In his 11th floor office, across from city hall, James Tilliman is watching television. You might think the assistant director of they city's finance department would have more important things to do, but this is as important as it comes. Tillman is one of the people in charge of the city's vehicle fleet that includes the troubled Toyota's.
"I'm listening to the news all the time when Toyota comes up because obviously owning almost 600 Toyota Prius it's very important that we maintain the safety of our drivers."
The City of Houston owns ten Camry's on the recall list. For now those are grounded. But the 558 Prius hybrids are the ones that could be cause for concern. Late last year, some Prius were recalled due to gas pedals sticking on the floor mat.
"They thought the problem was the floor mats not being caught right, there's a nob and you put the floor mats over that and so they weren't quite fitting right. That was there original thought and so we just removed the floor mats."
They took out the mats and haven't had any problems. Now Toyota is considering recalling the 2010 Prius due to sticky brake problems. The good news is, the city doesn't own any 2010 models. But I asked Tillman,with all the recent problems, would they buy Toyota's in the future. He says his job is to make a list of the type of car the departments need.
"Then we give that list to strategic purchasing and it goes out for an open bid so we could get Ford Focus, Toyota Prius, Chevy whatever. That's a decision made by strategic purchasing in the rfp process."
Regardless, they already have nearly 600 fairly new Toyota's and there's no plan to change that anytime soon.