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Your take on the Toyota debacle?


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#21 of 75 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted February 26 2010 - 02:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Charlton View Post

Automobiles are the worst investment out there. 
Pedantically: cars aren't investments, they're purchases. :)

And a car doesn't lose value until one realizes it by selling it for a low price. If you replace your car everything three years, then a sudden, unexpected drop in blue-book value is a problem. But if you drive your car for 10 yrs / 100k miles, it's not obvious this acute devaluation matters.


#22 of 75 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted March 01 2010 - 02:14 AM

 Do bad things happen with mass produced product? Yes.

Is Toyota immune? Of course not.

When the fecal matter hit the rotary oscillator did Toyota respond in the best possible manner? No, it could have been better, but I speculate Toyota has actually done more than most other manf's would have in the same scenario.

I suspect somebody's head in Toyota city is going to roll for this (and given Japan's corporate culture I suspect that will happen in a very literal way), Toyota will continue to work its PR team into quadruple overtime and its quality scores will be back to the top of the charts in 24 months tops.

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#23 of 75 OFFLINE   KevinGress

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Posted March 01 2010 - 03:48 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF View Post


If you believe in a fully informed, rational and perfectly competitive marketplace, then perhaps. But we clearly don't have that, shown at least by the way Toyota has apparently kept safety information secret for a few years. I guess one might have the opinion that the gov't has no role in public safety.
 
Word of mouth isn't a good equalizer in the marketplace?  And with the internet it's a lot easier to announce your love, or hate, for a product.  People are going to do their homework on stuff they think is important.  The great thing about the marketplace system is that if Toyota is really putting out products that are more harmful than their competitors, they will judged by the proper authority - the buying public. 

The government has a role, certainly, but it's exceeded its reach here as it has in just about every avenue of life.  What exactly are these hearings supposed to accomplish?  It allows people in many cases with no real business accomplishments or acumen to exoriate a company that historically has strived to succeed by putting out a superior product.



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Posted March 01 2010 - 04:02 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinGress ">

The government has a role, certainly, but it's exceeded its reach here as it has in just about every avenue of life.  What exactly are these hearings supposed to accomplish?  It allows people in many cases with no real business accomplishments or acumen to exoriate a company that historically has strived to succeed by putting out a superior product.
 
Toyota isn't the first to come under a Congressional investigation like this.  Ford's var pid = parseInt(3555605); if ( pid > ipb.topic.topPid ){ ipb.topic.topPid = pid; } // Show multiquote for JS browsers if ( $('multiq_3555605') ) { $('multiq_3555605').show(); } if( $('toggle_post_3555605') ) { $('toggle_post_3555605').show(); } // Add perm data ipb.topic.deletePerms[3555605] = { 'canDelete' : 0, 'canSoftDelete' : 0 };

#25 of 75 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted March 01 2010 - 04:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinGress 

Word of mouth isn't a good equalizer in the marketplace?  And with the internet it's a lot easier to announce your love, or hate, for a product.
It's important and helps. But "word of mouth" is not synonymous with having an informed, rational marketplace.

And you didn't seem to be speaking against these specific hearings, whose value is debatable, but against the role of any gov't oversight regarding public safety.


#26 of 75 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted March 01 2010 - 05:48 AM

I work in the automotive industry making brake rotors. (not for Toyota) I can say that each part is tested and retested and then tested again as an assembly and then tested again as a whole etc. before the parts are approved for mass production. Then the government and private companies (consumer reports, J.D. powers, etc.) also test. From when a part is requested for quotation, through design and prototype phase and then put into production takes anywhere from 2 - 5 years with many, many people involved. You would be surprised to know the amount of paperwork, meetings, testing and energy is involved in something as minor as removing 1/2 of paint on a surface. To have issues in the design and implementation phase go un-noticed would be very difficult.

Once a part is in production, the first sign of troubles would be warranty claims. This is a highly watched statistic because it is money given away that effects the bottom line and a company's reputation. Once again for a issue to go un-noticed would be very difficult. Now if the issues arise after the warranty expired, this would be harder to track.

Not only did Toyota have a reputation with the customers producing well built vehicles, but they also had the industry benchmark standard on automotive procedures and organization. There are many references on why you should do things like the Toyota system.

With that all being said, I have an extremely hard time believing that they were unaware of these issues with how serious they were and for how long they went on. To generalize, the Japanese culture has strong traditions involving "saving face" and also about not questioning or confronting a superior. I don't know if this played into these issues or not. I have not ever owned a Toyota, but I am sure that they have built many quality cars & trucks. And as mentioned there are bound to be issues with things that don't go as planned or don't work. To me the bottom line is their creditability. They did not bring these issues to light in a timely manor, and possibly covered them up, so when they say they fixed the issue, can they be believed?


#27 of 75 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 01 2010 - 05:58 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF 


And you didn't seem to be speaking against these specific hearings, whose value is debatable, but against the role of any gov't oversight regarding public safety.
 
To be fair, Kevin's position on this isn't entirely anti-government so much as anti-legislature:


Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinGress 

But should the Legislature be questioning them - that's the question.  I say no, the legislature has too many messes of its own to clean up.  This is better left to the judicial branch, and more importantly, the people.
What's interesting in that choice is that generally the judiciary is regarded as the least democratic of the three branches and therefore the least appropriate to represent an interest that's best left to "the people". The real problem, though, is that the judiciary never acts alone. It needs someone to bring a case. That means either a prosecutor (and now the executive branch has to get into the act) or a plaintiff -- and oops! the tort bar enters the picture. Somehow I suspect that's not what Kevin had in mind. /img/vbsmilies/htf/smiley_wink.gif

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#28 of 75 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted March 01 2010 - 08:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins 


With that all being said, I have an extremely hard time believing that they were unaware of these issues with how serious they were and for how long they went on.
According to purported Toyota documents from a whistleblower, they were aware of the problems for a couple of years now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben 

To be fair, Kevin's position on this isn't entirely anti-government so much as anti-legislature:
I didn't read it thusly initially (as my responses show), but fair enough. The problem, as I meagerly understand it, is that safety organizations like NHTSA (whose role might turn out lamentable, in reality) are not created or funded by the Judicial branch. So then this view seems to me as saying the gov't should only play a reactive role in public safety, with no proactive participation.

Broadly speaking (broad enough for this venue, I hope), I'd rather have safe drinking water regulated and verified proactively rather than only reactively suing the water treatment plant after people die.


#29 of 75 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 01 2010 - 08:52 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF 


Broadly speaking (broad enough for this venue, I hope), I'd rather have safe drinking water regulated and verified proactively rather than only reactively suing the water treatment plant after people die.
 
Oh I agree entirely. But you probably already knew my attitude toward regulation from the financial crisis thread.
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#30 of 75 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted March 01 2010 - 11:06 AM

I see it from the point of view that people and the organizations they create will try to get away with whatever they can get away with. That is why laws and regulations end up being needed. If people weren't naturally self-serving then the legal profession wouldn't have any reason to exist. Toyota, as an organization, built up a reputation for quality, but obviously they figured that 100,000,000 dollars of extra profit was worth a few deaths and a massive loss in reputation. The blowback from their decision will affect them far beyond the few extra dollars of profit that they tried to hang on to. Wait until the lawsuits start piling up from people who lost family members because of Toyota's greed and venality. I definitely know that I would think twice about buying any of their vehicles now, whereas before I wouldn't have thought twice. Toyota, in one fell swoop, has put itself right in line with the former big 3 in showing that it considers a few extra dollars as more important than their customer's lives. 
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#31 of 75 OFFLINE   Jim_C

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Posted March 02 2010 - 06:45 AM

Conspiracy theory or not, I simply do not believe that post-bailout GM would be raked over the coals like Toyota has been.  I'm glad the spotlight is on Toyota over this recall but it seems like the government smells blood in the water and is looking to damage Toyota rather than hold them responsible.

As for my personal take, this former Toyota owner will be one again in the future.  I still trust Toyotas much more than any GM or Ford.


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#32 of 75 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted March 02 2010 - 06:47 AM

We may find out, with GM announcing it's new recall.


#33 of 75 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted March 02 2010 - 07:57 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_C 
Conspiracy theory or not, I simply do not believe that post-bailout GM would be raked over the coals like Toyota has been.  I'm glad the spotlight is on Toyota over this recall but it seems like the government smells blood in the water and is looking to damage Toyota rather than hold them responsible.
That's how Congress always is.  I don't care what the issue is or what the person is being called before Congress for, they always have to be so sanctimonious.  Everybody is treated from go like a hostile witness.  "How DARE you, sir!"  I figure, you called somebody before you to get their testimony, just treat them with respect and let them speak.  But, it's all theater.  "We want to show the folks back home that we are gonna get these suckers!"--whether the "sucker" is a Toyota exec or a baseball player or a little girl selling stale Girl Scout cookies.



#34 of 75 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 03 2010 - 01:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF ">

We may find out, with GM announcing it's Ken McAlinden
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Posted March 03 2010 - 12:30 PM

 Hmm.  Seems that some "fixed" Toyotas may still have a problem.  I wouldn't be surprised if the claims are false.  Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if they were true either.  

#36 of 75 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted March 03 2010 - 11:31 PM

The more I think about it, maybe I will get one of those Toyotas. It might come in handy getting out of a speeding ticket on the way to work. /img/vbsmilies/htf/tongue.gif


#37 of 75 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted March 04 2010 - 05:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins ">

The more I think about it, maybe I will get one of those Toyotas. It might come in handy getting out of a speeding ticket on the way to work. <br /></span>
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#38 of 75 OFFLINE   Chris Lockwood

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Posted March 04 2010 - 06:06 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwin-S 

I see it from the point of view that people and the organizations they create will try to get away with whatever they can get away with. That is why laws and regulations end up being needed. If people weren't naturally self-serving then the legal profession wouldn't have any reason to exist. Toyota, as an organization, built up a reputation for quality, but obviously they figured that 100,000,000 dollars of extra profit was worth a few deaths and a massive loss in reputation.
Sorry, but that reasoning doesn't make sense when you include "a massive loss in reputation" in the equation. In fact, the effect on reputation and the decreased sales that results from it keeps them in check more than any regulations. As for the regulations, they don't appear to have worked, since Toyota has this massive problem.





#39 of 75 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted March 04 2010 - 10:45 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood 




Sorry, but that reasoning doesn't make sense when you include "a massive loss in reputation" in the equation. In fact, the effect on reputation and the decreased sales that results from it keeps them in check more than any regulations. As for the regulations, they don't appear to have worked, since Toyota has this massive problem.



 
They didn't expect to get caught; therefore, in their arrogance, they didn't expect a "massive loss in reputation" and therefore the 100,000,000 in extra profit vs fixing the problem was deemed to be a risk worth taking. However, they did get caught and the 100,000,000 they should have spent fixing the problem in the first place isn't looking like such a good deal, considering what it is costing them in reputation, financially through the recall, and the soon-to-arrive financial hit they are going to take when the lawsuits from affected families and individuals start arriving on their doorstep.

If the regulatory structure failed to prevent the problem then all it means is that the regulatory structure needs to be tightened more. If companies like Toyota are unable to act in an ethical manner under the present structure then it means the structure has to be made even more strict. Frankly, the auto industry has had too much say in how they are regulated. The legacy of egregious and criminal actions by auto industry executives tells me that action beyond dictating the safety requirements of cars is required. Every one of the people involved in the decision to allow potentially deadly out-of-control cars to roam North American highways should be charged with pre-meditated murder and go to jail if convicted, instead of home to their comfortable mansions. They should also be left open to be personally sued into bankruptcy by the victims of their crimes. Maybe that would finally send the message that consciously allowing lethally defective cars to roll around on the highways and byways, killing people, is ethically no different than if they had picked up a gun and just shot the people that their rolling car bombs have maimed and killed.
Would I be able to go on my merry way if it was proven that I knew a car I had sold to someone had a defect that made it a lethal weapon, and the person who bought it was killed or maimed? Not bloody likely. So what makes the suits in these companies immune to being charged for deliberately allowing deadly weapons, in the form of their cars, to roll around killing people?  
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Posted March 04 2010 - 11:46 PM

To assume that companies, governments or people in general will act ethically is wrong.  While there are honest people out there you are less likely to find them in positions of power because ethics costs money.  Business and politics are dog eat dog and ethical people often times get chewed up and spit out or go with the flow to save themselves.  Lets face it, Toyota thought the ethical decision wasn't worth a hundred million and went with the cheaper alternative.  They thought they could make a cheap effort to fix the problem as an equipment issue and wouldn't get called out on it.  "Oops, our bad"

The good thing to come from this is the other car companies are now fixing things while Toyota takes the hit for the industry.  Honda did an airbag recall, GM is doing the steering recall and Nissan is doing a brake recall.  Nissan didn't even have any deaths in their recall yet but the effect of Toyota's press tipped the scales so that a recall may actually save Nissan money or earn it more by showing how proactive they are when it comes to safety.