Toyota's Response to Tundra Frame Rust Investigation Due


Toyota's response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's probe into reports of severe frame rust and corrosion problems in 2000-01 Tundra pickups is due to the federal agency on Friday, Nov. 20.

NHTSA opened the investigation in October, after receiving 20 complaints related to the spare tire mount rusting to the point where the spare tire fell off the vehicle and broken brake lines leading to brake failure. But as of Nov. 19, NHTSA had published nearly 300 complaints to its website. More than 70 complaints have been reported since the investigation was announced.

Toyota has been asked to turn over all documentation that it has collected or generated internally related to the problems, including field reports, consumer complaints and lawsuit or third-party arbitration summaries.

"The information requested by NHTSA in the Information Request dated10/9/09 is due today, not necessarily a response [to the complaints] from Toyota," said Brian Lyons, Toyota's Safety and Quality Communications Manager. "Therequirements per the Information Request have been fulfilled."

Toyota has been studying the issue for more than six months and has repurchased several Tundras from owners as part of its investigation process, though no formal repair program has been put in place.

Most rust-damaged Tundras have been reported in what Toyota defines as 20 severe cold-weather states, like Massachusetts, where brutal winter road conditions can take their toll on under-protected metal.

2000 was the Toyota Tundra’s first model year as a replacement for the earlier Toyota T100 pickup. The first Tundras were built in 1999. In 2000, 100,455 were sold, and another 108,863 were sold in 2001.

Tundra frame rust complaints are the latest ding against Toyota. In September, Toyota issued an urgent warning to remove driver's side floor mats from 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles after a family was killed when their Lexus ES350 experienced sudden acceleration.


Updated 11-20-2009 at 9:45 am PDT with quote from Toyota


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