toyota highlander front grille

When Toyota recalled millions of vehicles for floor mat entrapment and sticky accelerator pedals, many thought the event would serve as a wake-up call for the world's largest automaker. While Toyota has no doubt taken considerable steps to rectify any quality lapses, a panel being paid for by the automaker apparently feels Toyota hasn't gone far enough.

Automotive News reports that management changes made by the Japanese automaker haven't gone far enough to fix all that ails Toyota. For example, the panel, which is led by former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, feels that Toyota decision-making is too centralized to Japan, which could mean that individual regions don't have the flexibility to act on issues in a timely fashion. Further, the group found that even with recent management changes, it's still too difficult to identify a clear chain of command in the Toyota safety department. The panel reportedly also referenced "skepticism and defensiveness" towards outside safety complains as a reason issues weren't solved sooner.

Still, even with continued management issues, the panel apparently still has high hopes for the automaker's future. Slater adds that Toyota has been more proactive and is reacting to issues faster than before, and that the automaker is serious "about wanting to reclaim their valued perch of premier leader in auto manufacturing." Thanks for the tip, Jason!