Toyota's two massive recalls have been a huge PR problem and an even bigger blow to consumer confidence, but the Japanese automaker isn't the only party looking bad right now. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seems to be in a bad spot too since it appeared to act very slowly in taking any action against Toyota in spite of the fact that claims of unintended acceleration counted in the hundreds. Mix in accusations that Toyota was able to hire an ex-NHTSA employee who may have influenced some of the government agency's decisions and you've got a recipe for spending unwanted time with Congress.
The question the entire auto industry is likely asking right now is, What's next? Will NHTSA continue to treat automakers with trust? Former NHTSA administrator Joan Claybrook says the Toyota situation has stung the government agency, adding "they have been behind the eight ball and haven't used the authority given to them." The Detroit News feels the new NHTSA will be faster to issue "stop sales," for example, when automakers don't have a fix for a safety concern, and the experts appear to agree. Sean Kane of Safety Research & Strategies reportedly told The Detroit News "when the dust settles, there is going to be some significant shakeups of how things happen within the defects realm at NHTSA."
We're guessing NHTSA will get tougher with automakers after the Toyota recalls are in the rear-view mirror, but then again Toyota isn't the first automaker to play cat and mouse with the government agency. Head over to The Detroit News to read some of the recalls automakers like Ford, GM and BMW have delayed or even avoided over the years.
[Source: The Detroit News]