Toyota charts upset rivals

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Toyota charts upset rivals
BY TOM WALSH FREE PRESS COLUMNIST
Toyota's recall troubles might appear at first to be an occasion for great glee among Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, a chance to steal back
long-lost customers from their biggest Asian competitor.
And momentarily, at least, there is that opportunity. February sales numbers showed a decline of 9% for Toyota while the Detroit Three -- especially a surging Ford -- posted gains.
This column, however, is about what the late radio legend Paul Harvey would call "the rest of the story."
Detroit auto folks are privately fuming over what they see as calculated, misleading attempts by Toyota to deflect attention from its own failings by trashing the quality records of Ford, GM and Chrysler.
This rancor over Toyota's PR tactics is blowing another hole in the already shaky solidarity of the Alliance of American Automobile Manufacturers, which includes Detroit and foreign firms, just as a restless U.S. Congress looks poised to unleash a wave of costly new safety rules on the entire industry.
None of Detroit's top guns wants to publicly bash Toyota now, because (a) Detroit still doesn't have much credibility on Capitol Hill, and (b) they might just look like whiners grousing about Toyota.
Bad blood brewing
But behind the scenes, Detroit loyalists accuse Toyota of "lobbyist malpractice" and say things like, "It's tearing the whole industry apart."
Here's why: Just as top Toyota honchos were to testify in Washington, D.C., about a spate of recalls and safety complaints, Toyota sent a set of charts under the headline "Automotive Recalls in Perspective" to offices of key congressional committee members. One striking bar graph showed that Ford, GM and Chrysler were the overwhelming leaders in U.S. safety recall campaigns during the past decade, each with around triple the recalls of Toyota.
So what's wrong with that, if the numbers were correct?
Beside the point
The charts were totally irrelevant to the point of the hearings, that's what.
Toyota was hauled before Congress to explain why it took so long to address specific safety complaints, whether it was hiding things, why U.S. regulators had to prod Toyota into action -- not to compare a decade's worth of industrywide recall data.
Indeed, Toyota sending out those charts was precisely the type of obfuscation and misdirection that's gotten the automaker into such hot water.
Meanwhile, as Congress makes noise about mandating brake-override technology and adding other costly new rules, the Auto Alliance, the industry's joint-lobbying group, is less than united.
Honda and Nissan are not members; Toyota and the German firms are.
The Detroit Three, to varying degrees in this tough economy, are questioning the value of the multimillion-dollar checks they've written to support the alliance in years past.
Now the bad blood over Toyota's tactics threatens to further split the industry, even on issues like safety and the upcoming cap-and-trade debates on energy and environmental policy.
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http://www.freep.com/article/20100307/COL06/3070535/Toyota-charts-upset-rivals
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Toyota was not "hauled before congress" They came voluntarily.
Have grave doubts about the credibility of this article.
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wrote Re Re: Toyota charts upset rivals:

It doesn't matter. Toyota still makes a better car.
signed A Focus owner
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LOL...just like they volumtarily instituted the recall. Do you honestly think they had any choice but show up? If you don't have a choice, then the action isn't voluntary. It was about the same as when someone voluntarily turns themselves into the police. Initially Toyoda said he would not attend the hearings becasue the US head of Toyota could handle it. Certain Congresse People made a big stink about this, and Toyoda "voluntarily" change his mind. I think the Congressional hearing were a giant waste of time designed to distract the public from massive govermental failures. If anyone deserved to be grilled, it was the head of NHTSA. THis agency had the job of investigating potential problems. They failed in the case of the Toyota UA invvestigation. If NHTSA had done it's job 3 years ago, there would be no firestorm now.

It is good to be skeptical of anything you read in the pres (or on the internet).
Which part don't you find credible? I can't recall any US manufacturer every throwing mud at competitors over recalls in the manner that Toyota. And given Toyota's long record of decit and cover-up of problems, it is unbelieve that they would start slinging arrows at other manufacturers. And besides in recent history, Toyota has been one of the recall leaders. I wonder if the charts disparaging other manfacturers were cooked up by the same idiots at Toyota that created the PowerPoint presentation bragging about the number of recalls thaey had killed off. Maybe they should realease a chart comparing the number of sucessful cover-up Toyota has conducted. I am sure they lead in that category.
Ed
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Of course they had a choice Ed, what law would have compelled Mr. Toyoda to appear before a US government committee? This was just a show for the politicians so they appear to be *for* the consumer, (voters), LOL. If a trade war is what the US politicians want then let it begin. Remember, Toyota has the best gas preserving car on the US roads today. The only thing that keeps Toyota in the dim gunsight is their lack of union participation.
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wrote Re Re: Toyota charts upset rivals:

That's another plus.
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Congress has the power to issue subpoenas, but Congress didn't need to subpoena Mr. Toyoda. They let public pressure force his appearance. Just as effective as a subpoena.

I am sure that some members of Congress are motivated by union pressure. BUT, plenty of others are pro-Toyota. The UAW doesn't have the power they had even 20 years ago. I suspect there is actually more pro-Toyota pressure being exerted on congress than anti-Toyota pressure. We have Governors , Representatives and Senators from at least four states openly and loudly supporting Toyota. Then there is the pressure being exerted by thousands of Toyota dealers. Did you see the article about how Toyota encouraged the dealers to pack the galleries at the hearing? Toyota has lobbyist, they make political contributions, etc.
I know labor Unions still support many candidates, but how many Representatives and Senators do you think are truly pro-Union these days? Maybe 30%? Just a guess.
Ed
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Congress has no power to subpoena a foreign national. In other words they don't have to appear if they don't want to.

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True enough..well unless he was in the country. Do you think Mr. Toyoda "wanted to appear."
Ed
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Yes.
The opening statement from the chairman was that he appreciated and thanked him for his appearance before the committee.
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On 09/03/2010 2:41 AM, dbu'' wrote:

They can, the question is do they legally have to show. But they can haul in the head of Toyota USA.
Congress is looking to grandstand here. They should be figuring out how to fix the economy and criminal government overspending. A slightly bigger issue, nothing like deflecting away from the real issues in prep for November 2010.
After all, the incumbants in congress know their constituants are not happy with the congressional screw ups, port, bailout, corruption and back peddling.
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On 08/03/2010 6:12 PM, C. E. White wrote:

I doubt there is any "pro-Toyota" in DC, anything it takes to make the GM turkey fly is the current motto. GM-NHTSA report to the same boss at the top. Slight conflict of interest here for Obama. And congess doesn't want to explain a dog GM in November 2010 as it is cheap ammunition for those that want the incumbants seats to point out the waste in tarp using GM as the poster child.
Politicially, DC is desperate to turn the GM turkey around to save face.
Ford is doing well as they suck the least of the 3 dogs of Detriot, are now more "American" than Chrysler and didn't suck on the taxpayers wallets like GM.
Did people here know GM, Chrysler and Ford too have had this problem in the past? Didn't even make the news. But then, we expect that of Detroit and UAW/CAW.
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Politicians don't provide anything, the tax payers do.

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I don't think that is true at all. I think there are many members of Congress who are sympathetic towards Toyota. Car dealers have always been major political contributors, and there are a lot of very successful Toyota dealers. Toyota has encouraged the dealers to contact their members of Congress. There were many Toyota dealers in the audience at the hearings. At the corporate level Toyota is a major political contributor. Senators and Representatives from Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas have all shown strong support for Toyota. Toyota has a dedicated lobbying group in Washington. And while Democratic supporters of the Obama administrations efforts to bail out GM might have reason to want to see Toyota stumble, don't you think there are almost as many people on the other side who don't because of their hatred of Obama?
http://www.nbc-2.com/Global/story.asp?S 036247 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId 3838790&ps=rs http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/RunawayToyotas/revolving-door-us-safety-agency-toyota-representative/story?id 47342 http://www.japantoday.com/category/business/view/worried-toyota-dealers-in-us-adding-own-voice-to-pr-push http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20100211/NEWS07/302119966 http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/390/news.aspx?id 7854 http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-workers-rally-for-japans-toyota-2010-02-24
Apparently Toyota shares your view:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/33248.html
While I agree the congressional hearing were a joke, I do think there is a concerted effort from the Toyota PR machine to promote the idea that the current furor over runaway Toyota is smear campaign orchestrated by the Obama administration. I can see why Toyota minions like this approach - it deflects attention away from the actual concerns and blames the whole sorry spectacle on a very unpopular congress and a somewhat unpopular administration. Promoting the idea that the Toyota investigations are some sort of Obama inspired plot to prop up General Motors guarantees that all the right wing wacko will come out of the woodwork and pile on, further obscuring the truth.
There is a concern that needs to be investigated. I don't think the Congressional hearings, as conducted, were necessary or useful. NHTSA has the responsibility for insuring the safety of motor vehicles. It appears to me in this case they did not do the job properly. If anything should have been investigated, it was NHTSA failure to do its job. Instead, NHTSA was treated with kid gloves by both sides of the aisle during the Congressional hearings.
Ed
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On 03/11/2010 05:02 AM, C. E. White wrote:

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/RunawayToyotas/revolving-door-us-safety-agency-toyota-representative/story?id 47342
http://www.japantoday.com/category/business/view/worried-toyota-dealers-in-us-adding-own-voice-to-pr-push
that's an impressive number of "talking points" you have there ed. but it's not surprising given that smear and astroturf is your full time paid job.
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alio tentatio es a pallens alio permaneo obstinatus
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On 03/11/2010 03:02 PM, Ed White wrote:

no ed, i'm right on target, and you know it. now, take your morally bankrupt and not too smart ass off to find a real job that contributes to society and doesn't cost the taxpayer money.
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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds
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On 03/12/2010 02:49 PM, C. E. White wrote:

the ability to accept money from anyone with no scruples is moral bankruptcy.
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fossor est ostendo sum per suus stultus editio
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