crime

Toyota case shows it's hard to prosecute execs

29 Comments
By ERIC TUCKER

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29 Comments
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Toyota, which acknowledged hiding information about defects, said in a statement that in the four years since the recalls, it had “made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements.”

Yea, right. The Japanese directors of Toyota do not know what "customer-focused" means.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

"Toyota, which acknowledged hiding information about defects, said in a statement that in the four years since the recalls, it had “made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements.”

Sounds like a Japanese company to me. While the cars may be better, the ethics are not. But rest assured, any execs implicated in scandal will be given a golden parachute of ¥500 million yen or so, and an amakudari position at the office next door.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

"But rest assured, any execs implicated in scandal will be given a golden parachute"

A large Japanese corporation I was involved in was embroiled in a big scandal. Lots of embarrassment, apologies, etc., but after the media fury died down, the three execs responsible... were promoted. The other employees saw nothing wrong/ironic about it.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

My way of teaching these companies with NO MORALS is to NOT BUY THEIR PRODUCTS!! TOYOTA etc...did not care about HUMANS lives and they care more about $$$ so they can go to HELL!! No Toyota for me!! Teach Toyota, GM etc..a good LESSON!

-2 ( +8 / -9 )

Not any different than GM execs hiding their defective ignition switches.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

sounds like biz as usaul for Japan Inc. Lying, manipulation, and final solution- payouts.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

"Not any different than GM execs hiding their defective ignition switches."

Agree...two wrongs don't make it right though. Both Toyota and GM guilty execs should be made personally responsible.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Misstatements" are not the same as lies. No need to be so politely euphemistic in reporting the news.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lots of embarrassment, apologies, etc., but after the media fury died down, the three execs responsible... were promoted. The other employees saw nothing wrong/ironic about it.

That's how the world rolls, mate! And not only in Japan but everywhere around the globe!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It seems that Toyota was very bad but GM is the worst, concealing deadly defects for 10 years involving some deaths. I wonder if GM itself can survive or not as Americans really hate someone hiding something very bad about deadly defects for a long time.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I used to think Toyota was a good car to buy and was about to buy one. I've changed my mind. I'll never buy a Toyota in the future, I can never trust them to come clean about defects. I never considered GM either for the same reason. I'm now looking at either Mitsubishi or Honda, but will try to find out about their safety background and integrity first. I know both Mitsubishi and Honda have recalled a lot of cars, but I'd prefer that they did that then pretend their aren't any problems.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Without holding people personally responsible, the fines amount to the government taking their cut of deadly corporate decisions.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I suggest you select your cars based on Consumer Reports or other 3rd party groups and the input from friends and family that have owned them. Toyota may be bad, but I am sure every other car maker out there has done similar things. I drive Honda and read that the version I own has faulty airbag deployment where shrapnel can fly out and basically cut your throat. I never was informed,,, That is just an example.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I find it humourous when people use a story like this to pin the behaviour on a particular culture or company. Fact is, this is the norm of how companies operate these days and as a consumer I feel completely dis-empowered to choose a company who doesn't operate inappropriately, because no matter which country, culture or whom is leading them, they all are justified by the world culture of greed to do whatever it takes to make a profit. The best I am able to do is to research my products before I buy them to try and get what other real people have found are good products, but even that is getting harder to do with companies being exposed for paying individuals for fake reviews. It's disappointing and I'm at a loss as to what we can do anymore to get people to treat other people with respect.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I'm not in the slightest surprised by this.

I've worked for Japanese companies for the better part of two decades and not once have I seen an executive accept responsibility for a shambolic blunder, nor has there ever been any comeback for the exec who made the blunder - against earnest appeals to logic and reason - other than promotion.

When I first came here I had been brainwashed by the cinema representation of Japan as a place where honour was the overriding principle to guide a man's life. What a load of tosh. If you make a balls-up, pretend it didn't happen for as long as possible. Then when you eventually do have to admit you're without a paddle, use the passive, blame it on "miscommunication" and start planning the next shambles.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The gov't cuts its corporate friend a "delayed prosecution" deal and rakes in $1.2 billion knowing the Recall King - with a $60 billion cash stash - isn't the least bit worried. Is anyone surprised that no execs will be jailed? Meanwhile, the REAL story - renowned computer expert Michael Barr finding bugs in Toyota's electronic throttle control software - gets buried in a news blackout. Mr. Barr's findings are what put Toyota in "settlement mode," including the sudden unintended acceleration case in Oklahoma wherein Mr. Barr's findings were corroborated by 150 feet of skid marks from the plaintiff's tires. I've been blogging about Toyota - search "Beware of Toyota. Their next victim may be YOU..."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Karma / poetic justice will come where the justice of man's systems fail. Who will mourn them then?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I read it might have been a shake down of Toyota for money. Look hard enough and you will find something on anyone.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Heads should roll.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Heads should roll."

They should, but won't. Instead, the heads will be promoted.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

But prosecutors say they had little choice, in part because of constraints with evidence and the challenge of gathering testimony and information from witnesses outside the United States

What a load of rubbish. Since when has the US been unwilling or unable to prosecute beyond its borders? I smell a rat somewhere.

I would suggest that Toyota should be excluded from all US government tenders until all key executives submit to US jurisdiction and testify as to what really happened.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@md2009: Well said. If the company's execs can't be held responsible because they are overseas, don't let them do business here.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Bringing litigation and scoring against a company like Toyota may be a dream of U.S. lawyers, a unique clique, and make me wonder about their real intention. Protecting the consumer, revenge or just making a fortune? I also wonder about the number of fatal accidents that can be without the shadow of a doubt attributed to construction defects of a Toyota vehicle. Give me a number and percentage of the millions of cars produced by this company. No hype about what was 'hidden' or 'covered up'. Targeting individuals I find especially onerous. You will conclude that the Toyota cars are probably the safest and most popular cars in the world. BTW, I don't have any affiliation with this company.

But prosecutors say they had little choice, in part because of constraints with evidence and the challenge of gathering testimony and information from witnesses outside the United States*

They won't be able to find any damning evidence outside the United States.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It seems that Toyota was very bad but GM is the worst, concealing deadly defects for 10 years involving some deaths.

kwatt -- horse feathers. First off, Toyota both concealed defects for many years as well, they also out and out lied to government investigators, which is why they faced criminal charges. Or did you miss that part? Second, it has yet to be proven that GM knowingly hid anything. Yes, the data was there, but no one knows right now what exactly happened. Third, GM has gotten out in front of this problem via their new GM, while Toyota's "leaders" apparently contributed to the cover-up. Maybe, just maybe, you should let the investigation/process run its course before jumping to your knee-jerk anti-US reaction.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No matter which country you are in THIS will always happen.

What is even worse is, you can not even put a publicly elected official in prison for even murder.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Either my comment was misunderstood (likely) or there is a lot of support for the execs...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All car companies do faulty things. I had a Hyudai accent losibg power brakes and a Renault Magane accelerating itself. They all hide their problems...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@md2009: Well said. If the company's execs can't be held responsible because they are overseas, don't let them do business here.

A nice sentiment but... most of the Toyotas in the U.S. were manufactured in the U.S. Banning the company will mostly hurt the Americans working at those plants. The actual culprits will continue "tossing 'em down" with their buddies at the local izukaya.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

he actual culprits will continue "tossing 'em down" with their buddies at the local izukaya.

What is an izukaya?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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