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  • Does the Government Pose a Bigger Threat to Toyota Than its Sticky Pedals?

    Brake Pedals

    Toyota’s bad press has been for its sticky pedal incident certainly isn’t surprising, but is all the negative attention warranted? When asked about the Toyota recalls, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood responded by saying, “My advice to anyone who owns one of these vehicles is stop driving it, and take it to the Toyota dealership because they believe they have the fix for it” and that “we’re not finished with Toyota.” Hood later toned down his remarks but immediately after his “stop driving” comment, Toyota’s stocks plummeted. Even after recovering some, the stock closed down 6% that day.

    Much like Vice President Biden’s comments not to use public transportation or ride an airplane because of swine flu, LaHood’s comments were a bit over the top and have caused some to question the government’s motive. We don’t speculate motives at The Heritage Foundation, but it’s easy to understand why a government that now owns a major stake in General Motors would want to put continuous bad press on a rival automaker. In fact, GM’s sales were up 14 percent in January while Toyota’s fell 16 percent. Ford, which refused government bailout cash, had sales figures increase 25 percent. This could simply be a market response to a bad product; profits and losses are a telling sign in the economy, but the government shouldn’t be holding Toyota’s head under the water. Toyota handled the problem quickly by recognizing the problem as well as recalling and guaranteeing a fix for all 2.3 million potentially affected owners.

    But when every Member of Congress and the Obama administration is a jobs, jobs, jobs message, it would cause more harm than good to keep the bad press on Toyota since its integral in the U.S. economy. Weston Konishi of the Mansfield Foundation says, “Toyota is now a real stakeholder in the US economy — think of its auto plants and jobs — so trying to score points against it would be somewhat self-defeating.”

    While an accelerator pedal that could get trapped on the floor mat is a serious issue, the remarks and the reactions have been overblown according to David Champion, director of automobile testing for Consumer Reports: “When you look at the statistics we are putting an awful lot of effort on a very small risk. There has been something like 2,000 complaints of unintended acceleration in some 20 million Toyota vehicles — it’s almost like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

    Either way, this is what happens when the ref starts playing for one team. The fans begin to question every call.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    41 Responses to Does the Government Pose a Bigger Threat to Toyota Than its Sticky Pedals?

    1. LyndaShrugged2 says:

      Seems to me that's even more proof this administration really doesn't want this economy improving. Kind of like cutting off our nose to spite their face…?

    2. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Once again it's very clear what Obama and his lackeys are "killing two birds with one stone". First, with the full cooperation of the left wing news media, the

      Obama administration is making an attempt to destory one of America's most

      popular vehicles, in hopes that since "cash for clunkers" was a failure, those that are buying a new car or pick-up, will turn to Obama's GM or Chrysler.

      Second, our economy will suffer because not only is Toyota's stock falling like a rock, but fewer people will want to buy any new vehicle now, thus futher hurting our economy. We better understand, this is all part of Obama's grand plan.

    3. Drew Page, IL says:

      As far as I'm concerned, I wish Lahood would have said "Unsafe at any speed. Drive Toyota at your own risk".

      Gee, maybe Americans will start buying American cars again. Maybe Ford and GM will start hiring again and reduce our unemployment levels. I would like Lahood to start looking closely at other foreign owned car makers and making similar comments.

      Lahood has done more to stimulate the economy than Obama ever did.

    4. C.Adli says:

      I have been driving Toyota vehicles since 1989.All together 7 of them .Never had problem.If you have a business and the government has same kind business,you can not compete with the government.You loose all the time

    5. Brad, Detroit, MI says:

      Please don't include comments from David Champion (Consumer Reports) in an article regarding Toyota. That magazine has been grandstanding for Toyota and its "infallible" quality reputation for decades. He is just a schill for the foreign automakers.

      I usually agree with articles at Heritage, but Toyota did NOT handle the problem quickly. In 2007, several Toyota and Lexus models were under investigation by NHTSA for unintended acceleration. They blamed unsecured floor mats and moved on. When the issue came up again (Summer/Fall of 2009), Toyota resorted to blaming the floor mats and recalled even more vehicles and told drivers to remove their floor mats. When the problem did not go away, Toyota threw their pedal supplier – CTS – under the bus. Only when they were forced to by NHTSA, did Toyota shut down their plants and recall even more vehicles. Odd, that they started to recall other models outside of the North American market because of this fault. They couldn't blame the pedal supplier in North America anymore. Toyota has gotten away with their "Halo effect" for so long, that it is finally small justice to see the MSM actually reporting on their problems. Usually, the MSM and publications like Consumer Reports hide quality and image problems of the Toyota and Honda's on the back page while jumping on anything that the Big Three did even remotely askew. If you don't think 2000 complaints out of 2 million is insignificant, I am sure you remember the front page black eye that Chrysler got on the rear hatches that supposedly opened on severe impact. That was about a dozen reports out of 10 million vehicles. Do the math. This is WAY more severe. I wouldn't want to be the 1 in 1000 that was behind the wheel of a runaway car.

    6. Bill, Florida says:

      You mean 2.3 million????

    7. Norma in Nebraska says:

      I'm thinking that pretty soon Ford will prove to be just a little too successful and will be FORCED to take some bailout money, have to pay huge amounts of interest and sign over a massive amount of shares to the govt, OR they will be fined into oblivion. We can't have ONE business outperforming the rest so just "spread the wealth" which will create more union jobs and level the playing field for the "other" American-made vehicles

      Like Toyota, Ford represents a threat to the success of "govt motors" – what do YOU think Washington's "big picture" game plan is????!!!!!! Since when does our President and his Secys have time to take a personal interest in recalls like Toyota UNLESS it is like good old Rohm says, "don't let a good crisis go to waste."

    8. Jay Deaux, Gretna, L says:

      i haven't owned a decent American car since i purchased a olds cutlass in'78. i owned two dodge minivans,from 1990-95, both total junk, literally fell apart, once in a parking lot. have owned 9 toyotas since 1990, with NEVER a problem. what's the sense in buying the second most expensive item you can buy, knowing that it's a pos. if you can't depend on it, why buy it? just because the dealer says he'll stand behind the warranty? if it's not dependable, don't buy it!! .01 percent bad apples sounds good to me. he!! might freeze over before i buy another American car, unless obummer runs all the foreign mfgd cars out of the country. it might be time to follow if that happens.

    9. Pastor Rob Bremer - says:

      It's all about union support. GM is unionized and Toyota is not. So the liberals support the union company and try to destroy the non-union company.

      There have also been over a thousand complaints about one of the new Chevy cars registered, but not a peep about it on television or in the papers.

      Just reporting, you decide.

    10. Howard says:

      Lahood is just another Chicago thug like the Obamessiah. I have two older model Fords now but I will never buy another Union made American car. They all have their problems but Government Motors and Fiat Chrysler are normally the worst. Toyota stock will come back up but I doubt if GM and Chrysler will. If I were going to buy American, it would be a Ford. Howard

    11. Kay Smith, Augusta G says:

      When someone from the Obama administration says"We aren't through with toyota yet", it's time to worry!

    12. LON ZIEGER says:

      The term "eat your foreign car" never meant more then it does today.Buy a Ford! Anyone buying a foreign car today will be at risk of being unemployed tomorrow…BUY AMERICAN DUMBO!

    13. Perry, OK says:

      My wife and I have owned toyota and fords. Why wast your time at ob motors, unless you really want problems. Oh by the way if the unions try for our company, we will shut down and go on welfare.

    14. HBM, Florida says:

      This is so unfair. How can we let this government get so powerful? All of this directed at Toyota is just to try and get people to buy cars from the auto industries that the government poured stimulus money into. The part that caused the trouble wasn't even MANUFACTURED by Toyota, and the manufacturer of the part supplied it to other makes as well. Does it work for all but Toyota?

    15. bobby brooks, carmel says:

      I don't understand why anyone would want to help the japan economy. Any profit realized from sales ,a portion will go to japan. I have never owned a japan name brand nor will I ever. I would walk or ride a bike first. I buy fords and never have any issues. Did own a pontiac,, chevy and a plymouth, not very impressed.

    16. Monica Sanders says:

      I own a 14 year old Camry. It has been quite dependable. It gets 31-33 mpg and has lots of room. The problems are in these computers. ALL the car makers want you to HAVE to go to the dealer for everything! We don't need computers to run cars. We had carburators and fuel injection, which worked just fine. This was the automakers' plan so people couldn't work on cars themselves. Some cars have to almost remove the engines to change the battery! Drivers don't check oil, air pressure or fluid levels. Still oil changes shouldn't cost $600. When my car engine quits, I will put in another engine. Not everyone lives with dynamite husband who can do these things, but I do. Isuzu diesel engines last forever and get great mileage. You can still get these in Europe, but not in the US. Too much competition? You bet! Back rooms deals by North American Automakers. We are the slaves to big business. Vote Congress out!

    17. herta union city tn says:

      I cant understand why everyone is against the union, Union workers make a very good living, while Toyota workers work there buts of, and make next to nothing, instead of complaining about union's use your energy to get writ of all oversees items, everything that's bought in the USA comes from an other Country, and remember also, that when you buy any oversee's item, the money goes OVERSEE, the money does not stay in USA, think about this the next time you buy a for en car or whatever, goes to show, if we would not sent all our industry to China or God knows what country, and if we would buy more American, we would not be in the predicament we are in today., plus we wouldn't have this many unemployed souls in the USA.

      Oh by the way, i am not a liberal, I am a Republican threw and threw.

    18. C. Dyer says:

      As is being said over and over, seems the Obama gov. is being involved in the Toyota conflict way more than it should. I'm really afraid that their activities are not to provide news worthy comments, but to bad mouth Toyota to the point of eventually providing a major hurt for the company. As they say, when you're in business against the government (GM, Chrysler) you don't have much of a chance of winning, especially when they have a bully pulpit from the MSM any time they want to comment about something. Like most of the comments coming out of Washington these days, talk is cheap… but there don't seem to be much walk. All they do is talk… Not much action except for spending our money.

    19. Herta in Tennessee says:

      PS, Also think about this,,,,, who are the once that are recalling there cars, Toys, and all kinds of items, Also think about this,,,,, who is recalling there cars, Toys, and all kinds of items, its the NON UNION factory's, that's who, Union work is mostly excellent, Unions don't poison people.

    20. Pamela in Toluca Lak says:

      Dear Herta of Union City, Tn.: You made your own point, 'Union workers make a very good living, while Toyota workers work there [their] buts [butts] of [off]." Due to Union workers making a very good living – this created manufacturing to go oversees [overseas] where labor is cheaper because it is not union. Why do you need a union – it was a good thing to help against 'child labor' back in the day…but why do you need their protection?! Drop your union, and if others were to follow, then perhaps manufacturing would return to the country of their choice -America! You say you are a Republican, but obviously not a Conservative American.

    21. Concerned, Californi says:

      It is pretty obvious that our president and his henchmen are in bed with the unions. With special deals in health care and forcing union members to reveal how they vote on union dealings. This Toyota problem is small potatoes compared to some that we have had here in the US. Ford explorer, serious tire problems, the Corvair is just a start of the list. I do not ever remember the President of the US getting involved. Something smells rotten to me. Anyone else feel that way. Oh well what would you expect from an administration that has touted change, more corruption, more back room deals, for deficit spending, higher taxes, more control, less freedom etc. Not the sort of change that was advertised. Sorry I forgot that this man was born to lie.

    22. Allen,USA says:

      There is only one solution. Put all democrats out of office in november. I have nothing against Oboma but untill he shows all his legal documents that he is entitled to be president we should put Bidden in charge untill Oboma's legal docs are shown as proof. I believe the democratic party is responsible for the problems we have today with our auto industries. Way too much spending and not enough cooperation. They won't even let the republican party speak and hold all meetings behind closed doors.

    23. requiredreading says:

      My prediction:

      An attempt will be made to hire a few thousand more NHTSA employees on-site @ auto parts & assembly plants "to insure the integrity and safety of the product." Bottom line: auto-workers and NHTSA workers pay union dues into the same AFL-CIO coffers. This is how a new AFL-CIO hiring scam starts.

      Dismantle government employee unions now!

    24. Brett, Albany NY says:

      I would expect to hear comments like this coming from Hugo Chavez or the old Soviet Politburo…not the U.S. Transportation secretary.

      Though I'm not surprised, this coming from an Administration that railroaded GM's creditors and fired the CEO, strongarmed into accepting banks who didn't want TARP, lectured credit card companies about business practices, lectured banks about how they should lend, forced banks to give loans to unqualified borrowers…

      "The era of Big Government has just begun…"

    25. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      We have had GM cars for the most part for yrs. when WWII brokr out we had a '39 Chevy my folks drove it to work everyday when the war ended it was '47 before cars were turned out again and you were on a waiting list, we finally got aa '48 Chevy later my folks got a Pontiac and drove Pontiacs the rest of their lives. When I got married we had a Buick later we had several other cars, a mercury, Kaiser and a Ford, we never had trouble with our GM cars, can't say same for the others. Later I bought a Plymouth Van, had to replace the motor,my som bought a Dodge van, same thing, he had another car, not GM had to put in a new transmission. '98 we bought a Pontiac Montana drove it until 2009 no problems, he has a Caddy and a Chevy, I have a Buick, we will stick with American cars and Gm they've never let us down.

    26. Bud says:

      The acusations of sinister motivations on the part of the Obama administration are very likely true. It is occupied by a stable of really strange people; But those who are trying to picture Toyota as totally innocent in this ought to be on the Toyota payroll. Toyota has had two years to get to the bottom of this thing while people are getting killed and crippled by their defective accelerators. I have been buying and driving American made and Japanese made vehicles for many many years, American since 1938 ; Japanese since 1970; and it has been my experience that any new model year car is likely to have some kind of defects. Ordinarily the dealer notifies its customers immediately upon learning of the defect, reports it immediately to the factory, and gets the defect corrected at the factory within a few months.This is the first time I have ever heard of a defect approaching anything nearly this serious taking so long to get corrected. I think that for a while the Toyota people just assumed that it was the drivers faults.

    27. Sebastian Massachuse says:

      In March of 2000 and in need of a vechicle, not knowing whether to go new vs. used, domestic vs. foreign. Having worked hard for years, I decided it was time to treat myself. My choice, plus being a diehard American, I purchased a brand spanking new "DODGE INTREPID". Having owned this vehicle for some time I soon found out that the only one who got spanked was me. Time and space will not permit me to state what a disaster this vehicle was. It was a $20,000.00 bucket of bolts.

      In April of 2008 having had enough of my Dodge, I went out and purchased a "used" 2005 TOYOTA SIENNA" with 56,000 miles. Words cannot express how happy I am with this decision. My Motto " A DEFECTIVE TOYOTA WILL BEAT A NEW DODGE ANY DAY"

    28. Ron Parrish Paducah, says:

      Recently {November 2009} we traded our 1997 Cadillac Concours Deville. Reason for trade is that the Cadillac started driving 70 miles an hour on the interstate without my wife's foot on the gas pedal.

      Is Cadillac under scrutiny for their acceleration. They should be we believe.

      We traded the Cadillac for a 2008 Toyota Sienna van. And, I am still driving my 1994 Toyota Previa van as a backup vehicle {mileage 313,000 current miles — not a typo}. Our first Toyota was a 1988 Camry we bought new and retired at 250,000 plus miles.

      The 1997 Cadillac had more costly repairs than the Camry or Previa combined. The Cadillac had 165,000 miles at trade-in.

      Our personal belief is the Toyota problem is being oversold by the government to favor GM {"government motors"}.

      Lastly it is our understanding the defective accelerator part was manufactured by an American company. Has the government investigated other manufacturers using thing company's parts.

      We would like to buy American but experience shows Toyota is a better buy. And Toyota provides a lot of good jobs in our home state of Kentucky.

    29. Jim In Texas says:

      All foriegn cars made in the US are required by law to use 40% of parts to be made in us. With KIA<HYUNDAI<HONDA< NISSAN< TOYOTA<BMW<VW< to mention a few, makes a pretty large work force for USA. Cars plus suppliers, & dealer employess. GM should have killed Pontiac, olds, & buick years ago. To much overlap. Look at resale, just traded in Chev, cost 22000.00 two years old & 20,000 miles. Only worth 8500.00, big dep. I could go on & on, but no point. To many non thinkers.

    30. Judith says:

      I always consider TOYOTA THE BEST RELIABLE CARS so sad what is going on I own a 2008 tundra I'm worry, if just the american cars will be reliable and good as toyotas in the past I will buy american cars I owned a GMC envoy and in 4 years I start having problems with the engine I will not trust GMC again!!!!!….However toyota does not care about owners aparently, they think fixing the pedal they are fixing the problem what about the value of the vehicle.

    31. mdp nunya says:

      For all of you rookies out there, listen up. I worked for Toyota for almost 20 years, GM too. GM cars and Toyotas rolled off of the same assembly line. Most of this time was in quality control, I have tested a few hundred thousand of the vehicles in question and had no problems with those bad old accelerators. Toyota has always been hot on quality, GM did not learn much over the years they were partnered with Toyota and their quality was not as good as Toyota. By the way this was a union shop for all of those who think that Toyota has no union workers. Also these cars were made by AMERICANS and most of the parts too. So Mr. Ridge, before you open your big mouth, have some idea of what you are talking about!! You just caused a loss of millions of $ if not billions of $. I hope they sue your but off! Now go to the back of the room and SHUT UP!!!

    32. Buck says:

      We need to carefully check the facts of the problems that Toyota is having. The knowledge of problems in their vehicles was not addressed as quickly as it should have been and corrective action was slow in coming. A recent article discussing changes (within the last decade) in Toyota's way of doing business has been to try to move more aggressively in sales promotion at the expense of emphasis on quality. The result has been what was witnessed by other auto manufacturers when the strive to gain business position overshadows technical quality. Toyota knew it had a problem with sudden acceleration, but initially tried to do what Ford did with rollovers (pointing fingers at the tire company, etc.), Mercedes with electrical problems, etc. It is difficult to admit wrong or mistakes when you espouse superiority, whether it is quality, beauty, price, etc. However, a mistake is still a mistake, and when lives are lost, we should not be so blinded that we can't be objective. GM has had plenty of their share of problems, as has Audi, etc., but one mistake doesn't mean that corrective action can't restore any product to its rightful position in the competition. Buick has been the most dependable vehicle on the road according to several automotive critics and it is built by GM, so to castigate GM, labor unions, etc. because of a series of other problems is as wrong as to say that Toyota is either bad or negligent because of recent problems, including new ones with the Prius. Union vs non-union and domestic vs foreign certainly creates good debate, but open-minded decisions are what we have to expect. The old John Houseman advertisement stating "We make money the old-fashioned way, we earn it!" should be the mantra of all U.S. buyers, thus putting all automotive manufacturers in the same situation every time a vehicle is sold. No legacy behind which to hide flaws.

    33. Stan, Missouri says:

      I read comments about stopping buying and driving Toyotas so US auto makers can hire more American workers. If doing this will allow either one of the Government Motor Companies to hire more workers, who are they to hire? Oh yeah, the auto workers from Toyota whose plants in the US closed because we do not buy their cars anymore. Some folks need to do some research so they know just how many auto plants Toyota operates in this country.

    34. toyota loyal says:

      Why did GM go bankrupt ? And Toyota has prospered ? Toyota bulds a better quality product.

      Toyota will be fine. Folks that own them will stay loyal. The gov response shows bias. They are in the unions pocket. Did anyone notice that a few days ago UAW members protested Toyota in Wahsington DC ?

      My Tundra was bulit in Texas by Texans.

    35. Gayle Kindall says:

      I have been suspecting the same thingand now Ford is facing undue warnings also.

      What is going on?

    36. Gayle Kindall 94553 says:

      I have been suspecting the same thing. Ford is about to slip on the chopping

      block, too. Way overblown and scarily deliberate!.

    37. Jill, California says:

      I love my Toyota pickup. And I'd readily buy another if I ever have to replace it. One thing for sure: I would never think of buying a car from Government Motors.

    38. Doug Thompson Johnso says:

      It has to be another pay off from Obama to his union buddies, screwing Toyota. It definitely has nothing to do with the quality of the product. Once again the great one has his nose stuck in where it doesn't belong. It's obvious he's surrounded himself with nitwits that think like he does.


      So Toyota is the villian here. Not surprised being they were selling more cars than GM and Chrysler. They are fixing the problem and at a point they stopped production on the vehicles for a time. Which I'm sure no one knew about that. This administration won't be happy until it has taken over every industry, bank and manufacturing companies. Like one person said "comments like this from Hugo Chavez and others" are not surprising. However this administration maybe wants to be like these dictators. Jeanne had good luck with Gm cars, but my cadillac had a cracked engine block and I had to fight to have them pay to fix it and then they're payment was only minimal. I do drive a chevy colorado and love it, however if a new vehicle is in the future it will be some other make.

    40. Tonya, Gahanna OH says:

      I have owned and driven Toyota vehicles exclusively since 1994 and I have had nothing but reliable service from all of them. I sincerely believe Obama and his minions have it out for Toyota because the people who bought cars with their Cash for Clunkers money overwhelmingly bought Toyotas. This is torquing off the UAW and others who have a vested interest in GM and Chrysler. The really sad part of this is that Toyota builds more vehicles here (in the US, rather than Mexico or Canada) and does more for the economy than any of the Big Three but since Toyota is non-union, guess what? The UAW and AFL-CIO and other union lackeys are getting their payback for all the money they contributed to Obama and his evil minions. If they can't sell GM and Chrysler vehicles based on quality they'll do it the Obama way- tear down the (superior) competition- because all good Communists know the ends justify the means.

      I drive my Toyotas until you pry the steering wheel from my cold, dead (of natural causes) fingers.

    41. Tbird - Houston says:

      Can we say "Tucker"?

      It's obvious the Obama administration doesn't want any competition. Ford will be next. As for the unions – they are killing this country by overpaying workers and providing unrealistic benefits that we ordinary people end up paying at the dealerships. Plus – American cars simply aren't as reliable.

      I will never buy an American car again, and I made that decision long before the Obama administration. This is a perfect example of why our government should not own businesses. They have too much power and influence and can quickly become a monopoly. Long live American Capitalism!!!

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