Jump to content
Create New...

Toyota's no-show CEO loses credibility


Recommended Posts

Toyota's no-show CEO loses credibility

Nearly 9 million Toyota Motor Corp. cars and trucks are under recall worldwide, most of them in the United States.

Complaints are rising -- some for vehicles whose accelerators stick, some for errant floor mats, some for vehicles that maybe can't stop, still more for rusting frames. Now the company confirms it is looking into steering concerns with its Corolla compact. Which, this being America, means the lawsuits aren't far behind.

Congress, wanting to know what Toyota knew and when, has scheduled hearings. Lawmakers, from Michigan's own John Dingell and California's Henry Waxman to Toyota-state governors, are pontificating. Federal regulators are talking tough even as they fret a paper trail buried in their own archives might implicate them for doing too little for too long.

Yet the CEO whose name is on the building, Akio Toyoda, reiterated again Wednesday in Japan that he has no plans to testify to Congress. He has vague plans to come to the States. And there's little urgency, at least publicly, to convene the Japanese automaker's new cross-regional quality team of top executives.

You must be kidding, Toyoda-san.

That kind of Hamlet routine wouldn't last two news cycles for an automaker whose CEO goes to work every day inside the borders of, say, Michigan. Not for a company that is based here, that employs more than 100,000 Americans, that makes the bulk of its profits here, that builds many of its products here, that considers itself an American manufacturer -- and insists that others do.

Sound familiar? It should, for it was not too long ago that Toyota's folks, their suppliers and their political friends in high places were pushing new labels for the burgeoning foreign-owned auto industry operating in the United States, even as the Detroit Three teetered near an abyss that briefly swallowed two of them.

Why? Because labels matter.

At an auto show gala a few years back, the chairman of a well-known auto supplier based in Ohio kept referring to "the NAMs" -- the New American Manufacturers, he explained, which also could have been called ABD (Anyone but Detroit). There also is the "New Domestics" tag, a galling ruse that suggests some in the business still have trouble with truth-in-labeling laws.

"Toyota has become as thoroughly an American company as the so-called 'domestic' manufacturers -- and the facts back this up," the governors of Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi and Alabama wrote to members of Congress last week.

It's absurd, all the more so now that Toyota's do-no-wrong image is being sullied by a mushrooming quality scandal being managed, poorly, from Japan. And its CEO appears content to a) let middle American governors do his political advance work while he b) avoids contact with media here or members of Congress -- unless explicitly asked.

How long do you think the CEO of, say, Ford Motor Co. would get away with that routine? Ask Jacques Nasser, the former Ford boss who answered probing questions over the automaker's Explorer SUVs equipped with Firestone tires.

Bottom line: You can't have it both ways, Toyoda-san. Can't claim the mantle of "New American Manufacturer" only to fall back on regional autonomy when the oil sludge hits the proverbial fan. Can't say you're accountable but leave friendly governors and your guy in the States to answer for the company, a dodge that would never work for a Detroit rival.

Nor can Toyota credibly play the role of progressive American company investing deeply in communities and their myriad causes -- which it has, undeniably -- but then let its CEO effectively hole up in Fortress Japan during a crisis.

Unless, that is, one motivation is to imply that critics are being driven not by a growing record of problems with Toyota's cars and trucks and what that means for the buying public, but by crude xenophobia and political payback.

Hints of that, and more, are coming from Toyota's friendly governors. They note "the federal government's obvious conflict of interest because of its huge financial stake in some of Toyota's competitors" -- a fact that would be more convincing if the federal and legal record of Toyota's "sudden acceleration" issues, among others, didn't stretch back into the last Bush administration.

Left unsaid is the suggestion that this mess wouldn't be spreading if the target wasn't a foreign-owned automaker. But that's coming, wherever the evidence leads on the cars and trucks Toyota sold to buyers around the world.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100218/OPINION03/2180358/Toyota-s-no-show-CEO-loses-credibility#ixzz0ftcbopVl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 31 Guests (See full list)

    • There are no registered users currently online
  • Volkswagen ID.Buzz Coming to the U.S. in Long-Wheelbase Form

    Volkswagen has been teasing us with the I.D. Buzz for 6-years when they made the announcement back in 2017 that they would bring the I.D. Buzz to market. The standard wheelbase model has been on sale in Europe since May of last year, and today, Volkswagen is officially announcing the long-wheelbase version for sale in the U.S. starting next year. The ID.Buzz will not, as previously reported, be built at VW's Chatanooga plant alongside the ID.4, instead being built in VW's Hanover Germ


    The New Chevrolet Colorado gets a New Bison ZR2

    The performance off-road mid-size pickup truck war has turned into a hot war in 2023.  Ford has recently released their 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, and Toyota introduced an all-new 2024 Tacoma with an incredibly capable Tacoma TRD Off Road. Back in 2018, Chevrolet teamed up with American Expedition Vehicles to the 2019 Chevy Colorado Bison ZR2 to the Colorado lineup.  About a year ago, the all-new 2023 Colorado was released, and while there was a ZR2, the Bison was not part of the announcement


    Ford EVs Gain Access to Tesla SuperChargers, Ford to Adopt Tesla NACS Charge Port

    Ford and Tesla jointly announced today that starting in the spring of 2024, Ford EV drivers will gain access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers in North America.  This move will more than double the number of chargers available to Ford EV drivers who currently have access to 10,000  DC fast-chargers in the BlueOval EV network.  Additionally, Ford dealers are adding 1,800 public-facing fast chargers across the continent. Existing EV models like the F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E, and E


  • Create New...

Hey there, we notice you're using an ad-blocker. We're a small site that is supported by ads or subscriptions. We rely on these to pay for server costs and vehicle reviews.  Please consider whitelisting us in your ad-blocker, or if you really like what you see, you can pick up one of our subscriptions for just $1.75 a month or $15 a year. It may not seem like a lot, but it goes a long way to help support real, honest content, that isn't generated by an AI bot.

See you out there.


Write what you are looking for and press enter or click the search icon to begin your search