Toyota's Toyoda Meets The Press: Prius Recall Imminent. Or Not
Toyota’s President Akio Toyoda will do something highly unusual tonight: The usually reclusive CEO will meet the press in Nagoya on Friday night at 9 p.m. Japanese time to discuss product quality, says the Nikkei [sub]. Toyoda won’t face the Fourth Estate all alone. Executive Vice President Shinichi Sasaki will also attend, and hopefully deflect the worst.
The press conference is not for Japanese consumption. Friday night at 9, most papers are put to bed, and the evening news are over. The meeting is for U.S. consumption. Friday night at 9 in Nagoya is 7 a.m. in New York.
Japanese transport minister Seiji Maehara, always the politician, stole a little bit of Toyoda’s limelight and said Friday evening (Japan time) that the government has heard that Toyota will carry out either a recall or voluntary repair over brake problems with the Prius. Maehara added that this was scuttlebutt only, and that Toyota has not yet reported to the transport ministry which option the automaker will take.
We’ll keep you updated.
It makes sense, because the US is one of Toyota's biggest markets, if not the biggest. They are in no danger of losing their #1 position in Japan, but they are in danger of losing their #2 position in the US if they don't become more proactive.
From what the media has thusfar reported Toyota claims they have fixed the Prius brake problem for models built after late January. Yet they failed to notify Prius owners that a problem existed. This is totally unacceptable behavior from an automobile manufacturer.
Remember when Bill Ford Jr. cried uncle and said he didn't have what it takes to run the family business? Toyoda-san needs to do the same thing.
I am very disappointed in Toyoda. His handling of this situation is abysmal in my opinion. If I'm not mistaken, this will be only the second time he will say anything about the whole situation to the public since the media blitz started, allowing, instead, to let his subordinates take the "limelight." Beyond that, while I don't think he caused this whole problem(s), I do think he missed opportunities to end it at earlier points in his career. But he didn't.