Another Japanese auto recall -- Where’s the outrage?

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A Japanese automaker is recalling half a million cars worldwide to fix a defect that could cause a sudden loss of power steering, increasing the risk of a crash.

The recall comes a year after the automaker remedied the problem on vehicles it sold in Japan.

This sounds like the sort of callous attitude that helped get Toyota in such trouble with the U.S. Congress: Take care of Japanese consumers first and worry about the safety of Americans and others later -- much later.

But the automaker isn’t Toyota. It’s Mazda.

So why isn’t Mazda being pilloried for its tardy recall? I say Mazda is getting off easy for two reasons:

• It isn’t the world’s largest automaker. When you’re No. 1, the spotlight is always on you.

• Mazda didn’t build its sales on a reputation for bulletproof reliability.

You can reach James B. Treece at jtreece@crain.com.

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