Toyota Motor Corp., which built its reputation in the U.S. on safety and reliability, has been cleared by the government of electronic problems in its vehicles. Now it needs to convince consumers that it has put its safety recalls in the rear view mirror.
The Transportation Department said Tuesday that electronic flaws were not to blame for reports of sudden, unintended acceleration. Since 2009, Toyota has recalled more than 12 million vehicles globally over safety problems. The government's new findings bolstered Toyota's contention that the company had directly dealt with the problems through its recalls and is making safety paramount in its lineup.
Analysts said it would take more than a government report to repair Toyota's once pristine image for producing quality vehicles. Toyota was the only major automaker to see a U.S. sales decline last year at 0.4 percent and saw its U.S. market share fall nearly 2 percentage points to 15.2 percent. The decline came even though total U.S. sales rose 11 percent for the year.
Toyota is the most egregious example of (a) government imposed "PR problem." Anyone who read PJ O'Rourke's Parliament of Whores knows that sudden-acceleration incidents in cars are a figment of the imaginations of lawyers, consumer advocates, and boat-footed drivers. But, journalists and Democrats have not read Parliament of Whores, so when sketchy reports surface of cars suddenly accelerating out of control, hustling liberals jump on them with both feet. Never mind that reputable engineers have never been able to replicate SAI's in the lab. Never mind that the most spectacular SAI - the runaway Prius in San Diego - was a hoax. (incredibly, the debunking did not receive the same level of media attention as the "runaway"). And also, never mind that Toyota earnestly tried to diagnose the problem and even established as official corporate policy that it would not blame the drivers, even though Toyota had to have suspected the drivers were at fault. No, it was much more important for Democratic congressmen to drag Toyota executives to DC for a show trial to showcase their corporate sins. Added bonus: Toyota is a competitor to Government Motors, and its executives were Japanese, i.e. Dread Furriners. This from the Party of Tolerance and Science.