Defective Toyotas – An oxymoron? May be not
Fourth largest car recall in the history of auto industry by the world’s largest auto maker… The one who is suppose to be considered a pioneer in quality. Defective cars from Toyota? I could not believe it… All the top selling models of Toyota – Camry, Corolla, Prius, Highlander, Tacoma, all of them have been recalled due to sudden acceleration issues. My first reaction when I heard about Toyota’s recall was that it is certainly going to get added to the list of Oxymorons… That is because, over the years I have heard only good things about Toyota… Infact during my MBA days we have done case studies about Toyota’s quality and its success stories. When I came to the US, I found that the default used car choice for most of my Indian friends was a Toyota or a Honda… Most of them would have at least 80000 miles or more on them… When I ask my friends why they would buy a Toyota which has almost 100000 miles on it, they state the following: a) even at 100000 miles the car runs like new b) it provides great mileage (Miles per gallon) and c) its great value for money – you have a good resale value.
The kind of news that’s coming out about the recent Toyota recall is just eye opening… I have slowly started developing a feeling that Toyota is just another company and I can’t respect it like I use to anymore. The resale value of Toyotas has dropped so much…
Here is some news that came out recently which I read on the internet:
a) State Farm the largest auto insurer in the US came out with a statement a couple of days back saying that they have been reporting Toyota sudden acceleration issue since 2003 to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But after all as an insurance company their job is to report trends from the accident reports that they get but it is up to the NHTSA to act on it.
b) Today I read an article on Bloomberg that former regulators hired by Toyota helped end at least four US investigation of unintended acceleration which could have resulted in a possible recall or a court and government hearing…
In hind sight it is clear that pushing the issues under the carpet from 2003 was not a good idea. Infact, even in foresight a company which is so well known for quality should know that if there are quality issues its better to address them as an when they occur… The kind of damage that is caused to their image now is going to be a mounting task to overcome. Isn’t it obvious that it is only a matter of time that they are going to get caught off-guard some day?? Particularly, issues like this which result in grave accidents needs attention immediately instead of just neglecting it as one of cases. Sometimes basic lessons that we learn when were kids like “A stitch in time saves nine…” need be taken seriously even when we grow up.