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Do you think the latest recalls involving Toyota will discredit the Japanese manufacturing industry as a whole?

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While other countries' products simply stop working, Japanese ones seem to have a habit of killing the owner in the process.

Think National, Mitsubishi Fuso, Honda, and Toyota here.

As for the domestic stuff which gets swept under Japan Inc's all-encompassing rug, well, who knows.

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I voted yes, mainly because people are by and large a grossly stupid lot, and will automatically assume a mistake on the part reflects the character of the whole.

Already, there are consumers in the U.S. supposedly "swearing off Toyota" forever because of this, despite Toyota possessing a relatively clean track record for decades. Like I said, people tend to be short-sighted morons.

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Auto recalls are not new, so I believe this shall pass and it will soon be business as usual for Toyota.

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Really this has nothing to do with Japanese manufacturing -it is a design issue.

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I think for the honesty they have shown and the effort they have put into resolving the issue Toyotas reputation can only be enhanced. It would have been too easy to sweep it under the errr carpet.....I mean mat.

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Toyota has completely mangled the response and is in for a long slog fixing their rep. Of course, they have built up a lot of goodwill so they can fix things.

However, I think there is more in play here than just quality issues. Japan has always gotten a free ride from the US on the economic front. Maybe that is changing as the two countrys' relatinship changes.

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Agree with Badsey; this has nothing to do with a defective manufacturing process like we see in China. This is a bad design that was manufactured properly.

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"this has nothing to do with a defective manufacturing process like we see in China. This is a bad design that was manufactured properly."

If this were true, wouldn't we be seeing the same problem with cars built in Japan?

It's the same design, but made by a different manufacturer, Denso Electronics. Statistically speaking, the vastly higher number of Toyotas on Japanese roads would translate into a much higher probablity that the problem would crop up in Japan first, rather than the U.S. And yet, it didn't. And still hasn't. What does that mean?

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It's the same design, but made by a different manufacturer, Denso Electronics.

Exactly the key question. Here's an answer: Denso is using the exact same design and the products being sold in Japan are equally flawed but there will be no recall in Japan, because the Japanese authorities protect big companies over the consumer.

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"because the Japanese authorities protect big companies over the consumer."

Proof, please.

And here's the other more obvious hole in your answer: If there are equally flawed parts being sold in Japan, then where are all the Toyotas with the stuck accelerators here? As I said before, statistically there should be vastly more cases of stuck accelerators occurring in Japan than in the U.S. I have yet to hear of one case in the 8 years I've been here.

Furthermore, where are all the angry consumers? Anyone who knows anything about Japan realizes that the Japanese consumer can be quite vocal and harshly unforgiving in the event of corporate malfeasance. (See Snow Brand or Mitsubishi Motors for just a couple of examples)

Or are there actually many incidents, which are quickly covered up by some vast corporate espionage force in collusion with shadowy government officials? If so, again, proof would be really nice here.

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Going up is always harder than going down, going down is always by far easier.Japan car manufacturer as a whole has awesome reputation worldwide,so 1 or 2 incidents wouldn't cause damage that much...but nothing is invincible and beware of people's perception.

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2008 sales Japan 2,188,000. US 2,217,662 -so they are very close.

Same part spec'ed by Toyota, different manufactures CTS, Denso et al. Do other accelerator pedals by CTS have this problem -haven't heard of any.

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No, this is good news for Toyota not bad news. Now consumers know that Toyota is no different from GM as far as quality control is concerned. Right?

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Statistically speaking, the vastly higher number of Toyotas on Japanese roads would translate into a much higher probablity that the problem would crop up in Japan first, rather than the U.S. And yet, it didn't. And still hasn't. What does that mean?

It means that statistics are meaningless without truth. Truth is very, very, shy in Japan. Metaphorically speaking its called being swept under the rug. Firestone tires had a scandal with its tires killing people, and Japan did nothing at all. USA congress got involved and bankrupted the company.

Statistically speaking, every car Toyota made last year is trash, as is its hard earned reputation for producing excellent cars. All around the world lawyers are salivating to step into the drivers seat, metaphorically speaking.

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Furthermore, where are all the angry consumers? Anyone who knows anything about Japan realizes that the Japanese consumer can be quite vocal and harshly unforgiving in the event of corporate malfeasance. (See Snow Brand or Mitsubishi Motors for just a couple of examples)

Excellant examples, these compinies worked with the Japanese government to hide and delay fixing those problems for years. The Japanese public was actually kept in the dark. Snow brand sounds like a snow job, something quite common in Japans protectionist culture of its big businesses, always at the expense of its citizens. cover-up

In what was referred to as "one of the largest corporate scandals in Japanese history",[22][23] Mitsubishi was twice forced to admit to systematically covering up defect problems in its vehicles. Four defects were first publicized in 2000, but in 2004 it confessed to 26 more going back as far as 1977, including failing brakes, fuel leaks and malfunctioning clutches. The effect on the company was catastrophic, forcing it to recall 163,707 cars (156,433 in Japan and 7,274 overseas) for free repair.[24] Further recalls by Fuso truck & bus brought the total number of vehicles requiring repair to almost one million. The affair led to the resignation and subsequent arrest of president Kawasoe, along with 23 other employees who were also implicated.[25] Three of them have since been acquitted, with the judge stating that there was no official request from the Transport Ministry ordering them to submit a defect report.[

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Three of them have since been acquitted, with the judge stating that there was no official request from the Transport Ministry ordering them to submit a defect report

Simplistically speaking, Japans known to cover up mistakes made by its big businesses to the detriment of the Japanese consumer.

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LFRAgain at 05:31 PM JST - 1st February

"because the Japanese authorities protect big companies over the consumer."

Proof, please.

Click...

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The American carmakers have major recalls every couple of years. People expect it, and take a "ho hum" attitude about it. However, Japanese carmakers are held to a higher standard, as consumers expect Japanese cars to never have recalls.

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All automakers have had such experience of defects in the past. After all they made better cars than ever before. However they would face another defects again and but will overcome it everytime.

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Yes, I must thank you for choosing Snow Brand and MMC, two examples of blatant cover-up....

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Quest,

Wow. I don’t even know where to start with that little 4-post tirade.

“Firestone tires had a scandal with its tires killing people, and Japan did nothing at all.”

Heh! I particularly like how you not only forgot to mention that A) Firestone recalled, recovered, and replaced 97% of the defective tires in question, and that B) the report submitted to a congressional inquiry found Ford equally culpable, but also that C) Firestone Americas, while indeed a Japanese-owned company, isn’t exactly a Japanese-managed company. In fact, of the eight top executives in the company, only two of them are Japanese.

But hey, why let little facts like that take the steam out of your “Japan Inc.™ is evil” crusade?

“ . . . something quite common in Japans protectionist culture of its big businesses . . . “

“Simplistically speaking, Japans known to cover up mistakes made by its big businesses to the detriment of the Japanese consumer.”

“ . . . because the Japanese authorities protect big companies over the consumer."

I think “simplistic” is a more than adequate description of your argument thus far. I'm still waiting for you to produce the smoking gun indicating the Japanese government protects Japanese businesses by colluding to cover up corporate misdeeds. Maybe I can't see it because Japanese government prosecutors are blocking my view while they indict the Japanese owners of these various companies.

“Click...”

What are you? Twelve?

"Statistically speaking, every car Toyota made last year is trash . . ."

When you make silly statements like this, it's obvious you aren't interested in truth so much as pursuing your favorite pastime of ripping on Japan with every opportunity you get.

Oh, yeah. And that proof I was asking about . . . Any luck?

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Junnama,

"Yes, I must thank you for choosing Snow Brand and MMC, two examples of blatant cover-up . . . "

Do I have to beg? What PRECISELY was the nature of this cover-up you're alleging? When did it happen? Who were the principle players? How exactly did the government collude to protect, say, Snow Brand or Mitsubishi, at the expense of consumers?

Can you provide a shred of evidence born of some sort of inquiry or investigation to answer even one of these questions? I mean, the WTO at the very least has got to have something on this sinister Japanese/Corporate unholy union you insist is behind this Toyota gas pedal sensor problem.

Or am I just going to get the same electronic equivalent of you folding your arms across your chest, sticking out your lower lip, and huffing, “There was a cover-up because I SAY there was a cover-up. So there! Hmph!!”

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Do I have to beg? What PRECISELY was the nature of this cover-up you're alleging?

Sorry, I'm too busy looking for a country that had a recall on widely used automobiles stretching back to products made 25 years earlier or a country that had a food maker with multiple scandals stretching over a 10 year period. Strangely, both companies are still in business....as usual...

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I voted no.

Yes, I am aware that there is a lot of emotion in the States about this issue, but not really in the rest of the world.

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Junnama,

So now you're saying that 25 years worth of Toyotas produced in the US have defects and that Americans have been thoroughly hoodwinked throughout?

Y'know, a simple, "Nope. I got nuthin'" would've sufficed.

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Talking about Mitsubishi Motors and Snow Brand, respectively............

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And yes Mitsubishi Motor sold defective cars and trucks in Japan for 25 years without any sanction from the government . It's simply astonishing...

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And yes Snow Brand had multiple scandals in a 10 year period. Still in business...as usual...

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Three of them have since been acquitted, with the judge stating that there was no official request from the Transport Ministry ordering them to submit a defect report

LFRAgain-

I'm still waiting for you to produce the smoking gun indicating the Japanese government protects Japanese businesses by colluding to cover up corporate misdeeds.

I made it bold, for you to read easier. Now I will break it down for you...

The "judge" (a government worker) Acquitted the three Mitsubishi criminal defendants, who admitted covering up major problems involving safety, for 25 years.

The Judge works for the government of Japan, right?

The "Judge" stated that his reason for acquittal, was, because, get ready for this..........................

There was no "official" request by the "Transport Ministry" (Japanese government agency, involved in transportation and safety) ordering the criminally liable Mitsubishi Motors to submit a defect report. THE GOVERNMENT NEVER ASKED FOR A DEFECT REPORT, EVEN AFTER 25 YEARS OF ADMITTED COVER UPS.

Here we have an entire Transportation Ministry arm of Japanese government, and, a Judge involving themselves, and assisting, in what was the biggest example of a Japanese corporate cover-up of its time.

CAN-YOU-UNDERSTAND-IT-NOW?

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I love Toyota's, Lets face it they have saved more lives than they had flat tiers. The have gotten me out of Deserts Snow Mud crossed rivers and through floods in below -40c and in over 50c to get to hospitals. Any opne that cant reach down and turn off the ignition and stop a car with out Power steering shouldn't be in one.

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I think the latest recalls by Toyota have merely reinforced the idea that japanese manufacturing has been in trouble for some time. it started many years ago, just after the bursting of the economic bubble in the late 80's early 90's. Domestic recalls and safety warnings started to appear at unusually high numbers, and it seemed every major japanese firm and some foreign were involved. from Hitachi, Mitsubishi, SONY, Paloma, Bridgestone etc. It wasn't until Sony's meltdown that the overseas markets started to take notice. Complaints of "sony time" (where sony products suddenly self destruct after 3 years) and their defective batteries affected millions, eventually leading to the downfall of the once proud juggernaut. After the electronics came the food industry scandals. Though most remained domestic, it was easy to see that something was terribly wrong within Japan's corporate world- one void of any ethical or moral compass. Unfortunately, it appears now, that when Japanese firms moved off shore into other nations- they took these poor habits with them, culminating in the huge fiasco that has become "Toyota". In short, for many of us- those who have watched with "unprejudiced" eyes, this is no surprise. The business model that Japanese manufacturers offer is void, in the long run, of any sustainability. It's highlighted by unethical and immoral business practices from manipulating safety data, window dressing of financial reports, mislabeling, deception, and worst of all the sweat shop conditions offered up by most major firms. Scandals are nothing new to Japan's corporate world, but till now they have remained a domestic problem. Toyota has aired way too much of it's dirty laundry and is now facing the consequences.

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Branded,

Nice post. I think your perspective speaks more to real issues facing all of Japanese manufacturing than ill-defined conspiracies.

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No, of course not. Not if they fix the problem quickly as promised.

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recalls happen all the time. Toyota sells more cars than anyone, so their recalls are larger. Get on with it, move along.

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Maybe it's only that peoples perception of Japanese products has been that of infallibility (is that even a word?), is actually starting to catch up. I think in reality, as all business (Japanese or non) start to expand, they need to cut corners here or there to save money, opting for cheaper material or cheaper labour usually. I think what we're seeing is not a "Japan only" event, if they should be considered so unique, but rather the consequence of businesses getting too big. It's harder to maintain a balance in quality, when you need to make 1 million items. That been said, Ford cars, and GM cars had there heyday as well. Unfortunately for Toyota, maybe there's will be short lived?

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I'm sure that this kind of defects will happen to all automakers sooner or later. It seems to be too hard to find all possible defects as quality control is too hard.

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I think GM is trumping it up. Its a witch hunt of sorts.

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Seek and destroy. Well done GM.

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