Rocker panels falling off Camrys due to design flaw. Is Toyota responsible?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

The rocker panel covers fell off my '89 Camry and cost $200 to replace.
Each black strip, which runs between the wheel wells, is a thin membrane of
rubber around a piece of ungalvanized steel. When the supporting strip
rusts to bits, the cover sags and disengages from the body panel. Surely,
Toyota knows the virtues of aluminum. When I phoned to gripe about this
design flaw, Toyota assigned me complaint number 951994720 and said it's my
tough luck--the warranty is up. My question is: Have they really had 951
million complaints?

RAY: I doubt it. My guess is that the number they gave you is made up of
several codes. The "95" is probably the year in which you lodged your

TOM: Right. And "199" is probably the designation for the rocker panel
piece you're complaining about.

RAY: "472" is probably the number of complaints they've had in '95 about
this particular problem.

TOM: And finally, "0" is your chances of having them do anything about it!
Often, these complaint numbers are also followed by the letters "RO,"
which stands for "rave on!"

RAY: It IS a lousy design, and I'm sure Toyota knows that. They
completely redesigned the Camry in 1992, and I assume they've made the
requisite improvements. But if anyone out there has a post-1992 Camry with
this same problem, let us know, and we'll assign you a complaint number.

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