Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Toyota's struggle with unintended acceleration of its vehicles is not the first time that such a major recall has threatened an auto company. Audi was accused of the same defect in the 1980s, and it lost more than a billion dollars and its US business for several years as a result of a "60 Minutes" expose. The unfortunate outcome of Audi's near-death experience was that it was found faultless in the end. No matter. Customers left the company and its products on the lot. Toyota admits it is in error in two ways -- floor carpets that jam accelerator pedals and sticking pedals. While it is too early to now whether Toyota will lose its US business as a result of these engineering mistakes, it will be costly to fix several million vehicles and to fight lawsuits already being filed. Toyota's reputation has taken a blow that will require years of good products to regain. The ultimate question is why did this happen in the first place? The company will be working on that answer for some time to come.