Skip to comments.Toyota’s Biggest Blunder
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 Toyotas 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 isnt where Toyota says it is? Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration are investigating, but havent 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 companys 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 arent 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 doesnt last long. A company, after all, wont win market share until it wins over customers. But a cover-up of a cover-up is worse than the original sin. For customers, its an unforgettable insult. Time and investigations may exonerate Toyota of the second offense, but, if not, it will be the companys biggest blunder yet.
If you drive a Toyota and need some guidance, you can visit Toyotas 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, Toyotas recall website did not appear to have details on the webcast.
What do you think about Toyotas treatment of its customers leading up to and in the wake of this event?
their real mistake was apparently not funneling enough campaign cash to Democrats in the 2008 cycle
They’re collateral damage!
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.
—with about forty years industrial experience of various kinds, IMHO about 90% of employee” whistleblower” and customer complaints are total hogwash—
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.
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.
Now that the dictator in chief owns GM, he is taking out the competition one at a time.
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.
There was a reported run away Prius near San Diego yesterday. CHP to the rescue.
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)!
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?
The fundamental problem of today is ethics in corporations and politics.
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?
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.
My daily driver:
F150 SVT Lightning
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.
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.
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.
Much ado about nothing.
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