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Feb. 22 2010 - 11:01 am | 44 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Toyota document puts price-tag on safety savings

2009 Toyota Camry photographed in Waldorf, Mar...

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Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, certainly knows how to trim costs and pare wasteful spending to a bare minimum.  While normally an admirable corporate attribute, a recently revealed internal document proves the Japanese auto giant prided itself on being able to wiggle its way out of expensive safety-related recalls.  A report in The New York Times finds that Toyota boasted of saving upwards of $100 million by delaying or negotiating its way out of recalling large amounts of vehicles.

Toyota estimated that it saved $100 million by negotiating with regulators for a limited recall of 2007 Toyota Camry and Lexus ES models for sudden acceleration, the same problem that has since prompted it to recall millions of cars, documents turned over to a Congressional committee showed Sunday

The estimate was in a confidential presentation from July 2009 listing legislative and regulatory “wins” for the company. The presentation was among thousands of pages of documents provided as a result of subpoenas by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, one of three panels holding hearings in the next two weeks on Toyota’s safety problems.

(via Toyota Cited $100 Million Savings After Limiting Recall, The New York Times)

The document could not come at a worse time for Toyota executives, who later this week will have to answer to Congress as to why the company seemingly dragged its feet on a number of a complaints regarding vehicles suddenly accelerating or failing to slow down.

Toyota finally attributed the problem to poorly designed floor mats, and a faulty pedal mechanism.  Nearly 9 million vehicles are now part of two massive recalls.  However, questions remain as to whether the problem might be related to the company’s electronic throttle control system (rather than floor mats or pedal assemblies).


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    About Me

    I'm an automotive journalist based in New York City and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Edmunds.com, Gaywheels.com, CarandDriver.com, Bimmer magazine and many other well-respected publications.

    I recently spent nearly 5 years in the wilds of Paris, France, where I was reporting about the European and Indian automotive world. But no matter where I am, there is always a great car story waiting to be told.

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    Now that I'm back in the U.S. - along with Matthew, my partner of 10 years - it's thrilling to get reacquainted with N.Y.C. and American car culture.

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