Oy, will they get slaughtered for that: So Toyota Prez. Akio Toyoda met the press late in the Japanese evening in Nagoya. And what did he say? Basically nothing. He said he “ordered swift action” to get a grip on the reported brake problems of the (in Japan) wildly popular Prius hybrid. But he didn’t say anything else. Recall? Shirimasen. (I don’t know.) Free repair if customer requests it? Shirimasen. Computer reflash? Shirimasen. Does Toyota know what’s going on? Shirimasen. Apparently, LaHood’s threat of bodily harm was lost in translation.
As customary and expected in Japan, Toyoda offered “a heartfelt apology for causing so much trouble to many of our customers.” And that was pretty much it. Any action to stop the trouble? Shirimasen. Asked why he convened the press conference, Toyoda said: “I thought many of our customers were worried.”
They still are. More now than before.
The only milquetoast action promised: Toyota will form a global quality control committee. And when they know what steps to take, they will take them. “I will do my best,” Toyoda said. Jya-ne! (See you later.)
Calling this a downer is the understatement du jour. Yesterday, Toyota had said that they had changed the Prius software in January. Also in January, Toyota had retooled the braking systems for cars made that month. People are anxious to know what happens with the cars they had already bought. Are they safe to drive? Shirimasen. Can it get any worse? Wakarimasen. (Can’t tell the future.) If this was for U.S. consumption, they’ll puke.