Toyota has been taken to task quite a few times over the past few months. But now it’s time for Ralph Nader to take his pot shot at them. Why so late?
Ralph Nader is no stranger to calling car companies out on their safety. He took GM to task over the safety of the Corvair. Claims which the NHTSA and Texas A&M University studied and dismissed, but were backed up by John DeLorean. But now Mr Nader has Toyota in his crosshairs. Not their safety. Their advertising.
USA Today reports that Mr Nader is asking Toyota to justify the claim that they spend “a million dollars an hour” on safety research. He questions this because, according to Mr Nader, for this claim to be true, Toyota would have to spending over $8.7 billion a year (24 hours x 365 days x 1,000,000 dollars). Mr Nader wrote a letter to Jim Lentz of Toyota (please note the following extract came from the USA Today article:)
Your frequently printed advertisement these days states that “We’re investing a million dollars an hour to enhance our technology and your safety… That’s why we’re spending a million dollars an hour on research and development.”
“Research and Development” has a specific meaning and does not include production engineering expenditures. At one million dollars an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the total comes to 8,760,000,000 dollars! That is an astonishing amount, compared to your industry peers, to be spent on safety R&D.
Can you breakdown that sum into its constituent categories so that the motoring public and other interested parties can understand where these sums are being applied—such as basic research, prototype models, crashworthiness spending and the like?
Thank you for your responsiveness regarding the above.
Whether he will receive a response or not remains to be seen. But Mr Nader, if you’re reading this, you need to read TTAC a bit more.