Toyota takes blame for part from Dana
and Robert Sherefkin
November 23, 2009 - 12:01 am ET
Toyota Motor Corp. is taking the blame for rust problems on 2000 and 2001 Toyota Tundra pickups. But in a highly unusual move, the automaker identified Dana Holding Corp. as the supplier of the trucks' frames.
Dana also built the frames for 750,000 1995-2004 Tacoma pickups that faced similar rust problems and were the subject of voluntary recalls and buybacks last year. Toyota was to submit information to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week in response to complaints about rusted frames on the pickups. Dana spokesman Chuck Hartlage said, "We are assisting Toyota with this investigation" on the Tundras. Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons says there is no connection between the Tacoma and Tundra frames. "The frames were built to a different design and at different plants" for the Tacoma and Tundra, he said. "So this is not apples to apples." He said Toyota does not blame Dana. "It is too early to speculate what we will do for Tundra," Lyons said. "They're only looking at one specific portion of the frame -- the cross member that supports the spare tire -- not the entire frame." NHTSA is investigating 20 reports that relate to spare tire separation and brake system failures as a result of frame corrosion on the vehicles. NHTSA has received 238 complaints about the 2000 models and 48 about the 2001 models. The complaints range from brake-line corrosion to corrosion of the entire frame. More than 70 complaints had been posted since NHTSA launched its preliminary evaluation of the problem on Oct. 6.