Thursday, March 11, 2010
Toyota: Mistake After Mistake
Toyota, it's a small world, especially when something is shocking. Word gets around.
So after initially downplaying the danger of the Little Cars That Won't Stop, you put a good face on it, expressed remorse, admitted that the company had begun to put market share before quality and promised to do better.
Here's a little local anecdote that makes me doubt you mean it.
A housekeeper in Harrison, NY was driving her boss's Prius for a checkup this week. It started revving up as she pulled out of the driveway, she says she couldn't stop it, and it slammed into a wall. The airbag deployed, she was treated for an injured knee. Now maybe it was the car's fault, maybe it wasn't. Police say it appears she didn't do anything wrong. Here's what disturbs me:
The police contacted the company and here's how the local paper reported it:
"Marraccini (police) said his department sought help from Toyota in accessing information in the car's black box that would reveal what was going on with the car just before the crash. The company declined, and Marraccini said police would try to obtain a federal subpoena to get the information. Toyota Motor Corp. meanwhile let police know that it wanted to inspect the car, but Marraccini said "we are not prepared to release the car to them." LoHud.com
That doesn't sound like a company anxious to rebuild its image. That sounds like a company that wants to cover its butt.
I drive a Toyota. It's a nine year old stick shift and the check engine light has stayed on for almost a year despite a six hundred dollar outlay to fix it. It's inspection time here in New York and I will not pass with a check engine light on, so I'm going to the dealer. I'm hoping they are willing to make it right. I hope they CAN make it right.
I was a true believer in Toyota; thought they made an excellent vehicle. Those days are apparently gone and apparently no one in the corporation understands that it's going to take more than a few "Thanks for sticking by us, here's a better loan rate" ads to win back consumers' trust.
Nobody likes the thought of being stuck in a car that won't stop.