Looks like Kevin might have been a bit premature when he gave Toyota credit last week for finally pulling the long overdue andon cord. It actually took civil servants from Washington to go to Japan and pull it for them.
"While Toyota is taking responsible action now, it unfortunately took an enormous effort to get to this point. DOT officials flew to Japan in December to remind Toyota management about its legal obligations and followed up with a meeting at DOT headquarters in January to insist that they address the accelerator pedal issue," Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said.
This is beyond a mere lapse in judgment – a human mistakethat anyone could have made. This is nothing short of wholesale abandonment of their founding principles. This ain't Kiichiro Toyoda's car company any more. "Since questions were first raised about possible safety defects, we have been pushing Toyota to take measures to protect consumers," LaHood said. The company we have so long admired would not have had to be pushed by the government into doing right by its customers.
Nothing short of shameful. As I wrote way back in September, "Ohno and Shingo must be spinning in their graves at what boils down to sheer apathy." It seems we have yet to find exactly where Toyota's rock bottom is.