Toyota?s deadly secrets
R. Graham Esdale Jr. and Timothy R. Fiedler
For years, Toyota knew its vehicles could suddenly accelerate out of control. But it kept the problem hidden from the public and encouraged government regulators to turn a blind eye. It's time for a full accounting.
?Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.? Lord Acton?s famous phrase was never more true than in the case of Toyota Motor Corp.?s rise and recent precipitous fall. Over several decades, the company ascended to become the world?s largest automaker, only to suffer, in the last year, revelation after revelation of internal mismanagement and breaches of consumer safety.
Toyota?s once pristine reputation for dedication to quality and safety has become marred by a continuing stream of safety recalls, federal investigations, and congressional scrutiny. Toyota has been forced to acknowledge what many unfortunate American consumers learned firsthand: Vehicles produced by Toyota are unsafe.
A year ago, Toyota issued a recall affecting 3.8 million vehicles, claiming that unsecured or incompatible floor mats could cause accelerator pedals to become stuck in the full open position.1 A few months later, the company issued another recall for 2.3 million vehicles over concerns that a ?sticky pedal? mechanism could cause unintended sudden acceleration.2 In what some called an unprecedented move, five days later, Toyota temporarily suspended sales and production of eight vehicle mod
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