By on February 18, 2010

There is widespread public concern regarding reports of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota motor vehicles.  There appears to be growing public confusion regarding which vehicles may be affected and how people should respond.  In short, the public is unsure as to what exactly the problem is, whether it is safe to drive their cars, or what they should do about it.  To help clarify this situation, I am inviting you to testify…

House Oversight Committee Chair Edolphus Towns invites Akio Toyoda down to DC for an evening of under-oath testimony and light refreshments. According to the NY Times, Toyoda has said he “would consider” dancing the Potomac two-step “if he receives a formal invitation, which none of the committees have issued.” Consider yourself officially invited, Mr Toyoda. We’ll start making the popcorn.

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19 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Or Else… Edition...”

  • avatar

    Hey you smart TTAC’ers, this is slightly off topic of Mr. Toyoda, but it is a question that has been on my mind for some time…appreciate any feedback.

    If it is true that Toyota electronic throttle controls are NOT designed in such a way that brake actuation overrides throttle, is anyone else worried, as I am, that as these Toyotas age (corrode, wear, stick), we may see an uptick in unintended accelerations? Around here a 20 year old Toyota is not unusual.

    Is that worrying too much, or do you think the NHTSA may be thinking about it? Would it not be a good idea to mandate that all electronic throttle controls MUST be designed with a brake override? I assume that a recall to replace throttle control systems would be impractical and most likely bankrupt any company?

    I’m not worried about driving these cars myself…I just worry about all the pathetic drivers out there who wouldn’t know the first thing to do in unintended acceleration, let alone how to parallel park or drive in the snow!

    • 0 avatar

      Another concern I have is as one of our resident engineers brought up, plastic on plastic rubbing is a great way to build up static electricity. Will that destroy the electronic throttle position sensors over time?

  • avatar
    crash sled

    It’s getting good, now. Looks like that committee is gonna subpoena all of Biller’s documentation:–Lentz-will-testify-at-first-hearing

    “Toyota had filed an injunction preventing Biller from disclosing those documents; the committee said its subpoena supersedes the injunction and Biller plans to fully cooperate with the subpoena.”

    The fur is gonna fly in a minute here. Biller’s shrink is gonna be working a double shift.

  • avatar

    So for years Toyota has a solid gold rep for reliability and now, overnight, they have dozens of cars that are designed to kill their owners? As far as I can tell, Toyota is only guilty of amassing a huge cash reserve, which in turn attracted the attention of the American lawyer class. The American legal system is a vampire octopus that wraps its tentacles around the face of humans, relentlessly sticking its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. Toyota is just its latest victim.

    • 0 avatar

      So for years Toyota has a solid gold rep for reliability and now, overnight, they have dozens of cars that are designed to kill their owners?

      Since the sludge problems began destroying engines several years ago, and since Tacoma frames rusting apart began three years ago, and since Corollas were snapping their steering rods five years ago, and since Toyota has racked up more unintended acceleration complaints since 2007 than all other manufacturers combined – all I got to say is that must be one hell of a night.

    • 0 avatar

      I suspect the Japanese legal and financial systems are opaque enough that they can write off 5 trillion yen or so in a single day and hide it under stamping machines in gold and 500 Euro notes until things die down.

    • 0 avatar

      @baldy: Are you not sure you don’t mean 4-Runners who’s steering relay rods snapped (instead of Corollas)? (IIRC, some Toyota car was recalled for defective welds on the steering shaft, maybe this is what you mean.)

    • 0 avatar

      @Robert – you are right. It was the 4Runnner/T100/and Pickup.

  • avatar

    the big announcement tomorrow in Florida is Toyota’s new spokesman…Tiger Woods.

  • avatar

    Tiger has just taken possession of a brand new Prius……good for sneaking into the driveway late at night without waking up you know who!

  • avatar

    The myth that Toyotas are better than any other jap car is history. I’ve owned about 8 Hondas, 4 Nissans & my mother & kids own Toyota/Lexus vehicles. I’ve done most of the maintenance on all these vehicles and the 1999 Maxima has been the most trouble-free of them all. A few years ago we sold a 1993 Sentra with 140K that was still tighter than any of the Accords I’ve ever sold.
    The water pump bearing on my mother’s 01 Camry failed before the car had 90K. Toyota quality doesn’t impress me one bit, recent Honda/Acura styling sucks, so I’m now a loyal Nissan/Infiniti owner.

  • avatar

    Toyoda has lied and tried to cover up, power steering issues on Camry (probably related to the other vehicles on the same frame) and Corolla, brake control issues on a good majority of what it makes, pedal design itself issues, along with the b.s shim in the brake by wire control issues.

    On top of Prius regen brake issues (that the Fusion hybrids are also having)

    This is on top of the frame issues with the Taco, and the other b.s issues with the Tundra.

    Now and before…

    I see a Toyota as a moldy vehicle that you buy that you truly don’t want to drive. Ya don’t get involved in its maintenance or even changing its wipers.

    I am surprised that Toyoda, a company that DID master how to do PR has somehow completely screwed up basic company reputation.

  • avatar

    Initial PR works best when the image doesn’t stray too far from the reality. (Authentic Launch)

    Mid-term PR works best when the image is enhanced by demonstrated virtues. (Virtuous Cycle)

    Long-term PR works best when the reality is not allowed to stray from the image. (Remembering Roots and Respecting Built-up Customer Expectations.)

    PR and crisis-management have elements in common, but are far from the same thing. Crisis-management turns on credibility, which turns on pro-active, authentic, honest, humble and contrite, behaviours.

    When people generally expect (before cutting the offender some slack, or before the bystanders lose interest, or before the fan-boys begin to question their long-held loyalties) is the right mixture of the above-listed behaviours. Folks easily feel a snow-job in their bones when a PR-type tries to sing and dance his way through a crisis, or the corporate OGC-types force word-parsing actions.

    Firing-up the PR-bandwagon before the basics are covered, risks backlash, increased scrutiny, retributive and/or punitive actions (which some people mistakenly characterize as “media frenzy”.)

  • avatar

    And just to show HOW TRULY bad it is..

    Toyota has hired the same EMERGENCY PR / lawyers that helped Ford with Firestone issues, and the Exxon Valdex…

    This is a firm that you pull in at the last minute, when its all on the line..

    I cant believe.. that crisis mgt is something Toyoda would have to learn.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      Unlike the Detroit 3 for example, which has historically faced self-induced crises as a matter of course, I doubt Toyota has ever seen a real crisis, so it’s unsurprising they wouldn’t be fully prepared if one arose.

      Further, their political radar was inoperative as regards the NUMMI closure, as the 2 US House committees involved here are chaired/co-chaired by California congresscritters, and Toyota is thus under bipartisan political attack from the Golden State. We’ll see how that plays out, and if the retribution angle surfaces openly.

      From what I gather, Toyota’s responses here contain a full and comprehensive financial hit. This would be similar to their response to the Tacoma frame rust issue that somebody mentioned above. The guys over at the Toyota Nation site were quite pleased that Toyota bought effected trucks back at 150% of KBB value, for the original or any owner. Now just ask yourself, for example, what would Ford have done? (Don’t spend that $250 coupon in one place, if you manage to wheedle one out of ’em.).

      Similarly, my Tacoma has an outstanding TSB for suspension. Somebody over in Toyotaville forgot that a 4th leaf might be required for certain heavy haulers, and now they’re offering new packs, and new Bilsteins all around to match. A $1,500 upgrade is sitting on the table, for something I haven’t even detected in 2 years of (admittedly only a sparingly heavy) use.

      Hysteria is always transient, as we know, and the only thing any OEM can do is to take actions targeted to operating in the soon-to-come non-hysterical environment. Those who leap and lunge bring on unintended consequences. Forget the spin doctors. Fix it. Pay for it. Move on.

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