Does Toyota understand its 2nd largest market?

Let me get this straight: Toyota will recall 137,000 Lexus models in the United States for possibly faulty engines next week, after the driving-heavy Fourth of July weekend?

Doing so fits Toyota’s recent pattern of dealing with recalls: announce we’re investigating a problem, announce we’ve identified the problem and solution, then announce that the next day we’ll start a recall -- first in Japan, then overseas.

To be sure, consumers packing for the vacation weekend might not be paying much attention if the recall were announced today. Some might argue that starting a recall on July 5 is a better bet for getting people’s attention.

I don’t buy it. I believe that folks ought to be told before they load up the car and head to the cabin that they might want to take the other car -- or rent one.

Most weeks, waiting until after the weekend to make a recall official would be a minor issue. It’s a much bigger deal on the Fourth of July weekend.

One of the raps against Toyota’s handling of its recall woes is that it has been oddly out of touch with American concerns. By not recognizing that this weekend is different from most other weekends, Toyota continues to show that it’s not really attuned to its second largest market.

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