Wednesday Snippets – Toyota edition

I’m posting this as a follow-up to a piece I wrote about the Toyota situation here in Australia last week.
In that post, I wrote about the unsatisfactory responses I’d received from Toyota PR about the situation with accelerator pedals here in Australia. They said the recall didn’t matter because pedals used in Australian cars were manufactured at a different plant. I countered saying if it’s a global design, then the point of manufacture didn’t matter as it is the design that’s the problem.
They didn’t answer for a full 4 or 5 days, until today, when they pointed me to a website they’ve setup here in Australia with some FAQs, including the following:

Why are Toyota vehicles sold in Australia not affected by the recall announced overseas?
Accelerator pedals for Toyota vehicles sold in Australia, and those manufactured in Australia for export, are provided by a different supplier to another design.

I’m not planning on following that up any further, but I’d love to see the results if someone did.
Speaking of Toyota, they’re still all over the news services and despite efforts like this editorial in the Washington Post from Akio Toyoda himself (he’s the prez), it’s just not looking good. I’m not a fan of Toyota at all, but this is a massive motoring story with plenty of lessons to be learned.
First there were floor mat recalls, then the accelerator pedal recalls. Now they’re recalling the 2010 Prius and Lexus HS250H for faulty brakes, there are reports coming through that it may also apply to earlier Prius model years, too, and your mobile phone may be in danger of interfering with steering your late model Corolla. There are criticisms of the US Govt committee that’s been set up to look into all this as many of them have rather deep Toyota connections and as if that wasn’t enough, Toyota are now thinking of having to change their way their push-button-start systems operate in order for them to respond adequately to a panic situation.
Imagine having to respond every day to an overwhelmingly critical press?
I take no joy or satisfaction from Toyota now having to face media criticism like Saab have had from the Swedish press for 12 months. It’s just an interesting set of circumstances to watch unfold.
It’s a delicate time for Toyota to say the least and whilst some US writers are quietly dancing a little jig, I think they should be mindful of the fact that if and when Toyota come out of this, their transparent approach could lead them to being stronger than ever in terms of customer appreciation.
They’ve got a long road to hoe, but if they do it right…..
The Saab-9-1-of-the-future benchmark from that other German company has just been unveiled online ahead of its physical unveiling at Geneva next month – it’s the Audi A1.
This does not excite me one little bit, I have to say.
And speaking of the potential for the Saab 9-1……. there was a link to an Auto Motor and Sport video of the 9-X BioHybrid and Saab 9-4x in comments yesterday.
Anyone notice how long that 9-X BioHybrid is? It was huge.
$5000 and you can hit 200mph.
Ezra Dyer just did it.

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