Featured Post

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, October 13, 2012

Toyota: Oh what a coverup?

The Recall King is once again making headlines with its lousy service, questionable business practices, and a never-ending parade of defective, dangerous products. Toyota's latest claim to fame features a fire hazzard which caused at least nine injuries - a Toyota spokesperson somehow forgot to mention the injuries - and evidence suggesting that the problem was kept quiet for four years as Toyota and its dealerships blamed a defective window switch on... cleaning products. That's right, folks. 161 blazes resulting from those pesky cleaning products. Only after its friends at NHTSA got nervous and upped the ante did Toyota finally declare a "voluntary" recall for a whopping 7.43 million units, their largest ever for a single component.

Lemme get this straight. The Recall King received firsthand knowledge of a faulty window switch that heats up and smells. Then, over the next four years (!) there were fires and injuries as consumers lodged a flurry of complaints with both Toyota and NHTSA. Things drag on as many consumers give up, vehicles are traded in or totalled in accidents, and Toyota avoids the expense and embarrassment of a major recall. And as recently as April of this year, Toyota alludes to its "extensive analysis" of the problem, telling NHTSA that all is well. Right. Buy more time, hoping to hold out until the problem magically disappears. And yet there's no indication that NHTSA has gotten so much as a whiff of the ol' proverbial rat in this matter.

The more I look at Toyota's business practices, the more I blame the government for an appalling lack of oversight and an unwillingness to levy appropriate punishments. Previous fines for delays in reporting defects have apparently done little to change Toyota's behavior. As I said at the time, NHTSA's "record-setting fines" were a mere slap on their friend's wrist, adding insult to injury by allowing Toyota to cut a cozy deal whereby the Recall King avoided any admission of wrongdoing. I shudder to think what Toyota is getting away with when it comes to defects that don't meet the government's criteria for "safety related." Like, for example, all those engine failures in MR2 Spyders.

Toyota is the story of complaints galore, a driver falsely imprisoned due to Toyota's problems with unintended acceleration, thousands of signatures on a continuing petition about oil sludge, eventual disclosure of every kind of defect imaginable, spectacular safety recalls, government fines, deaths, injuries, federal grand jury proceedings, a congressional investigation, prosecution under the RICO Act, zillions of lawsuits, confidential out-of-court settlements...

Maybe its time for the government to list Toyota as a terrorist organization.

Update 10/13/2012 - This post has been censored (for the past five hours at least) from appearing in Facebook's Public Posts. And I'd love to post comments on Yahoo, but about a month ago, I posted a comment implying that the CIA was stirring up anti-American activities in the Middle East. The comment was removed, and I was immediately blocked from posting any more comments below Yahoo news articles. Efforts to get Yahoo to correct this have been unsuccessful. 

Update 10/18/2012 - As of today, my Yahoo account has been completely restored, including the comment referenced above. I'll gladly chalk this entire matter up to nothing more than a Yahoo glitch. Also today, my first couple of Facebook posts - one in reference to this latest recall - have appeared in real-time in Public Posts. I'll continue to monitor.