Competing against Government Motors

Posted by Marc Hodak on February 3, 2010 under Invisible trade-offs, Regulation without regulators | 5 Comments to Read

So, Toyota, builder of one of the most dependable machines in history, is being pummeled in the press for a quality problem that can’t quite be isolated.  The U.S. government, which is constitutionally incapable of keeping its nose out of other people’s business, is not content to let the horror of bad publicity and Toyota’s legendary engineering do the job of righting things–the politicians have to pile on:

“This is very serious,” (Transportation Secretary) LaHood said at a breakfast with reporters in Washington. “After I talk with (Toyota’s CEO), they’ll get it. We’re going to keep the pressure on.”

Mr. LaHood said Transportation Department officials flew to Japan in December to meet with Toyota executives and remind the company “about its legal obligations.” The agency, he said, “followed up with a meeting at DOT headquarters in January to insist they address the accelerator pedal issue.”

Because, if the senior U.S. transportation bureaucrat didn’t tell them to do it, Toyota would gladly continue allowing the quality issue to fester, destroying seven decades of branding as the highest quality car manufacturer in the world, and killing off customers as an added bonus.

But there is, no doubt, more to this spectacle than meets the eye.

Read more of this article »