Livechat With Jeff Liker And Timothy Ogden, Authors Of "Toyota Under Fire"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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  • H Man H Man on Apr 19, 2011

    Very informative post. Thank you!

  • PenguinBoy PenguinBoy on Apr 19, 2011

    I wonder if Japanese corporate culture had something to do with the slow communication within Toyota? I worked for a Japanese OEM for a couple of years back in the mid '90s, and it was not the sort of place that would encourage people to quickly bring bad news forward. The management was quite hierarchical, and didn't really encourage straight talk about problems. That observation is based on a sample size of one, in a different industry (electronics) so I'm not sure how much it applies here. That was also quite a few years ago, and it's possible that younger and less formal managers are running the show in Japan these days. It is does seem that some of the problems at Toyota dragged on for a number of years before any decisive action was taken, and a problem like a poor accelerator pedal design that would easily snag improperly installed or ill fitting aftermarket mats seems like something that would be obvious should be quickly corrected.

  • Robert Fahey Robert Fahey on Apr 20, 2011

    Penguin, you're right. Toyota admitted it chased growth too rampantly, communicated poorly and failed to connect the dots leading up to the sticky-pedal recall of last January. And in the end, LaHood et al admitted they chased a few wild geese when they ransacked Toyota's closets. But when will the quacks in the press corp admit they let plaintiffs' attorneys write the headlines? Remember, NHTSA's report notes that the tidal wave of consumer complaints was caused by headlines, not "in-field failures." In other words, the tail wagged the dog. This says something about America’s psychology. Demagoguery cannot work without a receptive populace. The previous automotive scare, the Audi disaster in the 1980s, never left American borders. In fact, America owns the term “sudden unintended acceleration.” We have a dysfunctional relationship with cars. We rely on them but don’t understand or trust them, and don’t use them properly. So it’s only natural that the triumvirate of journalists, trial lawyers and their allied safety experts have easy access to our central nervous system when the subject is automotive. Our Toyotas worked fine until headlines prodded our auto-chondria. Then we gave the plaintiffs’ bar just what it wanted. We had a fine nervous breakdown. We served this hollow meal to ourselves, and royally.

  • Twin Cam Turdo Twin Cam Turdo on Apr 21, 2011

    I'm just perturbed because I can't buy this book (for Kindle) in Japan. Rather ironic...