By on February 25, 2010

News that the FBI had raided three Japanese supplier companies in the Detroit area came in the middle of yesterday’s epic Toyota hearings, adding to the day’s chaos and misinformation. The FBI said clearly at the time that Denso, Tokai Riko and Yazaki were raided as part of an antitrust investigation, which we now know [via Reuters] involves alleged cartel activities in the wiring harness supply market, and involves European firms like France’s Leoni as well. Despite the fact that Denso and Yazaki are cooperating with investigators, and that the US raids appear to be in support of an EU investigation, Rep Mark Souder (R-IN) took the opportunity to connect the Denso raid with the Toyota recall hearings in shameless style. And all to help clear the name of the US-based supplier CTS, which has been blamed for the sticky pedal recall, which just so happens to be in Rep. Souder’s district. Full, mind-blowing quote after the jump.

Addressing Toyoda and Inaba, Souder went on the following ramble:

My goal is to sell GM and Ford products, but also I have suppliers to you, one of which is CTS, right at the edge of my district. These two pedals have distinctly different problems. The longer [CTS-supplied] one was having a slightly slow release, which means when you take your foot off, it comes up just a fraction of seconds too slow. Also, because it was longer, it was sticking to floormats. But nobody was killed from that, it was a standard recall problem, where you say “OK, we’re going to fix the part.” This one, however, whether it’s electronic, ah, or, the one from… what is it… Denso… had acceleration. In other words, when you let go it went up, but it was actually causing the car to go faster. And all of the death cases came from the Denso model, not the CTS, because when you go through the models… this is important for several things… as American congressmen, one of the things that’s important to us is that you treat teh American market like the rest of the world… we’re very concerned about memos that suggest you were addressing the problem in Europe and Japan before the United States. The other thing is the parts supplier… what’s amazing in this story is that the American parts supplier was actually delivering the safer model, and that your subsidiary, and I don’t know if you are aware of this, but a little after three o’clock, the FBI raided Toyota suppliers, and it is this one that made the pedal that’s causing it…

Souder’s quote can only be characterized as misinformation mixed with venal self-interest, all wrapped in a veil of incoherence. Which is a fairly good way to broadly characterize most of yesterday’s hearings.

The European and Japanese suppliers currently under investigation could face EU fines of up to ten percent of annual revenue, if convicted of operating a cartel.

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31 Comments on “Rep. Souder And The Denso Distraction...”


  • avatar
    leeharvey418

    …and some people still wonder how the Tea Party movement got so big so fast while claiming no particular love for the GOP. Souder is clearly the worst kind of clown, and I can only hope he has a few clear-headed constituents who saw or read that rant and will spread the word that he needs to find alternate employment come next winter.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Another reminder (as if one were needed) that incompetence is bipartisan.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’m reminded of Ted Steven’s infamous Tubes speech.**

    Again, the point about very arrogant, very self-important people thinking that they understand complex problems is made again. I’m reminded of the countless times I’ve seen VPs of Finance or Marketing decide they understand engineering better than engineers (or VPs of Engineering decide they understand Marketing). Not because of their profession, but because they’re a vice president.***

    ** It also reminds me of the Chewbacca defense

    *** Vice President syndrome: All problems are easy simple and easy to solve for a VP, because VPs are much smarter than you.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      +1 psarhjinian and JeremyR. This is the Chewbacca Defense.

      EN, great summary: “Souder’s quote can only be characterized as misinformation mixed with venal self-interest, all wrapped in a veil of incoherence.”

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      I award you 1 Internet Tubes for your comment.

      Again more proof that our elected representatives are ignorant self important idiots.

  • avatar
    threeer

    JeremyR, +1 million on your comment (actually maybe only 535…do the math!)! One can only hope that at some point, the American people will get a clue and return the Congressional Leadership to a position of, oh…I don’t know…actual service to the PEOPLE and not a cushy retirement plan for those in office.

    Souder’s comments were self-serving, inappropriate and shameful.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    In a Congressional hearing, are Congressmen also sworn to tell the truth, or is that just for their guests?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      In Canada, politicians can commit some pretty impressive slander and libel under the guise of parliamentary immunity. I would assume that most other nations’ Houses would have voted themselves something similar.

      Imagine, having to be truthful in government for fear of libel or slander. I think I could get behind such an initiative.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Just for witnesses. Souder sounds like a blowhard.

    • 0 avatar

      Psar is right… representatives speaking in their official capacity during congressional business are essentially exempt from libel and slander laws. It’s a necessary evil that only seems like a bad idea when you have reps like Souder in office.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Just saw yesterday a vid of (one of?) the British delegate(s) to the EU Parliment, in a long tirade, berated the Belgians and the EU President (who is a Belgian) … said something like (paraphrased): “nobody know who you are … you are like a wet rag, and look like a 2nd-rate bank clerk.”

      It was so over the top, the German delegate got up and officially complained.

      The stupid outburst of the brit was intended for domestic consumption to show that this dude could put the EU President in his place.

      It was shameful, just like Souder’s and Issa’s performances who were obviously representing constituent doners (CTS and the Lexus dealer who provided the Saylor death car respectively.)

    • 0 avatar
      leeharvey418

      It’s not just a law, it’s in the original text of the Constitution. It explains so much…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Souder is unbelievably incorrect. The problem is that no one he’s grilling can say “No, you moron, you’re completely wrong” without taking an ghastly PR hit.

    Another representative could say it, of course. Betcha that won’t happen.

  • avatar
    bwell

    Remind me again, why was it that we gave these idiots control over the automobile industry?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Because a goodly part of it ran itself into irrelevance and bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      Highway27

      Who is ‘we’, and what part of it was ‘given’? These government clowns took it, because they wanted to, and were given a chance by the absolutely horrible situation that those companies ran *themselves* into.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      bwell, you asked why we gave the US Govt. control over the auto industry. In the mid 1960s there was public pressure to increase the safety of automobiles. NHSTA became official in 1970 by an Act of Congress.

      According to wikipedia “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, often pronounced “nit-suh”) is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, part of the Department of Transportation. It describes its mission as “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes.”[1]”

      A congressional hearing regarding the safety of one manufacturer’s vehicles shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  • avatar
    sco

    Public hearings merely pull back the curtain on the grandstanding, rambling, self-serving jack-asses we elect. How do they behave when no one is watching? To realize that he was reading an essentially prepared statement makes Souder’s ramblings even more worrisome. What ever happened to intelligence and integrity?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      What ever happened to intelligence and integrity?

      Some people are good politicians but very bad public speakers. It sounds odd, but it’s true. Souder’s job is to do the best for his constituency, and he might be a very good administrator, legislator and wheeler-dealer.

      What he’s apparently not very good at is impromptu oratory.

      This isn’t uncommon: not everyone elected to office is a good off-the-cuff speaker, regardless of how good a job they do otherwise. Generally, we only remember the really good orators (or the spectacularly bad ones) and forget that most people are mediocre.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I suspect that they are much better behaved when the cameras are not there … it is no different from the meetings where upper management shows up, and everybody competes to be the tough-guy and the guy that has everything under-control, while pointing-out how the others don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “How do they behave when no one is watching?”

      Well, first, they ask for the check, err, payoff and then they all agree what congressman will say during the televised hearings.

  • avatar
    william442

    For at least 30 years, every wiring harness GM used came from Packard Electric Division. Were they ever investigated? There was no way anyone else could enter the business.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Buying exclusively from your own internal operations is nothing like a cartel collusion offense. Even a customer’s buying from a single outside supplier is not such an offense (unless the supplier commits collusive conspiracy as described below.)

      Collusion is when a group of manufacturers or service-providers conspire to to influence terms, conditions, supply, or market-share and/or -region.)

  • avatar
    jkross22

    This guy is a dick.

  • avatar
    ConejoZing

    “My goal is to sell GM and Ford products”

    Uh huh. Unbiased hearing?

    • 0 avatar
      basho

      I’m sure Alan Mulally slapped himself in the forehead after hearing this clown say anything regarding Ford in his absolutely useless contribution to the hearing. I know I did.

  • avatar
    ott

    Stop reading my thoughts, Coney.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    I don’t know whether it still happens, but Texas used to have a dumbest member of the Legislature award – a sort of IgNobel Prize for politicians. One time the Republicans objected to a Democrat being so honored, making the argument that they had several members who were simply too dumb to even speak. Too bad this guy didn’t take that to heart.

  • avatar
    jimbowski

    Amazingly, I lived for a few years in this guy’s district. Fort Wayne, IN. I remember him speaking in a similar fashion about some regional events at the time. Luckily, I don’t think he likes red light cameras…

  • avatar
    BlackPope808

    This man is an embarrassment…at first I thought it was that great character actor Wayne Knight (remember the DNA in a shaving cream can guy from Jurassic Park), then in horror realized he actually was a representative from Indiana. The creepy scolding, and at the same time thanking effusively of Mr. Toyoda for giving jobs to his constituency, was an awe inspiring demonstration of how crazy our legislative branch has become…does anyone know who we are sending to DC? You would also think that as leaders of our nation they would have the staff and resources to better study up on the issues of which they are presiding, rather than take quotes from Time and Businessweek…for crying out loud, they should have been poring over TheTruthAboutCars.com site to get their info…no preparation, no research, flaccid grasp of the issues they were reviewing, what a waste of time.


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