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Toyoda Ducks Question of NHTSA Fines

Head of Toyota ignores effects of more than $16 million in fines.

by on Apr.07, 2010

Toyota executives remain reticent about recall and incentive costs.

In his remarks at an investor conference this morning, Akio Toyoda ignored the potential financial impact of what are the largest civil fines in U.S. history on the Japanese company he heads.

On Monday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking the maximum civil penalty of $16.4 million against Toyota Motor Corporation for failing to notify the auto safety agency of what turns out to be a potentially fatal “sticky pedal” defect for at least four months. (See Toyota Broke Law! NHTSA Seeks Maximum Fines)

The Japanese company did this “despite knowing of the potential risk to consumers.” Approximately 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. were recalled in late January for the sticky pedal defect.

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“As we believe you may know, Toyota’s basic stance is to emphasize customer safety above all else and to practice rigorous quality control for this purpose.

“If, however, there are any issues we make a thorough investigation of the causes, implement countermeasures, make repairs and improvements. This is a firm and unwavering conviction that we have held since our inception,” said Toyoda.

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Putting the Toyoda Back in Toyota

Family heir to regain control of Japanese giant.

by on Jan.20, 2009

Family Heir and Incoming Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda

Family Heir and Incoming Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda

Toyota Motor Corp.  announced a series of executive changes that will remove the company’s incumbent president from the Japanese automaker’s key executive post and replace him with a member of the company’s founding family.
Akio Toyoda, now Toyota executive vice president, will replace Katsuaki Watanabe as Toyota’s president in June after the company annual general shareholder’s meeting.  Fuji Cho, a Toyota veteran, wil retain the chairmanship of  Toyota’s board. Watanabe, an intensely ambitious executive who oversaw Toyota’s bid to overtake General Motors Corp. as the world’s largest carmaker, will move into the position of vice chairman.

Reports that Watanabe would be sidelined have been circulating in Japan and throughout the auto industry ever since last month when Toyota reported its largest financial loss in 70 years. Ironically, the loss, which was triggered by worldwide recession and a disastrous decline in sales in the U.S., came just as Toyota appeared to have reached its goal of surpassing General Motors to become the world’s largest automakers. The flagship Toyota division also became the best-selling automotive brand in the U.S. last year for the first time and Toyota – including luxury marque Lexus and the youth-oriented Scion – has replaced Ford as the second largest carmaker in the U.S., capturing almost 16. 5 percent share.

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