Another Smoking Gun in the Toyota Saga
The weight of this disclosure will be added to the 8 million cars Toyota has recalled for acceleration problems, the recall of Prius hybrids of brake problems, smaller recalls including one for the Tacoma pickup, and a potential 500,000-unit recall of the Camry.
The obvious side effect of the memo's discovery is that it raises questions about Toyota's aggressive efforts to save money rather than recall cars that may have defects. The news will make both the U.S. government and consumers even more skeptical and will further damage the Toyota brand and sales of its cars in the U.S. and abroad.
The collateral damage from Toyota's apparent repeated efforts to dodge recalls or delay them, jeopardizing customer safety, will hit the company's dealers, who are already suffering from falling sales. Factory workers in the U.S. and Japan will also be affected. And the problems have already extended to Europe, where Toyota will close plants in the U.K. for two weeks.
A few more documents like "Wins for Toyota Safety Group" will lengthen the company's grillings in Washington and probably increase the number of lawyers Toyota will need to fight liability and class actions.