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Bilbray to Toyoda: Will you hand over data about Toyota problems in other countries? Toyoda: 'Hai.'

UPDATED at 6:13 p.m.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda and Toyota North America chief Yoshimi Inaba wrapped up their hours-long testimony a short while ago before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has now moved on to hearing from victims of runaway Toyota acceleration.

The session wound down with a testy Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) growing increasingly frustrated with Toyoda while trying to get a yes or no answer to the question: Should Toyota be forced to tell U.S. regulators about all Toyota problems with vehicles anywhere in the world?

Through an interpreter, Toyoda said, “We are willing to cooperate.”

Bilbray said, “I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’ ”

Toyoda responded: “Hai,” Japanese for “yes.”

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) tried to find out if Toyota is repeatedly denying that electronics are to blame for the runaway acceleration because it could open them up to big liability lawsuits.

"Have you ever been advised by lawyers, colleagues not to discuss" a potential problem with the electronic throttle control, Kucinich asked.

Both responded identically: "That has never happened."

Norton: Will my Camry hybrid get recalled?

4:06 p.m.: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who is chairing the House Oversight and Government Reform committee meeting on the Toyota problems, just made the recalls very personal.

"I drive a Camry hybrid. I switched to Toyota very reluctantly because I wanted an American car. But the U.S. wasn't making hybrids," she said. "I went straightaway to Toyota because I was relying on extraordinary reputation for quality and safety built over generations."

She asked: "Is there any chance the Camry hybrid will be recalled?" This drew laughter from the gallery.

Toyota North America chief Yoshimi Inaba first made the point that Norton's Camry is actually an American car, because it is built here and most of the parts are made here. He added: "I think you will be very safe driving the car."

Earlier, Norton appeared to misunderstand something Toyota president Akio Toyoda was saying about customer complaints.

He said that when the company gets a complaint about a mechanical problem, Toyota tries to reproduce or duplicate the problem in its labs and testing as a way of trying to find out what went wrong.

Norton asked: "Your answer -- we'll wait to see if this is duplicated -- is very troublesome." Norton asked Toyoda why his company waited until a problem happens again to try to diagnose it, which is not what he was saying.

Inaba grilled over '$100 Million Memo'

3:36 p.m.: Toyota North America president Yoshimi Inaba just got grilled by Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) over the "$100 Million Memo" -- an internal Toyota document that came to light last week that boasted that the company had saved $100 million by avoiding a 2007 recall.

Mica called the memo "one of the most embarrassing documents I've ever seen."

Inaba said it was not authored by him but was presented to him as part of his orientation to the company, to which he was returning after a two-year hiatus, during a visit to Toyota's Washington office. (Inaba had been with Toyota for 40 years prior.)

Mica said the memo undermines Toyota's reputation and indeed the high-quality reputation of any product stamped, "Made In Japan."

Inaba said he doesn't recall the Washington meeting "in any depth," but assured lawmakers that the memo is "so inconsistent" with the guiding principle of Toyota.

"Can you assure me this does not represent the approach of Toyota now and in the future?" Mica asked, and Inaba responded in the affirmative.

Toyoda: 'Absolutely confident' not problems with electronic throttle control

3:01 p.m.: Toyota president Akio Toyoda said he is "absolutely confident" there is no problem with electronic throttle controls on Toyotas recalled for runaway acceleration, despite Hill testimony yesterday and increasing suspicion by lawmakers.

Earlier today, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said his National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is conducting a comprehensive review -- but not yet an official probe -- into Toyota's electronic throttle control to determine if it had a role in the instances of runaway acceleration.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.) asked Toyoda if problems with Toyotas in the U.S. are getting the same attention as problems with Toyotas in Japan. Toyoda said all areas of the world are treated equally by Toyota.

Toyota North America chief Yoshimi Inaba said: "I think we should have done a better job of sharing cross-regional problems...If you go into a certain database you can find it, but it is not shared." Inaba said that his company is now creating data-sharing mechanisms.

Akio Toyoda: We lacked customer perspective

2:42 p.m.: Toyota president Akio Toyoda just wrapped up his long-awaited testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, saying, "My name is on every car."

Speaking in slightly labored English, Toyoda -- the grandson of the founder -- said that his company "lacked the customer perspective" when it came to doing recalls, instead relying on technical information.

He apologized for accidents caused by faulty Toyotas and for the deaths of four members of the Saylor family who were killed in a fiery crash in California last year after the gas pedal stuck open on their Lexus.

"Customers have become uncertain about safety of Toyota vehicles and I take responsibility for that," Toyoda said. "I myself as well as Toyota am not perfect."

As he said before, he blamed Toyota's problems on the company's desire to grow too quickly and lose sight of quality and safety.

Earlier today, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Toyota had become "safety-deaf."

Toyoda revealed that he is a trained test-driver and drove the runaway Toyotas and the Priuses with squishy brakes after fixes were installed, to make sure personally the problems were fixed.

Committee chairman Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) asked Toyoda if his company has shared everything it knows about the runaway gas pedals with U.S. authorities.

Speaking through an interpreter, Toyoda said to his knowledge, his company was cooperating fully.

LaHood: Toyota Japan didn't listen to Toyota North America

2:12 p.m.: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood just finished up his testimony, which began at 11 a.m., before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, which is probing the Toyota problems. Toyota president Akio Toyoda is up next.

LaHood wrapped up by explaining what he saw as the disconnect between Toyota North America and Toyota HQ in Japan:

"Toyota has an organization called North American Toyota. They have some great people there, very professional, good people. We work with them. They make recommendations to Japan. The decisions are made in Japan. The reason our acting administrator went to Japan is because he didn't think his message was getting to Japan. I said, 'Lookit: This is serious. Lives are being lost.' Right after that, they started taking action. Then I got on the phone with Mr. Toyoda and said, 'This is a serious matter.' My point is this: Their business model is this -- there are a lot of good people in North America but the decisions are made in Japan."

This is a fascinating assessment of the Toyota corporate structure but LaHood said two possibly contradictory things:

a) Toyota North American makes recommendations to Toyota headquarters in Japan, but they don't listen.

b) We went directly to Japan to talk to them because "the message wasn't getting to Japan."

If Toyota North America was making recommendations to Japan, then the message was getting to Japan. Unless LaHood meant it wasn't getting through to Japan. In other words, Japan was not listening to the safety issues being raised by North America and it took a personal visit and a phone call from a U.S. cabinet-level official for the message to get through to Japan.

LaHood: We're no lapdog!

1:48 p.m.: The Ray LaHood portion of this Toyota hearing is losing a little steam, as everyone waits for the star of the day, Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who is on-deck.

Some newslet items from the past 30 minutes:

-- This was interesting: LaHood implied that Toyota North America has little or no decision-making authority; that the shots are called in Japan. Decisions in Japan go against North America recommendations, sounds like he's saying.

-- Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) told LaHood that his agency, which should be a "watchdog" has turned into a "lapdog." LaHood took exception to this, saying: "On my watch, the only people we've been a lapdog for are the people who drive cars. That's who we've been a lapdog for!

-- LaHood said one of the things NHTSA is doing is trying to figure out if there should be "civil penalties" against Toyota.

-- LaHood: Toyota got in-line after NHTSA's visit to Japan and after my call with Toyoda.

-- LaHood said that he "hopes" and "assumes" automakers are being honest with NHTSA when it asks them for information. LaHood said this in response to a question from a lawmaker that suggested his agency didn't use its subpoena power often enough.

LaHood: We're taking a look at Toyota electronics

1:07 p.m.: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said moments ago that NHTSA has launched a "comprehensive review" of unintended acceleration on Toyotas that focuses on vehicle electronics.

LaHood was asked by Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) if NHTSA was investigating the electronics issue.

"I wouldn't call it an investigation," LaHood said, calling it "more of a comprehensive review."

Toyota has all along denied that electronics problems are at the core of the runaway cars and unintended acceleration, instead saying the problems are mechanical.

But following driver complaints, gripping testimony yesterday from a college auto technology professor who said he was able to short the Toyota fail-safe system and induce runaway acceleration and lawmakers' concerns, LaHood said his agency is now targeting Toyota electronics.

LaHood: Toyota held to same standard as Big Three

12:53 p.m.: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is trying to get Transportation Ray LaHood to admit that Toyotas are held to a higher standard than cars made by the Big Three when it comes to investigating driver complaints. Chaffetz noted that it took more than 1,000 complaints for NHTSA to open a complaint on a Big Three vehicle but only about 80 to open a probe of a Toyota.

LaHood won't take the bait. He says each of the 30,000 complaints NHTSA gets each year are taken seriously and equally.

Chaffetz asked if U.S. labor unions are involved in NHTSA's investigations of U.S. vehicles. Absolutely not, LaHood said.

"Do you honestly believe Toyota is being held to exactly the same standards as GM and Ford?" Chaffetz asked.

There's a lot LaHood is being asked that he doesn't know off the top of his head, which is fair, and he is offering to submit follow-up answers.

"Do you believe there is too-cozy of a relationship between Toyota and the auto industry?" Chaffetz asked.

"Absolutely not," LaHood said, his voice rising.

LaHood: Toyota became 'safety-deaf'

12:26 p.m.: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood just said that embattled Japanese auto giant Toyota had become "safety-deaf."

Serving Oversight and Government Reform committee chair Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) asked LaHood: "What did they do wrong that got them to this point?

LaHood said he couldn't speculate about Toyota's corporate culture, but said, "on the safety side, Toyota became a little safety-deaf."

Norton: "Because they were so big?"

LaHood: "Look, I don't really want to conjecture on these things. On the safety part of it, something we know about at [the Transportation Department], I do believe they were safety-deaf and I also believe their business model for communication between North America and Japan needs some change."

Norton: "Because Japan calls the shots, even in North America?"

LaHood: "Just that they need to listen to one another and hear what they're saying."

Norton: Japan has 'notorious' culture of secrecy

12:18 p.m.: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who is now chairing the Toyota hearing, asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about the "notorious" culture of secrecy in Japan and wondered if he and NHTSA had trouble "penetrating that culture" when investigating troubled Toyotas.

"Yes," LaHood said. "We've had some issues [penetrating the culture]," LaHood said. That's why one of LaHood's deputies flew to Toyota to speak to company officials directly, he said. "That's why I picked up the phone and talked personally to Mr. [Akio] Toyoda."

Holmes asked LaHood if he believes NHTSA's investigation was "slowed" by Toyota.

"Yes," he said, "that's why we went to Japan."

LaHood said Toyoda's visit to Capitol Hill is a "game-changer."

LaHood: Any Toyota on our recall list is not safe to drive

11:44 a.m.: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) confronted Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who had earlier skirted a direct question from Oversight and Government Reform committee chairman Ed Towns (D-N.Y.), who asked: Are Toyotas safe to drive?

Cummings said, "I don't think you really answered the question, 'Are Toyotas safe to drive?' "

LaHood came right back and answered directly this time: "For those cars that are listed on our Web site...those are not safe. We've determined they're not safe. We believe we need to look at electronics in these cars because people have told us that's an issue."

He continued: "For now, any car that's on the Web site needs to go back to the dealer because they're not safe."

LaHood: We will make sure every Toyota is safe to drive

11:24 a.m.: The House Oversight and Government Reform committee began its important hearing a few moments ago investigating Toyota problems with testimony from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Toyota president Akio Toyoda is up later.

LaHood oddly kicked off his testimony on the Toyota problems by asking for federal oversight of transit and then segued into his agency's response to an airline crash. Now he's talking about distracted driving, telling lawmakers that he wants to bank truck-driver texting.

Okaaay.

"Now for Toyota," he finally says.

LaHood is telling Toyota drivers what to do if they feel their accelerator pedal acting funny or if the car takes off on them.

LaHood is defending the performance of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, whose job it is to take driver complaints about safety and investigate them. NHTSA, which is under LaHood, has been under fire for cutting Toyota too much slack in recent years and discounting driver complaints about runaway acceleration.

"We take every one of them [complaints] seriously...we don't set any of them aside," he said. "We haven't been sitting around on our hands"

Toyota has steadfastly maintained that the runaway acceleration is not caused by any sort of electronics issue, though suspicion -- and some evidence -- is growing to the contrary. LaHood said that his agency would investigate that possibility.

LaHood said that on Tuesday night, he met with the surviving members of the Saylor family, four of which were killed in an August 2009 California crash involving a runaway Lexus.

"We will make sure every Toyota is safe to drive," he said.

Committee chairman Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) noted that NHTSA had received more than 1,000 complaints about runaway Toyota acceleration before it launched an investigation.

"Why did it take NHTSA so long to act?" Towns asked.

LaHood, an appointee of President Obama, noted that he hasn't been on the job too long and can't answer for what happened before him, but promised to get back to Towns.

Towns bluntly asked: "Do you think it's safe to drive a Toyota today?"

LaHood: "I will say this: If people check our Web site, we have listed every Toyota that is up for recall. I want anybody that has any one of those cars to take it to their dealer and to make sure it gets fixed."

Read my interview with committee ranking member Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on his role as chief inquisitor in this probe.

Towns to Toyota: Is it safe to drive these cars?

11:02 a.m.: Toyota President Akio Toyoda begins his day before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee at 11 a.m. today. Committee Chairman Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) has a few questions to ask Toyoda, according to his opening statement:

  • Is it safe to drive these cars?

  • Is Toyota now serious about solving the problem?

  • Can NHTSA say the cause of the problem has been identified and fixed?

  • What can we do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again?

  • Can the American people trust NHTSA to ensure vehicle safety?

    Towns is opening his statement with a shocking scene: Recalling the August 2009 crash of an off-duty California highway patrolman, Mark Saylor, and his family, which was caused by runaway acceleration in their Lexus. The event was captured in grisly fashion on a 911 call.

    "NHTSA failed the taxpayers and Toyota failed their customers," Towns says. "Thousands of complaints, multiple investigations, and serial recalls are bad enough. But we now have 39 deaths attributed to sudden acceleration in Toyotas. To give that horrifying number some perspective, there were 27 deaths attributed to the famous Pinto exploding gas tank of the 1970s. In short, if the Camry and the Prius were airplanes, they would be grounded."

    Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

  • By Frank Ahrens  |  February 24, 2010; 6:13 PM ET
    Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Akio Toyoda, Ray LaHood, Toyota problems, Yoshimi Inaba, toyota, toyota congressional hearings  
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    Comments

    If TOYOTAS are SO DANGEROUS, not only to their own drivers but also to those INNOCENTS who they will unintentionally COLLIDE into, then WHY THE HELL HASN'T THE GOVERNMENT BANNED Toyotas from the Nation's highways?

    It's SCARY driving anywhere near a Toyota because you don't know if it will GO HAYWIRE at ANY MOMENT.

    Get them off the highways ASAP....YESTERDAY WOULD BE BETTER.

    Posted by: wpjunk | February 24, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

    Is there some reason that the NHTSA gets such jerks as administrators? Jill Claybrook knew that airbags killed people, but only a small number of small ones, so press on. Ray LaHood is a political hack from, my golly, Illinois who is persecuting a fine corporation to gain the support of the great un-washed. What a travesty.

    Posted by: powellsanmiguel | February 24, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

    Even with the recalls I'll not buy American. Toyota's cars are still better with their faults. Besides, American cars still look like a$$ with but a few exceptions.

    Posted by: dorklord | February 24, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

    I'm starting to think this a concerted effort to damage Toyota's reputation and lower their market share.

    LaHood has become insane over this and is now peddling irrational fears onto those that don't know any better.

    Posted by: 8-man | February 24, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

    I don't own a Toyota, but I've driven a few over the years.

    If experiencing runaway acceleration, why not:

    1) shift into neutral (let engine continue to race if it must)
    2) pull over to the side of the road
    3) turn off ignition

    Is there something different about Toyotas that would prevent this course of action?

    Posted by: JayJackson2 | February 24, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

    I can't say this plummets Toyota's worth...but what it DOES do is seed doubt in the mind of a person on the prowl for a new car. The name "Toyota" will now forever ring synonymous to runaway car in their minds.

    Hence, if they want foreign, they'll be more prone to buy Honda or Hyundai now.

    Yup, someone's looking for their fair share of the Asian market grip...

    Posted by: cbmuzik | February 24, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

    -----------------------
    Even with the recalls I'll not buy American. Toyota's cars are still better with their faults. Besides, American cars still look like a$$ with but a few exceptions.

    Posted by: dorklord | February 24, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

    --------
    Let me guess..you voted for Obama.

    Posted by: LongtimeFed | February 24, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

    How can there not be a conflict of interest here when the government now owns and operates GM? The ethical dilemmas here are staggering.

    Also, how many Obama officials are going to use the excuse "I haven't been on the job that long, and the guy before me is to blame."

    Posted by: dnara | February 24, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

    Note from GM - Welcome to number 1. :-)

    Posted by: Maauc | February 24, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

    I've been thinking the same thing that JayJackson2 mentioned. I own a Camry, and that's what I'll do if my car manifests this problem.

    But it seems strange that others didn't do this, especially a State Police officer. So is there some reason this won;t work, or won't solve the problem???

    It seems to me quite irresponsible that the press has simply not reported on this. I've read many article son this problem, and I've never seen this solution, or ANY potential solution addressed.

    The present writer takes the time to comment on his disapproval of the order of Mr. LaHood's comments, then goes on to say that Mr. LaHood is telling drivers what to do if they feel their car accelerating improperly...But he doesn't tell us what he said! He just goes on about how awful everyone is saying Toyota is.

    I'm not sure what to think about Toyota as a company, or their cars. Hopefully a clear picture will develop eventually. But in the meantime, it seems to me to border on malpractice that the press is so focused on the blame game that they don;t have time to address the practical question of how to respond to the problem if it occurs. That could save lives, but apparently that's not the Press's agenda on this subject.

    Posted by: mark923 | February 24, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

    Government Motors is Toyota's chief competitor. Barry has his stooge LaHood trying to rub out the competition. This is becoming more and more apparent every time LaHood opens his mouth.

    Posted by: screwjob2 | February 24, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

    Interesting to see LaHood, Cummings and the rest of the liberal trash attacking Toyota, the only auto maker without union goons in its plants.
    Wonder if the fact tha
    t incompetent Odumbo and the UAW goons control GM and Chrysler has anything to do with the Chicago thugs attacking Toyota?
    On second thought, I don't wonder at all.

    Posted by: LarryG62 | February 24, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

    It is very strange that no one seems to mention the most obvious remedy to uncontrolled acceleration—IMMEDIATELY TURN OFF THE IGNITION. LaHood seems not to have a clue.

    Posted by: JamesCurrin | February 24, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

    It's truly amazing how much media coverage the Toyota issues have been getting. Yet on any given day on the highways - I will witness at least one of those vehicles on the recall list tailgating another vehicle. Is it the cars or the drivers? Maybe they need to look into it as a combination of both?

    Posted by: MDL7 | February 24, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

    The advice on how to deal with a "runaway" should, in regard to the newer Toyota models, specify shifting the engine to neutral, start pulling over, and hold the start/stop button for 3 seconds in order to kill the engine. Once you kill the engine you will lose power assists including brakes and steering.

    Posted by: sundog2 | February 24, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

    Lahood Never Answered The Question: Is there any car that is 100% safe. He knows that there isn't any cars 100% safe.

    Posted by: ecough96 | February 24, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

    @JamesCurrin, turning off the engine has the side effect of causing you to lose power steering. For many people, this will be almost as dangerous as continued acceleration.

    If it's the only option, it's probably better than doing nothing. But shifting into neutral seems the best approach.

    But as I said before, it's really too bad there's not much dialog on the options. Maybe the people who've experience the problem know something that we're all missing. Or maybe the above solution will work, and people need to prepare ahead of time so they think of it in the heat of the crisis.

    Posted by: mark923 | February 24, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

    LaHood needs to be told to shut up - then he needs to be told to apologize to Toyota and then he needs to be fired. For a Government official - who "owns" GM and Chrysler to be personally destroying Toyota with such insanely stupid rhetoric when it was his own agency (NHTSA) who is solely to blame for not paying attention to these problems in the first place is a travesty.
    I wonder how Obama and company will respond when Toyota turns around and shuts down every Toyota plant in the U.S. and moves them to Europe?

    Posted by: sandynh | February 24, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

    well if the NTSB or this Lahood knows the cars are unsafe without a doubt and that they are sure its the electronics then they must know exactly whats wrong with them so they can tell toyota you need to do this to fix it - otherwise he doesnt have a clue whats wrong and can't definitively say for sure they are safe or not

    Posted by: jt_341 | February 24, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

    The comedy here is that a conversation is going on between Ray Lahood with his degree in sociology and Ms Norton who has a suspect role as part of congress on the safety of Toyotas. Where are the engineers? You know, the experts? LaHood has no idea what's safe or not. It's a farce.

    I am wondering if this isn't the dems first chance to besmirch Toyota who has been eating Detroit's lunch for 40 years now. We've seen the support given to unionized labor this past year, it wouldn't be so surprising they would also take shots at foreign/cars built in the un-unionized south. (Note Haley Barbour's defending Toyota in Mississippi).

    Also, is there a possibility of a kind of hysteria here? A woman's car went for six miles before...? Not that people are being malicious, but it's easy to rationalize that it wasn't your fault...if you've never been in an accident...something happens...maybe the accelerator got stuck.

    Yes, I think the administration doth protest too much.

    Posted by: jhtlag1 | February 24, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

    Some cars cannot shift into neutral at high speeds due to interlocks in the automatic transmissions. Obviously a manual transmission vehicle has that option, though, but the vast majority of Toyotas are automatics. Similarly, the new "push to start" cars don't always shut off at high speeds; ABCNews showed this happen in a test drive. The driver tried repeatedly to turn off the car with the push button and it never shut down.

    Posted by: Bendal | February 24, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

    1. An article earlier today on the Post online said that the woman in a runaway Lexus shifted the car into neutral and then into reverse and it still ran away. Can someone explain how this is possible?

    2. LaHood's questioners in the hearing are very soft-spoken and reasonable, not belligerent at all. In contrast, LaHood appears defensive and belligerent, is shouting, and keeps saying nothing and he'll get back to them.

    Posted by: foofoofoo | February 24, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

    This is about the union goons at GM . (Government Motors) This is about- "hurt the little yellow guys" !
    i'd wonder; why not put the car in "N" orn "P" ? The Obamites just want to thug Toyota off GM's a** ! GM's CEO makes 17mm a year? They hire the 2 month fired CEO at 55,000 per month? Open your eyes,people! This is union thuggery at it's best!!!!!!

    Posted by: dblument | February 24, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

    Here's to GOP deregulation and the concept fo the FREE MARKET taking care of itself.

    Just got a letter from my CIGNA (my health insurance company)

    Driving or being anywherein the vicinity of a TOYOTA is now a pre-existing condition and any claim resulting from an accident in or around a TOYOTA and will not be paid. So in my small town, there are probably 1000 Toyotas. GUESS my healthcare insurance will not cover anything.

    Posted by: kare1 | February 24, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

    Why wouldn't any industrial enterprise be "deaf" to safety? Bush and Cheney appointed business-friendly regulators to every regulatory agency in the Federal government. Safety be damned. It was profit before everything. (That's a Republican principle.) You build automobiles? Who cares if they don't stop when you press on the brake, if they go like a bat out of hell, and if they cannot be steered properly? Modern industrial designers have been importuned to "modernize" for marketing reasons the way licensed operators operate automobiles. You want the engine to quit? Used to be you'd just turn off the ignition. But now there is no key. However, you do have at your disposal a big unlabeled button that you must press for three consecutive seconds before the engine quits. How much money did Toyota put into its customer training program in which the new user interface is explained? I'd say probably nothing.

    Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 24, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

    The conflict of interest is overbearing and thus, there is no credibility associated with this popularist exercise. Who are the Dems biggest backers - Unions and Trial Lawyers. Who stands to gain the most by trashing Toyota in the way that is currently occurring - Unions and Trials Lawyers. The icing on the cake is the government now owns GM, so effectively you have GM shareholders questioning Toyota business practices in a public forum and acting, with some official authority, as the arbitrator of whether Toyota should be punished for doing so. Personally, regardless of my political affiliation, as a US citizen, I find the whole sham embarrassing. The Japanese and global press are probably printing the honest story (similar to what is in this comment) and it is not a pretty picture of US diplomacy.

    Posted by: jon11 | February 24, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse


    Grover Norquist, take a bow!

    Kill the government—and people die and the corporations that killed them get defended by GOPers

    before they go bankrupt.

    HAHA Toyota owners!

    Keep up the tax-cutting (so there is no regulation)!

    Keep up the de-regulation (so there is no regulation)!

    Then start eating human babies, like Norquist does.

    Posted by: lichtme | February 24, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

    Kare1- being around congress and GM is a condition of brain euthanization!

    Posted by: dblument | February 24, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse


    I love reading GOPers defend **the August 2009 crash of an off-duty California highway patrolman, Mark Saylor, and his family, which was caused by runaway acceleration in their Lexus. **

    Yeah, it's the unions that did this!

    GOP: the party of compassionate cannibalism

    Posted by: lichtme | February 24, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

    Interesting to watch LaHood get agitated and make lame excuses that the department has done everything right. More he talks, more apparent who he is, what his capability and his intelligence level are. This is a secretary of one big department.... Stunning.

    Posted by: issy2 | February 24, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

    Watching the Toyota hearings, I found Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood the most pompous, arrogant political hack I'd ever seen. "It wasn't our fault those people died..., I don't know, it wasn't on my watch, I'll get back to you, we need to look at that"... He's been in charge since January 22, 2009! Not a single straight response to the committee other than "I need a bio break...". After watching him for half an hour, I could see why it would be necessary as he was obviously full of something.

    Posted by: meaton11 | February 24, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

    @foofoofoo - I could be wrong and am no expert, but in an automatic transmission, the gear shifter (i.e. the stick you move to control the transmission) would seem to be simply another computer controller. That is, it is not directly connected to the gears, like a standard shift tranmission stick is. If the computer is malfunctioning, it would seem logical that it could very easily ignore whatever instructions are coming from the gear lever. So even if the driver moves the controller to "N", it would not automatically mean that the computer will obey.

    Posted by: Finn1917 | February 24, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

    I would invite the do-nothing politicians in Washington to pass legislation allowing surviving family members of Toyota accidents to sue Department Secretaries personnaly, for uncompetance and gross negligence, such as that of Ray LaHood.

    Posted by: meaton11 | February 24, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

    I personally don't feel that mr lahood is toyota deaf but that he is just an pro-business hold over from the former bush adminsatration an that he has just on purpose refused to apply any form of regulation to or about anything within the department of transportation.This just goes back to the issues during the entire buish cheney adminstration as to the totaly refusal to hole anyone responsible for anything an particually not any us business enity for anythig as is ecident in the current banking an finicial crissess thank you

    Posted by: pbjbeach@yahoo.com | February 24, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

    The Lexus problem described in a video currently available on the BBC news web site front page is almost certainly a problem with the electonics. The apparent fact that Toyota is still not facing up to this kind of problem is a big concern. Hopefully, my Corolla does not have electonics that are fancy enough to be subject to this kind of problem. In the real world, totally relying on electronic systems without any fail safe for disengaging them is a recipie for big problems.

    Posted by: dnjake | February 24, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

    JayJackson2 wrote: If experiencing runaway acceleration, why not:

    1) shift into neutral (let engine continue to race if it must)
    2) pull over to the side of the road
    3) turn off ignition"

    According to the woman on this morning's Good Morning America, who experienced runaway acceleration:

    1) She did shift into neutral, and even into reverse. It made no difference. The transmission shift is not mechanically connected to the transmission, but is electronically connected. Shifting your "shift lever" doesn't do anything to the transmission unless the computer sends an electronic signal to it.

    2) Same with the "keyless" ignition. It's an electronic switch, not mechanical. There's no "key" to turn off.

    3) Would you pull off the road at 100 mph?

    This is an inevitable result of electronic everything that people now demand in their cars. Electronic braking, electronic traction control, electronic throttle, electronic parallel parking, etc. People are too lazy to actually learn how to drive well, so manufacturers make up all these electronic overrides to do the task for them. Have you ever had an electronic ANYTHING that never broke or went haywire? It's funny how that simple twisted metal throttle cable worked well for decades on end, but nooooo - we have to make that electronic too!

    Posted by: gasmonkey | February 24, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

    I had a 2008 GMC Acadia until a month ago. The steering wheel started sticking after a few months. I bought it into the dealership 3 times,they said nothing was wrong. I googled the problem and found out THOUSANDS of Acadia owners have been having the same problem. One GMC mechanic in Texas told a driver that the car was too dangerous to drive and they would keep it until GM came up with a fix. I bought these edmunds.com posts into the dealership, and only then did they acknowledge they have had alot of complaints (they had told me it was only us!)The dealership, one of the McClarty Crime Syndicate, told me that they told headquarters and they won't give them a fix.

    I got rid of the car at a huge loss. It was too dangerous to drive, but the GM stooges wanted to keep a dangerous car on the road.

    Posted by: Cornell1984 | February 24, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

    So, is Congress going to talk this problem, and possibly others, out of existence or into hysteria; if the problems still exist or not?

    What is really being DONE to evaluate the problems, determine if any are resolved or not, and derive any needed solutions?

    Why don't we just get on with it. The US DOT needs to obtain a subpoena for the system involved, and totally dissect and evaluate the hardware and software to determine what is happening; this stuff is not magic. Congress, a grand jury, or the media are not going to solve the problems. Turn some good independent engineers loose and get it done!

    I suggest spending some government and Toyota petty cash and funding some electrical engineering, mechanical engineering , and computer science graduate students at a few universities, including in Japan, to look at all of these possible problems, and also with all other companies' vehicles. Possibly add a prize for good work.

    Posted by: scrub-brush | February 24, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

    -----

    How can there not be a conflict of interest here when the government now owns and operates GM? The ethical dilemmas here are staggering.

    Also, how many Obama officials are going to use the excuse "I haven't been on the job that long, and the guy before me is to blame."
    ----------------------------------------
    Lahood wasn't blaming anyone. He was explaining that he didn't know the answer to a question because the details happened under a different administrator.

    Posted by: reussere | February 24, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

    According the the congressmen, GM executives should have called me and had my GMC Acadia immediately taken in for testing.

    WHy wasn't my steering problem with my GM Acadia taken seriously by GM? Why are the thousands of GM Acadia owners bringing their automobiles into GM dealerships being told there is not fix for a steering problem?

    Why isn't GM recalling the GMC Acadia?

    Posted by: Cornell1984 | February 24, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

    Gee, I hope Toyotas go on sale. I need a new car....

    Posted by: Maauc | February 24, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

    Many automatic transmissions aren't controlled by mechanical linkage any more, they are all "fly by wire" and are interlocked so you can't shift them into neutral when going fast. This is to save the transmission, but it also keeps you from saving your life in a runaway acceleration situation.

    The "push to start" buttons have to be held down for at least four seconds before the engine will turn off when it's revving fast. This is to save the engine, but it also keeps you from saving your life if you don't know you have to hold it down.

    Probably the only thing that is sure to work is to carry a deer rifle so you can shoot your tires and your engine until you stop.

    Posted by: laboo | February 24, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

    Uhhhh... The car will go into neutral no matter how fast you're driving... Ever driven in snow?

    Posted by: Maauc | February 24, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

    Maauc, are you under the impression that when you apply gas in snow and you don;t move, your transmission shifted into neutral? If you listen carefully, you'll hear your wheels spinning.

    Posted by: mark923 | February 24, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

    Mr. Toyoda worried about growing too fast -- well that worry is gone now. Buy American!

    Posted by: cpameetingbook | February 24, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

    It is time to start putting the regulators who sign off on sweetheart deals in jail. They took our money and did not do their jobs. A few months of free room and board will give them time to think about it.

    Posted by: rich22314 | February 24, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

    Toyota was able to dodge safety-related recalls for years. Their turn in the barrel finally came, as it does and will for every manufacturer.

    The real crime in this is how manufacturers can so easily hoodwink or pressure NHTSA into not issuing a recall. And NHTSA can rightfully claimed that Congress has given them an inadequate budget to police the motor vehicle industry.

    Grover Norquist's laizzez-faire-no-government-interference chickens have come home to roost in the bodies of people killed by runaway Toyotas.

    Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 24, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

    What a bunch of huffing and puffing from Congressional buffoons, notably illiterate Edolphus Towns (D-NY).

    And Ray LaHood is the shame of Illinois, along with Obama and the Chicago thugs.

    Toyota officials were most impressive....dignified, intelligent, and competent.

    Posted by: Jerzy | February 24, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

    RE: Akio Toyoda: We lacked 'customer perspective'
    + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

    My arse you LACKED "customer perspective"!
    Youse guys IGNORED the customers when it came to SPENDING your money (profits$) to FIX your MISTAKES. The ONLY reason you say that NOW is that the U.S. Congress demanded that you appear to explain yourself. IF you had "declined", Congress would make things (your business future in the USA) *miserable* for you. Even Congress knows of the OUTRAGE of the American *WE THE PEOPLE* crowd. *WE THE PEOPLE* mean VOTES.

    Posted by: Bigrcube | February 24, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

    (time is now 2:52)- I am currently watching and listening to Congress and Mr Toyoda. - I am an American Citizen, and an Engineer.- CONGRESS makes all of this so much more complicated, that No one could ever satisfactorilly answer the Questions from Congress in a way to make sense!! - CONGRESS needs to be Quite, and allow the Experts to question and answer this situation. -- As Usual,- when Our' CONGRESS gets involved,- almost everything is greatly complicated, and made extremely hard to understand, and/or make sense of!!??- If this was FORD, GM, or any American based Corporation, then they ALSO would be confused, and totally LOST BY QUESTIONING from the U.S. CONGRESS. -- No wonder that Us U.S. Citizens get So Upset with CONGRESS!-- It seems like whatever they get involved with,- just gets More and More Complicated, and Impossible to solve. fix, make-better, ot what have You!!?? -- I admire Toyota, and Mr Toyoda, for even just appearing in fron to f CONGRESS,-- whom could and usually does Complicate an un-Complicatable anything!! ha!! -- Good luck to ALL. --- And far as this Joker Mr. LaHOOD goes,-- He is totally unqualified (period) to be Secretary of Transportation!! -- LaHood, ahs NO,-- NO BUSINESS in questioning anyone! -- He needs replaced by those whom at least understand the rudimentatary Basics!! Mr LaHOOD is NOT an Engineer, nor a Scientist, nor a Quality Process Control Expert.-- Get Him out of there NOWWW! - -- jward52 (a concerned U.S. Citizen) -- p.s.--TORT REFORM NOW!! -- And keep the goof-balls, UnEDUCATED Politicians to Politics, instead of INVOLVED THEM with SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, and ENGINEERING!!!!

    Posted by: jward52 | February 24, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

    jward52, I'm an engineer too, but I like to use line breaks in my posts. I recommend you give them a try.

    Posted by: mark923 | February 24, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

    Why hasn't Toyota been banned from the U.S. highways YET?

    These criminally and negligently designed automobiles are TRAFFIC HAZARDS of the first order.

    The Government will seize automobiles which do not meet emissions standards.

    Why hasn't the Government yet pulled Toyota and kept Americans SAFE?

    You can never tell when a Toyota will GO BERSERK and start accelerating OUT OF CONTROL, slaughtering the unfortunate driver and passengers and those within the vehicles the menacing juggernauts encounter. BAN THEM.

    Posted by: wpjunk | February 24, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

    This is reason #492 to always drive a manual transmission. If a car ever jumps on me, the clutch is right there.

    Posted by: herrbrahms | February 24, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

    after dealing with 30-inches of snow and seeing multiple people get stuck, i can tell you many folks in this country have no idea what 1st and 2nd gear are for in automatics. So switching to neutral on the fly is beyond their realm of comprehension.

    Posted by: oknow1 | February 24, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

    8-man wrote:

    "I'm starting to think this a concerted effort to damage Toyota's reputation and lower their market share.

    LaHood has become insane over this and is now peddling irrational fears onto those that don't know any better."

    I'm beginning to wonder that myself. I own a Tacoma 2000, four-wheeled it all over Utah, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and California. Many, many miles; not one problem. I have many friends who own Toyotas to include the Prius and Corolla(new models). No one is having issues. I'm beginning to wonder how many of these reports are pilot error. It will be interesting when the law suites start and how long the lines will be.

    Posted by: morphylius | February 24, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse


    200,000 Americans enjoy good jobs with Toyota. They are proud of their fine automobiles and don't want politicians, especially all those corrupt and incompetent Democrats, to put them out of work.

    Haven't Obama and his Democratic thugs done enough damage to our economy?


    Posted by: Jerzy | February 24, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

    OK, if the problem isn't electronic then please describe the mechanical phenomenon that causes the accelerator to move independently.

    Posted by: TooManyPeople | February 24, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

    @jayjackson2... that was my first reaction, as well. why didn't the victims do either of these three things:

    1) shift into neutral
    2) turn of ignition
    3) brake or e-brake

    but then i realized the panic they must've been in. and it's hard to think clearly in those kinds of situations. even if you had several moments to evaluate and act.

    Posted by: skyrise | February 24, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

    herr brahms, sorry to say but even some manual transmission cars have electronically controlled, hydraulically assisted clutches these days.

    If you ever buy a car with "paddle shifters" (a crossover from F1 race cars) you will see what I mean. You might be locked out from shifting into neutral with that kind of setup too.

    I suppose in most normal manual shift cars you can still slam the gearshift lever into neutral without using the clutch, though.

    Posted by: laboo | February 24, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

    So you think the quality of Toyota would improve if they hired knuckledragging UAW "Workers"?

    Henry "Nostrildamus" Waxman will see to it.

    Posted by: ANTILIB | February 24, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

    This is worse than the McCarthey - Era trials.

    Obama is now hated in Japan much more than Bush ever was.

    Posted by: pgr88 | February 24, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

    Watching Mr. Toyoda right now, I can see some folks are going to be highly encouraged to commit HK when he gets back home; that is, if they aren't already doing so on their own initiative. The man looks like he's going to blow.

    Posted by: abqcleve | February 24, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

    mark923 - not exactly... when you're driving in the ice and snow you never kick the car in neutral when you apply the brakes? hmmmm... You must live in Alabama.

    Posted by: Maauc | February 24, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

    It's quite impressive how Mr. Head Honcho can evade answering questions just like the most proficient US politician!

    BTW in Hawaii, when the Toyota nameplate was still comprised of individual chrome letters we liked to take them off and rearrange them to read A Y O T O T.

    "Ay, otot!" means something in Tagalog that I'll leave you to look up for yourself.

    Posted by: laboo | February 24, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

    Please World - do Not think that all U.S. Citizens are as insensitive, un-caring, and predjudice as the Congress-woman in Blue, whom Un-Americanly addressed Mr Toyoda at 3:40 today!! - This IS absolute stupidity! -- Where was and is CONGRESS when each year over 400,000 Americans DIE from Pharmaceuticals??!! - This is Appalling! -- The woman(blonde) Congress-woamn dressed in Blue, made many ashamed to be Americans.- She would act and question the same if You were Black, Brown, or Asian!! - Thank GOD, that I do Not look or sound like Her!! -- She has NO idea at all of the Hatred and DISCRIMINATION that She is Pushing and Creating Globally.-- America needs Friends, not more Enemies!! -- Hopefull, the World will ignore that woman Congress-person whom was so unCaring, un-Knowledgable, and un-American.

    Posted by: jward52 | February 24, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

    This Toyota-recall frenzy has become absurd. It has "politically motivated" and "Rahm Emanuel" written all over it.

    Posted by: pgr88 | February 24, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

    We know these various problems are not mechanical, how do we know that? Any shade tree mechanic worth his salt would have found the problems long ago. Computers have their place in automobiles, but to turn over total control of braking or acceleration to them is asking for trouble and not real bright. Electronic pollution in the US is everywhere, turn your car radio to AM and drive around cities, in many places it's overwhelming. Microwaves are everywhere, city, country, anyplace you travel. It is indeed an electronic problem. These cars have black boxes on-board, are they getting any useful information from them? They will not give access to Govt investigators. If you have heard the 911 call from the driver of the vehicle where the whole family was killed when they crashed, they went through the whole thing, 911 turn it off, driver can't, put in neutral, can't, no foot brake, no emergency brake. This driver was a retired cop, sad.

    Posted by: genomega | February 24, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

    If you want to talk about a "frenzy" becoming "absurd", just look at the "politically-motivated" comments in here on what is basically an engineering issue. Some of y'all have driven your brains right over the cliff.

    Posted by: laboo | February 24, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

    WOW the Japanese sure learn
    about
    American Management Style of crony manufacturing.

    and
    the Republicans are still sucking up to them
    teaching them more..

    YOU know the party of NO..

    Play with sharks they eat you..

    Fei Hu

    Posted by: Fei_Hu | February 24, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

    Admittedly Toyota has a few problems here but certainly no more than GM or Ford have had to deal with. What is disturbing here is that it seems like the politicians grilling the Toyota execs are more interested in grandstanding before the public and perhaps mounting a campaign against the Japenses in order to help US big 3. Quite frankly I think the general public just might sympatheize with Toyota. Half the questions coming from the politicians are ass hole questions.

    Posted by: ritaf | February 24, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

    First let us all acknowledge our enormous sympathy for the families who have lost loved ones due to the acceleration problem with some Toyotas.
    However, I have been listening to the testimony and the interrogation by our U.S. lawmakers, and I am embarassed for our legislative body. Especially Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has inanely refused to acknowledge that Toyotas, including the one she drives, are built and supplied in the United States. It is mortifying to watch the grandstanding, misrepresentation of documents and outright stupidity of some of our legislators.

    Posted by: SavingGrace | February 24, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

    If I were Toyoda San, I would move ALL my manufacturing out of the US...

    Posted by: american17 | February 24, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

    Can you believe it? The Congress (!) is lecturing Toyota on not responding to customers' complaints.

    The American People will get to call their Senators and Congressmen into THEIR committee room this coming November.

    Vote OUT all DeamonRATS and RINOs.

    Posted by: wpjunk | February 24, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYWqqgr7Wcg

    the above link takes you to an ABC video of the Toyota debacle.

    Would YOU put YOUR daughter or son into a Toyota today?

    Neither would I advise them to become a DeamonRAT or ReBOOB.

    Posted by: wpjunk | February 24, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

    I have never understood why most people can not see the real issue here. The true problem to
    our unemployment rate now as well as our deth. I go out of my way to buy American products and from AMERICAN Company's as much as I can. Now people say its not GM its Goverment Motors... Wake up people if it is
    guest what, each time someone buys a GM that means their buying a car from you and me because we as taxpayers would owen it.
    (No I don't work for GM) I wish more people would take the time to look at what
    they do each day and think how it would effect their childern & grandchildren later in life.

    Posted by: hostdadnc | February 24, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

    On the subject of information that seems to be missing from all of the reporting, there has been no mention as to whether the Solara models for any of the years in question are considered to be under the recall. The Solara is unique in the fact that the only model description on the exterior of the car is Solara yet the vehicle title lists the car as a Camray. Does anyone know if Solara's are having this acceleration issue and are they subject to the recall?

    Posted by: kbb3 | February 24, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

    Dis whole thing stinks like yesterdays' diapers.

    Posted by: Obamasnotyamama | February 24, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

    SavingGrace - In addition to that, Holmes Norton said she only bought the Toyota because there weren't American hybrids. The Ford Escape hybrid was released in 2004, but the Camry hybrid wasn't released in 2006. What a stupid thing to lie about.

    Additionally, her line of questioning about the "secretive" Japanese culture being part of the problem was xenophobic and unnecessary.

    Not a good day for the Gentlewoman from the District of Columbia.

    Posted by: acb1 | February 24, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

    the story reads, "[rep john] Mica called the memo "one of the most embarrassing documents I've ever seen."

    ------------------------

    i agree with you mister mica. that memo ranks right up there with the internal bush admin memos saying iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

    saaaaay mica. didn't *YOU* vote for authorization of war against iraq?

    you friggin pig.

    Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | February 24, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

    Again, the best route to take in this Toyota disaster is to have the State police in every State pick up the keys to every new Toyota product on every dealer's lot and bar the import or shipment of any vehicle or parts -until such time as Toyota pays off every claim for person injury and/or damages. It is quite clear from listening to Toyota executives talk that they are willing to do only what they cannot escape -and the customer be hanged: they obviously do not care!

    Posted by: churchlionjudah | February 24, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

    I guess all you uppidty Lexus owners better trade your cars in for a Caddy. Toyota/Lexus values are going down the drain. Do you hear me Chevy Chase/Bethesda/Potomac rich folks?

    Posted by: Classic60 | February 24, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

    Not to say that defects in Toyotas is a good thing, BUT ..... Why is there Congrssional hearings on this and people running around like chickens with their heads chopped off .... when I can remember when the Pinto was blowing up and killing people because of the gas tank was placed outside the rear frame and for years Ford said it was cheaper to pay off the law suits than correct the problem. No Congessmen screamed bloody murder over this problem. Stange ... you think maybe someone is on someone's payroll?

    Posted by: lunetrick | February 24, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

    pbjbeach@yahoo.com said "I personally don't feel that mr lahood is toyota deaf but that he is just an pro-business hold over from the former bush adminsatration...This just goes back to the issues during the entire buish cheney adminstration as to the totaly refusal to hole anyone responsible for anything an particually not any us business enity for anythig as is ecident in the current banking an finicial crissess thank you


    Where are you from? Russia? Ray LaHood was appointed as Transportation Sec. BY President Obama BECAUSE he was and IS an old crony of OBAMA's! He was NEVER a member of Bush's cabinet!

    When you want to post liberal tripe, at least get your facts right! Or someone like me will call you on it! Mr. LaHood was a representative from Chicago-Land (the most corrupt politicians on earth)! His appointment to his post was criticized for His not knowing anything about the subject, and that has proven true!
    Like others, LaHood was a Republican in NAME only, and switched parties to benefit Mr. Obama! We say good riddance! He has become just another National embarrassment from the Obama White house!

    Posted by: barefoot1976 | February 24, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

    NEWSFLASH - In an surprise breakthrough today at the congressional hearings, Toyota North American chief Yoshimi Inaba announced that all American Toyota plants in the United States will be shut down immediately. All machinery and production dies will be moved to Canada and Japan. When asked by republican John Mica of Florida, "B-b-but won't this cause a million u.s. jobs to be lost?", Mr Inaba said, "that's not my concern Mr John Mica. You should have thought about that before."

    The American car companies immediately announced that they would bring back the Pinto, the Corvair, and the Studebaker to fill the void of the Japanese automobiles.

    Film at 11

    Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | February 24, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

    Interesting to see all the Toyota bought-and-paid-for GOP pond scum tripping all over themselves to defend their beloved patron. What a bunch of ethically bankrupt, terminally greedy weasels.

    Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | February 24, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

    Seppuku must be looking better and better...

    Posted by: jonawebb | February 24, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

    There is something crimanally wrong here. I say get these cars out of this country. I also say we should get most products from China out of this country because China sends some bad stuff. Of course, what I say ain't gonna happen. Too much money involved for big business in the United States of Arrogance to do the right thing. TFL, Ken

    Posted by: kentigereyes | February 24, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

    it's funny that our messiah just announced two weeks ago, that the chosen one's administration wasn't going to pursue any charges against the bush admin folks who recommended and signed off on the illegal torture methods.

    and of course.. congress and our messiah are waaaaay too friggin chicken to go after the war mongers who STARTED that illegal war in iraq.

    maybe congress should go find another baseball player accused of using steroids they can investigate.

    they did so well last time.

    Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | February 24, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

    kentigereyes wrote; "There is something crimanally wrong here. I say get these cars out of this country. I also say we should get most products from China out of this country because China sends some bad stuff.

    ----------------------------

    so, what are you saying? get rid of the japanese cars because they are flawed, but then get rid of the CHINESE cars because they are "bad stuff"?

    what do you base this on? are you saying that the chinese are using leaded paint on their cars, and american children are chewing on the hoods and doors of these cars and are getting lead poison?

    Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | February 24, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

    Typical Japs! Intern them all!

    Posted by: houston123 | February 24, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

    I watched M. Toyoda and he reminds me of the Japs that we fought in WWII: totally lacking in remorse!!!

    Posted by: houston123 | February 24, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

    I was going to listen to the President of Toyota's testimony, but decided not to because I heard that he could be really, really wordy--once he gets started on a topic he has a hard time stopping...

    Posted by: pdogglimhotmailcom | February 24, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

    Nobody can deny that the U.S. Government has been gamed to a fare-thee-well. When former employees of NHTSA, regulators of automobile manufacturers among other things, go to work for an automobile manufacturer -- that raises the index of suspicion. It appears the Toyota employees called their buddies back at Bush's NHTSA to ask for a free ride as to the issues of failed acceleration, braking, and steering -- and got it! That is corruption pure and simple.

    Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 24, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

    Profits. It's apparently all about company profits, even at the expense of people's lives.

    Mr. Toyoda says he's 'sorry'? Is that supposed to make everything better? Forgotten? Without penalty?

    Posted by: momof20yo | February 24, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

    Prison, multi million dollar lawsuits, and no purchases of Toyotas is the solution.

    Posted by: DCGuyme | February 24, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

    Dozens of people dead, and Toyota isn't even getting a slap on the wrist from the government, much less a fine.

    LaHood isn't even a lapdog. He is a leech with his lips firmly stuck to Toyota's rear end.

    I can't believe all you morons defending Toyota, you all deserve to be locked into a runaway Corolla.

    Posted by: solsticebelle | February 24, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

    What does POCLT mean in Japanese? He kept saying poclt in Japanese and I was wondering what it meant.

    Posted by: Moley2 | February 24, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

    This matter appears to be overblown. With Washington as corrupt as it is one cannot rule out a campaign by lobbyists for US auto makers to besmirch Japanese auto manufacturers in a bid to gain market share. When Audi allegedly put out faulty cars Congress did not summon them for an inquisition. If Mercedes Benz goofed, their chief would not have been summoned to appear either. There is something rotten in the state of Denmark.

    Posted by: dmcl363 | February 24, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

    POCLT is now reporting TOYOTA will not survive this because the problem is an electronic one and they do not have a fix. If POCLT is correct and TOYOTA goes under it will kill their economy. POCLT could be wrong because FORD, GM, CHRYSLER
    and others have weathered their storms.

    Posted by: Moley2 | February 24, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

    Do you idiots understand that Congress is attempting to destroy Toyota because they own GM and Chrysler and need to sell cars and defend their UAW campaign contributors? Yes, you are stupid enough to fall for the nasty rhetoric that is taking place today.
    What are you going to do when Toyota shuts down every American plant and puts 200,000 American workers out of jobs? Feel superior and vindicated?
    Tell that to the 200,000 who will be out of jobs.

    Posted by: sandynh | February 24, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

    Welcome to the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Mississippi branch.

    "Be happy in your work".

    Posted by: seattle_wa | February 24, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

    The Toyota duo did well at the hearings. Although one-half of the Congs. behaved themselves, the others were often disgraceful--badgering, primping, preening, asking impossible-to-answer or just stupid questions, pimping for sound bites. Toyoda and Inabe were appropriate contrite, also polite, well enough informed in their roles, and committed to improvements. I can only shake my head at such dbags as Rep. Bilbray, who was exasperated into silence by his own idiocy.

    Posted by: axolotl | February 24, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

    Cleofe Lastrella Saylor was a friend of mine. We worked together in the same research bay for five years. She was a delightful, intelligent, kind soul. I met her daughter, Mahala, when she was just three and got to watch her mature over the ten years I knew Cleofe. I can only imagine the horror Cleofe and Mark felt when they knew they were probably about to die, and worse, could do nothing to protect their beautiful young daughter in the back seat. Thoughts of her are often on my mind. These were needless and tragic deaths. I have complete confidence that Mark attempted in every way to stop that car. No frozen panic. Sadly, we may never know the complete truth as it was a horrific, fiery crash. But I felt in my gut from the beginning it was more than floor mats. Toyota must think we're idiots. When I went back to California recently and met with friends and coworkers who also knew and loved Cleofe, the feeling was unanimous. Something was being hidden. It's much easier to blame a floor mat and panic than to delve into electronic malfunctions. We deserve answers. The Lastrella and Saylor families deserve answers.

    Posted by: NoPo | February 24, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

    Commenter "gasmonkey" must never fly. Any plane made in the last dozen years or more is fly-by-wire. Same principals as electronic acceration and brake controls in cars. If you so distrust electronic throttles, better not fly an newish Airbus or Boeing.

    Posted by: axolotl | February 24, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

    Commenter NoPo--the four deaths are, of course, an awful tragedy. We only heard about 40 references to it before the testimony late in the day. Mr. T was suitably contrite, though sorely tried by rude and crude and dumb representatives making arses of themselves. You can't pillory a whole company for it, unless you have evidence of negligence or cover-up. The hearing did not confirm either kind of misbehavior, despite all the huffing and puffing from Congress people like Bilbray. If you think the coverup problem is any more prevalent in Toyota than US car companies or many other kinds of firms, you are whistling in the dark.

    Posted by: axolotl | February 24, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

    I think obama administration along with UAWU sabotaged toyotas. have we ever had problems with toyotas BEFORE. Now the government and UAWU COMBINED OWN 89% of GM. I would never TRUST hussein after him READING from his TELE-PROMPT to 6th graders. LMAO!!!

    Posted by: rikstik71664 | February 24, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

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