• Feb 22, 2010
If you saved your company $1 million, you'd brag about it, right? How about $100 million? Certainly you'd be looking for a few pats on the back for such a massive sum of loot. A report in The Detroit Free Press reveals that Yoshimi Inaba, chairman and CEO of Toyota Motors Sales in the U.S., allegedly did such bragging back on July 6, 2010, but the topic was "Wins for Toyota" and the subject was safety.

The Freep obtained the internal presentation on Sunday as Toyota handed over thousands of documents to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in advance of its February 24 hearing. The over $100 million in savings was spread across nine points outlined by Inaba in the presentation, which outlined savings obtained by delaying safety regulations and avoiding investigations.

Inaba's presentation states that the company saved $124 million with "added lead-time and phase in" for a side-impact airbag standard. There is also a bullet under the defects subheading that says the company saved $100 million by negotiating an equipment recall on the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES. Yahoo expands on that bullet in a recent report, saying that the automaker limited the amount of vehicles affected by the 2007 recall to 55,000, saving 50,000 man-hours of labor. Other items mentioned in the internal presentation are the avoidance of an investigation for the Tacoma rust issue and $11 million in savings by delaying a rule for tougher door locks on the Sienna.

While it's likely that there are similar documents floating around the halls of every major automaker, Toyota is under more scrutiny than normal after three high-profile recalls have severely damaged its once sterling reputation for quality and reliability. The company's official response to the discovery of this document is after the jump, we're likely to hear more about it when company CEO Akio Toyoda visits Washington to answer questions from the Fed.


Tired of Toyota recall news? Try out the recall-free version of Autoblog.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press]

Toyota Statement Regarding Documents Shared with Congressional Committees

Our first priority is the safety of our customers and to conclude otherwise on the basis of one internal presentation is wrong. Our values have always been to put the customer first and ensure the highest levels of safety and quality. Our recently announced top-to-bottom quality review of all company operations, along with new quality initiatives and a renewed commitment to transparency are all designed to reaffirm these values.


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  • 69 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Heard about this on NPR this morning. Maybe Toyota could take that 100+ million saved and put it into their design department and bring back the MR or something lightweight, small engined, touchscreenless, powerlockless, and dirt cheap and extremely fun to drive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Boy have you missed the point (again). This is about only one thing, and it ain't about being a low-cost producer.

        Forget about trying to influence future regulations. This is about lying about product safety and then covering it up, period.

        Customers may come first, but it only matters if they are alive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wouldn't use the word evil. they just lose their humanity or their mind.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Do all companies turn evil?
      • 4 Years Ago
      As he turned to the rising sun and disembowelled himself he was heard to say "Sold out for an extra buck"

      Toyota has always been this type of company, saw it the 70's when I worked for them with problems they had with the cars. Honda was no better with hidden warranty, goodwill extensions. These boys will do anything to try and present the company as "quality driven" and avoide federal recalls and get you to pay for it yourself.


      The cars are souless appliances, the imagined "quality" is sold as gospel.

      In the end they are no different than other companies.

      At least the domestics had the balls to sell you garbage then tell you to go to hell for many years instead of pretending to care.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota is finished as we know them in America.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Finished as we know them" means they will not be nearly as successful as they have been in recent years. I don't see a full U.S. pull out but I do see heavily declining sales figures for many years to come. The truth is out and customers are not happy just as potential customers are looking elsewhere.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree with you, it will take a couple of years for them to be successful as they were for the last couple of years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It might be a bit soon for that but they clearly are not experiencing a "temporary" problem anymore.

        Given the revelations (and the certain promise of more), the brand is tarnished and, perhaps, scarred. But the products are generally still good and offer good value (if resale doesn't plummet). If this all leads to overcapacity, big layoffs will follow, particularly here in the US.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Seriously, where is the bottom for these guys? We have to be close.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Just keeps coming huh?
      • 4 Years Ago
      LOL pulling a FORD here
      • 4 Years Ago
      I just loooOOVVve all the "but Johnny did it too!" responses on here.

      We are talking about Toyota here! Other companies took their lumps a long, long time ago...and at that time we were told by T-fanboys that Toyota was different, that it couldn't happen to a Toyota.

      Well, what goes around, comes around. In spades.
      • 4 Years Ago
      invisiblepigeon3
      1:59PM (2/22/2010)
      and then be bailed out anyway...


      Given a "loan" actually which they may pay back in June or July with interest to the taxpayer

      Bailout? That's the banks and investment houses
      • 4 Years Ago
      The goose is not only cooked, it's burnt beyond belief and billowing thick black smoke!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sometimes cost cutting gets taken too far.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree with the short sightedness for investors. That seems to be a big problem in the current market. To many day traders trying to make short gains and demand for high stock prices for the short term. In the old days a company realized that if they didn't make a quality product that the public would eventually catch on and all the cost cutting in the world won't help when people won't buy product.

        I disagree with the hybrid comment. I think that was a smart move for them, whether you think a hybrid is a good idea or not Toyota makes money on the Prius and my guess is in a couple months hybrids will be the only market share where they take first place.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Quite right. When the most efficient producer of cars announces fantastically they plan to cut various costs 30%, this is the net result. You can only produce decent cars so cheaply.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @zam: Your exactly right! I'm with ya. That's what i thought when I saw the post on here about cutting costs, before all this recall stuff. But what I'm saying is they cut cost in all the wrong places. Hybrids are pointless unless they are gonna be cheaper that the gas version because the point of me buying a hybrid is to SAVE money not spend a premium over the standard. All that extra money buys a lot of gas and then i have a battery to replace when it goes out. And i probably would keep it. I've had my car for 11 years. So Toyota needs to chop their hybrid garbage unless they plan on making it cheaper. They could have saved money there. Less advertising, better product. The vehicle will sell itself if its good enough.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Since the Wal-Marting of America, I blame us, the American buying public for asking every manufacturor to sell us their product for the cheapest possible price. We buy deals, not cars or any other products for that matter. Wake up America, you want want want and expect to give nothing in return. Manufacturors are trying to give you what you want! Don't blame them for trying to comepte in the market we've created.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @mnmlist - try reading again. my point isn't that great cars cannot be produced efficiently and cheaply, most automakers show us they can. My point is toyota is the most efficient producer of cars on the planet. When you're already #1 in terms of producing your products as efficiently and profitably as possible and then proudly and almost fanatically boast you're going to cut costs another 30% something gives.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think great cars can be produced cheaply. Greed and marketing(lies) is why cars are we having a loaded Honda Civic nowadays costing 20K+. Kia's are great cars, but if you slapped a Mercedes badge on it, the price goes up. Most automakers could care less about the consumer or enthusiast. Its all about keeping investors happy. Consumers suffer in the end as they watch there wallets lighten. A long time ago we use to have fun, fuel efficient, cheap cars. Now all the money is poured into "how much entertainment and touchscreens can we pack in the cabin?"
      • 4 Years Ago
      No doubt you can find pretty much the same powerpoint at ANY car manufacturer. Job #1 is to make money - everything - including safety, always takes a back seat to profit. It's a business and that's reality.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You sound like you're justifing their purposeful deceit and negligence. Yes money is the bottom line, so was this a good 'investment? Thank God it wasn't an American company, you would have burn't Detroit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      oops, *Reading
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