There doesn’t seem to be end in sight for Toyota troubles. A few days ago the federal government opened an investigation to determine when Toyota knew about the safety issues in their cars. And according to a CNN report released Monday morning the investigation has uncovered a smoking gun.
The investigation has uncovered what appears to be presentation documents from July of 2009 where Toyota boasts about saving $100 million because they were able to negotiate a limited equipment recall for the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES vehicles instead of a more serious and costly problem with the cars. The point was listed under a section called wins.
Yoshi Inaba, Toyota’s top North American executive gave the presentation, according to CNN. And he spoke of a September 2007 recall to replace the floor mats.
In the video below in August of 2009 a 911 call can be heard from a family of four who were killed in a Toyota Lexus because of a gas pedal related issue. Toyota has denied that the problem in that accident was related to the previous recall.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had this to say about Toyota:
“Safety is everybody’s responsibility. It’s not just the federal government’s job to catch safety defects,” said Olivia Alair, a spokeswoman for NHTSA. “It’s the responsibility of automakers to come forward when there is a problem. Unfortunately, this document is very telling. And that’s why Secretary LaHood has been saying we’re going to hold Toyota’s feet to the fire and make sure they do what’s necessary to make their cars safe for the driving public.”
Toyota issued a statement Monday morning saying that their number one priority is the safety of their customers and one internal document doesn’t properly reflect that.
The problems with Toyota and the recalls issued over the past few months creates an opportunity for other dealerships. “Every dog has its day,” said Jerry Seiner who owns several General Motors dealerships in Salt Lake City. “Maybe they will take a second look at us instead of Toyota when Toyota stumbles it is our opportunity,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
UPDATE: The federal government filed a Grand Jury supboena Monday morning with Toyota. For more information, click here.
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