Thursday, January 28, 2010

Toyota's Pedal-Gate Fiasco

There is something satisfying in an unsatisfying way about the massive recall of Toyota cars and SUVs. It is satisfying because Toyota's reputation for integrity and yada yada yada deserved to take a hit and unsatisfying because people have gotten killed because of the apparent pandemic of stuck accelerator pedals.

Toyota, which supplanted GM as the world's largest automaker in 2008, is taking the unprecedented step of halting production in the U.S. of the eight suspect models for an indefinite period. The timing totally sucks coming as it does on the heels of the Japanese company reporting its first-ever annual loss last year.
The recall -- actually the second for the problem -- was handled in extraordinarily ham-handed manner beginning with the fact that Toyota bigs knew about it two years before they were chided by the feds to take action and then denied that there was a problem with the pedals themselves, instead blaming drivers for letting floor mats slid under them.

Toyota has become an industry leader by selling cars that are reliable if often dull. But with its quality ranking heading south with its stock price and competitors offering cars that are more desirable and reliable, it if faced with the prospect of losing longtime customers and with it that all-important market share

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