RSS
A Toyota 'coverup'?
Newly leaked Toyota memos reveal an internal struggle over whether to "come clean" about its cars' acceleration problems. What were they thinking?
Did Toyota cover up car malfunctions?
Did Toyota cover up car malfunctions?
Corbis
T

oyota's new slogan declares it's "moving forward." Not so fast: New reports reveal that Toyota executive Katsuhiko Koganei sent an email to his U.S. colleagues last January urging them to "not mention about the mechanical failures." Reportedly, Toyota spokesman Irv Miller shot back: "We are not protecting our customers by keeping this quiet...The time to hide on this one is over. We need to come clean." Five days later, Toyota did, recalling 2.3 million vehicles. How damaging are these revelations? (Watch a Fox Business discussion about Toyota executives' emails)

These memos show Toyota's true colors: Ironically, Irv Miller's "bombshell" email was a last-ditch effort to save the company, right before it began its "downward spiral," says Daniel Howes in The Detroit News. Now, thanks to this new batch of "'smoking-gun' memos," we know that Toyota "was more interested in covering its corporate keister than coming clean" to the government and its own loyal customers. Cue the lawsuits, and the real financial pain.
"Toyota fails to apply its own wisdom"

Toyota can weather this storm: Smoking gun? Not quite, says Frank Ahrens in the Washington Post. "Let's call it a slightly warm sword." Miller's email merely mentions "'mechanical'" issues, not the "electronic problems with runaway Toyota acceleration" — the real reason behind the company's infamous recall. Had it been the other way around, and had Miller "used the word 'hiding'" instead of "'keeping this quiet'," then we'd have a smoking gun. "But he didn't."
"AP: Former Toyota exec said in e-mail: 'We need to come clean'"

The real villain is "Government Motors": Given these newly leaked Toyota emails and inflammatory statements from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, says Peter Roff in U.S. News, you'd think the Obama administration is "trying to convince people not to buy Toyotas." Maybe if the government were part-owner of Toyota, it would be as "impartial and even-handed" with the Japanese automaker as it was with GM's new brakes recall.
"Is the government out to get Toyota?"

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week