Updated: What Floats? Ducks, Small Rocks, a Toyota…
And the Witch Hunt has begun… (for those that don’t get the joke in the title, well, you just watch the wrong movies).
I’ll start by saying that I’m not the biggest fan of Toyota myself. My first car was a Corolla, and only the sentiment of it being my first car makes me forget what an utter piece of bleep it was. Let’s not talk about the one my wife used to drive. Okay, that’s out of the way.
Toyota’s are wonderfully reliable and decent cars on the whole. Their safety ratings for small and medium cars are good, and their NHTSA records are vanishingly few. Go compare a Toyota Corolla to, say, a Government Cobalt (which has been in existance much less time), and you’ll agree. Even so, when Karl over in the Green Room (Updated, promoted to Hot Air) did a post this morning detailing the beginning of the show trials, and I wasn’t at all surprised. When the problems come to light, the hunters come out with sharp knives. I can’t begin to detail all the stuff the Karl found, so go read his post. I’ll wait.
…waiting… We’ll have more after the break, this one will be long.
Okay, so the House, SEC, State of NY, any friend of Ralph Nader, Joe’s Crab Shack (I might be kidding there)… everyone’s after Toyota now. Canada’s National Post actually has the pragmatic take worth repeating:
There can be little doubt that Toyota, the world’s greatest auto maker in recent years, has become the victim of much more than another typical out-of-control All-American media frenzy. When top-line political gamesman such as U.S. Transport Secretary Ray LaHood, Congressional pit bull Henry Waxman, and conniving United Auto Workers executives start piling on, this is clearly much bigger sport that the usual ritual public lynching of auto executives, a routine occurrence in Washington. The attack on Toyota, at this time of U.S. economic weakness and populist excess, is fast turning into a great American nationalist assault on a foreign corporation, an economic war.
Yep, what started as a media story is now faux populist outrage at a horrid company.
Of the millions of cars on the road, only a few hundred anecdotal reports exist, making it far more likely that other things are happening, including driver mistakes and even fluke occurrences that no amount of corporate fixing can avoid. Usually the stories fade and the auto companies move on…
Toyota’s experience looks like it could become even worse than Audi’s, mainly because bashing Toyota serves the national economic interest of the United States, U.S. auto makers, union leaders and others whose economic ideas tend toward nationalism. U.S. jobs for U.S. workers employed by U.S. companies.
Again, I’d advise you to go read it all. One note. A large number of Toyota vehicles sold in the US are made in the US by US workers. It’s just not a US company… and perhaps a company not owned by the government, who you have to suspect has a vested interest in making an investment look good. I’m not being paranoid, well not much.
Michael Fumento caught onto this a while ago, by the way:
Predictably, in the wake of the media blitz about the alleged dangers of Toyotas suddenly accelerating, reports of fatalities linked (note: not “caused by”) such incidents has shot up.
But one can’t help but notice that when you google “Toyota deaths” the top link goes to one law firm soliciting Toyota accident clients while the sponsored link on the right takes you to another law firm.
Three linked lawyers, when I checked this morning… Fumento has several good articles on this, go check them out.
The point? In the rush to judgment on a company, you often find that the pathway is paved by people who are looking to make some money. I sympathize with those who have lost their lives in out-of-control cars. I worry as much about the livelihoods of thousands of employees due to out-of-control lawsuits and and out-of-control laws/lawmakers.
That leaves Toyota owners like me in the predicament of choosing the bad guy in this scenario. Toyota may not be the good guy, but given the choice between incompetent government and a private company with a solid track record, I pick the government as the one to wear the black hat.
I’m there. As I said above, I don’t want to assume that this is happening because the US Gov is an auto owner, and after all, congress is truly the opposite of progress. But I wonder how ambitious this is going to make the government when they can claim returns on their investments?
Updated 2/26: As usual, Iowahawk nails it.
Come on, America — let’s all pitch in for the Jap Scrap Drive and win this thing for good ol’ fashioned collective bargaining. Give our brave fightin’ trial attorneys the lawsuit ammo they need to drop the Big One!
The sooner we bring ’em home the sooner we can take the fight to Ford!