For better or for worse, it looks like the endless rants of bloggers about beige appliances are having their effects. Toyota is getting in touch with its emotional self, and that self-discovery starts in America, ground zero of the beige kvetching. (Read More…)
Toyota COO Jim Lentz will be getting a new role – CEO of Toyota Motor Sales North America. The announcement was buried in a press release announcing other management changes at Toyota’s stateside operations.
Toyota’s Jim Lentz (who, I’m obligated to share, bears a striking resemblance to the dad from “Teen Wolf”) spent nearly two and a half hours before a committee that by then was investigating what expert witnesses described as an unknown, untraceable electronics error of nearly limitless reach. With this white whale taking the foreground of the committee’s imagination, the committee sharpened its harpoons, licked its lips and sailed out upon uncertain seas in search of its elusive quarry. (Read More…)
Perhaps the biggest surprise of Jim Lentz’s appearance on Digg Dialogue was the number of questions that were unrelated to Toyota’s ongoing recalls and quality issues. But even if crowdsourcing had yielded a number of truly tough questions, Lentz had access to them ahead of the interview, giving him time to craft slippery answers. Still, the session provides an interesting of a preview of Toyota’s defense ahead of tomorrow’s congressional hearing. The main thrust: unintended acceleration is mysterious phenomenon, and finding a common cause for multiple incidents could be nearly impossible. Unless investigators find a ghost in Toyota’s electronics code, that may be as good of an answer as we’re ever going to get.
One of the lingering concerns over the Toyota recall is whether Toyota’s “precision steel” shim fix to the recalled CTS gas pedal assembly will be a reliable long-term solution. Our analysis indicates that these questions might be well-founded, and we’re not the only ones concerned about the viability of Toyota’s proposed fix. In an interview with Toyota’s Jim Lentz yesterday evening, NPR asked why Toyota was using a redesigned pedal for new production, but only offering the shim fix to existing customers. Lentz insisted that the repaired pedals would be as good as the redesigned pedal, that the costs of repair and replacement were about the same, and that the main reason Toyota was repairing rather than replacing recalled pedals was the desire to “get customers back on the road… as quickly as we possibly can.” That’s when NPR went for the jugular.
Matt Lauer turns the screws on Toyota’s Jim Lentz, who responds to conspiracy claims by saying that his family, friends and neighbors drive Toyotas. “I would not have them in products that I knew were not safe,” he says, although he does acknowledge that rapid growth could have played a role in a general decline in quality.