By on January 27, 2010

Toyota’s decision to halt sales of eight models in connection with the ongoing unintended acceleration debacle was made at the order of the NHTSA, reports the Detroit News. “Toyota was complying with the law,” NHTS reps tell DetN. “They consulted with the agency. We informed them of the obligations, and they complied.”According to the DetN, Toyota was legally required to halt sales when it announced its latest recall five days ago. Why didn’t Toyota halt sales then? NHTSA isn’t saying, only going as far as to say “at this point, you need to talk to Toyota about those decisions. We’ll be continuing to work with Toyota and having conversations.”

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32 Comments on “Toyota Sales Halt Was Federally Mandated...”


  • avatar
    BDB

    Well, this is what I suspected.

    So much for the meme of “HEY, THIS AT LEAST SHOWS TOYOTA IS ON TOP OF THINGS AND ADMITTING THEIR PROBLEMS!” Try again, guys. They did it because the feds were on their ass. If not for that they’d still be selling the Poltergeist-mobiles.

  • avatar
    mikey

    OH!.. So Toyota didn’t step up to the plate…without a little push?

  • avatar
    menno

    Know what I think? I think that Toyota executives are as “dumb” as foxes.

    Fact: Toyota’s profits have evaporated in the last 18 months. They’ve gone from the most profitable automaker worldwide to one which can’t make a profit.

    Fact: Virtually 100% of the losses which have caused the above fact have occurred in the United States.

    Highly probable: We probably are going to have at least 10 years of difficult times in this country, without ever reaching production levels seen by China again.

    Fact: Production capacity still needs pruning worldwide by at least 20% (except in China and India, which are growing).

    Fact: Toyota would be far smarter putting their resources where they can make profits (just as any business would be).

    Fact: If Toyota were to simply pull the plug on the US market (as their part-owned Daihatsu mini-car manufacturer did about 15 years ago after trying to sell micro-cars in limited markets), the pro-dealer state by state laws would massacre them. It would cost hundreds of billions to pull out of the US market and just imagine trying to return after the Greater Depression, say in 20 years. (Not to mention the uniquely Japanese “loss of face” situation).

    Fact: Any publicity is considered good publicity, especially when “free”. (Ask any Hollywood starlet). How many billions of dollars would it take to put Toyota’s name in front of so many eyes in advertising?

    Fact: Pro-Toyota people (and there are many) will look at this action as highly responsible (“the company manned up and took their lumps in order to improve and look after their customers in a way that no company ever has before – good on them!”)

    Fact: Anti-Toyota people won’t change their minds for the most part anyway.

    Fact: Certain people will still want to buy Toyotas. Some of the more economical cars are on the list. Guess what’ll happen to new Toyota car prices? If you can get the car you want, prices won’t be discounted! For example, it might be possible to bring in a few Japanese built Corolla cars while the Canadian plant is shut down (and the NUMMI plant in California is conveniently being shut down due to GM’s pull-out of the joint venture there).

    Dumb like a fox.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      What does any of that have to do with the unintended acceleration issues?

      And pull completely out of a wealthy, developed country that you’ve invested heavily in, that is incredibly car-dependent, where your luxury brand especially dominates? Talk about dumb.

      Fact: Pro-Toyota people (and there are many) will look at this action as highly responsible (“the company manned up and took their lumps in order to improve and look after their customers in a way that no company ever has before – good on them!”)”

      Did you not read this post? The sales/production halt was federally mandated! If it wasn’t for the Feds they’d still be selling these vehicles.

    • 0 avatar

      I laughed. That’s an awesome explanation Menno.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    I smell B.S.

    How many other car companies have been “forced” to shut down production on their recalled cars?

    Go ahead. NAME ONE.

    Let’s see a list.

    I’ve been paying attention for years. I don’t recall NHTSA ever doing this before.

    Interesting that it is a Detroit paper saying this, eh?

    As I said, I smell B.S.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      Not government mandated but:

      http://forums.genvibe.com/zerothread?cmd=print&id=26270

      There was one that I had to deal with on my old Vette but all I found was this

      http://www.corvetteforum.net/c5/jochen/Recall1997.shtml

      This one for Toyota is huge.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Of Apallingly Amazing Behaviour and So NOT having their shit together…

      Mr.C,

      NHTSA had to step in because Toyota was not in compliance with the Law …

      Toyota announced their recall on Thursday, probably decided it on Wednesday, and had been contemplating it for some time before that …

      After announcing, they continued to sell cars on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, 5 business days at worst (Th/F/S/M/Tu), 3 business days at minimum (F,S,M), despite not having a ready fix for vehicles in the field.

      The government had to shut them down.

      Toyota has so NOT had its shit together on this issue it is apallingly amazing.

      In Europe, even now, Toyota is continuing to sell potentially affected cars … no word on their websites in Germany or Spain… how lame is that?

      We used to hear tales of Toyota having a 100-year plan … I wonder what Chapter this fiasco would be found in?

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      Given the fact that the MSM is usually inept at reporting the news…it was Toyota that stopped production of the cars, not the government. Except for safety in the workplace, the government does not have the power to stop production.

      What the government did was stop the SALE of the vehicles.

      If a company is forced to recall a product and that product is still in production, the SALE of it must also be halted. Toyota was a bit slow to grasp that fact. NHTSA helped Toyota connect the dots.

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    The plot thickens…as does the schadenfreude.

    BTW, any particular reason for the photo of a first-gen CTS?

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    @ Mr Carpenter

    You didn’t read teh article. I know this or you would not have even made the comment.

    A NHTSA spokesperson made the statement. The Detroit News just reported it.

  • avatar
    210delray

    I agree that something’s fishy here. NHTSA can force a recall, but only after concluding a formal defect investigation, which can take months or sometimes years. Even then, a manufacturer can challenge the order in federal court. GM won the latest such challenge, some 25+ years ago, over the locking rear brakes on the 1980 X-cars.

    I highly doubt NHTSA has the legal power to shut down production lines on the spur of the moment. Moral persuasion? Sure.

  • avatar
    golf4me

    Funny, as I was reading this some PR hack from Toyota was saying “we did this for the safety of the people and it’s unprecedented for a car company to do so” on Fox news…

    Two lies here. One as indicated by the story. The second is that GM had done this a couple of years ago although I forget the details.

    When are people going to wake up? I’ve worked with Toyota as a supplier and I think they are the most underhanded and sneaky people out there. All they care about is the yen.

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    Holy moly, check out Toyota’s stock price. Down over 7%!

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Well, yes. Stock markets tend be very sensitive to corporations saying things like “We have to suspend sales, and thusly will take a big fat revenue hit while at the same time inventory will pile up” and “We are looking at a multi-million-dollar recall”

      Quality or not, this is expensive from a purely logistical point of view.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Ouch!, and they’re just entering the storm.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    I still have my reservations as the the seriousness of the situation. I remember Audi hysteria far too well to not have said reservations.

    Companies can recover from such set backs. Tylenol is the case study. It all depends if Toyota takes the proper steps to calm the hysteria that is going on at the moment and most if it is just that, hysteria.

    Toyota has deep pockets and can afford a lot of blood to make customers happy and keep them coming back. What is now key for them is to actually spend that money to keep their customers happy. This depends very much on whether the top brass can overpower the bean counters, not an easy task in a huge organisation like Toyota. Their stock price took a pretty good hit but it is still way up there.

    “All they care about is the yen.”

    I spent most of my working life in the car business. It is ALL about money from start to finish. They may as well be selling tea cozies, it is just a commodity like anything else. Go work in a dealership for day, any company, and you will see that. I know this pains gearheads but it is the 100% truth.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    If it is true that the Toyota Emergency Shutdown is the result of Federal Order, then I take back my earlier props for doing the standup thing. (And this retraction is NOT the result of any Federal Order, and is merely for the purpose of wiping egg off of my face.)

    If this is story is the result of news media spinning the facts to suit an agenda (not an impossibility), and Toyota was not required to take these actions, then I stand by my earlier comments.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      You are pretty safe assuming the MSM has the story all tangled up. The government cannot stop a production line unless there is a worker safety issue.

      Car companies are free to build whatever they want. When it comes to selling and licensing said vehicles, however, the government holds all the cards.

      If the vehicle does not comply, it can be used on private or corporate property, have a “manufacturer’s” license plate, or be exported. Unfortunately, it (they) cannot be pushed off a barge into San Francisco bay like they did in the ’20s with the first electric Chevrolets.

      Funny, not too long ago they erased all traces of their second gen electric car (EV-1) by smashing all copies except for one the Peterson museum. They destroyed enough of it to ensure it will never run again, however.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    “Toyota; the relentless pursuit of pursuit.”

  • avatar
    menno

    BDB, I’ve previously written about Toyota and how they’ve had no profits in the USA and surmised that one way out would be to bug out completely.

    Put another way, if you run a chain of several brands of store, and one particular (large) store is the ONLY one which is so unprofitable that it removes the profits from the entire group making for corporate losses, who would blame you for shutting the loss making store down? Especially if you have other smaller stores in the same city.

    Toyota “could” continue Prius (as a “brand”), Scion, Lexus and (part-owned) Subaru in the United States, and perhaps “rebadge” their pickup trucks as Hino (another manufacturer that they own).

    Actually better, yet, dump Scion, too….

    But of course, I’m fully aware that they’ll try to continue in the USA and probably will do so. Until there is a shareholder revolt, maybe….

    But you can see the thinking I’d been exploring…. right? Probably several others who post here recall my posting those some weeks ago and so haven’t commented / jumped on me.

    But I’ve also said in the past that “Detroit Inc” is truly “screwed” because when you have what was until 2008, the world’s most profitable (and ostensibly well run) automaker (Toyota group) unable to make a profit in the United States, it doesn’t bode well for “Detroit Inc” does it? And I’ll stick by that statement, and yes, it is a condemnation of the running of this country and it’s economy, quite frankly.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      Gee, they can’t make a profit here during a recession. What a shock. Neither can anyone else.

      You know maybe, just maybe the people who run Toyota are smarter than you and realize that the business cycle is, well, a cycle, and that the United States will continue to buy more cars per capita than any other large nation on the planet. And that will mean that whatever losses they take during the recession will be more than made up by profits in the future. Just like the profits they made in the 1983-1989 boom, the 1992-2001 boom, and the short lived 2003-2007 boom.

      I find it very instructive though that the right wing now embraces American declinism when it used to dismiss it, right at the moment they lose control of the federal government.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      What do you mean? Debt doesn’t matter, in fact it’s good for this country. Oh my god, Obama is destroying this country with his fiscal irresponsibility and massive deficits.

  • avatar
    Tiger Commanche

    “It wasn’t my fault, officer. I’m driving a new Toyota”

  • avatar
    CamaroKid

    We need a “Toyota Recall Watch” theme…

  • avatar
    dkulmacz

    I’m waiting for the first post that ties a NHTSA-mandated shutdown with the government’s involvement in GM and Chrysler. You know . . . since the Feds now run GM/ChryCo, of course they will sic their minions at NHTSA on the competition.

    I’m disappointed it hasn’t popped yet. Come on guys . . . I know you have it in you!

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Toyota wouldn’t fib, would it?

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    W See BS, New York City, informs it’s viewers with this:

    “In a stunning setback, the automaker has stopped selling eight popular models in the U.S. because of concerns the accelerator could stick, making the car almost impossible to stop.”

    Yep, damn near impossible to bring them to a halt.

  • avatar
    mach1

    I’ve long suspected that the “quality halo” around Toyota was not as golden as portrayed. A lot of this was supported by the “superior” opinions of those who thought anything not made in Detroit had to be better.

    • 0 avatar
      WildBill

      For my personal experience, my two Toyotas were the most reliable cars I’ve owned in almost 40 yrs. of driving. And they weren’t high end models. The best over all and favorite was an ’82 Accord, it did have a few issues. The most troublesome have been domestics: three Ford trucks and a Dodge truck. Just one man’s experience. Jury still out on the Subaru.

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