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Toyota chief's U.S. testimony closely watched in Japan

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By Kelly Olsen

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And surely we're due another flavour of the month in congress wityh it being March. These senators don't see lives lost, they see votes won via TV, end of..

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I refer you all to my original post and will put it into easier English for ya'll. Toyota employ thousands of people in the US. Toyota is an extremely solvent company none relient on govt. hand-outs and breaks. The US does not have a 'solvent' (non-bankrupt) auto-manufacturer. Therefore, if the US push Toyota too much and they decide to build in Canada instead then bye-bye US motor industry. Hope I made myself understood this time.

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I think Japan's industry is sinking with its territory.

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I think many Japanese feel sorry for Mr.Toyoda, grandson of the original founder for Toyota cars, but let me turn it around, how about if an AMERICAN car company had killed 39 Japanese? Even if those American brand cars were made here in Japan, how would the Japanese feel then? Would they be feel sorry for the grandson of Ford? The grandson of GM? etc...I really doubt it. I do not own a Toyota and am very happy but I hope the Japanese understand how angry people in America are with Toyota cars that can not put on the breaks, cars that keep accelerating out of control etc..death traps! I do not care if they are only less than 1%of the total amount of Toyota cars produced, they are death traps!

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Who's being naive? I take exception at your comment without any analyis.

Next you'll be saying the world's flat..

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Toyota have to do is shave about 2% - 3% off that margin and they won't just be just burying the US motor industry for good

Now, that's just being naive. We all know things don't work that way, so why pretend...

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Good luck and fair play to the Toyota chief for stand before congress. A complete embarrassment for him and the Japanese government if you ask me. The US propaganda machine is in full flow and wishes to bury Toyota

The one thing that these shortsighted editors in the US media forget is that Toyota US have margin on their products and a lot more than the big three (who have none, hence the US firms have been technically and literally bankrupt for years) and all Toyota have to do is shave about 2% - 3% off that margin and they won't just be just burying the US motor industry for good, it will be a 10 minute cremation and 'game over'.

The US should be very careful what they wish for. I do not usually side with Japan, but this is clearly a story were Toyota are in the right and the way the US has handled herself is quite frankly embarassing..

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Welcome to "Obamaworld" where "yes we can" includes not only calling to the carpet Toyota- but also the other big three auto industry executives, banking industry, and anyone else who they believe is wronging the American consumer.

Except the US car and banking companies have not had to take responsibility for their actions under the Obama administration.

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cyphin: Particulary the one that suggested more Americans be placed is positions of leadership which has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Actually, that is part of the problem. The top management is in Japan and they make all of the decisions, sometimes making a "wall" that US managers are never able to get over. Mostly it's a game where the people in the US don't have the information they need because Japan doesn't want them making any big decisions. That's not to say that an American manager wouldn't have gone along with everything, tho.

sfjp330: the House Energy Committee uncovered only one actionable solution to the ongoing scandal: greater funding for NHTSA’s investigative capabilities.

...and what's wrong with greater funding for the NHTSA? Again, part of the problem is that the HNTSA relies on the auto companies themselves to do the testing because they don't have the resources. Maybe with more resources they can get to the heart of the issue faster and everyone can avoid this mess.

sfjp330: Congress holds hearings like these to uncover shocking evidence

Then they did their jobs. Without this "circus" that everyone is seeing we'd be sitting here today with no recalls and no admission of wrongdoing from Toyota.

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With Mr. Toyoda testimony before the House and how our law makers conducted themselves - Atrocious. Just more grandstanding by these/our politicians. They have no shame. Look at the American auto industry and their history. There is a combine effort to further discredit Toyota and have the American auto manufacturers take advantage of the situation. ERGO... "The American WAY"

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it was a way to cater to the unions and perhaps stray people away from buying Toyota and buying US cars.

Really? The fact that people died and were severly injured due to faults in Toyotas vehicles is just a trick to cater to unions. Some people on this forum are sick.

The fatal crash involved Saylor (45); his wife, Cleofe (45); Mahala, their 13-year-old daughter; and Chris Lastrella (38), their brother-in-law; all four perished, said Detroit News previously. Details of the chilling accident that prompted the NHTSA to investigate the crash include the 2009 Lexus plummeting over an embankment and bursting into flames. The family was able to contact a 911 operator, saying they were unable to stop the ES 350; Lastrella advised the operator that the Lexus had no brakes. Most poignantly, the 911 tape, recently made public, included the family asking one another to pray at the recording’s end, just before their deaths, said Detroit News.

Federal highway safety inspectors recently released details of that deadly crash including a finding that, reports the LATimes, involves a gas pedal design in the Lexus ES 350 sedan that actually increases the likelihood of the pedal being “obstructed” by a car’s floor mat. Including the California fatalities, the NHTSA received 100 complaints involving 17 crashes and five deaths, said Detroit News previously. One-third involved the Lexus ES 350, the Free Press said earlier.

http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/13683

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ptolemy: Refer to my post above the government doesn't give a damn about 39 deaths or even 83,000 they only care about grandstanding and getting re-elected. Toyota will fix the problem and recover from this. The victims families will sue and recover substantial damages and that will be the end of it. By the way when that happens and people shop cars on merit you'll find that the American makers at least Buick, Cadillac and Ford compete quite well. Again people will buy on the merits of the car not this over blown Toyota witch hunt.

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ptolemy at 01:11 AM JST - 26th February. If a US company had been guilty of Japanese deaths by their product you damn well know they would have been called out on it here. So stop the theatric bullshit. The fact is Toyota knew from 2006 on that there was a problem and chose to ignore it, but all the Japan apologists want to sit back and say "Poor widdle Japan get pick on by big bad USA" If Toyota's product had not killed people then this would not be the case now.

Are you sure? Toyota's management behavior is not much different than GM or Ford. If you buy a car other than Toyota, can you guarantee me that GM or Ford that you won't have sudden accelation, electrical or mechanical problem that result in deaths? That GM and Ford will not conceal any evidence of defect and advise Feds to recall their cars immediately? History shows otherwise.

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The Toyota inquest is merely a grandstanding opportunity for incompetent US politicians. Most of these vehicles were built in the US and hurting Toyota hurts US workers. Now of course the American populace is as a whole too stupid to grasp that. So these government guys get to look like they're "holding a big company responsible" and even better a "foreign" company although as I just said most of these cars were produced in the US. Toyota has a problem and they're working on fixing it. People have died but the actual incidence of problems doesn't even come near 1% of the cars produced. The hearings are all about "well we may not be able to reform healthcare but we're doing something about those death trap foreign cars" At the end of the day it's a TV circus for the sheeple. A little disclaimer, I do own Ford stock but I am not revelling in Toyota's problems, again there are American jobs on the line.

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Branded at 05:28 AM JST - 26th February. Umm, a bit too late don't you think ? Do you think the 39 Americans killed and the hundreds injured would have bought a Toyota in the first place if they knew what lay in store for them ? No- I think not !

Are you limited with your vocabulary? Same old sentence for 39 times. Please put "quote" on 40th time. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. 39, 40, 41 etc.

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Someone said it best...A Congressional Hearing is just another way for politicians to have more TV Face Time!!!!!

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Branded at 06:04 AM JST - 26th February

"Here is a quote above" are you happy?

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Note to sfjp330-

When you "borrow" other peoples writings, you need to highlight them with "quotation marks" and acknowledge the (real) author.

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In addition to LaHood's more general grandstanding, there are three legs to the bureaucrat’s stool: blaming predecessors, not being able to comment on ongoing investigations, and blaming a lack of funding. As the questioning pounded away, LaHood retreated further and further into these self-protection measures. Three witnesses worth of fearmongering, visions of damning evidence of Toyota malfeasance or NHTSA complicity in a coverup were all but buried by the time the questions ended. And in the grand tradition of theatrical farce, the hunter ended up hunting himself.

Congress holds hearings like these to uncover shocking evidence and to impress its constituents with its dedication to their safety and well-being. Having been enticed into believing that sinister conspiracies exist in Toyota’s software code and the halls of the NHTSA, the House Energy Committee uncovered only one actionable solution to the ongoing scandal: greater funding for NHTSA’s investigative capabilities. Put differently, after hours of posturing congress finally met the enemy and he was them.

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mnemosyn;

"As an American I am EMBARRASSED by the actions of my government, calling Toyoda up on the carpet as if he were a naughty child."

Welcome to "Obamaworld" where "yes we can" includes not only calling to the carpet Toyota- but also the other big three auto industry executives, banking industry, and anyone else who they believe is wronging the American consumer. And Toyoda, like a naughty child with his hand caught in the cookie jar, deserves to be raked over the coals like all the others.

"I am not trying to pardon Toyota for its actions, because I do think the company was slow to respond to complaints, when a quicker response may have saved lives and property."

You are right ! Toyota is pretty much guilty as charged.

"But for heaven's sake, before we start excoriating the company as a money-hungry hog with no regard for the safety of its customers, let's actually find out THE REASONS these things are happening."

A bit contradictory don't you think ? It's because the company was a money hungry hog with no regard for safety- that we've been prevented from knowing "THE REASONS" ! Remember Toyota sent staffers to the NHTSA to get them to stop 4 seperate investigations into Toyota's problems.

And this is totally out there-

"In the end, this shouldn't be a government issue anyway. Let the market decide. If people don't trust Toyota's cars, they won't buy them."

Umm, a bit too late don't you think ? Do you think the 39 Americans killed and the hundreds injured would have bought a Toyota in the first place if they knew what lay in store for them ? No- I think not !

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Toyota was wrong and has to answer why it took so long to acknowledge and respeond to these probs. However, with that being said, some of the congressmen and women need to be taken out back and shot. Particulary the one that suggested more Americans be placed is positions of leadership which has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

As for the 3 auto-makers, some posts are wrong as far as who took/owes money and who is still American owned. Ford never took money and is still US owned. GM took money and has the US government as a backer. Chrysler took money, but has paid it back. It is however not American because it was aquired by Italian carmaker Fiat as of June 2009.

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He just had to show up. Now they just have fix the problem ASAP.

Recall that the US government now owns 2 US car companies due to the bailout and because they deal with labor unions, which Toyota does not, it was a way to cater to the unions and perhaps stray people away from buying Toyota and buying US cars. Not a stretch, you think?

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Mr. USA, do you own a Toyota involved in the recall

No, I have a Ford.

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The fact that Toyota came on his own to sit before the US Government should be commended. He had no obligation to answer their summons and quite a few US citizens have not had that level of respect to answer the call to come forward. (Think back to the white house party crashers, whom did not come to congress when called to do so.)

So the US Congress, which has very low approval ratings right now, has seen a way to shift focus off its inability to pass needed legislation and focus on a foreigner, whom has been painted as the bad guy. Big surprise that politicians want to keep the light off themselves. (This is true for all politicians everywhere.)

I think Toyoda-san did a good job. The questions could have been worse and despite what many say US automotive CEOs have very recently had to sit in the same spot and sound off on why they were failing at their jobs. Congress loves to rake anyone but other congress members over the coals. In the end I would still buy a Toyota and still feel that they are good cars. US auto industry had to learn a hard lesson about quality and image in the 80s and 90s. Now US cars are much more reliable and of a much higher quality than they were 15 years ago. Toyota can learn from the mistake and improve its product the consumer will buy it. In six months no one will be talking about this issue except those directly impacted and those seeking to make a quick buck out of it.

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@ Mr. USA: They were looking for soundbites to help them with their upcoming campaigns. Toyoda-san may not have communicated in an American way, be he cannot be expected to as he is not American. Overall, Toyoda-san was very respectful and cooperative, despite the fact that his hosts acted like thugs.

Oh Bullshit and you know it. If a US company had been guilty of Japanese deaths by their product you damn well know they would have been called out on it here. So stop the theatric bullshit.

The fact is Toyota knew from 2006 on that there was a problem and chose to ignore it, but all the Japan apologists want to sit back and say "Poor widdle Japan get pick on by big bad USA", again bullshit, if Toyota's product had not killed people then this would not be the case now.

So, Mr. USA, do you own a Toyota involved in the recall, and if you do will you get it fixed, and do you now nad in the future trust Toyota products, because THAT IS THE ISSUE.

The issue is not MS as some dill weed postulated. Did an MS product kill anyone? No, but a Toyota product did. Time for the sheeple to pull their heads out of their asses and see that Toyota denying problems from 2006 on led to the deaths of 12 people in the USA, Latin America, and else where. But of course "WE JAPANESE" could give a flip less about the deaths of gaijin, an that is was the attitude Toyoda was grilled over.

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mnemosyne23 But for heaven's sake, before we start excoriating the company as a money-hungry hog with no regard for the safety of its customers, let's actually find out THE REASONS these things are happening.

You want to find out THE REASONS why these things are actually happening? My gosh, you sound like the US government! What's with the witch hunt? Do you own stock in GM?

THE REASON is very simple. Toyota has a design flaw that's killed people that they don't know how to fix. They've stonewalled investigations and offered repairs that they themselves have admitted (finally, 2 days ago) won't totally solve the problem. The reason for the Congressional hearings has been to find out THE REASON why this is happening because Toyota has lied about everything up to this point.

How did you end up in a position where you demand answers yet criticize the only group actually getting the answers?

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Fadamor, also Ford recommended to inflate the tires lower than the recommended PSI to soften the ride if I remember right. Of course, peoples' way of driving is also part of the problem.

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I really find this whole situation ridiculous. As an American I am EMBARRASSED by the actions of my government, calling Toyoda up on the carpet as if he were a naughty child. Given the American government's majority stake in car companies GM and Chrysler, the conflict of interest is so blatant that it would be laughable if it weren't so d*mn INFURIATING.

I am not trying to pardon Toyota for its actions, because I do think the company was slow to respond to complaints, when a quicker response may have saved lives and property. But for heaven's sake, before we start excoriating the company as a money-hungry hog with no regard for the safety of its customers, let's actually find out THE REASONS these things are happening. This isn't just putting the cart before the horse; this is putting the cart before the invention of the WHEEL.

In the end, this shouldn't be a government issue anyway. Let the market decide. If people don't trust Toyota's cars, they won't buy them. They'll buy another brand, or they'll hold off buying a new car entirely until they find one that suits their needs. Calling together Congressional committees to chastise the CEO of a company based in an entirely different COUNTRY is not only a huge waste of time and money, but a completely unwarranted misuse of power on the part of Congress. It disgusts me.

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I'd usually not defend Japanese companies - but Toyota (and Toyoda-san) have been royally stitched up here. Is it just pure co-incidence that the United States - with their U.S. Auto industry, on it's knees, and down for the count - is dragging Toyota over the coals and doing their darnedest to diascredit the whole brand? ALL brands of cars have recalls at some stage. It just seems to me that these isolated cases with Toyota is being blown WAY out of proportion in the States.

This campaign is not gonna work though - no smart people are going to stop buying the best quality cars in the world and instead buy - with all due respect to the U.S. Auto industry and it's supporters like Michael Moore - irrelevant, out-dated, artificially propped up by the government GM and Ford JUNK!

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(Note: you need to put underscores between each word in the link. The JT editor interprets pairs of underscores as the delimiters for italics and removes them from the text) So that line should be "...Firestone(underscore)vs(underscore)Ford(underscore)Motor(underscore)Company_controversy"

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Cliffy, the Ford Explorer roll-over issue appears to have been caused by the tires, not the design of the vehicle. The incidence of roll-overs decreased dramatically if Goodyear tires were used instead of the stock Firestone tires.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firestone_vs_Ford_Motor_Company_controversy

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Libertas needs to do a little more research. Only GM has the government as a major stockholder. Ford never took government money. Chrysler did, but has since paid it back.

To the best of my knowledge, none of those three has a safety defect that is killing their customers by accelerating them out of control, then try to claim the defect was "wrong-sized mats".

I agree with Libertas that Toyota's are "far, far better cars"... better at killing their occupants through defective design.

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Toyoda san handled himself pretty well throughout the hearings and deserves an A+ BUT the big problems of his car company remain and quick action is needed to repair the damage!

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Libertas: A month from now I want to see what you will say about what you will know then. AT the moment I doubt you know very much about Toyota. And we are very fortunate that we can hide behind our grandiose monikers because this would be the undoing of many a career. Toyoda is only starting to get the point - how rotten his company is.

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Not that I like Toyota cars that much, but the things that come to my mind with all these are:

Salem witch hunt. US got to help the voters - UAW. I did not see that happy when Ford Exploder keep rolling over.

I also hate when they put God into everything. They remind me a lot of those Evangelical christian. I classify them border line cult.

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I hate when Americans bring God into everything. Can't physics play a role sometime?

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The woman who testified said that "after 6 miles God intervened". Surely he could have intervened earlier! What a &%$#

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Shinozaki, however, said that the company’s crisis was deepening because of other factors such as possible defects in the electronic throttle, new investigations by federal authorities and possibilities there may be cover-ups.

Toyota still has great potential for sudden acceleration, followed by a crash.

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Big Name companies

Toyota provides alot of jobs for americans, I i hope they learn from this and continue making innovative automobiles.

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Well, now that the US gov't owns General Motors one could only suspect that by roasting their competitors over an open fire they are trying to boost their own brand.

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Japan said late Wednesday that it was examining 38 consumer complaints about sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles in the first official indication that concerns about runaway cars are starting to trickle into the company’s home market.

JT, can you please follow up on this? Did these complaints come in just recently or are they from older dates? Do the descriptions match with those from the US? Are they publically available? What was Toyota's reaction so far?

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All I saw on TV was 2 completely (apparently) disoriented blokes.

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SuperLib - it might not be all of the picture, but it is a big part of the picture. It was recently noted that other car manufacturers have similar defects reported but they aren't being grilled like this. See http://www.consumeraffairs.com/recalls/arecalls_auto.htm for more on this. Why aren't the heads of Ford and Volvo and Nissan and Subaru and Chrysler and Honda being called to the carpet for their vehicles?

That said, I do think this is a problem that Toyota has not effectively dealt with, and should have.

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So a firm that makes far, far better cars than GM, Ford, or Chrysler–all government motors–has to be put through a show trial, with the judges a bunch of bribe-taking congressmen. The CEO, a man who has contributed greatly to the well-being of the human race, must be arraigned before war criminals?

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hurlster: Toyota is being targeted because the company has non-union shops.

Maybe that plus the fact that their cars are killing people, they tried to cover it up, and they've admitted that even the last round of recalls won't totally solve the problem. But yeah, I'd put the non-union angle way above all of those other reasons.

I really don't see any support for Toyota on technical grounds or defending any specific actions. Mostly it sounds like the only people who support Toyota are those who own stock or have their own personal issues with the US government. Pretty easy to spot.

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I believe the US has been fair in trying to get to the bottom of the problem. Toyota on the other hand, has been deceitful in the way the have handled the matter. The crisis has been created by themselves, not by the US or the customers. So, would they expect a picnic out of it? The matter is not over yet because there will be lawsuits.

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I still have no problems buying Toyota cars.

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The problems are now being reported as software issues on the vehicles on-board computers, which would explain why Toyota is seeing problems across a range of vehicles (software reuse) and why they are having a difficult time pinning down the cause of the bug.

I expect this will end up like the Therac-25 bug (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therac-25).

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By Japanese standards, he was doing his best

That statement says a lot.

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I don't think he was phased by the old men grandstanding by making good toughguy soundbites for reelection. He seemed to play the "I don't understand your meaning" ploy well so as to be able to deflect all the showmanship.

The excuse of "we expanded too fast in the US" was good also. Meaning we were soo good we couldn't keep up with demand and had a few short comings but will correct matters.

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The UAW carries a big stick in the Democratic party & UAW officials sit on the board of GM

You're correct. And it was recently confirmed that the UAW made campaign contributions to Rep. Kaptur who was on the panel today.

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Toyota is being targeted because the company has non-union shops. The UAW carries a big stick in the Democratic party & UAW officials sit on the board of GM (now Government Motors). Hurlster

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I watched the BBC this morning and they were questioning whether the "witch-hunt" question should be raised at this point. Asking for comparisons about how this compared to Audi's recall. No one asked would really commit either way.

Personally, I think these congressional committees are often more about grandstanding for votes than anything else, these days. Maybe that's been true ever since they started being televised. I doubt that Toyota is getting it any worse than everyone gets.

I'm not so sure about the US media, though. Some early coverage was really over-the-top.

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A lawmaker being frustrated over the use of an interpreter is quite telling of the court in which Mr. Toyoda appeared. Thankfully, others there, were not so shallow.

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Many times the questioners had to ask him "Was that a Yes or No?".

People from Asian cultures use high-context communication, while we Americans use low-context communication. The rude congressmen should have understood this distinction and been more respectful, considering they were the ones who pressured him, not an American exec, to show up. They were looking for soundbites to help them with their upcoming campaigns. Toyoda-san may not have communicated in an American way, be he cannot be expected to as he is not American. Overall, Toyoda-san was very respectful and cooperative, despite the fact that his hosts acted like thugs.

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According to Toyotas own testimony the safety issue decisions were entirely the responsibility of Toyota Japan. Once more, entirely the responsibility of Toyota Japan.

Those are the facts.

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MrUSA -- now I know not to take your posts seriously. Did you even watch Toyoda-san? He was hardly convincing and certainly did not "answer all the tough questions". Many times the questioners had to ask him "Was that a Yes or No?". And, he repeatedly dodged questions by simply re-reading parts of his prepared statement -- "I promise we'll do better". Most telling, he could not explain how, as a board member, he was not aware of the details of NHTSA's visit to Tokyo to push Toyota on sudden accelaration, and why he did not become aware of the issue until about six months after becoming head of the company. That is hardly a grasp of the facts, and someone who clearly wants to get to the bottom of problems. Instead, it is the typical Japanese management response -- don't ask too many questions, you might not like the answers.

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They should get him to also meet all the relatives of the 16 dead people and personally say sorry. Put that on TV.

I agree in a mitting, but put that on TV is not what in english is called media-circus?

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They should get him to also meet all the relatives of the 16 dead people and personally say sorry. Put that on TV.

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US government is treating Toyota differently

Toyota is being treated the way it is because they denied everything at first then suddenly said "yeah there is a problem"... then didn't act very quick to fix it. Any company doing this would get the same treatment.

Any company that fails to find a problem and people die from it should be thrown under the bus.

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Exactly, the US government is not engaged in designing and manufacturing cars and car related parts. Their only interest is keeping people at work. I am not American, but maybe these congressional hearings is the way they handle these things over there. If I recall correctly, these executives from these American car makers in deep doo were berated relentlessly in their own media and citizens. You won't see that here in Japan. The only thing you will see here on tv is a representative of a company handing over a pile of documents to some government official. Also, in the United States, even now, many Americans are making fun of their own car manufacturers, which by the way is not fair and not the reality. I have seen on a variety of new programs the words "it's Japan bashing" being uttered. The fact is that people died and that Toyota still doesn't know the true cause of this problem. Lentz said it himself. Sorry to mention it again, but we all know the elevator manufacturer that was basically run out of town due to 1 (nevertheless very unfortunate) death due to poor maintanance of a subcontractor, Japanese mind you. It went on and on and on, while it was later reported that the elevators from National, Hitachi etc. didn't/don't fare any better.

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Amercians have come to expect CEO's who have a clear grasp of the details, and posses a determined will to fix any problems.

And Toyoda-san clearly showed that today. He answered all the tough questions and endured a panel of rabid congressmen in election mode.

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MrUSA -- your comments about the government treating GM or Chrysler different aside, since the moderator agrees that it is off-topic here, I do want to take issue with your statement that "Toyoda-san did quite well". In fact, IMO, Toyoda-san's performance was terrible, and Inaba-san's was worse, from an American perspective. American's, unlike Japanese, are used to seeing CEO's on TV, answering tough guestions. That is part of their job -- whether it be on CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg, etc. As a result, Amercians have come to expect CEO's who have a clear grasp of the details, and posses a determined will to fix any problems. Toyoda-san was the antithesis of this. He claimed no knowledge of sudden acceleration problems until this past December, even though he took over in June, and Inaba-san could not adequately answer questions about the infamous "recall wins" document, which was presented to him. He either claimed he did not remember it, or, that he did not understand it. To have two men so disconnected to a critical issue, in their biggest market, is simply incredible to Americans. Sorry, but in order for Americans to trust Toyota again, they must believe Toyoda-san and Inaba-san are capable to accomplishing the major cultural change needed at Toyota, and they didn't demonstrate that kind of strength. And, any analyst saying "from a Japanese perspective" he did well, is completely missing the point. The issue is about the U.S., not Japan, and why Toyoda-san is just now saying that "we will listen to the consumer". Great, after 50 or so years in the market, they finally get the U.S. culture. Would be hilarious if it were not so sad in its comment on Japanese management/corporate culture.

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Two comments;

At first I was convinced that our political class was going to run rampant over Toyota and flog the Chairman for every "bad foreigner" point they could make. But I agree with others that while they indeed did bloviate, it was not that extreme. I still have to turn the set off though when these "statesmen" start their little acts of finger-wagging - turns my stomach.

Group think, victimization and xenophobia are still the primary lens' this nation looks through when anything "Japanese" is criticized. What was a strictly business issue becomes "personal" and "political" ---- Toyota is being "picked on" because it's Japanese, not because it had a serious defect in its cars.
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this is the worst time for all this to be happening. We don't need to see another huge car company, or any company hit the skids. Do you realize just a few years ago GM was sold the 2nd most cars in the world behind Ford. in the world. I hope they pull through. BETTER yet. I hope HONDA takes up the slack. Such a bigger fan of Honda.

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As much as I dislike Toyota, I have to agree. Everyone knows (yet few are willing to admit) that America loves a good witch hunt, and that is what this is turning into. That it's being done for political gains is even more despicable.

It is more the appearance that Toyota was being callous and possibly covering things up - or poo-pahing the problems. You know as well as I do - had Toyota been more forthcoming - publicly - then they would not be testifying this week. That's a fact - I am quite the news watcher. Companies that address their problems with an attitude of concern within reasonable time. The California Trooper incident happened last August - and it was not by any means the first reported incident. Toyota was not fully cooperative with NHTSA when they were approached on the subject for more than two months they stonewalled.

Recall the Ford roll-over problem - they stonewalled and were also drug in front of Congress.

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That may be true, but it is undeniable that the US government is treating Toyota differently than they would GM or Chrysler.

As much as I dislike Toyota, I have to agree. Everyone knows (yet few are willing to admit) that America loves a good witch hunt, and that is what this is turning into. That it's being done for political gains is even more despicable.

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The idea that Toyota is being treated any differently than an American company is quite wrong.

American Executives from many industries are drug in front of and frankly, harshly interrogated and often belittled by our Congress. Though sometimes they can be become quite partisan - with Republicans often shamelessly defending egregious negligence by some American companies - make no mistake Toyota is definitely not being picked on.

Now - are you also upset over the many years of very favorable press they have received here? Even after American manufacturers had matched Toyota statistically in terms of build quality - Toyota got deferential press.

As screwed up sometimes as this great nation may appear both to its own citizens and those of other countries - it is in fact - still possible for 'the people' to demand explanation for seeming negligence or in this case - incredibly slow acknowledgment of potential problems.

If you don't believe me - just go to our Library of Congress site and search on 'oversight' - or also do the same at C-Span and you can watch hours upon hours of American Executives squirming uncomfortably.

Sorry - but this really is true.

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Not sure about that.

I should have clarified. I mean the GM and Chrysler of today that are owned by the government.

Moderator: Back on topic please. The subject is Toyota, not GM, Chrysler or Ford.

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MrUSA;

"it is undeniable that the US government is treating Toyota differently than they would GM or Chrysler."

See what 8.5 million recalls, dosens of deaths, hundreds of injuries, and thousands of complaints will get you ! Now stop whining- Toyota is being treated extremely fair. Imagine if this happened in Japan ! I guarantee you- no congressional hearings, no chance to make promises, no nothing ! Does American beef sound familiar ? Many posters here keep bringing the topic up because it is a perfect example of how Japan does things- the Japanese way !

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US government is treating Toyota differently than they would GM or Chrysler

Not sure about that. I remember GM and Chrysler heads getting chastized for flying to congress to testify. They were ridiculed and flogged in public for asking for public funds. They did not even kill US citizens and were treated like that.

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I don't feel sorry for Mr. Toyoda and I hope Japan continues to watch this serious incident very closely because dozens have died and even more have been injured and it will take much more time to look at property damage etc and decide fair compensation in addition to the new floor mats already distributed.

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And it's your company's fault.

That may be true, but it is undeniable that the US government is treating Toyota differently than they would GM or Chrysler.

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@ ahocchau: I agree completely. We pay what, 4000 yen a month?

I can't honestly say I feel sorry for Mr. Toyoda for getting 'bullied' by Congress. Your faulty cars killed people, dude! And it's your company's fault. Step up and fix the problem and maybe you'll realize that America's not harassing you to bring down your company.

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On the news this morning I saw:

1) 10 minutes on how Mao Asada will beat Kim Yuna 2) 2 minutes on how the big three auto maker state reps were bullying this poor man 3) A quick cut to a "special feature" of two comedians in grasshopper costumes hitting each other with squeaky plastic hammers

Then I went to work... Amazed NHK wants to charge me for having a TV and watching this garbage.

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“I expect Toyota to pay attention to safety thoroughly and improve things that need to be improved,” Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told reporters Thursday.

The PM has the right stance on this, why is the media portraying this as an attack on Japan? It's like people are focusing on the attacks and not the fact Toyota made a dodgy product.... Toyota heavily advertises on the same TV stations and press outlets... they wont say anything bad about Toyota and shift the attention somewhere else.

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Disagree with NHK for using "severe"(maybe by Japanese standards)and agree with TV Asahi "less harsh".

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Yes, I saw TV commentators on the morning variety shows analyzing Toyoda's testimony. I suppose we'll get that all day.

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Toyoda-san did quite well considering (a) the conflict of interest, and (b) that the congressmen were using this hearing to promote their re-election campaigns.

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