Mails with TME/TMC
The private toyota landcruiser 200
Since March 2008 I am trying to convince Toyota Motors Europe to work on this issue. I have made several suggestions, how to implement a patch, which needs manually activated each time the drivers starts the engine, doing this, the vehicle would not violate any homologation specs and therefore does not violate any exhaust limits.
Surprisingly on May 4th 2009, Toyota released a patch for Australian customers, just like the way I was suggesting. But for Europe, Toyota is not willing to do anything.
Below you find some mails to get your own impression about Toyota´s understanding of customer´s satisfaction:
Dear Mr. Welledits,
Good Afternoon to you.
I just completed my internal meeting here at TME about your concern.
We are contacting Australia and New Zealand to get additional information from them on this ECU prototype. With the time difference we have not heard anything today. But the engineers have advised me that if there is a prototype in New Zealand that it "might" not be for your engine (ecu). I asking for a clarification on that statement and will keep you informed.
Concerning the map update: I did not know on this end that there had been a upgrade. I do not receive a notice when there is an upgrade on vehicles. The best route would be your local retailer. But from what we discovered today is that with the new update you can edit the navigation while moving.
Also if you think that there is something wrong with your fuel injectors please take you LC into your retailer so they can check if your injectors are faulty.
I will get back to you later this week as soon as I hear from New Zealand.
Serious Cases - Top Management Contacts 23.02.2009
30 April 2009
Dear Mr. Welledits,
Again thanks very much for your emails to me and Mr. Arashima.
Mr. Welledits after meeting with our engineers here at Toyota Motor Europe and discussing your case in detail it was found that your Land Cruiser is running to Toyota specifications at this time.
I have brought your comments directly to the attention of Toyota Motor Europe Top Management and also as I advised you before your comments are also sent to Toyota Motor Corporation. There are no plans at this time to make any changes to the gear box software in European specification Land Cruiser.
As we confirmed before the Australian Land Cruisers are not the same as the European models.
I am sorry that we can help you further on the software change on your Land Cruiser. For your information I have checked and there has been no Field Technical Reports or customer complaints issued in Europe on this issue except for the one complaint from you.
Mr. Welledits as you have confirmed many times that you are happy with the vehicle if you still feel that there is something else not working correctly on your Land Cruiser please take it into your dealer for an inspection.
Again thanks very much for your comments for we do value them very much.
Serious Cases – Product Liability
Top Management Contacts
Att. Mr.Tadashi Arashima
President of Toyota Motors Europe
Albert Welledits, Eng.
Vice President, CTO
O.Salm & Co GmbH
Dear Mr. President Arashima,
Mr. Dan Baker informed me about the fact, that you might be informed about the entire issue. Well, I can´t proof this, since my first class letter to you has neither be returned nor the delivery has been confirmed by the Belgian Post Authority. Since also my first e-mail to you personally has not been answered, I just can speculate about the status of your personal knowledge about this case.
First of all, I would like to express my personal feeling fighting the world´s largest car maker about a silly improvement of a software issue and the fact, that this biggest car maker rather takes the risk of an international sized damage of reputation than following the customers requests for an improvement, which is basically existing finally, but only for Australia and New Zealand.
The fact, that you, Mr.President Arashima don´t find the time to take this case as a high leveled issue, makes me as curious as the fact, that your company spends time only in defending a proofen wrong mapped software instead fixing it.
Mr.President Arashima, I worked for some months in Japan, I setup several breweries there, so I think, I do know some little things about Japanese traditions and reputations. But the fact, how Toyota deals with this problem, is seriously standing above all differences of mentality. Also in Japan I could experience myself, that the customer always comes first, so do I personally understand my business, and if only one of my customers would have been treated the way I am treated by Toyota, I would have gone bankrupt already.
It is a proofen fact, that the software patch for the gearbox in Australia as well as in New Zealand lead to a 100% satisfaction by the LC200-owners, that the fuel economy improved by more than 10% and that the gearbox more likely behaves as it is been expected from a gearbox in the year 2008/2009.
It is also a fact, that the software patch exactly does, what I was suggesting Toyota since almost one year, for this I do have to thank Toyota, that finally my voice has been listened to. The more it is absolutely not understanding, that after the positive feedback from Australian and New Zealand customers this patch is not made available for European customers. There is neither a technical nor a homolgation based excuse existing, why not making this patch available. I do have the homolgation requirements in my hands and those from Australia, there is latterly no difference. The improvement does not effect "normal operation conditions", just like it is with any OBD-socket connected power chip.
I do understand this ignorance to European customers as a threat to Toyota customers, there is not a single dealer in Europe who understands Toyota´s reaction about this case, instead Toyota works with the threat to Toyota dealers and importers not to support these customers demands of an improvement, instead pushing the complainants into a continued loop back to the dealers for inspections.
Mr. President Arashima, the situation is this: I spend € 95.000,-- for this vehicle and I guess, for this money I do have the right to call in necessary improvements, especially since they are technically available. I do have the right as a customer, that the car maker does not ignore customers demands or uses methods of running these customers tired. Especially this method might have worked with other customers, but will certainly not work with me.
I am organizing my visual protest against Toyota Motors Europe, I will also place ads in the leading Belgium newspapers as well as international newspapers, I am in the middle of negotiations to keep the costs within my personal horizont. What I will do is, to inform the truth about this generally amazing vehicle. If the cruiser would be a piece of crab, I would have sold it already, but the fact, that there is only one, but painful error in the software, which is easy to fix, drives me mad. It is certain, that in case all my attempts to finally open Toyota´s mind and giving up their total ignorance, I will sell this vehicle with a loss of a lot of money and it is also certain, that I will do everything possible, to disencourage everybody to buy this Cruiser. Even the fact, that Toyota might sue me at court for this, I am taking into consideration, because this trail at court will be worst PR Toyota will face in Europe.
The question is, if Toyota really wants to take into consideration massive damage on their reputation on the European market instead giving up their Stubbornness and make this patch available also for Europe. It is a shame, that Toyota failed to test drive the LandCruiser in Europe by independent test drivers before the launch of this vehicle, for me it is clear, Toyota did not do their homework properly.
Mr. President Arashima, this is my personal last e-mail to you, as a fair business person I let you know in advance about my next steps, if I am not receiving a positive answer before June 12th 2009. My certainly last step will be the sell of my cruiser, knowing, that after all these critics it will be difficult to find a buyer for it. It is also certain, that the public opinion about Toyota might be different after all. It is in your hands, to twist the necessary buttons. If this is the case, I want to have a written agreement with penalty conditions in case of putting me again on the waiting benches, anything else I am not going to accept.
I am kindly asking you to realize the extend of this case, the LandCruiser 200 V8 Diesel with the 6speed automatic gearbox might become Toyota´s waterloo in Europe.
Hoping for your rationality in this matter,
Albert Welledits, Eng.
Vice President, CTO
O.Salm & Co GmbH
Dear Mr.President Arashima,
Since I let the deadline of returning my vehicle at full compensation pass off and finally decided, after serious evaluating all possible alternatives, to keep the Cruiser, and also since Mr.Baker indicated, that by this time, this issue is off his desk, I am again addressing you.
Mr.President, with your due respect, I do have the feeling, that Toyota does have difficulties to understand me and those owners, who express the same feeling of discomfort with this gearbox software. Although I am an engineer and understand maybe a bit more than the average consumer, I addressed other experts in this matter, some of them have been my teacher at the technical highschool and the University.
Mr. President, the current software for the gearbox at the LC200 has been designed only in terms of maximizing the comfort, but minimizing the efficiency. It is not making sense to develop a giant V8 with amazing torque from 1500Rpm if this masterpiece of engineering (now lets forget about the massive oil consumption) is coupled with a gearbox, which could technically deliver the power efficient to the wheels, but is not been permitted by a mislead designed software, which “eats” the energy and converts these losses into radiation. Not using a converter lockup and not using the 6th gear at the beginning of the maximum torque of the engine is a pure waste of energy, besides to the discomfort to feel this vaporization of energy.
Mr.President Arashima, since more than one year I am discussing this matter with Mr.Baker and Mr. De Groof (who never responded to me….) and the same complaints have been addressed by hundreds of owners in Australia. Finally, by May 4th a patch was released in Australia, which did exactly that, what I was praying all these months. Well, I got the feeling, that I am understood, but why is Toyota not willing to implement this patch to the software for the EC-vehicles. Why does Toyota claim to be invironment friendly in its automobile technology and then, on the other hand, to behave stubborn in terms to improve a mislead gearbox software mapping.
In your last mail, you expressed, not be involved into day to day businesses, well Mr.President, you represent Toyota Motors Europe and you do have an important voice at Toyota Motors Corporation in Japan. I am again kindly asking you, to use your voice to inform President Toyoda about this and about the fact, that someone in between of the line of decision makers is not willing to understand customers demands.
There is no more need, to invent the wheel again, Toyota created already the patch for the gearbox, all which needs to be done is, to implement this patch into the EC-software.
Mr.President Arashima, with your respect, you don´t have a customer, who bought a low cost mass market vehicle, you are dealing with a customer, who put more than € 90.000,-- cash on the table, who ordered this vehicle blind in November 2007, who spend money for a business class ticket to Toyota to visit the Tokyo Motor Show to see the car in real, to testdrive it in Tokyo area, a customer, who invested another almost € 10.000,-- into some retrofit equipment, a customer, who could have also bought something else on the SUV-market. My decision for the Landcruiser was based on the good experiences with the LC100/1999 and 300.000km of satisfied driving.
The way Toyota deals with this and maybe with other problems might also be a reason of loosing markets, especially in the luxury market. It is a kind of irony, that a customer pays a lot of money, spends a lot for extras and finally has to sink down to its knees and begs the president of the car maker for improvements.
In case you don´t believe the seriousity of my claims, hereafter I am adding some commends of LC200 owners in Australia, who got already their update.
I would very much appreciate, if you could confirm the receipt of my e-mail, just to know, that there is no “human firewall” , who eliminates this mail.
Albert Welledits, Eng.
Vice President, CTO
Our Ref. NCR-0035609-11-E
August 25, 2009
To: Mr. Albert Welledits
cc: TOYOTA MOTOR EUROPE N.V./S.A.
From: Kazunori Harada, Customer Relations Division, TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION
Dear Mr. Welledits:
This is to acknowledge your letter of August 1, 2009, addressed to our President, Mr. Akio Toyoda, which has been directed to us for reply.
We have confirmed your concerns with TOYOTA MOTOR EUROPE N.V./S.A..
As they explained to you, your Automatic Transmission operates within European specification. Therefore, we cannot change the software of Automatic Transmission, because we manufacture each spec vehicle according to the local environmental and operating conditions and governmental regulations.
Also, we have taken the liberty of circulating your comments among related divisions for their information.
We are sorry that we cannot meet your request, however we would appreciate your kind understanding on this matter.
TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION
Overseas Operations Department
Customer Relations Division