just any auto shop would do?”
Others lamented the weak consumer protection in the country.
“I can't help agreeing with lherma1988. He has a good point. There is just no decent consumer protection in the Philippines,” wrote duskylim on Tsikot.com. “Anyone willing to grease the palms of the local authorities can get away with murder literally (even mass murder on occasion), the cases of Jason Ivler and the Ampatuan's come to mind.”
Molebole claimed: “Our DTI govt agency has a very poor customer protection that's why this incidents proliferate. Thanks and good luck to everyone coz I do have a 2010 Rav4 too. Damn!!!”
Duskylim went on to say, “Perhaps the only thing the public can do is to protest by NOT Buying from the offending dealers.”
Honda Motor Co., on the other hand, recalled 646,000 of its Jazz (or Fit) and City cars over a faulty window switch problem that reportedly caused fire to break out in a car which killed a child in South Africa.
The recall includes automobiles in the United States and covers the models sold in South America, North America, Europe, South Africa and Asia, but not Japan, Reuters reported.
Honda Cars Philippines announced that the Jazz and City models in the country are not affected by the recall.
This made Type 100 of Tsikot to comment, “This is water under the bridge.”
With the recent recalls of Toyota and Honda cars, Tsikot member AAjet advised his fellow motorists, “Ingat sa pagbili ng sasakyan. (Lalo na pag Toyota).”
Mikepogie said: “I think for now what we can do on our part is to do a pre driving test car and check the accel pedal. Be alert and cautious (keep a safe distance and safe speed) while driving especially if a family member is riding with you.”
He continued: “Since drive by wire ang tech na gamit ng toyota, it’s even more dangerous kasi electronic component na ang nagco-control ng acceleration and there is no way for us to tell kung defective. Also, pwede rin naman na bumabalik ang pedal pero yung electrical signal coming from the pedal is still telling the engine to rev. Sobrang delikado... baka hindi lang car insurance ang magamit.” – Report by Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com. With reports from Karen Flores of abs-cbnNEWS.com, Reuters and Agence France-Presse