• Oct 17, 2010
Ralph Nader challenges Toyota's R&D spending claim – Click above to watch commercial after the jump

Ralph Nader isn't finished. The man whose fame has long outlasted the first car he took to task is now gnawing at Toyota over claims the company makes in its print advertising: "That's why we're spending a million dollars an hour on research and development." In a letter Nader wrote to the U.S. sales chief Toyota, Jim Lentz, he states that an $8.7 billion investment in R&D is "astonishing," and he'd like to know precisely how that amount is spent.

The larger issue, however, might be Nader coming so late to the game. After all, Toyota released a commercial in June in which the narrator says, "At Toyota, we care about your safety. That's why we're investing one million dollars every hour to improve our technology and your safety." Everyone, including the New York Times, wanted to know how Toyota could be spending a million an hour on safety.

A Toyota rep responded to the NYT by saying "The $1,000,000 an hour claim represents all Toyota R&D spending globally, much of that allocated to new quality and safety technologies." True, that doesn't exactly answer Nader's question since he moves the discussion from spending on safety to spending on R&D, but the claim relies on how Toyota defines R&D. Even though Nader says the term "has a specific meaning," it's amorphous enough that we're sure Toyota can defend it... if that's even necessary. Lentz says he'll respond to Nader directly.

[Source: USA Today]



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  • 38 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I saw a commercial about Toyota and I fell asleep.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pretty simply .. it the cost of the recalls.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here we go again. Not a Toyota fan but I also don't kicking a dead dog.
      • 4 Years Ago
      " and he'd like to know precisely how that amount is spent."

      I'd like this guy to find something better to do with his time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ralphy boy is full of it. I owned a 1965 Corvair and loved it. I used to race it and never spun out. I never felt unsafe. I also owned 3 Pinto's and never felt unsafe in them either. In fact I'm looking for one right now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's right. Keep doubting Toyota and what they'll do to recover from this recent flurry of 'user error defects'.

      I know these forums are pro-American, which is great, but we have a penchant for doubting foreign competitors. I have no doubt at all that Toyota will continue to be the #2 automaker in the US. None.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Does Nader have a drivers license yet? He sure didn't when he made a stink about the Corvair.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Did I just see the simulator that Lexus recently decided to advertise with a Toyota logo? I guess the simulator isn't as new as Lexus says it is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh don't get me wrong, I am well aware that they are one and the same corporation, but I don't think it's useful to change the logo on the simulator back and forth between the two brands so I believe they do indeed have one for each brand. The video even showed a red Camry bolted on inside the simulator. I'm not sure how much work would it be to replace the car inside the simulator but having two of them would make sense due to the company's different target audiences.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It is brand new. Lexus is just Toyota's luxury brand so of course they share testing facilities. They also use the same racetracks they built to test the vehicles on-it'd be kinda silly to build two of everything.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What I DEMAND to know is how Toyota manages to spend all that money and still produce the most boring to drive cars imaginable.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota's worldwide revenues for FY2010 was about 19 trillion yen (17.2 trillion from automobile sales), and it's looking like they're on track to do about the same in FY2011. That's over $230 billion in USD. In that context, the notion that Toyota spends $8 billion USD a year on R&D is completely feasible. I'd actually argue that it's a bit low considering the vast scale of their operations.


      • 4 Years Ago
      ...and while they're at it, they should be paying WAY more on improving their design. their cars look sooooo dull
        • 4 Years Ago
        CoupedeBill, we know you hate Toyota, but is it really necessary to repeat the same basic line 5 times in every thread? Once is just fine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They gotta stop hiring dial soap to design their cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I guess he will never run for President again.
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