Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Toyota's huge problem

We'll know that Hyundai and/or Kia has truly arrived in the American marketplace when they reach the level where a major safety issue like this one doesn't faze people about the quality of their vehicles. If you haven't heard about this topic, take a read or a listen to this PBS Newshour piece.

Stuck accelerator peddles causing your car to speed up to 120 mph and crash in a fireball is not something people want associated with their company, but Toyota seems to be doing their best to handle it properly:
Well, you know, this is a company that has had some difficulties. I mean, they had their first loss in 50 years. They lost about $4.5 billion.

And, yes, it's the question of, will customers give them another chance? Do they believe that this is endemic of a broader problem, or is this sort of, you know, a stubborn problem with pedals that they vowed to fix? They went beyond what they had to do today. They're even replacing the passenger side mat, so in case a driver mixes them up and puts the wrong mat on the other side, that it won't be a problem.

So, you do have to give Toyota some credit for going above and beyond what they were required to do.
I think people will look at this as just a glitch, and the way they have gone the extra mile to resolve it rather than just trying to skate by is something that Hyundai and Kia should pay attention to, just in case they ever run into this kind of problem.

I do wonder a little bit about the reporter's math, though:
Well, you can do the math. It's 4.26 million vehicles. I mean, in the Japanese press, they suggest -- suggested it could cost $5 billion. I mean, that's only a little over $100 per vehicle. It probably is in that range somewhere.
Five billion dollars divided by 4.26 million vehicles would be a little over $1000 per car, not $100. Maybe reporter David Shepardson should go work for Hannara Party lawmaker Lee Wonhyung.

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