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Toyota hit with $16 mil fine over recalls in U.S.

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My J-wife said that in Japan there was no recall over the sticking gas pedal issue because in Japan they used a different type of floor mat than overseas and have not had the unintended acceleration problem. Has anyone else heard this?

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Total cost of massive recall was reported to be $3bn so i guess $16m is part of that....also matter contents remain more or less the same...why reporting again? Wonder if it has anything to do with weakening Yen?

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16M is a drop in the bucket for Toyota. Daimler got slapped with a 185M last week... for bribery.

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For those reasons, LaHood said, the government is seeking a fine of $16.375 million, the maximum penalty possible.

This smell politics. So the U.S. government is going to penalize Toyota for the maximum. This action by the U.S. government is bashing Toyota because Toyota did not help bail out GM last year.

If the U.S. government is not careful with their judgments it will look like the U.S. government is going after foreign automakers because they are doing better than GM, Chrysler, and Ford.

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I'm still not convinced there's a wide-spread problem with Toyota. I drive one but not a problem. 50 incidents out of 8 million vehicles is a pretty low average.

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The US Government is so broke they want to milk Toyota for all its worth...I'm sure they are extremely disappointed that the limit on the fine was only in the millions, but this really isn't much when Toyota has billions in the bank....

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"Documents obtained from the Japanese automaker show that Toyota knew of the problem with the sticking gas pedals in late September but did not issue a recall until late January, LaHood said."

OK- so what kind of documents are we talking about here ? Well it seems that Toyota notified the Canadians and 31 European countries about the sticky pedal defect on September 29th, they had five days to also notify the US about the problem- but instead waited until January ! One can only surmise that Toyota was still eagerly going after sucke.. errr, consumers at the tail end of the "cash for clunkers" program- pretty slick willy of them.

The amount of this fine is unprecedented for an auto maker, well surpassing the old record in the USA of 1 million- for faulty windsheild wipers ! Lahood has all but doomed Toyota. This is only the beginning and involves only the sticky pedal incidence. There are billions to be raked in from the other suits- Lahood has simply opened the flood gates- Toyota will not survive this ! Serves em right too. They got greedy and put the public at risk. By now you should all be aware of the huge numbers of deaths and injuries- and like this sticky pedal stuff, it was all "alledged"- until today ! I now dare Toyota to protest this decision- they almost have to, anything less would be 100% admittance of guilt and responsibility- hardly the Toyota way !

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Ha! all they want to do is get some from them. No matter what,toyota, i still support you.

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For those reasons, LaHood said, the government is seeking a fine of $16.375 million, the maximum penalty possible. That dwarfs the previous record: In 2004, General Motors paid a $1 million fine for responding too slowly on a recall of nearly 600,000 vehicles over windshield wiper failure.

The reporter should have compared Toyota to Ford Pinto for the penalty fine (accurate journalism reporting is too much for the asking). What the reporter and LaHood are saying that Toyota failed to report in a timely manner. If this is the reason for the maximum amount then LaHood and the U.S. government is planning to further penalize Toyota in the millions/billions to come.

The Transportation Department said the fine it is seeking is specifically tied to the sticking pedal defect and Toyota could face additional penalties if warranted by investigations.

Toyota is no different than Ford and GM in how they do business as automakers. This whole business of Toyota will bite back later because the whole world is watching.

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My J-wife said that in Japan there was no recall over the sticking gas pedal issue because in Japan they used a different type of floor mat than overseas and have not had the unintended acceleration problem. Has anyone else heard this?

The main underlying cause seems the gas pedal. In Japan Toyota does not use the same manufacturer of the gas pedal that got stuck in the overseas versions.

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And yet bafflingly, for all the exhortations regarding Toyota's supposed evilness and predictions of its impending doom, U.S. consumers still seem to trust the company enough to help bring Toyota sales up 40% in March. Apparently, the American consumer isn't as concerned about the sporadic defects as some would demand they be.

Or perhaps they, like myself, have tried to not allow personal bias and emotion cloud their view of the facts, leaving a better view of the glaring inconsistencies, conflicts of interest, and general distortion of the truth that have plagued this issue since the day we found out the regulatory government agency in charge of ferreting out these problems, the one and only NHTSA, chose not to investigate the defect claims, despite multiple opportunities.

And now the government has the gall to levy the highest allowable fine against Toyota as a way of making an example of the company?

To quote Plato, "Who watches the watchmen?" Who's going to levy a fine against the NHTSA for succumbing, by its own admission, to pressure from Toyota lobbyists? After all, if they'll bend over backwards to accomodate "one a 'dem damn fur-in companies", we should all be more than a little concerned with what they've swept under the carpet for the Home Team.

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"What the reporter and LaHood are saying that Toyota failed to report in a timely manner."

Nah- that dog don't hunt ! What Lahood is implying is that Toyota did just more than "fail to report in a timely manner". There is the issue of Toyota execs visiting the NHTSA and "asking" (?) them to shut down investigations into Toyota. For many this reeks of scandal and a huge embarrasment for both Toyota and the NHTSA- the only way to satisfy the public in light of those shenanigans is to hit Toyota with the maximum allowed by law. Too bad there is a limit in the USA- as one poster pointed out Daimler just got nailed for 185 mill ! Toyota is in deep doo- no chance of them "biting back" anytime soon. They are losing market share right and left and many consumers have flat out refused to even consider them- and as more and more dirt comes out against Toyota, I dare say that even this- "No matter what,toyota, i still support you." will fade to black. And to think, Toyota didn't even have time to wear the "new" off their #1 crown !

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If I buy a car I won't buy a Toyota coz even if there are only 50 cases among million cars there's still a chance that I'd have chosen one of the 50 cars. (just as I believe that I'll win the lotto jackpot someday). That's why automakers have to be very strict about safety to gain consumer trust. And for those romantically involved with Toyota, I pray that none of your friends and relatives would be a victim someday... Coz that'll really change your opinion.

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they got it easy. They can pay $16 million from their petty cash account.

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Branded said,

Toyota is in deep doo- no chance of them "biting back" anytime soon.

Wasn't talking about Toyota biting back.

Sorry to say if people bought cars base on reputation then there will always be a tiny percentage of faulty products made due to human beings and machine error. There are some people who buys car base on the features on the car which works for me (if Toyota have what I want then I will buy a Toyota the same can be said for Honda, VW, or Ford). There are some people who will buy a certain brand besides Toyota because they aren't buying for the sake of features instead they are buying to support the brand even if the brand is faulty and doesn't have features that they want.

I feel 100% safe in any Toyota that I am in.

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Just got done watching the evening news channels here in the US- yep, this is the top story here! Seems that the NHTSA has been digging through more than 70,000 confiscated documents from Toyota and there is "no doubt" that Toyota hid these defects and purposely put the public at risk. In addition, it was pointed out that this is "only the beginning" and Toyota can expect millions more in fines and lawsuits ! "Doh" What a feeling !

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Blatant extortion!

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skipbeat; "there will always be a tiny percentage of faulty products made due to human beings and machine error."

OK, I'll agree, the NHTSA will agree, the US public will agree, all Japanese will agree- so why did Toyota try to hide the defects ? Doh ! Another lame excuse runs head on into simple logic and falls on it's duff !

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I think the main cause of this problem is the loose nut behind the wheel. Frenzied media, fraudulent insurance industry, corrupt layers, and greed are most likely to blame. This story is only in the USA.

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lfragain- I'm with you a bit on this;

"Who's going to levy a fine against the NHTSA for succumbing, by its own admission, to pressure from Toyota lobbyists?"

We need more details. Was this simple pressure or were there threats and extortion involved- it's all a mystery right now and many Americans want to know the details. Exactly why did NHTSA staff succumb to pressure put on by Toyota execs ? Like I said- this has just begun and I expect more fireworks in the coming weeks.

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Perfect time to buy a Lexus!!

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billybunter; "I think the main cause of this problem is the loose nut behind the wheel."

Interesting as "those nuts" seemed to have first appeared in Canada and 31 other European nations- at least those were the nations first notified about the defects. The Americans- media frenzy et al- heard nothing until January, a good 3 months after the rest of the planet had been informed ! Sorry- but this story is "not" only in the USA- and Toyota's own documents prove it !

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"Perfect time to buy a Lexus!!"

Yeh ? And who'll service it when the company goes bust ? Gonna get an "extended" warranty too ? Sheesh people, wake up !

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Just a slap on 'da wrist.

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Plenty of garages to service cars in the US and Japan. Plus, parts suppliers have to maintain supplies even after production. Plus, less chance of failures with Lexus versus many other brands.

I'll be fine. My current Lexus has had no problems and the one before that too. And my chances are relatively good of no problems since I re-buy my Lexus RX every 3 years or so.

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Did the news media ever report on the deaths caused by the defective gas pedals. I have never heard ONE (1). Where did the accidents happen? Why is the media not talking to the families that lost loved one. One report that I read stated that more than 60 people had be killed.I think this is the largest scam ever.

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kwaabish- I can only laugh; "I'll be fine. My current Lexus has had no problems and the one before that too. And my chances are relatively good of no problems since I re-buy my Lexus RX every 3 years or so."

And this- fresh off the newswire an hour or so ago-

"Chattanooga Lawyer Suing Toyota Over Wreck"

"The fight over faulty Toyota parts gets personal for one Chattanooga woman. Long-time lawyer Selma Cash Paty says she was behind the wheel when her Lexus sped out of control and crashed and she's now suing the auto-maker."

Yes people the Lexus was one of the major targets for Toyotas recalls !

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cactusJack said,

Just a slap on 'da wris

Compare this to the Ford Pinto this was not a "slap on 'da wris." I believe Ford only got 1 million fined, correct me if I am wrong. The U.S. government is making an example of Toyota. That's all.

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Branded - I can only laugh also.

Historically, I have spent more time and money servicing a Lincoln Navigator than I have with 3 RX's. I let experience speak for my purchase choices.

That's why I currently own BMW and Lexus.

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Branded said,

OK, I'll agree, the NHTSA will agree, the US public will agree, all Japanese will agree- so why did Toyota try to hide the defects ? Doh ! Another lame excuse runs head on into simple logic and falls on it's duff !

Toyota probably sat on the problem like so many other companies do with problems. When working with people who are in position to do something but refuses to do anything about it because of various reason the person doesn't want to until there is enough evidence or is pushed to do something is that consider "covering up." People actions are different then their words. Explain that logic. People have double standards that it doesn't apply to them when they talk about Toyota.

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Toyota probably sat on the problem like so many other companies do with problems.

Oh yeah, the "Cash for Clunkers" program didn't effect their decision at all....it was just they weren't sure it was a problem....err, yeah right...

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Cool! What do Mitsubishi, Toyota and the Dodo have in common?

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That fine is way too much. I wonder if Japan will sue the U.S. too like this next time a 'faulty' steak arrives here. I own a Mitsubishi sports car and I never had one problem with it. My car dealer said that they pay more attention to details with sports cars and that's why you will hardly have problems with them. Plus I believe that manual transmission cars are much safer.

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How can somebody be "hit" with a "proposed" fine?

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Foxie:

I own a Mitsubishi sports car and I never had one problem with

Good for you. The car manufacturer in question here is Toyota, not Mitsubishi

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When 50% of your GDP relies on foreign countries buying your stuff, you play their lap dog and grin-n-bear it baby. Start grinnin Japan

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As if they don't pay enough in taxes already.

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$16 Mill? That's small change for Toyota - probably wouldn't cover the Toyota exec's monthly salaries! Hit 'em hard with a huge fine - that may make them lift their game and start looking at safety as an important factor.

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It will be interesting to see if Toyota contests it. They have two weeks to either knuckle under or fight it.

It is a perfect chance for vindication. LaHood basically spells out in the article the US government case. Toyota thought there MIGHT be a problem and announced a voluntary recall after they did. That is it. So what? Where is the crime? Toyota can beat this. And if it does, those lawsuits will melt away.

Or does Toyota just take the 16 million hit and clear all that up, and then deal with each court case on its merits? Accepting the fine might also protect Toyota from being sued for any crashes that occurred before September, so instead of being sued for 40 cases, it will be sued for 4 or 2.

This really is a winner for Toyota either way. What it all comes down to is that THIS is the worst that NHTSA can do. They cannot find anything wrong with Toyota vehicles as they are. Nobody can. So they will try to show that Toyota should have reacted more quickly somehow. I don't think they can. Their sole "smoking gun" is that someone in a sales office in the US made a powerpoint presentation showing that they saved money by avoiding a mandatory recall. That is not illegal. It is called business as usual. Did you ever see Fight Club? This is not news.

Toyota's US lawyers are going to eat this up. They can win this. But Toyota guys just want to make cars and get past this. So I wonder how it will play out. If Toyota decides to spend 100 million to fight this 16 million fine, it will be money well spent. But I expect that they will just pay the 16 million. Because... really... all LaHood was after was a shakedown anyway. He does not care if he is right, he just wants to look good. Toyota will give him that just to get rid of him. If they cross him, he will just make up something else.

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I expect nothing less from a union thug like Obama. Not to worry, Toyota is a well run company that doesn't need to rely on tricks like screwing over its bond holders to get its financial house in order. Companies like GM and Chrysler are doomed to failure. Next time around, GM won't have a bolshevik in the White House to save it and its UAW parasites.

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@ Kwaabish: Surely one Lexus is enough? And surely most people on this board couldn't care less if you rebuy your private jet every 6 months. Smells like insecurity to me.

Cars are just a product, same as anything else. Sometimes you have bad batches, but so long as too many people don't die, it's never reported. Toyota / Lexus just went over that 'margin of error' this time, and they deserve to me made an example of. That said, 16m USD is nothing to them.

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If you can't beat them, fine them.

http://biggovernment.com/libertychick/2010/03/09/firestone-revisited-was-toyota-a-takedown-target-in-the-name-of-nummi/

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The fact that the US gobernament own 60% of GM, dont improve the image of fairness. Maybe Toyota have to take these to the international court of justice.

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IronBeard,

I think you're misunderstanding the post. I haven't owned 3 Lexus' (Lexi?) at the same time. The most I had was 2 at the same time, One in the States while also owning a Harrier in Japan.

I own (owned) 2010, 2006 and 2002 RX's (plus Bimmers) in the States. I've traded in my prior when getting the newer one. I just like driving a newer car, plus I got into a habit of renewing about every 3 years from owning a BMW, since they have a 4 year 45,000 mile free maintenance program. I like trading in my cars frequently since the trade in value seem to be higher when that maintenance (and warranty) is still remaining. I don't think being a frequent repeat buyer equals insecurity.

That being said, I like my Lexus. Good quality, good customer service.

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Toyota broke US safety laws and they will pay for it; nothing more nothing less. All the Japan fanboys here need to chill-out - just because the company is Japanese doesnt mean that they are beyond reproach. @5SpeedRacer5 - why are you trying so hard to make it look like there is nothing wrong with toyotas when even their CEO came out and admitted that there is a problem? Here is a clue for you, when comapny's CEO comes out publicly and admits fault and also says that their quality has declined - chances are something is wrong. I know that it doesnt fit into your narrative that everything that Japan makes is super duper quality and nothing could be wrong, but you gonna have to be a big boy and come to terms with a fact that toyota screwed this one up. I've had a discussion with my Quality Control professor about this, and he basically said that the chance that the amount of sudden acceleration occurrences is somehow driver's fault and not design flaw, is statistically close to zero (this is based on all the customer complaints even prior to the scandal). Does this mean that I will stop driving my toyota and go buy american? Unlikely, but please stop pretending like toyota can do no wrong, you only making yourself look biased.

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"In Japan Toyota does not use the same manufacturer of the gas pedal that got stuck in the overseas versions."

Wasn't the gas pedal made in the States, in Kentucky or somewhere by a small local manufacturer?

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People Died and others were injured in crashes due to this problem. In addition to the fines, criminal negligence causing death should be added and the person or persons responsible held accountable for those deaths, as criminals. This also disgraced the high Japanese standards we came to expect.

I rented a car from Budget Rentals, a Toyota, before the news of the recalls. I had brought it back because I experienced the problem myself and let the Budget Rental company know. Another problem I experienced was that the windshield had a blurry image in the line of site of the driver side, maybe just a defect on that car, maybe on all of them but for sure a blurry distortion at eye level. If I looked form above or below it was fine.

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People Died and others were injured in crashes due to this problem.

These accidents were not proven due to this problem. It's still under investigation, and some of them were clearly the driver's fault.

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"What do Mitsubishi, Toyota and the Dodo have in common?"

Umm... I'll bite. What do they have in common? Because it certainly isn't the obvious punchline, *"They're all extinct! Har! Har!" Particularly since Mitsubishi is still pumping along, as is Toyota.

This is not going to kill Toyota as a company. Anyone who believes as such is deluding him or herself with wishful thinking. Just as the defect scandal that hit Mitsubishi in 2000 didn't kill it then, this mess won't kill Toyota either. Rather, it'll result in a company that builds safer cars.

I mean, when Toyota employs over 200,000 Americans, that's what we want, right? The company to reform, and come back better than it was? Right? Or is this still about a pound of flesh?

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$16 Mill? That's small change for Toyota [...] Hit 'em hard with a huge fine

US$16.4 Mill is the maximum fine in the US for concealing product safety issues.

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5SpeedRacer5: Toyota thought there MIGHT be a problem and announced a voluntary recall after they did. That is it. So what?

Toyota did exactly nothing about the problem until enough pressure was applied by the US government. Well, that's not entirely true. They did their best to hide it, so technically I can't say they did nothing. In the end this issue comes down to some people being fine with that, and others not being fine with that.

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Toyota will happily pay the fine. Cheap advertising. LaHood satisfied, Toyota satisfied. The consumer satisfied. More vehicles will be sold, American Toyota employees will keep their jobs.

The sticking pedals involved 2.3 million vehicles.

What nonsense. The 2.3 million vehicles were equipped with the same pedals manufactured by the same US company as the few that developed a problem. It does not mean 2.3 million vehicles were equipped with defective pedals.

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I'd still buy a Toyota today!!! Like I've said before, show me another automaker (besides Honda) whose cars aren't going to crap out on you in the cold harsh winter of Canada because of engine failure? I always see GM, Fords, Chrysler and others out of commission in these types of scenarios. And what about under body rust protection? This is why I'm sticking with Japanese vehicles.

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presto235;

"Toyota will happily pay the fine."

I agree- but therein lies the catch 22. By paying this fine Toyota all but admits their guilt and must then prepare for the "real lawsuits" to hit the fan. 16 million is peanuts and everyone knows it- but what LaHood has done is put Toyota in a very precarious situation. Te numbers look like this- Toyota made 43 billion dollars from 2006-2008, no chump change by any means- and still begs the question as to why Toyota started shutting down factories and firing workers in Europe just months into the global economic crisis. Toyota has billions to protect those jobs, in fact right now Toyota is sitting on 25 billion dollars- more than enough to put a Brit or two back to work. In any case, it's these billions of dollars that will be up for grabs now when the lawsuits start and every lawyer in the US knows how deep these pockets run. LaHood has started the ball rolling by hitting Toyota with the "maximum" allowed. The message is clear- "we got Toyota by the nads" ! Whatever was in those 70,000 documents seems to be more than enough as the NHTSA levies a fine of record proportion.

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maxtheitpro;

"show me another automaker (besides Honda) whose cars aren't going to crap out on you in the cold harsh winter of Canada because of engine failure?"

Interesting point as Toyotas confiscated documents show that Canada was one of the first countries to be notified about the sticky accelerator/floor mat problems way back in September. And just to clarify people, this fine is in regard to the sticky pedal issue- the one that Toyota first blamed on driver error and then admitted to when pressed. Toyota knew about the poor quality and design of the pedals years before. They documented how "simple wear" after less than 20,000 miles could cause the pedal to stick and not return to the original position. They also knew that their floor design was flawed and could easily trap a loose mat on top of a pedal- Toyota has openly admitted to knowing about these defects- yet chose to continue to sell to the US market for an additional 3 months- why anyone would continue to support a corporation that has behaved so blatantly irresponsible is beyond me. People, young children were killed (alledgedly) in these products and Toyota knew beforehand that that could happen ! But their money motivated aspirations clouded their moral and ethical responsibilities- where are the whistleblowers from Toyota ? Are these peple so brainwashed that even today they cannot see the damage they have done ? The danger to the consumer that they have created ? Are Toyota execs so cold and heartless that they can simply ignore the screams of a 13 year old kid in the backseat of a runaway Toyota in San Diego California and not give a damn- as long as those profits keep rolling in ! Maxtheitpro- I hope you are the exception to the rule there in Canada. I do hope that the rest of your countrymen do give a damn and are willing to show their disgust by "not" buying a Toyota product for the rest of their lives- cold winters in the Yukon or not !

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"I've had a discussion with my Quality Control professor about this, and he basically said that the chance that the "

I suspected something like this, Elephunk. You are a student! That explains why you know it all. In the real world, Quality Control professors don't get to decide how things work. All the other rumor bottom feeders and professor-querying students here should pay attention to the facts, not the allegations. Look at the NHTSA site information, which gives the official US government account. Then look at Toyota's and Toyoda's official statements. Then go to some automobile industry trade magazine home pages. Then follow what scientists are saying about the technology. If you do all that diligently, you can understand what is going on. You can understand why this stock is up about 15% over the last couple of weeks.

Can any people see what this allegation for the 16 million dollar fine actually is? The allegation is that Toyota KNEW there was a problem and DID NOTHING. Because of the fact that nobody, not even the NHTSA or NASA, has identified "a problem" as of today and because of the fact that Toyota actually started replacing floor mats voluntarily months before LaHood flew to Japan (according to the NHTSA timeline on their website), I don't think the US has a case. The NHTSA wanted Toyota to identify a problem that does not exist, fix a problem that does not exist, and to have done it before they were told to do so by an NHTSA that still does not know what the problem is. I think Toyota employees are pretty great, but I think the NHTSA expects them to be a bunch of Kreskins.

The only interesting part about the whole thing to me is whether Toyota will pay the fine anyway. As I posted above, paying off LaHood will make the whole regulatory thing go away. Maybe Toyota will do it despite the facts of the case. The lawyers will also take a look at how this affects other adjudication.

"why anyone would continue to support a corporation that has behaved so blatantly irresponsible is beyond me."

Oh the HORROR! You need a reality check. I am quite sure that you use products or support companies that have done worse things than you accuse Toyota of doing. Union Carbide, Exxon, Shell, Dow Chemical, Ford, GM, Nestle, Bumble Bee Tuna and so many others. These allegations you make and the ones that the US government is making are unproven. In fact, Toyota is allowed to contest them or accept them. That is how it works. All of the other companies above have been proven to have visited death and damage, sometimes to hundreds or thousands of people and to the environment. Here is a project for you. MIDORI JUUJI Pharmaceuticals infected many Japanese people with AIDs in the 1990s. What company are they today? Do you use any of their products? How do you know? If you think Toyota is a black hat, you probably are not paying attention.

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5speedy5;

"Because of the fact that nobody, not even the NHTSA or NASA, has identified "a problem" as of today and because of the fact that Toyota actually started replacing floor mats voluntarily months before..."

Yer a bit confused ! Nasa is not inspecting Toyota over this issue- that is related to the "acceleration" problems Toyota has been experiencing. This fine is in conjunction with the "floor mat/sticky pedal" problem. Toyota has already admitted to knowing about this and tried to cover it up by not informing the US for more than 90 days- Toyota had a legal responsibility of 5 days and they chose to wait. The obvious question remains-

"why anyone would continue to support a corporation that has behaved so blatantly irresponsible is beyond me."

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I wouldn't be surprised if NHTSA is chronically understaffed. Additionally, even if individual government workers wanted to do their jobs, they are often prevented by doing so because that is not perceived as business friendly. The political appointees who run the show are in the thrall of private industry, in fact, they are often people taken directly from private industry. This "government capture" is the fault of the democrats just as much as the republicans. Basically, we have a non-functioning government and one party's answer to this is the get rid of the thing all together. That is one solution but that wouldn't prevent things like this incident with Toyota.

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History shows most cases of unintended acceleration are more often than not a problem with the driver, not the equipment. But is the problem the pedal? Or the person depressing it? Unintended acceleration is nothing new, and just about every automaker has been the subject of such complaints at some point. Sudden acceleration is very often caused by drivers who press the gas pedal when they intend to press the brake. Investigators are unable to find evidence supporting drivers claims their Toyotas suddenly raced out of control. One key difference today is the Toyotas in question use electronically controlled throttles whereas the Audis used mechanical linkages. Investigators continue to look into electronics and software related to the Toyota complaints.

Another interesting question is why fatalities stemming from these incidents appear limited to U.S. and Canada, even though Toyotas are sold worldwide. There have been cases of unintended acceleration in Germany, but the drivers simply applied the brakes and brought their cars safely to a stop.

In society, we accept a certain amount of risk when driving a car or walking across street. But as long as that risk is vague, the possibility of getting hit by a truck, not too many people complain. But when it’s specific, especially something as potentially scary as a car with a mind of its own, that risk turns into fear.

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@5SpeedRacer5 - so me having a discussion with someone who has both the education and real life experience in the industry makes my opinion unqualified? I read your posts and there is a huge amount of pro-Japan bias in all of them, so you accusing US of bias on the issue is quite ironic. Remember, this is not Japan; we dont get our panties twisted in a bunch over our domestic brands. An unbiased view of the issue will reveal that Toyota is at fault; the facts collaborate this.

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I'm not a fan of ABS braking systems to start with. Any system that works by taking brakes off will go wrong at some time and leave a car with no brakes. Plug these and every thing else into a central computer and boy you are asking for problems. There is more buggs and viruses in software now than at any other time in computing history and from what I have heard Toyota is not the only company with same problems. Just Toyota has more cars on the road to go wrong and be noticeable.

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Elephunk said,

Remember, this is not Japan; we dont get our panties twisted in a bunch over our domestic brands. An unbiased view of the issue will reveal that Toyota is at fault; the facts collaborate this.

Please clarify what you are talking about "we dont get our panties twisted in a bunch over our domestic brands" because I am confused as what you are saying.

So if this was a case of a domestic automaker then there wouldn't be a fuss about it by the U.S. government , media, and customers. If that is what you are implying then you are correct as we have seen in the Ford Pinto case. Since this is Toyota, Toyota is stupid. Toyota will be found guilty and will pay billions of dollars. It would have been better if Toyota denied everything like Ford did with the Pinto. All auto insurance companies have always told their customers do not admit fault when in an accident.

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Toyota is suitably punished. Drives up the price of the millions of cars they sell by a few bucks. End of story, they'll get caught again, but in the end, they make good cars, people buy them.

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sfjp330 keeps spouting the party line in defense of this crooked corporation, ha ha !

"This "government capture" is the fault of the democrats just as much as the republicans. Basically, we have a non-functioning government and one party's answer to this is the get rid of the thing all together. That is one solution but that wouldn't prevent things like this incident with Toyota."

Truly a "Huh ?" moment here at JT ! Ummm, sfjp330- this has nothing to do with the Dems or the Reps. This is all, as in 100%, on Toyota ! You seem to missing the basic details of the story- which are quite simple. Here, let me explain. Toyota designed and engineered these defective pedals that would do one of two things over time. A) They would wear down to the point that the exposed metal, once smooth, would become trapped against other pieces of metal or body part. Or B) The poorly designed floor mat clips allowed for slippage of thus mat- which on ocassion would slide against the pedal preventing it from returning to it's original position- All easy enough to understand. The problems for Toyota occured when they attempted a variety of half-assed responses to the problem while still insisting on selling to the US public ! Akin to... "Yep- we got bse in the line but don't worry just tell the customer to pick it out"

Yep, Toyota placed the blame and responsibility on their customers to fix the problem. Toyota declared that it was everyone's fault but their own. It was "the driver, the dealer, the repairman"- everyone else but Toyota ! And while this was going on in the USA, Toyota was secretly handing out documents warning their insiders in other nations about the defect ! Toyota went to the Canadians and thirty one other nations- while still woring on their profit margin in the USA- to warn these "smaller markets" of the danger. It's as plain as day Toyota did was more interested in maintaining their market share, their sales figures, their corporate image in the US than protect the American public from these deadly products- Again, this is shameful activity by a company with a long history of such !

16 million is just the beginning. LaHood is doing the right thing by setting precedence with a record fine. Toyota must now pay up, admit guilt, and then wait for the real suits to begin or... they can try to drag this on for the next 10-20 years, during which they will have totally destroyed their Company name and once proud history. If they haven't already, Toyota will become the "Enron" of the auto world- the butt of every Jay Leno Tonight Show monologue ! And its a monicker well deserved. And make no mistake, LaHood is not yet finished. He seems to have the goods on Toyota as oddly enough he "hints" at possible further action. It's very clear to this reader that LaHood has many a "smoking gun" in his possession and is waiting to see how Toyota execs will respond. I also imagine LaHood is somewhat embarrased to have one of his own organizations so tightly engulfed in this scandal- the NHTSA ! He seems to be fighting an offensive war right now fguring "the best defense is a good offense." And the only way he can do this, is if he has something really big on Toyota- something really illegal and scandalous. I believe he does- and I've been on the mark pretty consistently since this story broke. So what's it gonna be ? Bribes and Kickbacks ? Internal mailings detailing the assault on the US public ? Engineering blueprints explaining the possibilty for "sudden acceleration" problems ? Any or All ? Whatever the case, Toyota remains in mega deep doo here in the US... and China, and Canada, and Europe... but hey, at least Japan still loves them- imagine that.

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Heh it's funny listening to Branded talk. Not because of his point of view, but because of the tedious responses he needs to give to those talking to him.

Here it is, people:

"why anyone would continue to support a corporation that has behaved so blatantly irresponsible is beyond me."

I can't say that I'm really afraid of Toyota. The odds of anything happening to me are pretty slim and I can't say I'd ever fear driving or buying a Toyota. I'm sorry for the people who died, but in the world today with bombs killing people in the dozens it's just not something that registers for more than a few minutes on my sympathy meter.

But my God, how can people actually sit here and defend Toyota? I'll be the first to say that it's not the end of the world, but jeeze....defending them? LOL All this talk about Democrats, Republicans, Japan-bashing, US ownership of GM, yadda yadda yadda.... It's comical reading what people will say to actually defend this company. What could they possibly get out of it?

Toyota has a problem. They tried to cover it up. The got caught. End of story. Stop making stuff up and just deal with it.

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"I can't say I'd ever fear driving or buying a Toyota. I'm sorry for the people who died, but in the world today with bombs killing people in the dozens it's just not something that registers for more than a few minutes on my sympathy meter."

Comparing Toyota products to bombs ?

"Heh it's funny listening to Superlib talk. Not because of his point of view, but because of the "analogies" he needs to give to those talking to him."

Thanks superlib- that was precious !

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Branded at 12:19 AM JST - 8th April. Toyota designed and engineered these defective pedals that would do one of two things over time. A) They would wear down to the point that the exposed metal, once smooth, would become trapped against other pieces of metal or body part. Or B) The poorly designed floor mat clips allowed for slippage of thus mat- which on ocassion would slide against the pedal preventing it from returning to it's original position- All easy enough to understand.

How do you know? From reading? The government has no evidence that the throttle has a 'dangerous defect' and fines Toyota $16 million for non-conclusive evidence. Does this make any sense? Toyota has no higher incident rate than any of the other automakers, and there has been no effort by our government to identify a mechanical or electrical cause for a defect. To the contrary, all but a few regrettable accidents are likely due to driver error compounded by a desire to cash in on the 'dangerous defect' assumption.

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sfjp330; "How do you know? From reading? The government has no evidence that the throttle has a 'dangerous defect' and fines Toyota $16 million for non-conclusive evidence. Does this make any sense?"

How do "I" know ? Uhhh, I dunno sfjp330 but maybe this helps-

"Documents obtained from the Japanese automaker show that Toyota knew of the problem with the sticking gas pedals in late September but did not issue a recall until late January, LaHood said. The sticking pedals involved 2.3 million vehicles."

And this-

“We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations,” LaHood said in a statement. “Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families.”

Oh yeh, there's more-

"For those reasons, LaHood said, the government is seeking a fine of $16.375 million, the maximum penalty possible."

Sfjp330, let us know if the speed of information is coming in to quick, we'll try to explain the details if necessary. In the meantime, chew this fat a bit also-

"The Transportation Department said the fine it is seeking is specifically tied to the sticking pedal defect and Toyota could face additional penalties if warranted by investigations."

In short LaHood and company have some serious dirt on Toyota ! Toyota has no choice but to ante up the record penalty and then face the music in civil court- where they will be hung out to dry by some of America's most skilled lawyers- all of which are very much aware that Toyota pocketed 45 billion between 2006 and 2008 and are currently sitting flush on 25 billion ! If I'm Geragos- thats the pot of gold baby !

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Branded at 07:59 AM JST - 8th April. “We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations,” LaHood said in a statement. “Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families.”

Show me a proof NHTSA. The proposed fine may be admitted to rebut NHTSA but the government never found anything wrong with its vehicles. Toyota just delayed the announcement by 4 months, not 15 years like GM. Big deal.

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sfjp330- you seem completely lost- or just plain.. ?

"Show me a proof NHTSA. The proposed fine may be admitted to rebut NHTSA but the government never found anything wrong with its vehicles. Toyota just delayed the announcement by 4 months"

Toyota did more than delay their announcement- they tried to hide it ! Are you not following the story here ? Toyota's confiscated documents show, prove, detail that they knew about a design flaw in their vehicles and notified Canadian officials and thirty one other European nations in september. At that point they had 5 days to do the same with the US- but instead they decided to continue to sell defective products to unknowing US consumers in a blatant disregrad for public safety for three more months ! Toyota clearly put profits and market share goals head and shoulders above the safety of the American citizen ! Got it yet ? Sheesh !

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The government is seeking to fine Toyota Motor Corp a record $16.4 million, accusing the Japanese auto giant of hiding a “dangerous defect” in its slow reporting of faulty gas pedals that have been blamed for unintended sudden accelerations and motorists’ deaths.

What exactly is the “dangerous defect” that the government is talking about in Toyota vehicles?

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The government is seeking to fine Toyota Motor Corp a record $16.4 million, accusing the Japanese auto giant of hiding a “dangerous defect” in its slow reporting of faulty gas pedals that have been blamed for unintended sudden accelerations and motorists’ deaths. What exactly is the “dangerous defect” that the government is talking about in Toyota vehicles?

Not talking about the sudden acceleration problem instead what did the government found to be the cause of it is the question here. The article is stating that the government found the cause of the sudden acceleration on Toyotas which have not been disclose to the public yet.

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"What exactly is the “dangerous defect” that the government is talking about in Toyota vehicles?"

Boy we got some "comprehension issues" out there today;

"Documents obtained from the Japanese automaker show that Toyota knew of the problem with the sticking gas pedals in late September but did not issue a recall until late January, LaHood said. The sticking pedals involved 2.3 million vehicles."

"The Transportation Department said the fine it is seeking is specifically tied to the sticking pedal defect and Toyota could face additional penalties if warranted by investigations."

Again people, the fine is in relation to the sticky pedal/floor mat defect ! This has nothing to do with the "unintended accelerations"- thats a different problem.

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Branded at 09:48 AM JST - 8th April Again people, the fine is in relation to the sticky pedal/floor mat defect !

Floor mat defect? Really? The vehicle, on loan from Bob Baker Toyota/Lexus, actually had the wrong floor mat installed. It was an all-weather floor mat from a Lexus SUV, which given the angle of the ES350's floor and its distance to the bottom of the accelerator pedal caused the jamming. Saylor and his family were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a complete and utter tragedy.

Was it Toyota's fault? Was it the dealership's fault? It's tough to say, but we can be certain it wasn't Mark Saylor's fault. The vehicle had the wrong floor mats in it. Nobody double-checked it. Nobody from the dealership considered what might occur. But, how could they see the future. In a world of a thousand possibilities, it would be difficult for them to expect acceleration problems with any of their vehicles, let alone the Lexus they loaned Mark Saylor.

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Branded at 09:48 AM JST - 8th April. Documents obtained from the Japanese automaker show that Toyota knew of the problem with the sticking gas pedals in late September but did not issue a recall until late January, LaHood said. The sticking pedals involved 2.3 million vehicles."

You seem to know this document. What does say?

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Branded said,

Boy we got some "comprehension issues" Again people, the fine is in relation to the sticky pedal/floor mat defect ! This has nothing to do with the "unintended accelerations"- thats a different problem.

Please explain this,

The government is seeking to fine Toyota Motor Corp a record $16.4 million, accusing the Japanese auto giant of hiding a “dangerous defect” in its slow reporting of faulty gas pedals that have been blamed for unintended sudden accelerations and motorists’ deaths.

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The government is seeking to fine Toyota Motor Corp a record $16.4 million, accusing the Japanese auto giant of hiding a “dangerous defect” in its slow reporting of faulty gas pedals that have been blamed for unintended sudden accelerations and motorists’ deaths.

So is the U.S. government saying the unintended sudden accelerations was due to the faulty gas pedals since the U.S. government can not use Gilbert's testimony on the unintended sudden acceleration. On the other hand, the U.S. government want to further penalize Toyota for the Prius recall and the Corolla steering wheel recall among other things on Toyota.

For those reasons, LaHood said, the government is seeking a fine of $16.375 million, the maximum penalty possible. That dwarfs the previous record: In 2004, General Motors paid a $1 million fine for responding too slowly on a recall of nearly 600,000 vehicles over windshield wiper failure.

The media has not been talking about Ford since Ford image is squeaky clean right now so bringing the Ford's Pinto will cause people to question what is behind the Toyota recall (not saying Toyota is innocent). By comparing Toyota to GM is better because GM is in bankruptcy and comparing numbers will let the readers know the big difference between Toyota recall and the GM recall as for the fine. The numbers difference between the fine, number of vehicles recall, and what the recall was on was a poor comparison. The article lacked the total numbers of recall for the windshield wiper and models over a time period. In 2008 some GM models 2007-2008 still have the problem of the windshield wiper.

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sfjp330- you seem content on acting like a child;

"You seem to know this document. What does say?"

In short- it doesn't matter what I know. The NHTSA "knows" all they need to "know" and they have set precedence with a record setting fine for Toyota... accordingly- discussion over.

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skipbeat- No ! Its on your shoulders to explain this;

"The government is seeking to fine Toyota Motor Corp..."

I'm comfortable in knowing this-

"The Transportation Department said the fine it is seeking is specifically tied to the sticking pedal defect and Toyota could face additional penalties if warranted by investigations."

Stated pretty clearly to me. And in light of the fact that the "runaway Toyota" problems have yet to hear the light of day- well, again- seems pretty clear ! You got questions about the details of a story here- try calling out the Japantoday editors- not me... Sheesh !

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fjp330: Toyota has no higher incident rate than any of the other automakers

Not true...

"In the last decade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received complaints of 34 fatalities related to sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles, far more than for any other automaker"

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-deaths-mainbar28-2010feb28,0,2282376.story

That number has since been increased:

"More than 100 deaths have now been blamed on sudden acceleration of Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles, nearly twice the number that had been reported two months ago, according to a Times review of public records."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2010/03/toyota-acceleration-lawsuits-nhtsa-deaths-crashes.html

...and....

"In 2008, the NHTSA opened a probe of the Toyota Tacoma after a consumer found that the truck had accumulated 32 times as many sudden-acceleration complaints as any other pickup."

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-fi-toyota-recall8-2009nov08,0,6120294.story?page=3

In reality it's very difficult to know exactly about the number of credible claims Toyota has had against it. In the beginning Toyota played a game where they would hear sudden acceleration cases and then break them into different categories, for example saying that it was brake failure that didn't stop the car (that was accelerating out of control) so a lot of the cases were logged as brake failure and not sudden acceleration. Other times they just chalked it up to driver error. In the end you have one problem that gets diluted into looking like several smaller problems and suddenly the overall numbers for each problem don't necessarily look high, but in reality they all point to the same problem and when you add them all up the numbers are very high. It's all part of the game that Toyota was playing.

Branded: Comparing Toyota products to bombs ?

I was actually agreeing with you, but after rereading my post I can see my sarcasm probably got in the way...heh. I just don't get how anyone can defend Toyota given their actions in this case. While it's true that the overall numbers of those killed over such a long period of time isn't necessarily a shocking fact on its own, the fact that Toyota obviously denied, lied, and tried to cover up the problem and skirt responsibility is something for which there is no defense. They took a gamble and rolled the dice and hoped the problem would go away, but it didn't and now it's snowballed into a bigger problem and they only have themselves to blame. I just don't get how some people can actually defend them....makes no sense to me.

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skipbeat: The media has not been talking about Ford since Ford image is squeaky clean right now

In all reality, Toyota's image problem and media scrutiny stem from the incident where the highway patrol officer and his family were killed. Without that phone call and subsequent media frenzy, my guess is that Toyota's problem would have flown under the radar. You had a horrific story which lead to front page news, and from that point the research and scrutiny started on Toyota and a lot of these problems were brought to light. The story snowballed into what it is today and culminated in the President of Toyota appearing before Congress. Without that phone call from the CHP office, my guess is that none of that would have happened.

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And they should demand it be paid in crisp $20 bills only.

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sfjp330;

"You seem to know this document. What does say?"

Yesterday on another thread here I pointed out that LaHood seems to have the goods on Toyota and is giving them a way out- accept the fine and all the guilt and responsibility associated with it- or Appeal it and face the consequences of having your corporate name and image dragged through the front pages of the world media for years to come. Well, it seems LaHood has just sent another volley over the bow of the "mothership" !

The Wallstreet Journal has just reported;

"Toyota Motor Corp. executives debated in January the proper time to go public with mechanical problems in certain models, with one executive declaring in a Jan. 16 email, "the time to hide on this one is over," according to internal company documents viewed Wednesday.

The email was sent days before Toyota issued the last of a string of recalls covering more than eight million cars globally for reports of sudden acceleration."

"The time to HIDE on this one is over"- Busted !!! In response to this revelation, Toyota's stock price has dropped to well below $81.

I said it before, as a one time industry insider, Toyota is about to get crucified- there is so much dirt on this company and so many examples of corruption and contempt for the American legal system and the nations citizens in general just waiting to come out. Defend Toyota all you want, but face the facts- LaHood has them right where he wants them !

"There could be further penalties under continuing federal investigations, and Toyota also faces private lawsuits seeking many millions more."

Millions ? Try "Billions" ! Oh, what a feeling- Toyota !

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Branded at 12:07 AM JST - 9th April. "Toyota Motor Corp. executives debated in January the proper time to go public with mechanical problems in certain models, with one executive declaring in a Jan. 16 email, "the time to hide on this one is over," according to internal company documents viewed Wednesday.

HUMMM????? Your so far off base. Executive name Miller is a ex-employee of Toyota. He announced his retirement in December 16, 2009. Since he was let go, why would he make e-mail announcement in January 16, 2010 to say "time to hide on this one is over"? other than to hurt their business. He was not in a capacity to make or recommend any decisions. Didn't you know? I guess not.

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SuperLib at 01:41 PM JST - 8th April fjp330: Toyota has no higher incident rate than any of the other automakers

Not true.....

superlib, are you dreaming? where did you get facts on "not true"? Toyota is getting a lot of attention for sudden unintended acceleration, but Ford has been the subject of more complaints with federal regulators in the recent past. From 2004 to 2009, based on NHTSA data, Ford had 2,806 complaints, compared with Toyota's 2,515. GM had 1,192. A study by Edmunds.com, found that based on the number of vehicles on the road, Toyota ranked 17th in recalls.

I don't think any manufacturer knows 100% what is causing sudden acceleration. Toyota's recent safety recalls may not totally solve sudden unintended acceleration in its cars. Driver error is the auto industry's problem. Even when dealers and auto makers suspect driver error, it is difficult for them to outright blame their customers for fear of alienating them or appearing insensitive, as sometimes serious injuries or fatalities are involved. In Toyota's case, some of the most high-profile incidents of sudden acceleration involve drivers who are elderly or with health issues that may never be definitively ruled out as contributing factors.

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SuperLib at 01:48 PM JST - 8th April In all reality, Toyota's image problem and media scrutiny stem from the incident where the highway patrol officer and his family were killed. Without that phone call and subsequent media frenzy, my guess is that Toyota's problem would have flown under the radar. You had a horrific story which lead to front page news, and from that point the research and scrutiny started on Toyota and a lot of these problems were brought to light. The story snowballed into what it is today and culminated in the President of Toyota appearing before Congress. Without that phone call from the CHP office, my guess is that none of that would have happened.

Most people can read between the lines and I guess maybe you can't. This is a sad story but the facts are Lexus that crashed did not have original floor mat in the car. If you install a wrong aftermarket floor mat or different model Toyota SUV floor mat that is thicker and if the accelerator gets stuck between the floor mats, is this the fault of Toyota because this vehicle crashed? Why didn't this Lexus have factory installed floor mats? I believe this is a fault of a dealer that installed it, not Toyota. If you modify any parts of the engine, drivetrain, exhaust, suspension or other changes, this usually this voids the warranty. Before you look at conclusion, look what happened to Audi. After facts came in they were not true but destroyed their business for long time.

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sfjp330: come on show a litle more self respect. You're flogging a dead horse. Toyota had Kazakstan ahead of the US on the recall. Is there more to say?

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I was shopping in some when I found this out. My concern is what would have happened if they had not got caught. It makes you think about what you are buying. Thanks for this article

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