Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sale Events Turn to Trials for Toyota

Toyota's focus turned from making cars, to fixing cars, and now two days of U.S. House hearings. The first took place Tuesday, Feb. 23, before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. The second took place Wednesday, Feb. 24 before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The USA Today on-line article "Toyota Executive Not Sure Problems Are Solved" discusses witness testimony and what the company can expect in the future.

As an editor, I can see that the lead is what makes the story. A paraphrased quote from Jim Lentz saying "he is "not totally" certain the automaker's recent recalls will prevent future cases of unintended acceleration" grabs attention immediately. However, Lentz is not identified as the speaker until his name first appears in the fifth paragraph. With sources ranging from a personal experience of unintended acceleration, to representatives on the subcommittees, to top executives within Toyota, the article balances personal and informative. Also, the list format under the sub-head "Major Issues Raised" is an effective way of presenting the testimony in a nutshell.

As a 20 something woman, I was particularly interested in the concern that electronic glitches could be to blame for the acceleration issues, since the future is definitely in technology. Associate professor of automotive technology at Southern Illinois University David Green testified that he was able to bypass Toyota's "fail-safe" system that should be preventing electrical problems from affecting acceleration. Green performed his tests on four types of Toyotas, bypassing the "fail-safe" system each time without triggering anything that could be spotted by a technician. This testimony grabbed my attention, because of the ridicule it makes of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood promised that the NHTSA "will not rest" until they determine whether electronics are the problem in Toyotas. Members of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee questioned LaHood's pledge based on his staff's report they felt incapable of handling such an investigation. The solution seems obvious to me: the NHTSA should hire David Green since he is obviously capable of hacking Toyota's system.


  1. I got to say, as a Toyota driver, that this problem is sad. That is was it is. I am sorry for peoples loses and troubles.

    I, personally, was not affected by the recall, but if one person found problems that a technician of Toyota couldn't see, Congrats. I am glad they are improving the products and fixing a problem that was outside of their control.

    It is too bad this all has happened. It won't affect my views on Toyota, because all companies have had other problems that have cause troubles and death. They are taking the problem head on and fixing it, even if these were all some how flukes.

    If NHTSA can't find a problem, they need to be fired. I agree with you. If Mr. Green can do the job, hire him on temporarily. He seems to have a handle on things.

    There are always going to be ghosts in the systems and problems will arise. Hitting it head on and fixing it is the way to go.

  2. I'm glad to hear you weren't affected by this and continue to feel safe driving your own Toyota. I agree that each car company has its flaws (otherwise they would not feel the need to present new models each year); however, no other company in recent years has recalled entire vehicles. Jars of peanut butter- okay, bacteria happens. Tires- worrisome, but easy to find a spare. Entire car- that's a problem. Public transportation is sounding better and better.

  3. It is not the entire car that is getting recalled. There are select years and models, from cars to suvs and trucks. All you need to do is take you car, if your part of the recall, to a dealership and they'll fix it. Supposedly only about a 30min wait.