No one could blame Toyota Motor Company officials for feeling as if they’ve been on the “hot seat” for an inordinately-long period of time:
- On Sept. 29, the company issued a recall related to floor mats interfering with accelerator pedals of seven Toyota models;
- On Jan. 21, the company issued another recall, this time related to issues with the accelerator pedals of eight Toyota and Lexus models;
- On Feb. 4, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood offered inaccurate off-the-cuff advice to drivers of Toyota vehicles; and
- Today, Toyota President Akio Toyoda issued an apology on behalf of his company amidst news the company is reportedly considering a recall of its Toyota Prius model over issues related to its braking system.
In addition to all of the troubles listed above, a not-completely-implausible question has surfaced in the public square as perhaps the most-troubling issue facing the Japanese automaker: Is US bullying Toyota on recall?
Why would the Obama Administration want to bully Toyota? Two primary reasons exist:
- President Obama wants to hurt sales at Toyota and increase sales at General Motors and Chrysler, the companies in which the federal government has an ownership stake; and
- President Obama wants to help the United Auto Workers employees who work at GM and Chrysler plants, many of which have shuttered in recent years.
But is this a good idea? Of course not!
The approach not only sends warning signals to foreign manufacturers, but it could result in companies like Toyota, Subaru, Nissan and Honda rethinking their strategies, shuttering their plants in the United States and costing more American workers their jobs. Of course, most of their employees do not belong to the UAW.