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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...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Toyota takes it on the... wrist. Again.

Toyota gets two more cozy deals:  Drop-in-the-bucket fines, and an agreement allowing the Recall King to fork over the money without admitting any violations of U.S. law.  And the issues are far from minor.  We're talking about the likelihood of injuries and deaths resulting from delays in reporting defects. 

Without steeper fines, expect more such delays in the future.  And there probably won't be any steeper fines.  Proposed safety legislation - itself prompted by Toyota's issues with sudden, unintended acceleration - has been blocked, which brings us back to the crux of the matter.  Ol' Uncle Sam - imbued with the best system money can buy - isn't really all that interested in reigning in an automaker like Toyota, regardless of how flagrant the violations.

Its important to note that the focus so far has been primarily on safety related issues.  Given Toyota's disasterous showing in that regard, why hasn't there been a closer look at Toyota's response - or lack thereof - to so-called "non-safety" related issues?  Over three thousand customers have signed a petition alleging continuing problems with oil sludge, and two major car clubs have been screaming for years about engine failures in MR2 Spyders.  Three fines in one year, racketeering charges, lawsuits galore alleging fraud, a federal grand jury investigation, record setting recalls, and... well, you get the picture. 

Its time for more than a few slaps on the wrist.