Toyota just paid $1.1 billion to settle lawsuits alleging random acceleration problems in its cars. The allegations were, and are essentially false. But, Toyota paid out because it knew it had to, to move on. A giant speeding ticket to the government. (And Toyota wasn’t even speeding.)
Back in 2010 I said this:
Remember the CEO of Toyota being dragged in front of Congress for a whipping? And for what? Absolutely nothing.
In the attached article, BigGovernment.com makes a similar argument to the one I made above, 3 years ago. The whole take-down of Toyota just when GM needed a push from the general public and some good headlines for political reasons stinks. It smells. It’s rotten. But hey, crony capitalism has a distinct smell. It lingers in the air a lot more these days.
Buy an Camry, not a Malibu. Buy a Prius, not a Volt.
It was perhaps no coincidence that the Obama administration had recently taken over General Motors in a highly unusual bailout. Instead of taking GM through normal bankruptcy and restructuring, the government poured billions of taxpayer dollars into it, set aside primary creditors to protect unions’ pensions, and then took the company to bankruptcy. Amidst controversy, Obama was desperate for a GM success story.
So when LaHood blasted Toyota, it was not just as a regulator, but as a competitor.