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Engine failures in MR2 Spyders

6/11/2014 - Updated the original post by entering direct links to reference material, and added remarks about the legal issues involved with...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Is Akio the Prince... or the Godfather?

"Toyota President Akio Toyoda, known as 'the prince' in Japan..."

Prince or Godfather? The jury - federal grand - is still out on that one, but I'm leanin' toward the latter. As the death count increases, evidence points to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sweetheart deals between Toyota and NHTSA, revolving doors resulting in blocked safety investigations, and the intentional witholding of stuff Toyota was legally required to release in accordance with lawsuits filed against them by crash victims. Big stuff.  Stuff about vehicle design and testing, complete with out of court settlements motivated by a desire to keep incriminating information quiet. And just for good measure, the Securities and Exchange Commission has jumped into the fray, demanding to know more about what Toyota has been tellin' investors. Whew. That's enough to raise anyone's eyebrows.

Equally alarming - now that a few investigations are under way - it seems we're gettin' a daily dose of heretofore unheard of defects, along with downright unnerving accounts of NHTSA's response to consumer complaints. Even Apple's Steve Wozniak got the cold shoulder when he complained about sudden unintended acceleration in his Prius.

With sales a sufferin', Toyota is comin' up with better offers for customers affected by current recalls, and plans to offer some spectacular incentives to attract buyers. Okay. But somehow, this whole thing reminds me of a movie I once saw about a family run business that got its way by makin' offers people just couldn't refuse...