Report: Toyota bragged about saving $100M by avoiding, limiting recalls

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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