Should Lentz take the fall for Toyota? A corporation in crisis

Should Lentz take the fall for Toyota? A corporation in crisis

in an interview with The Associated Press the 16th Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, defended his department’s handling of the Toyota investigation. LaHood said the Japanese automaker was “a little safety deaf” during it’s probe of the problem. The company was so resistant, LaHood said, that it took a trip from federal safety officials to Japan to “wake them up” to the seriousness of the pedal problems.

“They should have taken it seriously from the very beginning when we first started discussing it with them,” LaHood told AP. “Maybe they were a little safety deaf in their North American office until we went to Japan.”

That’s not the reason that John Batchelor thinks that the president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc, Jim Lentz, .should be fired from Toyota. Batchelor thinks Lentz made an egregious error when he told Mattt Lauer on the Today show that the problem was fixed.

I disagreed with that reason.

This is a corporation in crisis. I understand that they’re not doing everything that is expected of them. But LaHood didn’t help when he went in front of a House hearing during testimony to the Appropriations subcommittee on transportation.  LaHood was asked what his advice would be to owners of recalled Toyota and he answered, “don’t drive recalled Toyotas until fixed”.

Later LaHood came out and said he made a misstatement. What LaHood said he meant was, “stop driving it, take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it.” but LaHood never retracted it on the dot.gov website.

And, of course, we talked about my phone call to Steve “Woz” Wozniak, a proud owner of a 2010 Toyota Prius with intermittent problems.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.