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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dealer opposed Toyota secrecy

Toyota objected - of course - to the public finding out, but now we know the Recall King paid $10 million to settle the high profile, runaway Lexus tragedy that put the media spotlight on sudden, unintended acceleration. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that one of Toyota's own dealers argued in favor of making things public. Seems to be no love lost between Bob Baker Toyota and the folks in Torrance. Apparently, their relationship soured after the two of 'em became co-defendants in the Saylor suit, which Baker has yet to settle.

Whatever the dealer's motives, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas made a strong case for making the settlement public. Rackauckas - he's already filed racketeering charges against the Recall King - said the Saylor case relates to public safety and the public has a right to know how much Toyota paid to settle. Can't fault the logic, especially with Toyota - just over the past year - agreeing to pay three safety related government fines, which, incidentally, many people think are way too low.

Based on my experience, Toyota's yen for secrecy is no surprise. Which brings to mind that old adage, "If you don't have anything to hide, then don't hide it." Good advice. Especially for a company at odds with one of its own dealers.