For most of this decade, Toyota has been the darling of the environmentalists (if such a thing is possible for a car company) due primarily to the Prius and the addition of the company's hybrid system to their other models. That honeymoon seems to be rapidly coming to an end. Increasingly in recent months, people have been critical of Toyota's bigger, more powerful hybrids, in particular the new LS600h. And then there is the Tundra. Toyota themselves over the past month have been sounding increasingly defensive in speeches by executives and on the company's corporate blog.
Now the Natural Resources Defense Council has even come out and accused the company of hypocrisy and greenwashing. They are not happy about Toyota coming out in support of the Hill-Terry bill that calls for substantially less aggressive fuel economy standards than the Senate bill that was passed last spring. The NRDC and others are starting to realize that Toyota is just another big car company and they are not special. NRDC has now launched an on-line petition to Shigeru Hayakawa, president and CEO of Toyota expressing their disappointment in their support of Hill-Terry. Most recently Tom Friedman (no fan of Detroit himself) has jumped on the Toyota-bashing bandwagon, accusing them of playing Kevorkian to the Detroit Three so that they can grab big truck market share.

General Motors might want to take note of this backlash against Toyota and back off on hyping the Volt until they are a little closer to production. It's clear that the top edge of the fence is pretty sharp and if you're not completely on the green side, you can get cut up pretty badly.

[Source: Natural Resources Defense Council, thanks to Apollo for the tip]

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