Will Today's Recalls Finally Give Detroit an Opening?

When it comes to auto recalls, Toyota Motor (TM) is today the focus of much media attention and regulatory scrutiny. Reports of unintended acceleration and braking problems have led to four separate recalls of 8.5 million cars by the Japanese auto maker, while U.S. regulators continue to investigate other complaints, such as steering problems in 2009-10 Corolla models.

That has led to consternation among some consumers who now question the wisdom of purchasing Toyota products and even those of rival Honda Motor (HMC), which Wednesday expanded a previously announced recall of cars with overly powerful driver-side airbags. Also today, Republicans said they want Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda to testify before Congress this month, providing an open exchange before the American public.