Toyota Hearing Delayed As Investigation Widens
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will have to wait two more weeks to gets its claws into Toyota, as heavy weather has postponed hearings scheduled for today until the 24th. But don’t expect the delay take any of the pressure of Toyota: lawmakers are taking the extra time to widen their investigations. Automotive News [sub] reports that House Energy Committee Chair Rep Henry Waxman (D-CA) has solicited documents from a number of auto insurers after it was revealed that State Farm had warned the NHTSA of possible unintended acceleration in Toyotas as early as 2007. The Energy Committee has scheduled hearings for the 25th.
Meanwhile, Reuters has published one of the most comprehensive pieces we’ve seen yet on Toyota’s “epic breakdown.” Don’t miss it.
Haha, you guys get the best photos.
Excellent article and timeline, with just the right editorial undertone. Toyota decided to grow market share, and that has consequences, and inevitably their "little car company" model would be dissolved, when they did so. Unfortunately, Toyota made the grave mistake of faltering in the high-profile arena of sudden acceleration, and did so as they were closing that NUMMI plant, in Waxman's home state of California, even as Government Motors was working feverishly to aid the UAW, their political allies. Ray Charles could see what was coming, at that point. Huge mistakes on Toyota's part. Huge. They failed to recognize the reality of the situation. They looked only at the opportunities, and not the risks. This is the money quote from that article, and you can basically replace Mr. Toyoda's name with Henry Ford's name, and you'll see what happened to the US automotive industry after its "Henry Fords" let go the tiller post-War, which directly parallels the Toyota situation (and note that Ford has been recently been led to disaster by Little Lord Fauntelroy, Billy Jr., one of old Henry's bloodline, just as Toyoda's bloodline is leading Toyota during this era). With the help of Government Motors, the Detroit 3 are only now facing up to their problems, and ironically, Toyota helped expose them. The more things change, the more they stay the same: >>>>>One of the organizing principles of Toyota's industrial ideology is that you have to "genchi genbutsu" a problem. In Japanese that means you have to go to the place, to touch the thing itself. You have to meet the customer, lift the hood, get your hands dirty. Walk, don't talk, Toyota instructs its workers. It is a phrase that Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder, is fond of trotting out. "Quality is Toyota's lifeline," he said in his first public appearance in the United States after becoming Toyota's president in June. In its relentless quest for quality, said Toyoda, the company had to live and breathe the two big ideas that had made it great: "customer first" and "genchi genbutsu."
From a PR perspective, the delay will likely be to Toyota's benefit. It compresses the negative news events together (24th & 25th), and stops the long constant stream of negative Toyota news. The story may very well lose momentum by that time given that it will be in between the Olympics. Granted it will be still covered in detail by most of the media but it gives the company some breathing room to get most of the recalls done by that time and an opportunity to create a barrier in the continuity of attacks. Given that Toyota has been pretty inept so far in handling this situation I wouldn't be surprised to hear fresh attacks against them in between this gap.
I love the shameless plug, Ed.