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Monday, February 28, 2011

If Toyota can't do floor mats...

Toyota's latest recall - 2.5 million units - prompted an interesting response from Hagens Berman, one of the attorneys suing the Recall King over floor mats.  While Toyota's friends at NHTSA are proudly declaring an end to their investigation of sudden, unintended acceleration, Mr. Berman dared to point out that this latest recall stands in "stark contrast" to what Toyota has been saying about the floor mat issue.  Instead of backin' off, maybe NHTSA should be takin' a closer look.

Let's start with just how "voluntary" this recall actually is.  The terminology sounds good for the Recall King, but based on the facts, it sounds a little too good.  Smacks of another cozy deal with NHTSA, whereby Toyota gets to play word games.  Now don't get me wrong.  I'm delighted that Toyota is gettin' exposed and havin' to foot the bill - financially and PR wise - for this recall.  But its kinda like those "record setting" yet slap-on-the-wrist fines allowing Toyota to walk away without any admission of wrongdoing.  The punishment may be well deserved, but its hardly sufficient.

This latest recall is another credibility issue for the Recall King.  Folks had reason to believe that Toyota had solved the floor mat thing, only to discover that "the rest of the story" was - or is - yet to be told.  Wonder how long Toyota and NHTSA have known about these additional problems regarding floor mats?  As things now stand, nobody can be blamed for concluding that there's more to this story than we've been told.  One plaintiff in a sudden acceleration lawsuit has already spoken out, saying this latest recall is proof positive that unanswered questions remain.  And folks in Minneapolis are plannin' a demonstration - 3/22, 8-9 AM, 300 4th St. - to tell the feds to hold Toyota accountable for not installing brake overrides.  

So lemme get this straight.  Toyota has problems designin' floor mats, but the Recall King is okay with electronics?