Akio Toyoda is automaker's only hope, former U.S. boss Press says


I'm on Jim Press's side. I think Mr. Toyoda took to heart the very unfortunate San Diego Lexus accident, and the account of the woman from Tennessee who called her husband on the car phone just to hear his voice, she thought, one last time, because she thought she was about to die. When Mr. Toyoda says his name is on all these cars, he's not bragging, he's taking his responsibilities personally.

I don't have personal experience with Toyota corporate works, but I do with Honda. I remember selling Hondas in the mid 1980's, and trying to get the factory to offer factory-designed cruise control kits to add to models which weren't shipped to the dealers with it. Honda's answer was, No, for safety reasons, we don't want dealers to install a factory kit, and we really don't want dealers buying aftermarket(available at the time) cruise control kits.

It's also why Honda and Acura, as recently at this Fall, still had a lifetime warranty on front and rear seat belts for all their cars originally sold in the U.S. if it was due to a malfunction or defect and if the belts were still in production.

My feeling is that Toyota operates no differently than Honda when it comes to customer safety.