Man, when it rains, it absolutely pours. Especially if you're a carmaker called Toyota and are already embroiled in a credibility-killing (and sales-smothering) gas pedal recall plus another for defective floor mats. According to the Detroit Free Press, none other than U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has absolutely blasted the Japanese giant, calling it "a little safety deaf" and noting he was upset that NHTSA officials had to fly to Japan "to remind Toyota management about its legal obligations." That's just the tip of the spear stuff, too. Check out the shaft:
Since questions were first raised about possible safety defects, we have been pushing Toyota to take measures to protect consumers. While Toyota is taking responsible action now, it unfortunately took an enormous effort to get to this point. We're not finished with Toyota and are continuing to review possible defects and monitor the implementation of the recalls.
To paraphrase L.A. Confidential's Captain Dudley Smith, we wouldn't trade places with Toyota right now for all the whiskey in Ireland. Still, we find the timing of Secretary LaHood's comments a little odd. Here's what we mean: the NHTSA official that flew to Japan to verbally beat on Toyota did so in December. And while Toyota seems to have behaved badly at first, the company has found an unobjectionable solution (according to the safety agency) to its gas pedal problem. So, why whip on 'em today? Could it have something to do with next week's Congressional inquiry scheduled to begin on February 10? We'd wager yes.



[Source: Detroit Free Press | Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images]