By on July 6, 2010

Like GM’s infamous “payback” commercial, this Toyota ad walks right up to the point of a big lie, allowing the viewer to believe something while they’re actually being told something subtly different. Toyota never says “we spend a million dollars every hour on safety-related technology,” but they sure make you want to believe it. In reality, the “million dollars every hour” represents Toyota’s global R&D budget, some undisclosed portion of which is spent on safety-related technology. Toyota’s explanation of this intentionally confusing claim, after the jump.

Toyota gave the following response to the NY Times‘ request for clarification

Sona Iliffe-Moon, a Toyota spokeswoman, declined to estimate the proportion devoted specifically to safety.

“The $1 million figure represents Toyota’s R&D spending on new technology and safety, much of it allocated to quality and safety features,” she said. “A specific amount would be nearly impossible to estimate as nearly every component of our vehicles is designed with safety in mind, including steering, brakes, seats, ergonomics, weight, even where the radio is placed.

“Passive and active safety components are integrated throughout our vehicles,” she said, “most of which are invisible to the driver.”

Maybe instead of touting its R&D spend (and implying that little of it goes to non-safety related projects like, I don’t know, hybrid technology), Toyota should start figuring out how it can improve response time when things do go wrong. The latest example of a delayed defect response at Toyota involves the latest engine recall. According to BusinessWeek, the valve spring defect in question was first reported as early as 2007.

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8 Comments on “Does Toyota Really Spend One Million Dollars Per Hour On Safety?...”


  • avatar

    once again proving TTAC as “fair and balanced”, calling out the BS regardless of the source and proving there are no favorites when it comes to the truth about cars.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    At least they are lying about their own money…..

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    Every week seems to bring another revealation of Toyota’s cover-ups. It is becoming apparent that the king has no clothes but many still refuse to believe that Toyota can do any wrong. When challenged with Toyota cover-ups and spin Toyota lovers cry foul and say that any negative press is the result of jealousy or lies. One wonders if the millions Toyota spent on lobbying may have been better spent correcting design flaws and product short comings.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    If they are, they clearly aren’t getting their money’s worth.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    365 days a year.

    Times 24 hours per day.

    Equals 8,760 hours per year.

    Times 1 million dollars….

    I call b***hit, Iliffe-Moon-san. But brilliant, since most Americans no longer have basic math skills nor can they think critically.

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      Which is $8.76B

      Which is where Toyota’s R&D budget is, its especially bloated in terms of today’s currency rate since Toyota R&D budget in calculated in yen, and the dollar and euro are weak. Even back in 2005 Toyota spent 770 billion yen in R&D, which is 8.75B in today’s exchange rate. Its even larger now.

      Also, this $1 million per hour claim is fairly old:
      http://www.h2carblog.com/?p=548

      Now, R&D and safety may be a questionable connection, but I’m sure Toyota is going to spend billions in settlements and lawyers fees this year, not to mention recall costs and everything in between. With all those calculated it should easily be over $8.46B, but I’m sure Toyota doesn’t want to brag about those costs…

  • avatar
    TomH

    Meh, “investing” at ~$1,350/car isn’t a lot of money when you take into account the array of safety technologies in modern vehicles. Once you consider all of the things that are reportable in NHTSA’s world (and their global counterparts) it’s pretty easy to get there. The car biz deals in mega-numbers that are literally and figuratively “hard to imagine.”


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