Staff Editorial

U.S. steps in to apply brakes to Toyota’s mess

Unless you have been living under a rock these past few weeks, you’ve heard that Toyota has recalled eight of its cars and trucks due to sticky pedals.

More than 5 million vehicles in the U.S. have been recalled because of the floor mat sticking to the pedals. Apparently, five deaths have been linked to this issue.

U.S. officials said they were fed up with the matter and Toyota taking so much time to resolve it. In January, they sent Ron Medford, the acting head of the U.S. agency that regulates auto safety, to Japan to let the automakers know they “better get their act together,” and they better do it fast.

Now, nobody likes to be told what to do, especially from a stranger, so let’s just say Toyota’s executives weren’t very happy with Medford’s visit.

A Toyota employee told MSNBC, “We are not sitting on our hands in Japan.” The employee, a 30-year veteran production manager, was interviewed at a bar in Toyota City, Japan where the automaker’s recalls dominated the chatter.

Yes, the U.S. government needs to regulate, and it is the government’s job to control and protect its citizens. But to demand something from a foreign company?

That just seems too much.

An estimated 4.7 million cars have been recalled by Toyota after the Medford visit, so obviously something was accomplished.

Is this embarrassing for the company? Of course it is; Toyota is the biggest and most profitable automaker in the world, and now it’s getting all of this unwanted media attention.

We doubt the automakers are just sitting on their hands, as the production manager said.

Almost 10 million of Toyota’s vehicles have been recalled — a large number — and this can’t be fixed in a month or two. Although this could be an issue the company is just learning about — a doubtful proposition — there are just too many cars to fix.

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