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Discussion Starter #1
Dear Members:

Thank you again for your support re the 2004 Camry front end problem that got mysteriously solved when in the dealer's shop for the whole day, but "nothing was wrong except the tires were overinflated".

After it cost me $500 to fix the rear bumper of my '04 Camry after rolling back 12" into an unoccupied old TBird, I decided to write a letter to Mr. Fujio Cho, President of Toyota, in Japan, telling him that Toyota needed to make Camry bumpers better and this was not the place to use recycled plastic. I also recommended that they consider putting side and curtain airbags in all their cars since the expense was nominal ($600). I also sent him a thank you card of one of my wife's paintings in token gratitude for making my car custom in Japan ( a stripped down 5spd, 4 cyl ).

Guess what happened? Mr. Cho never got my letter. They forwarded my letter back to the Legal Dept., Toyota Motor Sales, USA. This is what a Mr. Chris Walker from the Toyota Legal Dept. wrote (I'm including the whole thing so no one can say they were misquoted or taken out of context ):
"Toyota wishes to express its appreciation for your interest in Toyota's products and would like to thank you for taking the time to write".
"As a matter of course, all correspondance received by Toyota Motor Corporation containing suggestions for new products,patents,testimonials, proposals, marketing or advertising ideas is forwarded to the Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc Legal Department for reply."
"Please be advised that it is the policyof Toyota Motor Sales, USA, not to accept unsolicited ideas. The possibility of confict between developments from within the Toyota organizations and ideas submitted by interested persons, such as yourself, makes this policy necessary".
"In regards to the above information, we regret that we cannot give consideration or advice to an idea. In accordance with this long-standing policy, we are returning your correspondence with this letter". Signed Chris Walker, Legal Department

Is that a piece of work or isn't it ? What do you all think about this ? Obviously, we are wasting our time telling them ways to improve things. So much for the Toyota slogan "continually improving". How do they know what to improve if they won't listen to their customers? WG
 

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93 Z24 and 78 Bronco
1993 z24
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4,025 Posts
yeah it sucks, but remember: you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake...
 

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it was all a dream
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4,213 Posts
Ouch, sorry to hear that man.

Do you think you could take a digicam pic or a scan of that letter you got back from their legal dept?

It's not that I don't believe you, but it would be nice evidence for this argument. It would also add some credibility to your statement considering you only have 3 posts. :)
 

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Big Wrench
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397 Posts
George.

I'm hearing you!

I bought a 2003 Camry SE for my wife in July of 2003. The A/C performed very poorly. I had her take it back a couple of times and still no improvement.

She forgot about the A/C problem because it was cooling off in Las Vegas in September and the A/C works fine under normal conditions.

I liked her SE soo much I went ahead and bought me a 2004 SE V6 in march of this year. Car was great, until the Las Vegas summer rolled in. My car too now had the same A/C problem. I'm a certified A/C guy so I checked the refrigerant charge and everything checked out O.K. . But still an under performing A/C system.

The problem is when the car is left in the sun and the ambient temperature is above 105 degrees the A/C system doesn't have enough capacity to catch up quickly. It takes nearly 20 minutes before you feel any sort of cooling. I have a three year old so I direct all the A/C registers to face her. Well that leaves me with no cooling in a car that is well over 110 degrees inside.:mad:

I've tinted both SE's with premium metalized tint. Including a glare strip and V-Kool on the front windshield.

It helps the A/C catch up a little faster but still and under performing system.

Most cars in Las Vegas have no such problems. The A/C will kick out cold air within a few minutes and start cooling the cab down. After 15 minutes I'm lucky to have 65 degree supply air.:(

So I contacted Toyota Support thru their website asking about possible over-sized condensers that might fit my applications.

I got back an email contact for the local Toyota service dept. My email was definitely intercepted. No technical personnel ever saw it. And it was address to the technical guys (Service/Maintenance). And the reply had the same type of BS regarding legal this, Legal that, and forwarding to local serivce dept.

The service supervisor emailed me and set up an service appointment. He took the car in and said the system was over-charged. They said they reclaimed some gas and that it was now O.K. . Well now it doesn't take 15 minutes to cool off, it takes 14 minutes and 45 seconds!!! Well basically there was no noticeable differance.

Well it's a good thing that I live close to work. My A/C takes 15 minutes to kick in, but I'm at work in 10.:lol: :confused: :mad:
 

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Thats sucks man ! Yes that's strange it looks like an overcharged or undercharged system indeed but do you think all 2004 Camry's perform the same way ? That would be interesting to see ...
 

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Big Wrench
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397 Posts
Nico said:
Thats sucks man ! Yes that's strange it looks like an overcharged or undercharged system indeed but do you think all 2004 Camry's perform the same way ? That would be interesting to see ...
I think all Gen 5 Camry's A/C systems are the same. They work great in the majority of the climates, but extreme desert temperatures wasn't on the drawing board.

This is definitely not my first two Toyotas in Las Vegas. But the A/C system on these two leave alot to be desired. I believe only a few desert areas will have this problem. Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Baker, Laughlin, etc. Everyone else won't be affected.

I believe my only fix is an over-sized condenser. I need more surface area to get rid of the heat from the A/C system in a high ambient temperature enviornment.

Oh well, Maybe one day I'll get off my ass and find an oversized condenser that will fit and fix the problem. Probably a Lexus sedan would have what I need. Need to search the bone yards.:disappoin
 

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playing the devils advocate..

theres no way that anyone influential or even romotely close to the president of toyota would even address ur letter unless u had some credability in their system.

for them ur 25k is chump change dont drive a toyota theres a million others willing to

a car manufacturer isnt ur local service store..corporate could care less what u think thats why u have lemon laws, ur local toyota dealship, insurance and a crappy warranty

besides think about the basis of ur letter..ur asking them to fix something that works

U backed into the other car and damaged the bumper
it was new when u got it
it was working and fine until u backed into the other car
why should toyota change anything the bumper functioned like it was supposed to

u also made the mistake of taking it to toyota to get the bumper fixed
comparable body shops can do the job cheaper and even better than the dealership

in terms of listening to your ideas..unfortunately we're nobodies
we're not well known designers like rod millen or chip foose
or well known modifiers like lingenfelter or toyomoto

i wish that we had more say but we dont
hence if we're not pleased no one is forcing us to drive toyotas but we do cause we love um
 

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Here in Canada Toyota does listen to customer complaints. All complaints are considered and alot of them are sent to Japan in a report for changes. As for the A/C problem, the system was not designed for that type of heat and neither was alot of other cars.
 

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What the Pho?
2000 Solara
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1,433 Posts
ouch, sorry to hear that dude. Man, thats corperations and business for yah. At times, we go unheard. They instead hire professionals to research target market and demographics to sell a new product. WTH, u know?
 

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Super Moderator
Supra
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The reason Toyota legal gets the product sugestions is simple: People did send suggestions to many companies that got answered by real people. The companies used to then adopt the good ideas, and then they'd get sued out the ass for stealing the design or idea.

Hence suggestion letters always go to legal...so there is a clear message sent back that the designers and decision makers did not see it, so if they incorporate something that happens to be your idea, they didn't get it from you. Sucks, but that's the fine influence of the US justice system for ya...

Bob
 

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299 Posts
there's got to be a reason that everything on a car, especially the best selling car in america, was designed the way it was. the engineers have to take into account the performance of a design, but also cost.

while it might be better to have a really, really good a/c unit, it might bump up the cost of the car a grand or two, and i'm sure that price difference would drive a few people to another sedan. same thing with the bumper. it's cheeper to make it out of recycled plastic, even though that might stand up as well in a slow speed accident. all they care about is that no one is serriously injured, not that it costs you a thousand dollars to get some foam and plastic fixed.
 

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would it help the cause if one was to name drop "toyota nation" and we are like 2k strong(i think). If they are to know that they might look at you a lil diff specially if you have some pull on this web page, like a mod or a the owner of this site... speakin of; who is the owner?
 

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400whp club here I come!!
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I believe Ekam is the owner...

They are probably worried about getting sued for "stealing" your idea more than anything. I wouldn't get too upset about it.
 

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Big Wrench
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andyman61 said:
there's got to be a reason that everything on a car, especially the best selling car in america, was designed the way it was. the engineers have to take into account the performance of a design, but also cost.

while it might be better to have a really, really good a/c unit, it might bump up the cost of the car a grand or two, and i'm sure that price difference would drive a few people to another sedan. same thing with the bumper. it's cheeper to make it out of recycled plastic, even though that might stand up as well in a slow speed accident. all they care about is that no one is serriously injured, not that it costs you a thousand dollars to get some foam and plastic fixed.
To get an A/C system to operate in the southwest high desert enviornment would be a few hundred dollars at the most. Possiblely a bigger compressor, an over-sizes condenser and maybe a larger receiver. All things already on the car just a little bigger.

Most US manufacturers test they're vehicles in the southwest high desert enviornment. Alot of them test in Tuscon and Phoenix and lately Las Vegas. Even Harley Davidson tested they're new V-Rod in the summer high desert. I don't think Japan has anything close to the temperatures found here in Las Vegas, as such can't design and test in it.

PS - I love my Camry even with the A/C system short comings. I ain't even close to considering giving her up.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Members,
Thank you for all your feedback on "Toyota Japan...".
You're right ! Probably the biggest reason for this nonsensical USA Legal Dept's response is Toyota Japan's paranoia over the US Legal System and lawsuits. The fact is lawsuits are a relatively unheard of thing in Japan, but this might change in time with all the press about high profile legal cases in the USA.
If Toyota is perceived by the enough people as losing its touch (and there was an indication of this in the latest JDPowers report of no of defects in new cars), who knows, maybe Hyundai will outdo Toyota in the future and build a safer,more dependable and better value car that will be appealing to us the next time around. Toyota's arrrogance may cost them! WG
 

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'10 XRS (05 & 09 XRS RIP)
2010 Corolla XRS
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georgewa said:

"As a matter of course, all correspondance received by Toyota Motor Corporation containing suggestions for new products,patents,testimonials, proposals, marketing or advertising ideas is forwarded to the Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc Legal Department for reply."
I agree that your correspondence should have been sent to the designated party. You have an issue there and you might be justified in escalating it up the chain at Toyota Motor Sales.

Concerning Toyota's policy about suggestions, consider my thoughts because it's common practice in the Auto Industry.

It's tough defining a blanket Corporate policy on how to deal with new product suggestions. It's a legal minefield. Some suggestions, like yours, are naturally good ideas that their product planning divisions can use to better the product. There would "likely" be no issue concerning intellectual property rights, etc. since it's really a generic "improvement".

But not every suggestion made is as cut-and-dry as yours. Other suggestions could be considered patented and considered property rights of other firms or automotive manufacturers. So the blanket policy is to treat ALL customer suggestions the same regardless. It saves the guesswork for those people without the legal expertise to know what's appropriate.

Yes, the legal system now sucks to the point where everyone's paralyzed - and it doesn't matter which country you live in anymore. Japan has recently become VERY afraid of it's legal shadow with implications back to North America. And yeah, Korea (Hyundai & Kia) will feel it as soon as a high-profile expensive lawsuit impacts their viability. It's not "if", but "when". Anyone who dealt with Canada's recent Legislative Bill-C4 (aka PIPEDA) knows the possible legal ramifications of not doing a "CYA" check. This impacted divisions across the globe just because one of their divisions did business in Canada. Ugly!

That said, I recommend that if you feel that there is a quality issue, open a support ticket with the Customer Relations division. They should have a 1-800 number and at least you can vent to someone who will listen and direct your concerns. It would be logged and forwarded to the people internally who can effect changes to future vehicles. Enough complaints usually will raise the attention of someone and impact future vehicle re-designs. That's where your opinion will "count".
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you for your input. I just feel so thankful that my '04 Camry works great now! But it is a very scary proposition-ie buying a new car. It turns out if I hadn't special ordered my car direct from Japan in May, '04, it would have had 2 major defects from any dealer lot car- the curtain airbags would have needed a major overhaul because they would have been installed backwards (an NHTSA official recall) and the front suspension would have been screwed up so the car pulled to one side (an offical Toyota TSB-Technical Service Bulletin). Wow! It's obvious to me that the shaking in the front end that I noticed right away was probably due to some loose bolts that were tightened when I left the car in the dealer shop for the entire day, although the dealer didn't tell me about that because I was already threatening to give them the car back when I took it in, and they knew there was a 50% chance I would tell them to keep the whole thing fearing more glitches like that in the future if they told me the truth. They would have been right, too. You just can't be too careful! It's really good the Camry owners can communicate with one another so easily, because otherwise you could feel like you were talking or up against a brick wall. Thank you all again and good luck with your Camry's ! WG
 

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TN の がしょう
2015 Camry XSE V6
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I like my Infiniti FX35 A/C. Goes as low as 60 degress. :rolleyes:
 
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