Posts Tagged ‘cover-up’

Toyota’s ‘negotiated equipment recall’ with the NHTSA

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Maybe I’m missing something, but all of the press on this issue seems to be on Toyota’s recall avoidance negotiations to save $100m, and none on the government agency that it negotiated with.  Not that Toyota should be held blameless of course, but the US government had a lot more to do with this than anyone seems to be giving them credit, er, blame for. 

The linked article below from the Detroit News discusses an internal presentation Toyota officials gave last year, where they boasted of savings they got by avoiding a recall on accelerator problems by negotiating a ‘equipment recall’ on floor mats instead.  So you can negotiate your way out of safety recalls with the government?!?   Isn’t this agency’s very existence based on the premise that they are protecting us from this sort of stuff?!?  The article also points to evidence that State Farm Insurance notified the government of a spike in unintended Toyota acceleration complaints back in 2004, but nothing was done then either.  In my opinion, officials from NHTSA should be sitting right next to the Toyota executives during the upcoming congressional grilling…

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Toyota’s ‘cover-up’ and related issues…

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

A lot of press has been given to recent revelations that Mighty, Infallible, Toyota may have covered-up, or in their words, ‘responded too slowly’ to reports of unintended acceleration and possible deaths attributed to their cars, to improve their profits (Gasp!!).  In my opinion, this inevitability has been a long time coming.

I don’t deny that Toyota has a well deserved reputation for quality, forged when US cars were pieces of junk, comparatively speaking.  Most of the stories I’ve heard about why Japanese cars are better sound like this: My dad had a 1982 Chevy and it was always in the shop; My friend had a 78 Ford in college and it never ran; My first car was a 3 owner 87 Dodge and it used oil.  I rarely hear anyone say they had a late-model domestic car that they’ve had many problems with.  In short, Toyota and the others have been given a pass on quality for years based on an outdated truth.

For years, American cars have been just as good and sometimes better than Japanese cars, but they are held to a completely different and more stringent standard.  When I was with GM, I had the opportunity to work with many dealers who owned both GM and Japanese franchises.  I was told several stories of recent GM purchasers returning to the dealership with ‘quality’ issues like body panel gaps being a millimeter different from the front of the hood to the back, or 1/2″ threads on the seats not being trimmed at the plant, headlights that come on all the time (daytime running lights), and windows that go down all the way by themselves (express down function).  Japanese car owners on the other hand, would bring their cars in for oil changes and express utter shock when they were told there were severe issues with suspension, brakes, and motors.  These owners assumed that since their Japanese car was of such high quality, the clunks and creaks they heard were personality quirks of their fine automobiles, not problems.  (I would also argue that Consumer Reports, with it’s perpetual claim of being non-biased, and the NHTSA have a lot of explaining to do, but I digress…)

Toyota’s issues point out in glaring detail that perception is not in fact reality.  It’s time that Americans, and the world, judge all automakers on the same scale.  I think most would be surprised to know the truth.,2933,587221,00.html

Categories: Rants... Tags: , ,