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Japan hopes Toyoda can clear image, cool friction in Washington

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What about the deaths and injuries caused by these defective cars? no count available? countless.

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"We should not make this issue a political matter between the Japanese and U.S. governments,” said Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Masayuki Naoshima, himself a former Toyota group employee."

OK- then stop sending special interest lobbyists to spend millions promoting Toyota related issues !

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“Will Toyota Motor Corp be able to quell the rising tide of sentiment against the carmaker over its massive recalls? Undoubtedly, the world’s biggest automaker has reached a moment of truth in grappling with its current adversity,”

Toyota, and Japanese society, both face the same avdersary, commonly known elsewhere, as, THE TRUTH.

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The whole assualt on Toyota smells rotten from Capitol Hill and the Obama administration. This congressional review on Toyota is a sham. Waxman and Dem congressional leaders with their UAW attack dogs should be ashamed.Let's consider that the Congressional hearings against Toyota will be conducted by congressman John Dingell, and Bart Stupak, both Michigan Democrats with VERY close ties with Detroit and UAW. Three of Dingell's top four contributors were GM, Ford and Daimler-Chrysler; his wife, Debbie, was an industry lobbyist until their marriage in the early 1980s and continues to work for GM today. According to disclosure forms, the couple owned more than a million bucks' worth of Big Auto stocks and options as of 2006. After the last election, Dingell hired a Daimler-Chrysler lobbyist whose previous job had been keeping Congress from increasing vehicle efficiency standards to serve as the committee's chief of staff. Dems think this will make them appear as advocates of the people at a time of conservative populist revolt.

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"The whole assualt on Toyota smells rotten from Capitol Hill and the Obama administration. This congressional review on Toyota is a sham. Waxman and Dem congressional leaders with their UAW attack dogs should be ashamed."

Surely you jest- it is Toyota that should be ashamed. Deaths and injuries aside, as pointed out in the Feb 10th Japantoday story on Toyota's Washington friends-

-"The U.S. lawmakers now investigating Toyota’s recall include a senator who was so eager to lure the Japanese automaker to his state that he tramped along through fields as its executives scouted plant sites"

-"and a congresswoman who owes much of her wealth to a Toyota supplier."

-"Some members of Congress have been such cheerleaders for Toyota that the public may wonder how they can act objectively as government watchdogs for auto safety and oversight."

-"The company’s executives include a former employee of the federal agency that is supposed to oversee the automaker."

-"Toyota has sought to sow good will and win allies with lobbying, charitable giving, racing in the American-as-apple pie NASCAR series and, perhaps most important, creating jobs."

-"The Senate’s lead Toyota investigator, West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller, credits himself with lobbying Toyota to build a factory in his state."

-"A member of a House investigating panel, California Rep. Jane Harman, represents the district of Toyota’s U.S. headquarters and has financial ties to the company."

These are just a few of the examples that show us how deep Toyota has infitrated the US Government. Shameful behaviour for a foreign company !

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I have been priviledged to know that up to 21 of the US fortune 500 companies sent key representatives to New York in November of 2009 to plan for the Toyota auto recalls. The actual problems with the vehicles are a fabrication and only meant to boost American auto sales due to the U.S. recession. Proof of this meeting with be future foreign assets also being recalled in March, April & May of 2010. All are untrue and only meant to increase domestic production by limiting foreign competition. So I leave it to our long time trusted and esteemed foreign partners with these words, turn about is fair play, play hard, play tough, do not let the US bully threaten or intimidate such a powerful entity.

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@area5151: Semms very strange in the Toyota U.S.A. employs over 36,000 american workers, Toyotas produced in their american plants are considered "domestic" cars and theyr have over 60% american parts content. Toyota pays U.S taxes. Are the American auto sales you refer to the ones made in Canada or Mexico and brought into the U.S. under NAFTA?

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This poor guy is gonna get a grilling never experienced in Japan. You won't be able bow your way out of this one, Toyoda-san. I'd sure hate to be in his shoes. I have no idea who is right or wrong in this heavily politically motivated issues, but it can't be fun answering to a bunch of idiot blowhard congressmen who wouldn't be able to build a profitable lemonade stand, let alone run a business.

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"but it can't be fun answering to a bunch of idiot blowhard congressmen"

with questions like-

-"Why do you build cars that Kill American citizens and injure hundreds" ?

-"Why did you try to hide this fact from the American public ?"

-"Why did you sacrifice public safety over profit margins ?"

-"Do you realize you are about to go to jail ?"

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I hope he understands that this will be a unfriendly questioning. Washington owns 2 of the 3 domestic car companies, and they will not let a chance like this get away.

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-"Why do you build cars that Kill American citizens and injure hundreds" ?

-"Why did you try to hide this fact from the American public ?"

-"Why did you sacrifice public safety over profit margins ?"

-"Do you realize you are about to go to jail ?"

Hahahaha. I really had to laugh at this comedy. Let's continue the comedy. A1 Well, we don't only kill American citizens. A2 We learned a thing or two from Detroit. A3 Profit always comes first. Another thing we learned from the US of A, a country we very much admire for its business ethics. A4 Going to jail must be a way of meriting people here, since there are so many inmates.

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The actual problems with the vehicles are a fabrication and only meant to boost American auto sales due to the U.S. recession.

Good to see there is at least one person who can focus on what is going on behind the scenes.

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Perhaps Detroit has learned from Toyota-Japan something. How to protect your home market...

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Here's what I'd like to see. I'd like Mr. Toyoda to stand up in front of Congress and say the following:

"I admit it. In an attempt to become number one, and give Japanese people something to be proud of, my company allowed faulty product onto the market; product which has injured and killed citizens of your nation. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize first for my company's misstep and for my misstep as the leader of this company for allowing these products onto the market. I am willing to take whatever penalty you ladies and gentlemen throw at myself or my company, and I offer you my sincerest promise that we will investigate this issue and correct the system that allowed this to happen"

full 90 degree bow

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There is so much over blown hype in this article and news it smells. Want to be number one? Toyota can produce and sell an electric car to their domestic market. Simplistic. Efficient. The planet needs it.

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motogaijinsaid said, "Here's what I'd like to see. I'd like Mr. Toyoda to stand up in front of Congress and say the following: I admit it. In an attempt to become number one..."

Didn't Toyoda said they wanted to be number one instead of GM which lead to all these recalls due to the lack of quality control and personnel training? I believe Toyoda is already a step or two ahead of you because he had established a committee to oversea the cause of the recall and to improve quality control, going back to "the Toyota Way."

The oversight committee also expanded its investigation Thursday by issuing a subpoena to a former lawyer for Toyota, Dimitrios Biller. The committee sought documents relating to Toyota vehicle safety, its handling of defects and related litigation from Mr. Biller, who was the national managing counsel for Toyota in the United States from 2003-7. He is suing the company, alleging wrongful termination and emotional distress, and accusing it of a “culture of hypocrisy and deceit” and of hiding proof of safety defects from regulators and the public.

Here is the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/business/19toyota.html?ref=business

This will do the most damaging to Toyota reputation and image which would be a turn off for buyers in the years to come.

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I believe "Japan Today" carried an article last year in June or July when Mr. Toyoda assumed the CEO position and said that the company needed to return to the basics that made Toyota the car company it is today. He was very critical about the high-falutin high-tech luxury oriented Toyota cars that were mostly over priced and beyond the reach of the average consumer. He wanted to do a couple of things : first, make more cars that were economically priced and affordable that made Toyota successful; and second, reduce Toyota's size to the level that is more manageable and efficient. He had a keen and prescient sense about what he feared most about the direction that Toyota was taking. His arrival to head Toyota couldn't have come at a more worse time for him as he was a couple of years too late to save Toyota from the seeds of its own downfall. Those fortune tellers in Japan must have told him privately about the bad karma that would befall upon him after his succesion to lead Toyota.

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If the country gets up in arms when a foreigner does something to one of their Popo chans, why should not the US take corrective action to ensure the safety, not only of US citizens, but of the rest of World customers, who have been killed because of defective cars. This should be a concerted effort by all countries who import "Toyadas". I have 3 Toyadas but since they are old models, have no problems. Yes, I used to call them Toyotas. Now I call them ToYadas. (Yada=I do not like).

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Toyota's reputation is soo strong... this won't even have an impact in sales.. not even a dent. I'd buy a Toyota in a heartbeat.

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I think if members of congress intergoate him like they are trying to bury some asian.. it will backfire due to perceived bullying on someone who hasn't mastered the english language... taking advantage of attacking a minorities weak area.. the language.

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He can bring an interproter if he wants...

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Wait until he finds out that an apology, bowing to the ground, and a promise to "improve business practices" ain't worth sh$$ in America!

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drscope: The whole assualt on Toyota smells rotten from Capitol Hill and the Obama administration.

Corpses smell worse.

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I will never buy a "American Car", NEVER! I live in America sometimes and drive a Honda Civic. It gets great gas mileage and is very reliable. A lot of people think the same as I do. The American government covers up the mistakes of its cars. When crude oil was 145 dollars a barrow the American companies expected Japan to give them the technology. Have friends that drive Toyotas in American and they feel the same way. The friction was created by the USGov with the intention of reducing the market of Japanese cars even if most of them is built in America. About putting Toyoda San in jail, they would have a lot to prove to do such. There would be more than a few GM presidents in jail if this was true. They killed and maimed thousands with their exploding cars and trucks. One of them would of been fixed with a five dollar part! The trucks were never recalled and fixed. The Toyotas will be repaired. That is the difference!

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If I was advising Toyota, I would recommend extreme caution and complete understanding of the "recall problem" throughly. The emotions in the media exceeds that of previous recalls.

Is there any diagrams on the internet focusing on the recall, or specifically the accelerator pedal problem? It would be better to get a solid view of the alleged "design flaw".

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vulcan at 05:20 PM JST - 21st February

Toyota's reputation is soo strong... this won't even have an impact in sales.. not even a dent.

Toyota trashed its reputation, Millions of buyers wont be back.

Toyota may be given a second chance, after it bankrupts. For the past couple of years, people have been complaining about poor quality Toyota's.

accusing it of a “culture of hypocrisy and deceit” and of hiding proof of safety defects from regulators and the public.

Sounds like the words of someone who truly understands Japanese bully society.

Mad Car

Toyota and Japan needs an attitude adjustment. Poor victims, everyone is out to get them. Camery is on deck for the recall list, another 500,000 cars to the total, for a cool 9 million car total recall.

The good news, for America, Toyota dealers are hiring, repair business is brisk, open 24 hours a day, charging Toyota 85$ an hour for each recalled car.

Go Congress!!

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Correction:

"Are there any diagrams..."

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Washington has yet to prove it can cool its own friction, let alone deserve better. Toyota? I won't even say anything else other than what was mentioned earlier in my post and the smell I was referring to exudes from both sides.

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For those above who see this as a great moment for America it is likely not. If it hurts Toyota it is unlikely that people will change their buying habits, I doubt it. FORD still means "Fix Or Repair Daily" and GM "General Mayhem". Korean automobiles are viewed as "Rust Buckets" so that leaves the average American buyer going for Audi or BMW if they want quality? I doubt it.

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Toyota execs may get some insight into latent problems in the US by reading former Prof. Chalmers Johnson's Trilogy, especially the 2nd and 3rd books where it discusses the Japanese and US automakers. His books are soooo prophetic.

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Here us a preview of the statement by Mr. Totoda:

"Eto......hmmmmmm.....eto........(exhales deeply)...eto...(sucks air through his teeth)....eto......

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Few seem to understand what is going on here.

"I'm a retired systems engineer for Ford Motor Company. As such I've survived a number of fairly major recalls but I do find it interesting the way both the government and the media are continuing to bash Toyota. You know, they seem to be going after them with continued gusto. In fact, today I hear that there are Democratic demands for congressional investigations, which I'm sure will be televised. But I haven't heard anyone in the media mention the fact that Toyota, who currently operates five assembly plants in the US, has no UAW members in any of the plants. Just wondering. I find it interesting. I know you were talking earlier about the way Obama kind of takes care of his buddies in the UAW and I'm just wondering if you think it's possible that Ron Gettelfinger maybe could have been a recent visitor or guest at the White House?"

"It's interesting, too, that Toyota did have a unionized plant at the Fremont, California, NUMMI facility and they announced late last year that they were going to mothball the plant. That's the one that they inherited from General Motors -- and, as such, inherited a bunch of GM UAW workers along with it. But that was their highest cost assembly plant, and that was the reason given for their shutting it down this year."

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Toyota interior is much better than a GM automobile. Check the Hummer it's interior is ugly and not up to date. I hate AC Delco radios. I'm an American. I would still buy a Lexus or something sporty. Even though they are recalling almost all their line. I would still buy their cars. Actually I would buy a Nissan over toyota.Nissan Skyline is soooo beautiful,it's a work of art. Toyota is my 2nd choice for purchasing a new car. Toyota will still be number one for at least 2 decades.

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The J government is shooting itself in the foot !

In order of "not making it a political issue between Japan and the USA", they should refrain from showing that much concern for Toyota and calling it a national issue.

Now, with J ministers dramatizing the "national cause" side of the affair, they have created a context in which blunders by Akio Toyoda (and they are more than likely to occur, some very old lies and cover-ups are going to come to the surface) will actually create a bilateral crisis, not to speak of the entire J industry being splashed by the s$$t.

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The J government is shooting itself in the foot !

Japan's "kumiai" are also "special interests" in America. Ya dig?

Socialism, pure and simple.

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"What about the deaths and injuries caused by these defective cars? no count available? countless."

Seriously? Have these cars killed ANYONE? Perhaps THAT's the reason why there are no numbers, not some massive conspiracy. Toyota has recalled their cars to fix problems that could POTENTIALLY result in accidents, not because of accidents that have occurred. In particular the 'problem' with the Prius is so NOT a problem, but the media blew up the recall. All American companies, ahem... owned by the government who has a lot to gain from Japanese companies being 'the bad guy', are having the same or similar problems, they are just quietly recalling them and letting the Japanese mass-media recall take the stage.

Toyoda is definitely going to get trashed, though. This is just a witch-hunt, and the Americans want blood for the loss of their industry through their own plain stupidity and impracticality. You watch... they'll be pushing the average American Joe to buy a gas-guzzling massive SUV again in no time, saying Japanese eco-hybrids are unreliable.

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Toyota and Japan needs an attitude adjustment. Poor victims, [...]

It might be a bit far fetched to attest Japan as whole the need for an attitude change, but the fact that Toyota is communicating solely "customers first", "we are committed to improve quality and safety", etc. and spends not one word on the 34 victims is a disturbing insight in their reality.

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Toyota interior is much better than a GM automobile.

The whole issue is not about the silly "which nation makes the better car". That is a pure question of personal preference (I personally think Toyota makes boring cars for boring people, and that is OK).

The real issue -and the reason why so many react with schadenfreude and quite emotional- is, that Toyota is not living up to its own standards.

We all know that car companies make mistakes during the design or production of their more and more complex products, but Toyota has created a halo that they are the best and make no mistakes due to their famed and superior "Toyota Way".

Sure that always had been understood as tatemae by those few who know Japan, but now the masses who blindly believed it got a rude awakening and feel cheated. Subsequently the competition sees their chance to win over those disillusioned customers.

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Seriously? Have these cars killed ANYONE?

Depends on what your question refers to: the accelerator problem has killed 34 people; the Prius braking problem has severely injured one person; the corolla steering problem is said to have injured at least one person.

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Yeah, the government just woke up one day and said, "Hey, let's just randomly go after Toyota because USA! USA! USA!" You guys are living in a dream world.

To date about 34 people have died. That obviously doesn't include the total number of people who have experienced the sudden acceleration problem, just the people who have died as a result of it.

What you're seeing is the result of a long game of smoke and mirrors played by Toyota over the years. First they said it was driver error. Then they said it was a brake issue. Now they're saying it's a floor mat issue. The recalls? All because of government pressure. Had there been no pressure there would have been no recalls. It took a circus to form before Toyota started to lift a finger.

So where are we now? Here:

http://www.leftlanenews.com/toyota-avalon-displays-unintended-acceleration-without-floor-mat.html

The driver was able to reach the dealer, place the vehicle into neutral, and allow it to continue operating at wide open throttle. The dealer sent out a tech who verified that the floor mat was removed, and pushing the gas pedal had no effect on the acceleration. The dealer was unable to stop the wide open throttle and was forced to shut the vehicle off.

con't

This incident was apparently not the first for the driver, either, who had been to the dealer before about the problem. The first time the unintended acceleration occurred, the driver was able to slow the vehicle with the brakes and switch the vehicle into neutral – where the engine continued to hit maximum rpms. At the time of the first incident, dealer diagnostics revealed no problems in the computer.

Still saying it's a floor mat issue, Toyota? Good luck with that. If you have to change your story for a 4th time then you're really going to see a circus. But don't worry. There are some people walking around thinking no one has died and that this is all to help GM and GOSH I JUST LOVE MY HONDA!. You have their support.

People are beginning to look at Toyota's overall pattern of behavior, and it doesn't look pretty. They could get the government off their backs for brief periods by segmenting the larger problem into smaller ones that they claimed to have fixed (driver error, brake problem, floor mat problem, pedal design problem), but in reality Toyota knew all of the information all of the time even while getting safety regulators to run in circles to avoid the seeing larger picture. Now people are starting to ask if Toyota did this intentionally to mislead the government into believing that an acceleration problem never existed. My guess is that Toyota has no idea how to fix the problem and they're just trying to make it all go away. That means it's going to get much worse for Toyota before it gets better.

Either that it's it just garden variety Japan bashing, I dunno....

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For those saying that no Toyota has killed anyone... Are you serious? The malfunctions on the accelerator pedal lead to dozens of kills in the USA, and according to multiple records, Toyota officials were aware of the problem and tried to hide the magnitude of it, blaming the floor mat for everything.

And yes, the secretive Japanese corporate culture is to blame.

And regarding the reputation, Toyota will never get it reputation back, trust me. Even in Europe where the problem is nonexistent EVERYONE is talking about it, I mean everyone. And as far quality goes, I prefer 100 times a BMW or Mercedes instead of a Toyota. In Europe Lexus is almost inexistent. Regards.

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the accelerator problem has killed 34 people

Hasn't been proven to not be driver error.

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Right, and I suppose this hasn't been proven to not be driver error either:

The driver was able to reach the dealer, place the vehicle into neutral, and allow it to continue operating at wide open throttle. The dealer sent out a tech who verified that the floor mat was removed, and pushing the gas pedal had no effect on the acceleration. The dealer was unable to stop the wide open throttle and was forced to shut the vehicle off.

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smithjapan,

Ask the family of the 34 people who lost their lives to these cars if these cars have "KILLED ANYONE"?

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First of all, I am in no way saying that Toyota is not being scrutinized unfairly, because i do think that this thing with the US congress is going a bit overboard. But for those that think there is nothing wrong, mechanically with Toyota vehicles, then why is Toyoda over here apologizing, and making a bunch of promises instead of telling the US congress that they are lying, and are conspirng to eliminate Toyota as competition for the US auto makers?

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