February 24, 2010: Toyota Faces Congress

Today Akio Toyoda is sitting in front of Congress expected to explain and defend his and his namesake company’s actions involving the lack of safety and lack of responsiveness to customers and US safety commissions resulting in many American deaths.  As the cited article mentions, facing down a Congressional Oversight Committee likely means the end of Toyoda’s nepotistic career.  It likely means an end to Toyota’s reign as the master car maker as well (technically it was surpassed by VW in December anyway.)  It would take a very foolish person to buy a Toyota vehicle today now that so much is known about how Toyota treats its customers and how little they take safety into account.  Toyota’s are not cheap and they will not be a status symbol again for a very long time.  This is a blemish that hopefully the company will never live down (although the populace has legendary short memory retention so we will see.)

Toyoda is also facing questioning from the US government as to whether or not Toyota was treating American customers differently from their Japanese counterparts.  This is the same question that came to my mind.  Had deaths been occurring in Japan would Toyota have looked the other way and allowed the dangerous vehicles to remain on the road?  Is it only because the deaths are Americans that it does not matter to them?

Toyoda did admit that the company’s focus had become “confused” – since he claims that the focus was supposed to be safety he clearly admitted that safety was no longer the focus.  Not the same as not caring at all, but it is the first step.  Toyoda also belittled the deaths that have occurred by claiming that the “…vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application to the brakes.”  Thanks, so he is placing the blame on the drivers rather than accepting responsibility.  Nice Toyoda, real classy.

At the end of the hearing, representative Marcy Kaptur said she was “disappointed” with Toyoda’s testimony and did not feel he had shown sufficient remorse or had taken enough note of the amount of complaints over the last decade.  The fact that Congress is pointing out that Toyota has a terrible safety record for a decade is extreme.  Toyota is definitely faced with having put Americans at risk and now has to face the music for getting caught selling us substandard, dangerous crap.

Yahoo! Finance ran a good story highlighting the cultural differences exposed in today’s hearing.  Toyoda, with his name on the company, failed to take responsibility for his and his company’s actions.  In Japan this is, we are told, acceptable.  In America, it is not.  Apparently in Japan no one has to take responsibility for corporate actions.  Corporations, perhaps, are considered to have greater rights than real people have.

What really came out of the hearing can be highlight thusly: Toyota and Toyoda just don’t seem to be too concerned about American lives (or possibly any lives) and they don’t see safety as a concern of their business, Toyota even today continues to claim that their cars are safe even when clearly they are not and Toyoda admits that they have no idea why the cars are killing people making his previous statement that some or all of their cars an obvious lie.  Bottom line is – don’t buy Toyota.  Ever.

It was super cold this morning so I drove to Jamba Juice and picked up the morning oatmeal.  Of course, they were not able to handle the order even though I do this every week, so it ended up taking an hour to get the oatmeal.  I’m thinking that it isn’t worth doing this any more.  The oatmeal might be really, really cheap but the effort necessary to get it is pretty extreme.

I dropped off oatmeal for Dominica and Liesl on the way to work and then went in to the office.  We have some people in from New Jersey today that I have not seen in quite a while.

For lunch today, as it is national tortilla day, John and I went to Mi Cocina and ate a large amount of tortilla chips.

Work wasn’t too bad today and I managed to head for home around five thirty which surprised Dominica as I am never home at that time.  Liesl was very excited to see me.

We did pretty much nothing tonight.  We ordered in sandwiches and watched a few movies via Netflix OnDemand and I played with Liesl all evening until she went to sleep around ten.  I was pretty tired and decided to turn in myself at ten thirty.  I need to catch up on some sleep.  Dominica stayed up for a while after I went to bed watching her Australian television show McLeod’s Daughters to which she is now addicted.

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