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Toyota’s Biggest Blunder
Managing Automation ^ | March 5, 2010 | Chris Chiappinelli

Posted on 03/09/2010 10:35:27 AM PST by Chi-townChief

By | Published: Between you and me, Toyota really messed this one up.

The company long known for its meticulous quality and, by extension, its meticulous customer care drove completely off the rails in recent years, churning out ever larger production batches, ever faster, even as quality control declined inversely. That led to the recall of more than 8 million vehicles across a slew of Toyota brands. The company did this — and this is where the customer care part gets really murky — only after the failure of what appears to be a Machiavellian effort to silence its customers’ complaints.

But neither history nor customers will consider that to be Toyota’s greatest sin if it turns out that the fixes were just a smoke screen to hide the real problem. Toyota maintains that the defects that cause unintended acceleration are inherent in the mechanics of the gas pedal, which can get stuck, or in faulty floor mats that can tamp down said pedal. But outsiders have questioned whether the real problem might lie in the electronics that govern the vehicles’ acceleration and braking systems.

Now more than 60 Toyota drivers claim that their vehicles accelerated without cause after being recalled and purportedly fixed. Does that mean the root cause isn’t where Toyota says it is? Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration are investigating, but haven’t announced any conclusions.

Toyota said in a statement, somewhat contradictorily, “As NHTSA is now reviewing the results of our evaluations, it is inappropriate for Toyota to provide specific information about the company’s conclusions. However, the evaluations have found no evidence of a failure of the vehicle electronic throttle control system, the recent recall remedies, or the brake override feature.”

Some observers have suggested that the recent deluge of press coverage may have made some Toyota owners oversensitive to driving events that aren’t really issues. Others might wonder which class-action lawyer is behind the complaints. I think Toyota may have more on its hands than it thought it would.

Most consumers will allow a company the chance to make good, a golden opportunity that doesn’t last long. A company, after all, won’t win market share until it wins over customers. But a cover-up of a cover-up is worse than the original sin. For customers, it’s an unforgettable insult. Time and investigations may exonerate Toyota of the second offense, but, if not, it will be the company’s biggest blunder yet.

If you drive a Toyota and need some guidance, you can visit Toyota’s recall website.

Update: Numerous news reports indicate that Toyota will conduct a webcast on Monday, March 8, to rebuff claims that the electronics system could be at fault for its vehicles’ acceleration problems. As of Monday morning, Toyota’s recall website did not appear to have details on the webcast.

What do you think about Toyota’s treatment of its customers leading up to and in the wake of this event?


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Front Page News; Japan; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: automakers; automobiles; blunders; green; recalls; toyota
Sounds more like they just got greedy and wound up with squat as we have seen so many times before.
1 posted on 03/09/2010 10:35:27 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief

their real mistake was apparently not funneling enough campaign cash to Democrats in the 2008 cycle


2 posted on 03/09/2010 10:40:20 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Chi-townChief

They’re collateral damage!


3 posted on 03/09/2010 10:40:25 AM PST by Dr. Ursus
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To: Chi-townChief

Their biggest blunder was not being unionized by the UAW and not playing footsie with Obama. Government motors recalls are not being given the same emphasis and Congressional hearings.


4 posted on 03/09/2010 10:43:11 AM PST by Truth29
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To: Chi-townChief

—with about forty years industrial experience of various kinds, IMHO about 90% of employee” whistleblower” and customer complaints are total hogwash—


5 posted on 03/09/2010 10:43:40 AM PST by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the MSM tells you about firearms or explosives--NRA Benefactor)
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To: Chi-townChief

I do not think this is anything special happening with Toyota. All cars makers have claims of such behavior with their cars. It is my belief that these are most often user error, or an attempt by the user to get out of looking stupid (i.e.-I was speeding, I was attempting to cut-off that jerk, I was attempting suicide, I had my foot on the wrong pedal, I had my shoes off and one got under the brake—this type of thing).

I think this is simply a shake-down of Toyota.


6 posted on 03/09/2010 10:44:02 AM PST by ConservativeMind (Hypocrisy: "Animal rightists" who eat meat & pen up pets while accusing hog farmers of cruelty.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog; All
their real mistake was apparently not funneling enough campaign cash to Democrats in the 2008 cycle

Exactamundo. Like Rush said: which has more flaws--a Toyota Camry or Obama's health care bill?

I'd buy a Toyota in a minute if I had the money. Or a Ford.

Screw the Democrats.

7 posted on 03/09/2010 10:47:56 AM PST by Recovering_Democrat
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To: Chi-townChief

Now that the dictator in chief owns GM, he is taking out the competition one at a time.


8 posted on 03/09/2010 10:48:55 AM PST by Dengar01
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To: Chi-townChief
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Sunday_Reflections/Consent-of-the-governed---and-the-lack-thereof-86628027.html

Glenn Harlan Reynolds: Consent of the governed - and the lack thereof

... In fact, when I think of the federal government's brand now, I think of Schlitz beer. Schlitz was once a top national brew. But, in search of short-term gains, it began gradually reducing its quality in tiny increments to save money, substituting cheaper malt, fewer hops and "accelerated" brewing for its traditional approach.

Each incremental decline was imperceptible to consumers, but after a few years, people suddenly noticed that the beer was no good anymore. Sales collapsed, and a "Taste My Schlitz" campaign designed to lure beer drinkers back failed when the "improved" brew turned out not to be any better. A brand image that had been accumulated over decades was lost in a few years, and it has never recovered.


9 posted on 03/09/2010 10:49:11 AM PST by Thud
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To: Chi-townChief

There was a reported run away Prius near San Diego yesterday. CHP to the rescue.


10 posted on 03/09/2010 10:50:20 AM PST by Pajama Blogger
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To: Chi-townChief
When I was in business school (some years ago) the case we were made to study was Tylenol. For those who don't recall, some lunatic put cyanide or such into Tylenol products causing, I believe 8 deaths. Tylenol wasted no time in pulling all its products off the shelves saying that while they had no evidence the fault was in their product, they did not want any customer injured by taking Tylenol. It cost them millions and millions of dollars - but the value of the brand survived and propsers to this day. That is what I was taught was ethical and smart business.

For those too young to remember, that incident is why there are tamper apparent seals on a wide variety of consumer products.

The guys from Toyota should have gone to Johns Hopkins (where I got my degree)!

11 posted on 03/09/2010 10:50:38 AM PST by In Maryland ("Impromptu Obamanomics is getting scarier by the day ..." - Caroline Baum)
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To: ConservativeMind

So Toyota has admitted to the existence of a fake problem? And the fix to the spring is a fake fix to a fake problem?


12 posted on 03/09/2010 10:53:23 AM PST by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
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To: In Maryland

The fundamental problem of today is ethics in corporations and politics.


13 posted on 03/09/2010 10:53:35 AM PST by gathersnomoss (General George Patton had it right.)
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To: In Maryland

Toyota pulled all their inventory and shut down their factories while they looked for the cause of this. They did exactly what Tylenol did. What else were they supposed to have done?


14 posted on 03/09/2010 10:55:00 AM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Chi-townChief

3 weeks ago I bought a 2010 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4x4 Limited. I have no regrets and no concerns.

This is the 4th Toyota I have owned and I doubt that I will ever buy any other brand.

I believe that most of this is propaganda from the dems, lib media, competition and the unions. However, if there are “real” problems, Toyota will fix them and continue to treat us customers the way they always have... great.


15 posted on 03/09/2010 11:00:00 AM PST by Gator113 (I do not want Obama IMPEACHED... I want him IMPRISONED.)
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To: Recovering_Democrat
Ford's work for me. ;)

My daily driver:


F150 SVT Lightning

16 posted on 03/09/2010 11:00:28 AM PST by blackie
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To: Truth29

Got a sneaking suspicion your quite correct! That’s why I haven’t taken mine in to be looked at; I gotta bad feeling that there’s some monkey business going on in their repair facilities that they don’t know about and I gotta feeling it’s been bought and paid for by the Union goons.


17 posted on 03/09/2010 11:01:31 AM PST by glide625
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To: In Maryland

I think the Tylenol case is one of the most studied in business ethics courses, and you nailed it by comparing the two.

Tylenol took a hit, and they did cease manufacturing the type of caplets that was tampered with I believe, but the way they handled it was perfect. They showed fear of course, but also disgust and the PR guys worked their magic so people could empathize with their situation.

Toyota (and Toyoda) for all their study of Americans hasn’t hit on what most people want to hear from them on this situation. Just yesterday I heard about a guy in a Prius who had to have a cop get in front of him to bring it to a stop and it’s been on all the news programs. If they don’t get out in front of this pretty quick they might have just peaked in sales for a long, long time.


18 posted on 03/09/2010 11:05:12 AM PST by Abathar (Proudly posting without reading the article carefully since 2004)
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To: Ramius

The Tylanol comparison doesn’t quite work. The drug manufacturer recalled and DESTROYED all unsold product, and had customers turn in all product already sold for a full refund. Toyota can’t do this.

What would be nice, though, is for Toyota to find the real problem and fix it. It isn’t floormats or sticky pedals.


19 posted on 03/09/2010 11:05:23 AM PST by wrench
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To: Chi-townChief

Much ado about nothing.


20 posted on 03/09/2010 11:07:43 AM PST by Psycho_Bunny
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To: Chi-townChief

I’d bet that a minimum of 2/3rds of the claims are false. We are the most litigious country in the history of man and i’d imagine a lot of losers are out trying to cash in big.


21 posted on 03/09/2010 11:08:34 AM PST by DemonDeac
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To: Chi-townChief

They got fat like GM.

They wanted to be all things to all people so instead of 10 car models they ended up with 30 or more models and quality suffered.


22 posted on 03/09/2010 11:09:45 AM PST by Smogger
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To: Abathar
Toyota (and Toyoda) for all their study of Americans hasn’t hit on what most people want to hear from them on this situation. Just yesterday I heard about a guy in a Prius who had to have a cop get in front of him to bring it to a stop and it’s been on all the news programs. If they don’t get out in front of this pretty quick they might have just peaked in sales for a long, long time.

That CHP said this morning that in their opinion that car failed to stop for whatever reason, and they have zero indication that it was driver error.

The government is not eviscerating Toyota (not that they don't have a substantial conflict of interest.) THEIR CUSTOMERS ARE!!

23 posted on 03/09/2010 11:13:12 AM PST by Smogger
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To: Smogger

Exactly.


24 posted on 03/09/2010 11:25:48 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: swain_forkbeard

Apparently so, because we now have 60 people saying these fixes haven’t fixed the problem.

Remember, Toyota has said they really don’t know what the problem might be. They are taking stabs at it, though.


25 posted on 03/09/2010 11:33:20 AM PST by ConservativeMind (Hypocrisy: "Animal rightists" who eat meat & pen up pets while accusing hog farmers of cruelty.)
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To: wrench

“It isn’t floormats or sticky pedals.”

That remains to be seen. We really don’t know that, yet.


26 posted on 03/09/2010 11:36:35 AM PST by -YYZ- (Strong like bull, smart like ox.)
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To: Chi-townChief

Haven’t had any problems with my 6 year-old Corolla.


27 posted on 03/09/2010 11:36:42 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: wrench
What would be nice, though, is for Toyota to find the real problem and fix it. It isn’t floormats or sticky pedals.

Do you suppose they don't want to? I would think they'd very much like to get all of these cars fixed. And actually, the floormats and the sticking pedals were in fact separate recalls. There *was* a prior problem with some of the floormats. So far this problem does in fact seem to be mechanical rather than software. Do you say they should ignore all possible mechanical causes? Just keep the blinders on and only look at electronics? Why should they do that?

28 posted on 03/09/2010 11:45:09 AM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Ramius
"Toyota pulled all their inventory and shut down their factories while they looked for the cause of this. They did exactly what Tylenol did. What else were they supposed to have done?"

I just did a BING! search on "Toyota Denies" - I got over 5 million hits. Does that give you a clue?

29 posted on 03/09/2010 11:47:44 AM PST by In Maryland ("Impromptu Obamanomics is getting scarier by the day ..." - Caroline Baum)
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To: Smogger
...they have zero indication that it was driver error.

Well, no, I don't think it was an "error" either. It may have been quite on purpose. Did they check him for a UAW membership card?

30 posted on 03/09/2010 11:48:00 AM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: In Maryland

No...?

How many accidents in a Toyota should cause a shut down? one? Should they shut down their entire global operations for every single traffic accident and investigate each and every one to find a precise cause before they sell even one more?

What would be good enough for you?


31 posted on 03/09/2010 11:50:32 AM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Pajama Blogger

You have to wonder what the leftist/hippies will buy now if Toyota is not the way for them to go anymore.


32 posted on 03/09/2010 12:44:32 PM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief
Sounds more like they just got greedy and wound up with squat as we have seen so many times before.

Umm, no. They are being targeted and made an example of.

There's nothing more mysterious going on than Obama and his gang taking out some non-union competition.

33 posted on 03/09/2010 12:47:27 PM PST by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
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To: Chi-townChief
quality control declined inversely

Good news! This means that quality control has improved!

Or are we talking about just another IDIOT writer?

34 posted on 03/09/2010 12:58:34 PM PST by Moltke (DOPE will get you 4 to 8 in the Big House - HOPE will get you 4 to 8 in the White House.)
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To: ConservativeMind
I think this is simply a shake-down of Toyota.

Maybe not. This guy has shown that a particular short in the wiring in a Toyota can cause runaway acceleration: Response to Toyota and Exponent Regarding Dr. David Gilbert’s preliminary report “Toyota Throttle Control Investigation”

It looks a bit like Toyota skimped on testing all possible flaw paths in their drive-by-wire system, which was required due to higher gas mileage standards.

More death from the Green movement, to go along with the CFC and DDT bans.

35 posted on 03/09/2010 1:43:38 PM PST by slowhandluke (It's hard to be cynical enough in this age.)
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To: In Maryland
For those too young to remember, that incident is why there are tamper apparent seals on a wide variety of consumer products.

I was cussing one of those tamper proof bottles just this morning.

36 posted on 03/09/2010 1:53:04 PM PST by gitmo
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To: TChris
There's nothing more mysterious going on than Obama and his gang taking out some non-union competition.
37 posted on 03/09/2010 1:56:24 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard
Yes, I wrote that.

And... ?

38 posted on 03/09/2010 1:57:13 PM PST by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
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To: TChris
It bears repeating.

In bold face.

It's the fundamental truth of the matter ... and it was predictable the moment Zero and his union goons took over GM and Chrysler.

All the blather and drivel about what Toyota shoudla/coulda/woulda done is irrelevant.

The leftists are trying to take Toyota down, and lying is their favourite tactic. Tylenol was attacked by a lone nut. Toyota is being attacked by leftist liars in Government, Unions, and Media. It's a totally different situation.

39 posted on 03/09/2010 2:01:25 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

The problem is that Toyota is the leftists car of choice so you have to wonder what else is going on here.


40 posted on 03/09/2010 2:25:28 PM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief
"You have to wonder what the leftist/hippies will buy now if Toyota is not the way for them to go anymore."

Photobucket
41 posted on 03/09/2010 2:41:22 PM PST by Pajama Blogger
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To: slowhandluke
Good link. I used it to find Dr. Gilbert's report (this describes exactly the electrical circuits and how to spoof them), and others. For those interested in more raw data and opinions (mostly anti-Toyota): http://www.safetyresearch.net/toyota-sudden-unintended-acceleration/
42 posted on 03/09/2010 2:54:50 PM PST by Cboldt
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