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  (Source: Sting Ray Studios)

Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles, including the best-selling Camry for unintended acceleration problems. Toyota has now received a massive fine for trying to deceive U.S. federal regulators.  (Source: Torque Report)
Fine is largest in U.S. history against an automaker

The atmosphere at the U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday was tense as Secretary Ray LaHood slammed Japanese automaker Toyota.  Lahood announced, "We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligationsWorse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families."

Defects are an automaker's eternal enemy.  Every year thousands, if not millions of vehicles are recalled for defects.  Toyota's critical problem was not so much the defects itself -- despite the massive number of vehicles involved.  Rather, Toyota's key mistake was the dangerous game of deception it reportedly played.

According to documents obtained from Toyota, the company began a recall on "sticky pedals" in September of last year in Canada and Europe.  However, it failed to inform U.S. regulators of the problem, and made no effort to launch a recall of the effected vehicles until it came under heavy fire in January.

That constitutes a gross violation of federal safety guidelines, which demand that an automaker inform the U.S. federal regulators within five days of discovering a defect.

As a result, the DOT has thrown the book at Toyota, proposing a $16.4M USD, the maximum penalty allowed under the law.  That fine far surpasses the biggest previous fine against an automaker -- $1M USD sum levied against General Motors for failing to promptly recall windshield wipers in 2002-2003 model vehicles.

Toyota has two weeks decide its response.  Despite the reportedly conclusive evidence, the Asian automaker is expected to appeal the decision, perhaps seeking a smaller fine.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to investigate the sticky accelerators, unsatisfied with Toyota's claim that floor mats were solely to blame.  NHTSA is looking at a host of mechanical and electrical elements for bugs, and is even examining whether cosmic rays could play a role, with the help of experts from NASA.

The government continues to investigate Toyota's behavior during the recall, as well.  DOT officials said more fines could brought against Toyota if further proof of wrongdoing is revealed.

While the defect mess is unpleasant for all those involved it does raise some interesting questions about governance.  Some say that the government should not police companies, and that the commercial press should be left to investigate reports of defects and inform consumers of safety risk.  Others argue the current system is a successful one.  And still others argue that current regulation does not go far enough -- that the federal government should have the ability to levy even bigger fines against companies who knowingly make products that could endanger U.S. consumers.

Likewise, the 135 pending lawsuits against Toyota raise similar questions.  Some argue that allowing such free litigation against safety critical businesses, such as automakers and healthcare providers allows citizens to take regulation into their own hands.  Others argue that it hinders free enterprise, raising prices, and worse yet leads to bigger government.


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Still Confused
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/5/2010 10:51:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
According to documents obtained from Toyota, the company began a recall on "sticky pedals" in September of last year in Canada and Europe. However, it failed to inform U.S. regulators of the problem, and made no effort to launch a recall of the effected vehicles until it came under heavy fire in January.
That constitutes a gross violation of federal safety guidelines, which demand that an automaker inform the U.S. federal regulators within five days of discovering a defect.


"recall"
"sticky pedals"
I believe September--> January is generally greater than 5 days.

Oh, and I have a strange feeling that NASA knows a little more about the effects of cosmic rays on electronics than your nose.


RE: Still Confused
By Spuke on 4/5/2010 11:00:10 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Still Confused
By The Raven on 4/6/2010 10:49:05 AM , Rating: 2
To bring up a previous conversation, I guess we now know where the people with certain IQ levels are:
>100 at the Toyota dealerships
<100 at NHTSA and NBC


RE: Still Confused
By jonmcc33 on 4/7/2010 12:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently you missed that graph showing Toyota market share dropping?

http://online.wsj.com/media/AUTOYLY.gif

From Dec 2009 to Feb 2010 their market share dropped like a rock.


RE: Still Confused
By The Raven on 4/7/2010 1:53:24 PM , Rating: 2
This article is talking about after the news bubble.

There were many many people saying Toyota might not be able to recover and such. The good sales ## just show that many people don't believe the hype of runaway cars.


RE: Still Confused
By Samus on 4/8/2010 12:49:29 AM , Rating: 1
Jan-Feb Ford took about 60% of their 'potential' business with the Focus and Fusion. However, VW sold a good number of Golf and Jetta "TDI" models in February as well. GM sales also improved.

Basically, the public was swayed by all the negative press (Toyota recalls made front page headlines in most papers in January) and now that shit has hit the fan, things are on their way to normal. I can't find sales figured for March yet but I did see a Lexus IS 250h with March temp plates on my way to work the other day...so at least somebody bought one.


RE: Still Confused
By Parhel on 4/7/2010 12:47:55 PM , Rating: 2
I saw some great sales on Toyotas in this weekend's paper. I assumed they were related to the recent bad press, because Toyota never has good sales. No sale on the new Venza though, which is the one I may have considered.


RE: Still Confused
By porkpie on 4/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 4:52:42 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
January 21, 2010 -- Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc, today announced it would recall approximately 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking accelerator pedals on specific Toyota Division models. This action is separate from the on-going recall of approximately 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to reduce the risk of pedal entrapment by incorrect or out of place accessory floor mats. Approximately 1.7 million Toyota Division vehicles are subject to both separate recall actions.


Floor mats was September. Toyota allegedly knew that the pedal was also defective at that time and held off saying anything until January.


RE: Still Confused
By The Raven on 4/6/2010 10:54:09 AM , Rating: 2
How many month did it take the NHTSA to figure out the problem... Oh what? They haven't? Oh my!

They safety mats to me are just like the Wii silicon sleeves. An attempt to shup people up. Like when Audi spaced the brake a little furthur away from the accelerator.

But one thing it doesn't demonstrate is that Toyota didn't care about the safety of their customers.


RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 1:43:13 PM , Rating: 2
What the hell kind of idiotic Toyota shill are you? Do you not understand that these were Toyota's calls? Toyota is not arguing floor mats. They are not arguing pedals. Those were THEIR CONCLUSIONS. They implemented THEIR FIXES. This fine isn't about whether or not the fixes presented fix all problems, or even that they do anything at all; the fine is over Toyota hiding their OWN conclusion of, "pedal defect," from US regulators. They are NOT ALLOWED TO DO THAT.

There's nothing in this decision about the electronics.


RE: Still Confused
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 1:45:38 PM , Rating: 2
" Do you not understand that these were Toyota's calls?"

They were, yes. Toyota's wise decision to bend over backwards in the hopes of stemming another mass delusion like the one that crippled Audi sales in the 1980s for an accelerator problem that never existed. It's also a decision made on legal grounds, to help prevent some tort attorney from making billions off Toyota by claiming they "did nothing".

What this action is NOT is any sort of evidence or proof that a problem actually exists.


RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 3:19:16 PM , Rating: 2
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527487043...
quote:

Audi got some relief from the 1989 study that blamed driver's errors. The researchers found that electronic faults in the idle-control systems of Audi 5000s could cause a short-term power surge that could startle drivers into hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake. The researchers also said the close placement of pedals in the Audi 5000—which were of a different size and configuration than many Detroit models— could lead drivers to mistake the gas for the brake.


That doesn't sound nonexistent to me.
If a car is built in such a way that it doesn't fit the drivers, that's a problem.

Build a motorcycle with the front brake lever on the left and the clutch on the right, and I foresee a lot of accidents coming out of first. It would not technically be defective, but it would still be a smart move to switch things to the standard configuration.


RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 3:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
^^ nothing to do with Toyota.


RE: Still Confused
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 4:00:54 PM , Rating: 1
"If a car is built in such a way that it doesn't fit the drivers, that's a problem."

Ah, so in your opinion, compact and subcompact car on the planet has a serious design flaw, because obese people have a problem fitting inside them?

There was no problem with the Audi. It was driver error, plain and simple...fed by a irresponsible media looking for a story.


RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 4:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
If obese people had trouble getting into such cars, they wouldn't exist in the American market.


RE: Still Confused
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 4:49:00 PM , Rating: 2
"If obese people had trouble getting into such cars, they wouldn't exist in the American market."

I'm surprised you managed to type that wanker without spraining a finger. Are you seriously claiming that a severely obese person doesn't have trouble fitting into a subcompact? There are people so large they can't even fit easily into a Tahoe, much less a Mini-Cooper.


RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 4:31:53 PM , Rating: 1
And yes, faulty operation is a problem.

Stop forcing your logic.


RE: Still Confused
By mino on 4/6/2010 11:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
Sory to be rude, but if the drivers would RTFM, there would not be any problem.

Here in Europe if something like that(the AUDI issue) happened to me, everybody would laugh me of as an idiot who should not a have a license in the first place.

It is like the notes to not fry a pet in a microwave ...


RE: Still Confused
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/2010 11:20:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah right. In England you can't even carry your fathers coffin if you aren't a government licensed pallbearer. Because too many people were getting hurt carrying coffins. Europeans should be the LAST to preach about personal accountability and self reliance. You people eat, breath, and sleep according to regulations.


RE: Still Confused
By EasyC on 4/8/2010 1:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
Well in Europe, the government doesn't have a vested interest in a direct competitor to Toyota...so no, it wouldn't be blown out like it is here.


RE: Still Confused
By The Raven on 4/7/2010 2:08:44 PM , Rating: 2
It wouldn't sound non-existant if that paragraph made any sense.

quote:
The researchers found that electronic faults in the idle-control systems of Audi 5000s could cause a short-term power surge that could startle drivers into hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake.


Were there electronic faults that somehow were hard wired into the drivers' brains? What does this quote even mean?

Fact is that your quote boils down to what's in the bold; driver error.


RE: Still Confused
By The Raven on 4/7/2010 4:40:43 PM , Rating: 2
Regarding the shill accusation:
I work for a Toyota subsidiary that sells materials to all major auto manufacturers. I have no allegience to Toyota except that they treat me and my co-workers fairly and with respect. My allegiance is to the American people. And if the American people want headlights and taillights, I am here for them. The job opening was just here so I gave it a shot. I have been here 2 years and have learned much about the auto industry even though I just import materials used in manufacturing the lighting fixtures and have no hand in design or whether the cars can stop or not :-P.

But any of that aside, the reason that I don't like the smell of the whole affair is that I don't like gov't in our business. Especially the feds. So though I MIGHT be slightly biased toward Toyota, that issue far outweighs any bias I might have. And I have zero bias for Audi. My dad's A4 fell apart pretty bad. I go with Honda for the most part.

But I agree with you that Toyota failed to report their findings directly to the US gov't. This is breaking the law. Is this whole thing not a circus then? No. It is a circus. To me this is like when I got a ticket for having expired tags. I was registered. But I forgot to put them on as we were going through the childbirth thing. But some a-hole saw my car parked there with tags that expired 2 months prior, and bam! I'm out $75 (if I remember correctly)
Did I break the law? Yes. Should they have honored my appeal because of the childbith. I think so.

So if they didn't report this, do you think they should have to pay the maximum penalty for some alleged neglegiance? It all smells of bad politics. Whether it is because GM is owned by the US gov't now or because Obama needs money to fund his health care plan, I don't know. (and I'd say the same thing about Bush and his war or whatever the hell) But it certainly does not seem right. And I'm sure Toyota won't fight it because of legal fees, and so it just amounts to extortion.

And I'm sorry that I pulled the 'Wii' example out on you without explaining. Nintendo voluntarily gave those sleeves out.

I hope that all clarifies some of my ranting.


RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/8/2010 9:05:24 AM , Rating: 2
Well, the Federal Government isn't a singular entity. Just because Congress is a bunch of clowns doesn't mean the DOT is retarded.

http://www.copypasta.info/2010/03/socialism.html


RE: Still Confused
By The Raven on 4/8/2010 10:23:18 AM , Rating: 2
Look let me just calm myself...

I am not an anarchist. (FYI that post is fallacy.)

Do you think this is not a case of the US gov't taking a swipe at Toyota (for whatever reason)?

I would think that the max penalty would be for some company who intentionally endangered people on our road ways. Not someone who showed enough concern as to try to fix the problems.

But even if you don't agree, that is fine. My opinion is that the gov't is doing TOO MUCH here. I am not calling for the head of LaHood or his department.


RE: Still Confused
By Davelo on 4/6/2010 12:21:51 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the floor mats or the pedal. That's only what Toyota wants you to believe. Fixing drive by wire systems would cost them a fortune.


RE: Still Confused
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 1:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
Your tinfoil hat is on a bit too tight, I believe. When you finish checking your lawn for black helicopters, you may want to adjust it.


RE: Still Confused
By Davelo on 4/6/2010 1:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
Toyota paid hack?


RE: Still Confused
By Wulf145 on 4/7/2010 4:19:36 AM , Rating: 2
If it is a fault in the drive by wire system, why are the only reported cases of unintended acceleration all in N. Amerika. AFAIK the drive by wire system is not N.Amerika specific.


RE: Still Confused
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: Still Confused
By porkpie on 4/5/2010 11:35:37 PM , Rating: 5
"it's a 100% fact that those rays cannot compromise those systems."

Not your decade for factual accuracy, is it? Cosmic rays can and do cause SEUs (single event upsets) for computer equipment. They are a serious problem for airliners and satellites, which fly at altitudes where radiation is a greater hazard.

Even on the ground, SEUs are not uncommon, and result for the average computer with non-ECC memory to experience between 0.25 - 2 crashes per year, depending on elevation, memory size, and a few other factors.

The particular pattern of events makes it very unlikely that SEUs are causing Toyota's problems (if those problems are anything but a mass delusion, that is). But saying it is "100% impossible" is, of course, wildly incorrect.


RE: Still Confused
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/10, Rating: -1
RE: Still Confused
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 1:47:29 AM , Rating: 3
I invariably find the best way to suppress illogical hysteria is with the actual facts . . . rather than by telling an equally large lie in the opposite direction.


RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/10, Rating: -1
RE: Still Confused
By The Raven on 4/6/2010 11:09:19 AM , Rating: 2
Umm... no love for any news outlet in particular here, but I am sick of hearing about the Fox bias. You really think that the others are better than Fox. I'm fine with you saying that O'Reilly is a biased righty if you will admit the opposite for Oberman. Or that Maddow is a biased lefty if you will admit the opposite for Hannity. Opinion shows aside, the news should be built on facts, and if you can't connect the dots yourself by collecting facts from various media outlets/the interwebs then...

But with regard to this story in particular, I have heard more about this from NBC than any one else. And they don't seem to like to use the word "alleged" in this case either, as if they have facts that prove everything they say.

And I'm talking about the actual nightly news here. I don't have cable/sat.


RE: Still Confused
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/2010 12:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
I have never seen a media more in the tank for a President and Congress in my life. And people are whinning about Fox bias !??


RE: Still Confused
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/10, Rating: -1
RE: Still Confused
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/10, Rating: 0
RE: Still Confused
By The Raven on 4/7/2010 5:24:37 PM , Rating: 1
What candidate are you talking about? And FYI Rush isn't a reporter for Fox news. Hell, he isn't even a reporter. He is a commentator/talk show host. And if you he doesn't have a free podcast at this point, I'm not listening to him.

You know what I would be scared of is a world with an unchecked liberal media?

Was it Fox that implied the Tea Party Patriots were racists? (Or that anyone that was against the health care bill for that matter) No it was NBC, CNN, and others. They took a tiny bit of bigotry and painted the whole crowd of people who want fiscal responsibility in DC with the same brush. Yeah there is no bias there. None at all. I guess if it makes you feel better.

And again, I don't like Fox more than the others. I just am saying that you can't blow off Fox and simultaniously believe you are getting the true story from the others because you assume they aren't biased. If you do that, you may as well just restrict yourself to watching another biased outlet: like Fox.

Yeah and all those people who think that you should get what you work for. Yeah they are sheeple. Not like those people who get their 'Obama money' and free health care. It must have been a tough decision for those people to decide to vote for Obama since things would be harder...I mean easier for them under his presidency.

I say the real sheeple are those that rely on the democrats or the republicans as we can all see now that both parties have been taking us all for a ride for quite sometime.

From your comment, I take it you are equating republicans to conservatives and democrats to liberals though neither are mutually exclusive.

The city where I work is largely democrat. They have always been democrats and they have been democrats since before the civil war when the democrats were the "Racist party" They never changed their ways. Was this before or after Copernicus? Was it dogma that these democrats followed believing that blacks were inferior? Yes it was. Or you can take a democratic dogma pill and tell yourself that the democrats were never like that. It is scary how much like religion that politics can be. It is not coincidence that people made fun of how Obama was treated like a god during the election.

I just realized that you are the same guy that thinks Ray LaHood is infallible and right on with his call to rape Toyota.


RE: Still Confused
By HotFoot on 4/6/2010 11:41:10 AM , Rating: 3
I've been under the impression that smaller transistors are more susceptible to these events, since less energy is required to jump states.


RE: Still Confused
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/2010 12:08:54 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I invariably find the best way to suppress illogical hysteria is with the actual facts . . . rather than by telling an equally large lie in the opposite direction.


Then here is a fact for you. Toyota engineers state with all confidence that they have gone to great lengths to shield the throttle-by-wire system from EFI and Cosmic rays and so forth. They don't need aviation grade shielding because cars don't fly.

Also the only known way to test for this currently is putting the system in the path of a particle accelerator and blast it with high energy molecules. Which wouldn't really be an accurate test reflecting real world conditions.


RE: Still Confused
By Davelo on 4/6/2010 12:19:27 PM , Rating: 2
There are documented examples of the problem like one where a Toyota Avalon owner who complained about his car going full throttle by itself was ignored by his dealership. He ended up driving the car to dealership at full throttle, using the transmission to keep it under control. He parked it in front of the showroom with it's engine redlined telling the dealership employees "Now do you believe me"?


RE: Still Confused
By R3T4rd on 4/7/2010 4:31:11 AM , Rating: 2
I'll have to admit, I have experienced this issue first hand. My father barrowed my Suburban in 2002-2003 and left me his 1997 Avalon. I had to pickup the mighty boss and took to the interstate. Picked up the Boss and on our way back, set the Avalon on cruise at 70MPH. At first I thought it was just the cruise kicking in to get the car into the correct speed after hitting the cruise button because there is always a 1-3 second lag but, the car kept accelerating. I hit 80MPH...90MPH and said this is not correct. I hit the brakes and the car would slow down but then the acceleration just kept on going if I released the brakes. The car was not redlining but if I remember correctly it was accelerating at about 4000-5000 RPM. Turning off the cruise also did not work. With my wife next to me and pregnate as well, I put the car in neutral turned off the car in the middle of the interstate still going around 80MPH, turned the car back on and the issue subsided.

I just thought I'd share that. I never told my dad about the incident. Never heard my dad say anything of that nature since 2002-2003 to me or my siblings as well. My wife peed her pants about the situation but I was just "Meh". Honestly, if it was her driving, she'd probably panic and call 911 like the guy in Callifornia did. That is just (I think) your typical women driver reaction. Whether it was electronic malfunction or something, I'll never know but it has never happened since. The Avalon still runs and hums perfectly today with over 280,000 miles on it. So yeah, it was odd when I first heard of the similar claims last year. I wanted to post this on other threads but thought, well it only happend once so perhaps it was just something else. But like I said, I never had my dad take the car in for an inspection therefore I will never know what exactly went wrong that day. Was it the same issue(s) as everyone is stating it to be? Was it different? I don't know.

The Toyota brand have always been very reliable for me and my family. Regardless of the current situation, I would purchase another Toyota if I needed to. But there is that deep dark thought of what did really happen that day in the back of my mind though.


RE: Still Confused
By The0ne on 4/6/2010 6:22:13 PM , Rating: 2
They could not verify the problem exists in the vehicles they used. However, Toyota has known all along the problems they had and hid them. About 3-4 weeks ago, NPR had a show with a lawyer that went through Toyota documents and found that they had indeed known about it, had meetings regarding them, made decisions to hide them and even went as far as to claim them as "cost savings" totaling in the millions. How's that for arrogance eh.


Where does the money go???
By fatbaldandhappy on 4/5/10, Rating: 0
By NicodemusMM on 4/5/2010 10:01:30 PM , Rating: 1
1) Wouldn't liability insurance cover something like that? Honestly I don't know... and either way others absorb the cost, even if it's through higher liability premiums.

2) While they may have taken all possible steps to prevent a problem (as most competitive companies do) they failed to notify authorities when one was found. I do agree with the conflict of interest. When a company (In this case Government Motors) can fine its own competition there's a problem.


RE: Where does the money go???
By nilepez on 4/5/2010 10:04:44 PM , Rating: 3
The fine is a slap on the wrist. Anyone that's actually been impacted by this issue (esp if there was serious injury or death) will sue and in some cases may get more money that the Government is getting.

They'll fight it, but their biggest cost will come in civil court.


RE: Where does the money go???
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/2010 10:27:24 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
They'll fight it, but their biggest cost will come in civil court.


Only because the media has tainted the hell out of any jury's opinion. There still has not been one proven case of this problem. In any fair trial, where verified evidence would have to be brought against Toyota, Toyota would win. It's all " he said she said ". All we have are peoples claims, NO FACTS.


RE: Where does the money go???
By callmeroy on 4/6/2010 11:06:06 AM , Rating: 2
This door swings both ways though. Your point is "where are the facts".....my point is we'll have to wait and see. 34 people died allegedly/related to the sticky accelerator issue. So something happened if people's lives were lost over it.

Obviously to go to court evidence will have to be presented, we'll have to see - but its premature to say the least there are NO FACTS....how would you know anyway - oh because Toyota said so? :) Maybe because your favorite (pick anyone...)news website or news TV show said so? There's no law that states every family member (of one of the 34 that were killed) have to make public their case or facts...In fact its quite the opposite.

And to be clear - hear me out, I'm not saying there is a strong case against them, nor am I saying you are right and there really is no case or FACTS....I'm neutral, playing devil's advocate if you will. I'm just saying there could be a mountain of evidence, on a case by case basis, that in fact does prove that Toyota was at fault. Again, there's no law or rule that states they have to make it known to the public.


RE: Where does the money go???
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 11:20:18 AM , Rating: 1
"its premature to say the least there are NO FACTS"

That's just the point. There are no facts to implicate Toyota here. It appears to be no more than simple driver error. Yet in the minds of millions of Americans, Toyota is already guilty of a heinous crimes. And those are the people who, having already made up their minds, will be sitting on any jury.

Add in a healthy dose of rampant anti-corporate sentiment, and any decent attorney could wring a verdict out of a jury, without a single fact on his side.


RE: Where does the money go???
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/2010 10:18:45 PM , Rating: 5
Where does the money go ? Keeping GM going, of course lol

No, on a serious note I think Toyota should counter sue. It's clearly hypocritical, and damned unethical, for the owner of Toyota's largest competitor, the Federal Government, for using this an excuse to boost GM sales and keep our ruined economy afloat. This isn't about the US consumer, and everyone knows it.

Not to mention our own safety commission still cannot reproduce this so called "defect", and the only proof is claims from customers that cannot be verified. There just isn't enough evidence for a fine this large.


RE: Where does the money go???
By HotFoot on 4/6/2010 11:32:09 AM , Rating: 2
You make a very good point with respect to the conflict of interest. The amount of money is paltry, but the reputation is very important.


RE: Where does the money go???
By eldakka on 4/5/2010 10:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1) While I don't have a problem with fines for actions companies take that are detrimental to the general public,...


I agree with you here.

I think a potential solution would be, rather than fining companies, start bringing criminal charges against senior executives, board members and so on if they are involved in the cover up. Mistakes happen, but covering up the mistakes should be punished.

Mkae it a criminal offence to not report safety issues.

Hell, even if fines are maintained, make the management and other people involved in the cover up (following orders is not an acceptable excuse...) personally liable for paying the fines. Not the company.


RE: Where does the money go???
By HotFoot on 4/6/2010 11:36:17 AM , Rating: 2
In Canada, this responsibility lies with the Engineers. As a professional, it is part my job to protect the public in these kinds of situations - and that is what makes this a professional position, rather than being a technician with an over-abundance of schooling.

Even if my employer were to want to hide something like this, it is my responsibility to fix the situation. Not doing so can result in fines, loss of license, and criminal charges.

Are managers overpaid? Probably. But if the engineers aren't the ones taking responsibility then they aren't really engineers to start with.


RE: Where does the money go???
By DominionSeraph on 4/5/2010 10:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
Prices are dictated by the market, so a company can't easily pass the costs on.

2. Did you read the article? Automakers are required to notify US safety regulators within 5 days of detecting a defect. Toyota did not. Thus they certainly didn't "respond appropriately."


RE: Where does the money go???
By Spuke on 4/5/2010 11:03:55 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Prices are dictated by the market, so a company can't easily pass the costs on.
Sure they can as other automakers have done so and continue to.


RE: Where does the money go???
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 4:43:53 AM , Rating: 2
Really?
GM didn't do such a good job of passing costs on to the consumer.
Or Volvo -- Ford just sold them off.
Chrysler apparently not so.

If all it took to make an automaker profitable was to raise prices, no automaker would ever be in financial trouble.
The market doesn't appear to work that way.


RE: Where does the money go???
By The Raven on 4/6/2010 10:22:01 AM , Rating: 1
Really?
Volvo? You bring up Volvo? The world's most popular car?

And we all know (especially now) GM and Chrysler didn't know how to sell cars either. And are you saying that GM/Chrysler had high prices because they were trying to pass on costs like this? I don't remember them having higher prices than Toyota/BMW/Ford.

It is at least managable, if not easy, for someone like Toyota who can sell cars like hotcakes to raise the prices of their cars to absorb this without losing much (if any) market share. After all, as was mentioned previously, this really isn't much of a fine.

And you better believe that the standard taxes, insurance premiums and any other standard fees that everyone in the industry is forking over IS baked into the cost of the cars.

Hell, I import paint and resin that is used to make auto lighting and when there is a new regulation re: logistics (a la the clean truck fee) I have to modify my selling price. And there really isn't anything wrong with that system if that is what you want, but please don't be so naive as to say that Toyota can't pass this crap on to the customer.


RE: Where does the money go???
By Parhel on 4/7/2010 12:46:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Volvo? You bring up Volvo? The world's most popular car?


Are you confusing Volvo with Volkswagen, or am I missing something here?

quote:
I don't remember them having higher prices than Toyota/BMW/Ford.


I think that's the point. If you raise the price in an attempt to pass on costs, customers will simply buy some other product. Thus, GM didn't have that option. They had to sell at the market value but their operating expenses were too high so they went under.

quote:
when there is a new regulation re: logistics (a la the clean truck fee) I have to modify my selling price


In this example, this cost applies to every manufacturer equally. That's an entirely different circumstance.


RE: Where does the money go???
By The Raven on 4/8/2010 11:11:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Are you confusing Volvo with Volkswagen, or am I missing something here?


You are missing this:
http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autos...

According to the WSJ, VW has 4x the share as Volvo. What, are you in Sweden?

quote:
They had to sell at the market value


I'm not going to say much here and I'll let you connect the dots: Tell that to Ferrari, bub.

quote:
In this example, this cost applies to every manufacturer equally. That's an entirely different circumstance.


I was illustrating that if cost go up, they get passed onto the customer. I intentionally took an example for the entire industry because this story is the example of the singular company.

So what I'm saying is that prices go up for Toyota, those who want Toyotas have to pay for it. Though I would speculate that any additional cost here will be more than eaten up within one year by the consumer.

Here's my math (and I'll just go with Camrys and Corollas and do some rounding for simplicity's sake):
YTD: approx 13,000 units sold
Fine of $16,400,000
Possible Annual sales = 13000*4 = 52000 units
$16400000/52000 units = $315/unit

If I'm on the fence between one car or another I don't think that a 1.5% (315/20,000)difference is going to sway me much. But there is $315 of my money going to the gov't to be wasted.

Though I would also speculate that Toyota would spread any cost as thin as possible over time. But the fact of the matter is that the consumer eats it.


RE: Where does the money go???
By LumbergTech on 4/5/2010 11:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are a bit naive my friend. If a company feels that the price of the fallout would be less than the price of fixing something they will often just let it go.

I suggest you do some research into this type of thing.


RE: Where does the money go???
By The Raven on 4/6/2010 10:45:54 AM , Rating: 3
Ok let's assume you are correct and that Toyota calculated this recall <twirling finger around ear>. Because if they knew about this they would know about all the 2.3 mil cars that would be affected and just say, "Yeah that's cool. We'll be able to swing it."

So now looking back, do you think Toyota is in a better place today than they were before all of this happened?

I have worked with engineers on lighting and when there is a problem and I ask how I can help, they might dismiss me by saying, "Well, it not life threatening and it hasn't become a warranty issue yet, so we're ok at this point."

So if it is life threatening (a light that melts and obscures the driver's viability of the road) the policy is to deal with it. Or they get enough returns of something benign (a light that has streaks on it) they MIGHT (this is where the calculation you speak of enters the story) continue to maufacture.

They draw the line at life threatening.

Again, let's give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that someone at Toyota knew that the cars could take off and become unstoppable. Do you think they burned the results of the test that determined that? No. They would keep it and go back to the drawing board because dead people don't by cars.

If there was any wrong doing by Toyota, it was negligence and not some conspiracy to raise money.


Fox news lies
By Raiken3712 on 4/6/2010 7:23:08 AM , Rating: 2
This kind of comment is so stupid ...always shows up a million times but no one ever backs it up. Examples? Fox news obviously has some tendency toward leaning right on things but outright lying? Thats complete and utter bull.

Considering the rest of the media besides Talk Radio is extremely left in alot of cases it sorta balances things.

Not to mention the fact that not every person on Fox is even a Republican its not like its completely right wing or anything Shep is a Democrat and voted for Obama and from what he says sometimes is clearly an Obama supporter.




RE: Fox news lies
By BZDTemp on 4/6/2010 12:49:16 PM , Rating: 1
Fox news not lying. Are you kidding me!

I urge you to google the words 'fox' 'news' 'lies' and read just some of the documented cases where said channel distorted, manipulated and down right lied about issues. Seeing how many people get their news from Fox News and apparently taking their claim of unbiased report at face value is downright scary.

Oh, and for the rest of the media, except Talk Radio, being extremely left I really do find it hard to see how CNN, Wall Street Journal, NY Times and so many others can be considered extremely left.

You need to open your eyes and watch something else than Fox News for a while.


RE: Fox news lies
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 12:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
I tried that, and all I got were pages of spittle-filled diatribes by people too uneducated to distinguish between news and commentary (their remarks were directed against editorial comments made on talk shows).

Contrast that to the amount of distortion and outright fabrications broadcast by other news agencies, and Fox has a very good record. The CBS scandal of airing fake documents are real ("Memogate"), CNN's Tailwind Scandal, or worst of all, MSNBC's Olberman-Obama love-fest -- just a few of the countless incidents from the "unbiased" reporters of the mainstream media.


RE: Fox news lies
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 1:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Considering the rest of the media besides Talk Radio is extremely left in alot of cases it sorta balances things.


Manipulation does not balance a perspective based on facts. While there are some points of convergence in the end, (both propaganda and truth end up as beliefs which effectively motivate action,) propaganda robs people of their right to reason to sound conclusions. It makes them dependent on the priest caste to tell them what to do and how to think because they're so far removed from reality that they can't connect cause and effect.

Now, your typical conservative is not too good with this "thinking" thing. They're emotional beings, not intellectual. They get by mostly on instinct, which can get you by just fine in the day to day routine. But this leaves them at a severe disadvantage when they come across a talented spin doctor. They don't have the broad knowledge base nor rigorously tested methodology to disprove the BS. Without knowing the failings of their own mind, they have no chance against someone who is better at smoothing out their cognitive dissonance than they are. They don't differentiate between fact and opinion in their own head, so they're at a complete loss when they come across someone who is even more talented at blurring the lines. And so, they become little more than puppets.
Now, while I don't have anything against this in general (I'm sure it's quite comforting to just trust someone completely instead of using your own brain), there are issues with the various implementations:

If the blind are being led by the blind, the direction you're heading is a crapshoot.

With the unscrupulous leading the blind, the unscrupulous will use their army to subjugate the sighted (can't have differing opinions around, especially those based on facts, as those become so obviously true as to be undeniable after a certain point). They will concentrate resources to themselves out of greed, and concentrate massive amounts of power to maintain control.

Even the benevolent and knowledgeable leading the blind has problems. The tool for guidance is manipulation, but people don't always respond to it predictably. Just a small change in the overall emotional balance can dramatically affect how a group reacts. So even a philosopher king needs to gather considerable power with which to force people to do what is in their best interest when they mistakenly think otherwise. But, of course, the use of such force against the People rather goes against the "benevolent" aspect.

This is why true benevolence always comes back to Truth. The whole system works better if the blind stop being blind and instead choose their own path, reasoning from true premises. Manipulation and deception can work, but it's an unstable system. At the very least, it's always in a battle against Truth -- that very inconvenient second opinion.
A system based on Truth is much more stable, but the problem is it requires a population who can absorb the required baseline of data and that is willing to actually think.
The mentally lazy and/or stupid will be a danger to themselves and others, so those need to be led. But as social animals, they would follow the sighted unless the group started spitting out manipulators.
Like Fox News commentators.

Of course, this is all probably well over your head; and I certainly have no interest in being your philosopher king -- I'm not going to protect you from tripping over your own feet; because not only would it be an inordinate amount of work, I'd miss out on the lulz.

So do your own work. I'm not going to hold your hand and guide you across the Fox News battlefield. You either have the determination to do it on your own or you don't. If you have it, you will eventually triumph. If you don't, you will forever be their puppet; and you will teach your children to be their puppets, as they will teach theirs; a cycle which will continue until one eventually has the brainpower to truly begin to question on his their and in doing so frees themselves from the shackles of dogma.


RE: Fox news lies
By Yawgm0th on 4/6/2010 1:13:17 PM , Rating: 3
Cool story, bro.


RE: Fox news lies
By DominionSeraph on 4/6/2010 3:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
wat


RE: Fox news lies
By borismkv on 4/6/2010 8:50:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now, your typical conservative is not too good with this "thinking" thing. They're emotional beings, not intellectual.


This is conjecture. You cannot prove this or disprove it, and it is entirely useless information that is very likely false. Realistically, your statement shows a considerable level of bigotry, rather than intelligence or independent study (This group is better than that group because...). The fact that you appear to be a member of the group which you consider superior strengthens the validity of this observation. Your obvious demeaning attitude towards the OP and conservatives in general further strengthens it. Perhaps you should begin taking your own advice. After all, people are far less likely to listen to individuals who are so obviously hypocritical.


RE: Fox news lies
By Reclaimer77 on 4/6/2010 8:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
Even as a stereotype he's wrong. The prevailing stereotype, fact actually, is that Liberals are the ones who are ruled by their emotions.


RE: Fox news lies
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 9:47:42 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, I've always thought Winston Churchill said it best. Somewhat paraphrased, it is:

- Anyone under 30 who isn't a liberal has no heart.
- Anyone over 30 who isn't a conservative has no brain.

Historically as it is today, the liberal movement has always been driven more by emotions than logical reasoning.


RE: Fox news lies
By Yawgm0th on 4/7/2010 1:19:03 PM , Rating: 4
Too bad Churchill never said that or anything remotely similar.
http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/myths/myths/...
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill#Mis...

Had he, it would have been capitalized Liberal and Conservative, referring to the UK parties and not widely applicable to American political ideology.


Slammed?
By Jakeisbest on 4/5/2010 9:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
I feel like "slammed" as an adjective is getting overused these days.




RE: Slammed?
By Shatbot on 4/6/2010 8:00:07 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed, but only when used in a negative context.


RE: Slammed?
By adiposity on 4/6/2010 2:06:28 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, it's hyberbole. Toyota dropped $16million on the floor last night, and so far, no one has even missed it.


Toyota
By NicodemusMM on 4/5/2010 9:54:37 PM , Rating: 5
Sweet
By vhx on 4/6/2010 4:39:56 AM , Rating: 2
Can't wait to bail them out again after they pay this fine!




Informing regulators
By geddarkstorm on 4/6/2010 10:55:24 AM , Rating: 2
Five days, five months, not a big difference, right?




Successful troll...
By Yawgm0th on 4/6/2010 1:08:59 PM , Rating: 1
...continues to be successful.
quote:
While the defect mess is unpleasant for all those involved it does raise some interesting questions about governance. Some say that the government should not police companies, and that the commercial press should be left to investigate reports of defects and inform consumers of safety risk. Others argue the current system is a successful one. And still others argue that current regulation does not go far enough -- that the federal government should have the ability to levy even bigger fines against companies who knowingly make products that could endanger U.S. consumers.
You'd have to say "Oh, here's a debate centered on political ideology... GO!" to be any more obvious here. It's not like every article doesn't already turn into a political debate already.




Amazing
By rudy on 4/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: Amazing
By porkpie on 4/5/2010 10:26:42 PM , Rating: 5
This is the largest fine against an automaker.

Of course, if this had been the EU imposing a fine against Ford or GM, the total would be been more like $1.6B. Funding those social programs is expensive...


RE: Amazing
By porkpie on 4/5/2010 11:23:40 PM , Rating: 2
I guess our friends from Helsinki didn't like that comment...


RE: Amazing
By BZDTemp on 4/6/2010 9:54:00 AM , Rating: 4
LOL $1.6B would be a drop in the bucket as are the fines written out to Microsoft. The whole idea of running the EU on money fined to US companies is just silly and a clear sign of how little the people on DT knows about the EU.

For starters the EU is club with 27 countries and 495+ million people so do the math and imagine how little something like $1.6B is in that perspective.

I get it with all the "Home of the free. Land of the brave" or something to that effect and I also get that the EU is viewed as socialist with socialist really meaning communist in US ears but that is just so wrong. It is not like we have planned economy, lack of freedom, a one party system and what else comes from communism.

What we have is lots of freedom including the freedom of knowing we will never risk living on the street or being without health care. We also know education is free all the way so parent do not have to worry about how to pay and children don't have to feel guilty about their education being a burden on their parents. And the list goes on. We also do not have to worry our economy is so much in the toilet that China and OPEC now own us. And finally no one here is so fearful of their fellow man that they feel the need to own guns.


RE: Amazing
By bighairycamel on 4/6/2010 11:26:51 AM , Rating: 2
Right... because European countries are just rolling in surplus. Oh wait, those were my eyes rolling.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ed...


RE: Amazing
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 11:43:10 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. The EU budget is about €120B a year. A few multi-billion dollar fines does boost the coffers amazingly.

Still, the primary reason driving these suits is political, rather than monetary. Fat and sassy American corporations are the very essence of capitalism in the minds of most Europeans, and actions against them are uniformly popular.

Fining a US firm wins votes and lines your pockets. It's a win-win situation for EU regulators.


RE: Amazing
By BZDTemp on 4/6/2010 12:37:12 PM , Rating: 4
An important note to make here is that the EU budget is kindda like the budget for running the club including the funds given out to members in need. The EU budget is aprox. 1% of the member countries combined GNI and comparing the EU budget width that of a country is not really making sense.

As for all the c.r.a.p. being told here on DT about how the EU is targeting US companies that is simply not so. The EU has strict laws to protect consumers in all matter of ways and for example 2 year warranty (with some fine print) is mandatory. If one buys something on a website there is a two week full refund right which includes shipping costs and so. The moves against companies/organisations abusing market positions, forming cartels and similar are harsh and can hit any company regardless of it's origin.

If anyone is trying to win votes here it is the US politicians trying to find anything to take peoples eyes of the mess made those very politicians.


RE: Amazing
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 12:49:41 PM , Rating: 3
"comparing the EU budget width that of a country is not really making sense."

That's not what we're doing. We're comparing the EU budget to the amount of money the EU is raking in from fining American firms. The percentage is quite sizable, as the numbers demonstrate.

"The EU has strict laws to protect consumers"

How is a browser ballot and multi-billion-dollar fines "protecting the consumer"? The browser market has never been healthier or more diverse before in all history.


RE: Amazing
By DominionSeraph on 4/5/2010 10:32:19 PM , Rating: 5
Microsoft isn't an automaker.

*sigh*
<100 IQ's should be restricted to verbal communication.


RE: Amazing
By Spuke on 4/5/2010 10:58:44 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
<100 IQ's should be restricted.
There, fixed it for you.


RE: Amazing
By 67STANG on 4/5/2010 11:08:35 PM , Rating: 3
I would guess that 80% of the people I encounter on a day-to-day basis are in the under 100. I'm also guessing that half the people that I work with are *barely* over 100-- and they all have at least 4 year degrees.


RE: Amazing
By porkpie on 4/5/2010 11:29:46 PM , Rating: 4
As Carlin says: imagine how stupid the average person is. Now realize half of them are even dumber than that.


RE: Amazing
By sapiens74 on 4/6/2010 12:10:42 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
As Carlin said: imagine how stupid the average person is. Now realize half of them are even dumber than that.


There fixed for you

He finally met his maker...

Or Joe Pesci


RE: Amazing
By The0ne on 4/6/2010 2:58:02 PM , Rating: 1
Don't become a Jason Mick guys!


RE: Amazing
By MadMan007 on 4/6/2010 2:06:57 AM , Rating: 2
I always crack up when people talk about percentages and IQ. IQ is defined as a bell curve with 100 at the peak. So it's unlikely that 80% of the people you encounter are below 100. The second sentence is probably right because *by definition* 50% of people are above 100 and 50% below 100. Now the only question is, given your lack of basic understanding of IQ, what's your IQ?


RE: Amazing
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 2:18:49 AM , Rating: 5
"the only question is, given your lack of basic understanding of IQ, what's your IQ?"

Oh, what delicious irony, given the error here is yours.

While IQ is normalized to a Gaussian curve across the entire population, few people interact with a truly random segment of that population. A researcher at Los Alamos, say, may well find the average person he meets has an IQ of 130, whereas the waitress at Joe's diner may find those around her averaging an IQ of only 90.

IQ has very marked variations by vocation, income and education level, and geography -- the very things people often use to choose those with which they associate. Therefore, very few people in the actual population will find that exactly half of their friends and acquaintances lie above or below the 100 IQ line.


RE: Amazing
By MadMan007 on 4/6/2010 11:27:36 AM , Rating: 2
Yes I realize that people may not interact with a wide range of people daily and of course it won't happen that exactly half fall above 100 and half below. Sorry that I didn't write a thesis about it in DT comments. That doesn't change the misunderstanding of IQ distribution. Having a 4 year degree quite frankly does not have much to do with IQ as implied by the post to which I replied. You take what I wrote much too literally when it was simply meant to show the common misunderstanding of how IQ is, by definition, distributed across a normal bell curve.

In fact your reply shows a lack of simple reading comprehension, I said 'unlikely' and 'probably,' neither of which means 'exact.


RE: Amazing
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 11:47:19 AM , Rating: 3
Your statement was wrong, period. Worse, you compounded your error by impugning the intelligence of the previous poster.

There was nothing in his original post to imply he lacked understanding of the definition of IQ nor, even if he did, would ignorance of what is essentially a trivial fact imply anything about his own intelligence. In other words, you're triply incorrect.

Three strikes, you're out.


RE: Amazing
By Mogounus on 4/6/10, Rating: -1
RE: Amazing
By Mogounus on 4/6/10, Rating: 0
RE: Amazing
By porkpie on 4/6/2010 1:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
Is English too complex a language for you? Madman is not correct, and my original post clearly explains why this is so.

Further, you've managed to miscomprehend what the debate is even about. No one is saying 80% of the population is below a 100 IQ". We are, rather, discussing the probability that the average population any single person interacts with is exactly at that mean value.

Quite a different topic altogether, but thanks for playing.


RE: Amazing
By FaceMaster on 4/6/2010 4:31:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
you've managed to miscomprehend what the debate is even about. No one is saying 80% of the population is below a 100 IQ". We are, rather, discussing the probability that the average population any single person interacts with is exactly at that mean value.


...This sort of nerdiness will doom Daily Tech's rep on the playground.


RE: Amazing
By rudy on 4/5/2010 11:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
So? My point is that is seems odd that companies with hundred billion dollar market caps are only fined 14 million as a record. Where as 100 million dollar fines are common place on this web site for tech companies most of which are of similar size.


RE: Amazing
By therealnickdanger on 4/6/2010 7:43:07 AM , Rating: 3
I see some irregularity in it all as well. Both Microsoft and Toyota are multi-billion dollar corporations that produce highly sought after products. However, Toyota's products can get you killed when they malfunction. Toyota gets slapped on the hand with a couple million for hiding safety problems that may have caused deaths. Meanwhile Microsoft faces fees, fines, and penalties in excess of $100 million for not including third party browsers in their OS (while Apple doesn't).

It's all B.S. IMO.


RE: Amazing
By paperfist on 4/6/2010 9:46:51 AM , Rating: 1
On top of that the people making fun of your IQ can't read between the lines. What do they say about book smart people not having common sense?

So how many people are going to die from RAM price fixing? How many people are in danger of M$ holding a monopoly?

Answer: Not as many people who have and yet still may die from Toyota's safety defects. So what the OP is saying is the punishment (fine) does not fit the crime :P


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