We don’t need this. Just as with GM, what’s good for Toyota is good for Japan, and, more specifically, good for Nagoya. The economy of Aichi prefecture and Nagoya revolves around Toyota – the network of suppliers and sub-suppliers, and all the people selling things to their workers all feel the pinch when Toyota take a hit, and the effect percolates through to the rest of us. Just as the Lehmann shock seemed to be wearing off, and the big T seemed to have got in ahead of the competition with the eco-car Prius, we get this quality-control, rip-off-the-customers thing, and all the bonuses due out this Spring have been cut.
I don’t want to say anybody’s just Japan-bashing, because there does seem to be some truth in some of the issues: the accelerator-floormat thing, and the half-second delay before the brakes kicked in under some circumstances that some people noticed here, for example, but clear evidence of fatally serious defects in the system is not plentiful. To some extent it’s been whipped up by the media, and I’m sure lots of people whose livelihood does not depend on Toyota’s prosperity were not particularly bothered to see them brought down a peg or two. Their response wasn’t that skillful either, PR-wise. Toyota are pretty good at customer service generally, at least here, so that came as a surprise.
Anyway, something we could have done without.