Feb 10, 2010: A Wall Street Journal article contains a timeline and some insight into how the rift developed between Toyota and NHTSA.
Secretive Culture Led Toyota Astray
What's left out is that the new NHTSA Head, David Strickland, just sworn in Jan 4, 2010, may have tried to hit the ground running to respond forcefully to Toyota. Apparently after a meeting on Jan 19, 2010 between Toyota and NHTSA, NHTSA was "steamed" and Strickland hinted at using the agency's full authority, which can include subpoenas, fines, and even forcing auto makers to stop selling cars.
The Journal further reports that "Evidence had been mounting for years that Toyota cars could speed up suddenly, a factor suspected in crashes causing more than a dozen deaths. Toyota had blamed the problem on floor mats pinning the gas pedal. Now, the two Toyota men revealed they knew of a problem in its gas pedals."
A possible explanation for the rift between Toyota and NHTSA was because this happend just 15 days, a mere 2 weeks into Strickland's appointment to head NHTSA, and perhaps that can explain why he would react with such viral and iresponsible press releases and comments through Ray Lahood and others.
Complaints are common with ALL vehicles.
Although the Journal attributes the problem with the secretive culture of Toyota, I would say another problem was communication: Strickland lacks experience in dealing with such high profile political firestorms. I'm sure with several advocacy groups and Lawyers groups screaming in his ear that he and his staff felt they needed to act forcefully.
See the Wall Street Journal Article Secretive Culture Led Toyota Astray
All Things Toyota
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