Rep. Souder And The Denso Distraction

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
rep souder and the denso distraction

News that the FBI had raided three Japanese supplier companies in the Detroit area came in the middle of yesterday’s epic Toyota hearings, adding to the day’s chaos and misinformation. The FBI said clearly at the time that Denso, Tokai Riko and Yazaki were raided as part of an antitrust investigation, which we now know [via Reuters] involves alleged cartel activities in the wiring harness supply market, and involves European firms like France’s Leoni as well. Despite the fact that Denso and Yazaki are cooperating with investigators, and that the US raids appear to be in support of an EU investigation, Rep Mark Souder (R-IN) took the opportunity to connect the Denso raid with the Toyota recall hearings in shameless style. And all to help clear the name of the US-based supplier CTS, which has been blamed for the sticky pedal recall, which just so happens to be in Rep. Souder’s district. Full, mind-blowing quote after the jump.

Addressing Toyoda and Inaba, Souder went on the following ramble:

My goal is to sell GM and Ford products, but also I have suppliers to you, one of which is CTS, right at the edge of my district. These two pedals have distinctly different problems. The longer [CTS-supplied] one was having a slightly slow release, which means when you take your foot off, it comes up just a fraction of seconds too slow. Also, because it was longer, it was sticking to floormats. But nobody was killed from that, it was a standard recall problem, where you say “OK, we’re going to fix the part.” This one, however, whether it’s electronic, ah, or, the one from… what is it… Denso… had acceleration. In other words, when you let go it went up, but it was actually causing the car to go faster. And all of the death cases came from the Denso model, not the CTS, because when you go through the models… this is important for several things… as American congressmen, one of the things that’s important to us is that you treat teh American market like the rest of the world… we’re very concerned about memos that suggest you were addressing the problem in Europe and Japan before the United States. The other thing is the parts supplier… what’s amazing in this story is that the American parts supplier was actually delivering the safer model, and that your subsidiary, and I don’t know if you are aware of this, but a little after three o’clock, the FBI raided Toyota suppliers, and it is this one that made the pedal that’s causing it…

Souder’s quote can only be characterized as misinformation mixed with venal self-interest, all wrapped in a veil of incoherence. Which is a fairly good way to broadly characterize most of yesterday’s hearings.

The European and Japanese suppliers currently under investigation could face EU fines of up to ten percent of annual revenue, if convicted of operating a cartel.

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  • Jimbowski Jimbowski on Feb 25, 2010

    Amazingly, I lived for a few years in this guy's district. Fort Wayne, IN. I remember him speaking in a similar fashion about some regional events at the time. Luckily, I don't think he likes red light cameras...

    • Christy Garwood Christy Garwood on Feb 26, 2010

      Isn't there another famously 'glib' politician from near Fort Wayne, IN with a museum in Huntington? Dan (no I) Q. ;-)

  • BlackPope808 BlackPope808 on Feb 25, 2010

    This man is an first I thought it was that great character actor Wayne Knight (remember the DNA in a shaving cream can guy from Jurassic Park), then in horror realized he actually was a representative from Indiana. The creepy scolding, and at the same time thanking effusively of Mr. Toyoda for giving jobs to his constituency, was an awe inspiring demonstration of how crazy our legislative branch has become...does anyone know who we are sending to DC? You would also think that as leaders of our nation they would have the staff and resources to better study up on the issues of which they are presiding, rather than take quotes from Time and Businessweek...for crying out loud, they should have been poring over site to get their preparation, no research, flaccid grasp of the issues they were reviewing, what a waste of time.

  • BEPLA My own theory/question on the Mark VI:Had Lincoln used the longer sedan wheelbase on the coupe - by leaning the windshield back and pushing the dashboard & steering wheel rearward a bit - not built a sedan - and engineered the car for frameless side windows (those framed windows are clunky, look cheap, and add too many vertical lines in comparison to the previous Marks) - Would the VI have remained an attractive, aspirational object of desire?
  • VoGhost Another ICEbox? Pass. Where are you going to fill your oil addiction when all the gas stations disappear for lack of demand? I want a pickup that I can actually use for a few decades.
  • Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
  • GT Ross The black wheel fad cannot die soon enough for me.
  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers.