GM of the East

Following GM into the toilet.
Toyota executives' testimony comes off as clueless http://tinyurl.com/yajttrq
Akio Toyoda's story doesn't add up.
The president of Toyota Motor Corp., the centrally controlled behemoth founded 73 years ago by his grandfather, told a congressional committee Wednesday that he didn't know about mounting sudden-acceleration complaints with Toyota vehicles until late last year.
He also didn't know the substance of a corporate briefing paper prepared in July that touted $100 million in savings on recalls, warned about sudden acceleration complaints in Toyota and Lexus models and described a federal bureaucracy that is not "industry-friendly."
But now, faced with a global brand and P.R. fiasco, Toyoda knows with "absolute certainty" that the sudden unintended acceleration complaints tied to 34 deaths and the recall of 8.5 million vehicles worldwide cannot be attributed to electronic throttle controls in Toyota and Lexus cars and trucks.
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Really?
The assurances might be more convincing -- to Congress, to consumers, to dealers and to suppliers in the United States -- if the Japanese automaker moved sooner than earlier this month to commission an independent review of its electronic conclusions. But it didn't.
They might be more persuasive if the firm hired to do the testing, California-based Exponent Inc., didn't have ties to Toyota's legal counsel; if contacts on the issue between Toyota and U.S. regulators weren't so extensive; if Toyota's top American executive in the United States, James Lentz, hadn't testified the day before that Toyota's fixes had "not totally" fixed the problem.
Simple question, Toyoda-san: If the electronic throttle control isn't (with "absolute certainty") the problem and if the planned fixes aren't sufficient, what is?
The hearings over the past two days are remarkable for what they didn't yield -- namely, definitive answers. But we do know now how little the top executives in the most revered automaker on the planet seem to know about the circumstances surrounding the most serious threat to their corporate reputation in a generation.
To watch the hearings is to sense a lack of urgency -- the new global quality committee doesn't meet till the end of March? -- and to see a company still processing the reality of the mess it faces, however much Toyoda blames it on a "speed of expansion" that "outpaced the development and training of our people."
"I'm embarrassed for you, sir," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said during Toyoda's testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "I'm embarrassed for dealers. I'm embarrassed for the thousands of people who work for Toyota across the United States."
Why? Lots of reasons, the biggest of which is the simple fact that Toyota's facade of all-knowing invincibility, of being an "American company," of always putting customers first lies shattered -- all of it from the mouths of top executives, including the guy whose name is on the building.
The customer, as Toyoda and his president for North America, Yoshimi Inaba, conceded, increasingly did not come first. High-profile complaints, like that of the "possessed" '06 Lexus ES 350 driven by Rhonda Smith from Sevierville, Tenn., were summarily dismissed.
Astonishingly, her harrowing story apparently was unknown to Lentz. He didn't know the well-publicized details of Guadalupe Alberto, a 77-year-old who died in Flint when the Camry she was driving crashed into a tree -- a testament to his stunning cluelessness, pitiful internal communication, Toyota's lawyers or all three.
Over two days, Toyoda, Inaba and Lentz exposed the fiction that Toyota is an "American" company, if that is defined to mean anything more than a foreign company that employs 172,000 folks in plants, offices and dealerships around the country.
But for sales and marketing decision-making, every substantive call affecting Toyota's operations in the United States -- manufacturing, engineering, safety and recalls, communications -- is made in Japan, they confirmed, a direct contradiction to the corporate spin for, oh, the past decade.
And "Japan," to borrow Lentz's usage, failed to connect the dots on a burgeoning problem that landed its president before a congressional committee and ripped a gaping hole in Toyota's envied reputation for bulletproof quality, reliability and customer service.
Toyoda, the scion of the industrial dynasty, said the right things. He apologized. He took responsibility. He essentially admitted that ambition outstripped execution and strayed from the corporate creed that made Toyota the brand powerhouse it became.
But he didn't bring an end to the nightmare. Buried in his careful statements is red meat for trial lawyers looking to make a buck off Toyota's $30 billion-plus cash hoard and red meat for like-minded politicians trolling for contributions from trial lawyers.
More obvious is the unmistakable admission that Toyota, the gold standard of the global auto industry, allowed the arrogance of success to blind it to festering troubles within.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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It is interesting to see that this happens over and over again. The top dog becomes lazy and stops doing what is right and starts being arrogant and that eventually leads to downfall. Pretty much all empires come to an end for the very same reason. I for one did not think this would happen to Toyota and least of all so soon.
It will be interesting to see if they do follow GM down the drain or if they learn from this and go back to what they used to be so good at.
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On 25/02/2010 6:41 AM, Bjrn Helgason wrote:

Japanese companies have a reputation of fixing their mistakes pretty quick. Not like GM.
But NHFTA-GM and now allies... wonder who is next, Honda? Nissan? BMW?
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The problems of Toyota have been mounting for many years and are so big now that it is difficult to see how they can fix the current situation quickly.
As always the first step is to admit the mistakes and they have not yet done that, Number two the mistakes are going to be costly and lasting.
It is interesting to be discussing these kind of issues in general in this newsgroup.
Maybe it has changed name into General Mistakes?
Anyway of interest is that also Hyundai has a recall of 47.000 cars and Hummer is being closed down because the chinese did not want to buy it.
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On 25/02/2010 7:24 AM, Bjrn Helgason wrote:

And still all those maifolds and engine fires...
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Once again our friend Canuck57 is telling us the sky is falling. LOL
wrote:

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On 25/02/2010 7:24 AM, Bjrn Helgason wrote:

I don't buy any of this. I downloaded the NHTSA database and examined it. Quite the interesting content too.
So either the NHTSA does not get near the number of complaints from Toyota or NHTSA was criminally in misconduct because they were bribed. So what is it? Maybe people aught to look at at NHTSA a little more closely.
But my suspicions are this is a salem like witch hunt, drown the good people so the losers (GM) can survive. An old trick too, kids do it all the time to deflect blame and get bullies to pick on others.
Just a circus show. Makes me wish I reported to NHTSA about my GM Regal 2001 popping it's tranny on the Missouri interstate up a hill with a semi up my ass... real close scare but no accident.
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Once again our friend Canuck57 is telling us the sky is falling. LOL
:

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On Thu, 25 Feb 2010 05:41:25 -0800 (PST),

While I didn't think it would happen so fast, as a former Toyota owner I knew this day would come. You can stonewall problems only so long. It's one thing to be David taking on Goliath, the whole picture changes when you become Goliath. Judging by the attention the media is paying to this, I'd guess I'm far from the only one who's gotten burned by them.
As far as the future, I guess it depends on how well their PR/marketing dept. is able to spin this and whether anyone buys it. IMHO their vehicles never lived up to the hype. They were ok cars, but certainly not the bulletproof vehicles they were made out to be.
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very well put; every large sucessful organization manages to collapse under it's own weight; sucess is a drug that prevents the organization from responding to it's ills in a timely or effective manner.
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