Saturday, January 30, 2010

Faceoff: Gov't Motors vs. Toyota: Is Big Brother Behind the Big Recall?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has attributed five deaths and 17 injuries to unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles since 2006. Those are not happy figures, but they are smaller than the number of deaths and injuries to Americans resulting from terrorist attacks on U.S. soil during that period.

Maybe that's why I'm having a difficult time reconciling the Obama administration's lackadaisical approach to terrorist attacks with their heartracing concern over sticky Toyota gas pedals. 

Am I detecting all over the Toyoto recall the incriminating fingerprints of an auto-manufacturer-owning Big Brother who never let a crisis go to waste? If so, I'm not the only one.

From Economic Policy Journal:
Many Toyota insiders are furious at the Obama Administration. The recall they have issued is the result of pressure from the U.S. Transportation Department. They believe that the pressure is coming not because of a true concern for safety, but an attempt by the Administration to drive sales toward the recently bailed out U.S. auto makers.

Although Toyota insiders admit that sticking has occurred in a few cars, they point out that it has been occurred in far fewer than 1,000, and not something where the Administration should have pushed for an immediate full recall, but rather something that could be handled during routine maintenance after a reasonable priced solution was developed.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told WGN Radio in Chicago that "the reason Toyota decided to do the recall and to stop manufacturing was because we asked them to."
According to MSNBC:
General Motors is offering interest-free loans and other incentives to Toyota owners who may want to get rid of their cars due to fears about faulty gas pedals.

GM General Manager of Retail Sales Steve Hill said Wednesday the company is responding to thousands of inquiries from Toyota owners.
The Detroit automaker is offering offer zero percent financing for 60 months on most models. It also will offer $1,000 to Toyota owners toward a down payment on a GM vehicle and up to $1,000 to help to pay off current leases early. The offers run through the end of February.
ABC News said:
American automakers are eager to pounce. After decades of losing customers to Toyota, Ford and General Motors are now doing their own poaching. They are unabashedly offering Toyota owners cash back and zero-percent financing on their new cars.

Many dealerships, such as Rizza Chevrolet, near Chicago, are touting the deals in full-color newspaper ads.

"We're hoping for one thing: sell more cars and increase our volume," said Joe Fosco, Rizza sales manager.

Daniel Howes, a columnist for the Detroit News, said, "It presents an opportunity for them to pick up market share and, frankly, to get more Americans in their vehicles."
Forbes had this to say:
Toyota has recalled 4.2 million vehicles worldwide because the gas pedal systems can get stuck. The company said the problem is rare and is caused by condensation that builds up in the gas pedal assembly.

The recall in the U.S. covers 2.3 million vehicles and involves the 2009-10 RAV4 crossover, the 2009-10 Corolla, the 2009-10 Matrix hatchback, the 2005-10 Avalon, the 2007-10 Camry, the 2010 Highlander crossover, the 2007-10 Tundra pickup and the 2008-10 Sequoia SUV. The recall has been expanded to models in Europe and China.
Not all of these models have the potentially faulty gas pedals, which were manufactured by CTS Corp of Elkhart, Indiana. Many have gas pedals made by Denso Corp.; these function well.

Toyota has five major assembly plants in the U.S and employs about 37,000 people in the U.S. Government Motors, propped up by American taxpayers, employs more than 142,000.


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