What Did They Know and When Did They Know It
February 25 - That's the date of a congressional hearing into troubled automaker, Toyota Motor Corp. and its problematic accelerator that is blamed for 19 deaths.
Lawmakers want to know what the company knew and when it knew it had a problem with the many models of vehicles that are now subject to a worldwide recall.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA. and Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to investigate the problem.
“Like many consumers, I am concerned by the seriousness and scope of Toyota’s recent recall announcements,” Waxman says in a statement on the committee's Web site.
The world’s largest automaker recalled 2.3 million U.S. cars and light trucks on January 21 for pedal-related problems, then the company recalled more than 5 million cars to prevent pedals from being trapped by the floor mats, reports Bloomberg.
On January 26, Toyota stopped production of eight recalled models and U.S. sales.
Rep. Waxman and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) have asked Toyota North America President, Yoshimi Inaba, as well as the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, David Strickland, for proof as to when they first learned Toyota had a problem, suspected there were safety defects, and what they did to resolve the hazards.
"Incidences of sticking accelerators have been ongoing with Toyota vehicles for up to a decade, and have led to a disproportionally high number of deaths. Failure to take every step possible to prevent future deaths or injury is simply unacceptable.
"Our hearing will press for answers about the source of this accelerator defect and investigate whether adequate measures have been taken to ensure the safety of Toyota vehicle owners and all Americans on the road,” says Stupak.
Stop Selling in U.S.
This week Toyota Motor Corp announced an unprecedented decision to stop selling its most popular models in the U.S. market.
Dealers in the U.S. and Canada have been told to stop selling the popular Camry and Corolla sedans. The models represent 57 % of Toyota’s 2009 U.S. sales reports the Wall Street Journal.
Besides Corolla and Camry, dealers will temporarily stop selling 2009-2010 RAV4, 2010 Highlander and 2008-2010 Sequoia SUV, 2005-2010 Avalon and Matrix 2005-2010 cars and 2007-2010 Tundra pickups.
Beginning February 1, assembly lines in five North American plants will be idled. Workers at Toyota lines in Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, and Ontario and a factory in Indiana will not be laid off as a result, a concept that is generally loathed in Japan, despite pressure from shareholders.
The crisis facing Toyota is spreading to Europe and China over the questionable accelerator pedal and the dangers it presents. No word on how many cars will be recalled in Europe, but the China recall is for more than 75,000 RAV4 SUVs.
The shutdown could cost the company $500 million a week. #