Memorandum for Toyota’s Upper Management
DATE: October 6, 2016
SUBJECT: Toyota Recalls
As we approach seven years after Toyota deceived customers and the NHTSA regarding the decision to recall vehicles with the risk of accelerating at higher speed following triggers from a floor mat, it is apparent that Toyota broke the law and went against the ethical principles of good business practice.
The announcement by Toyota stating that it had recalled the vehicles with the vulnerability was false and meant to hoodwink the regulator and the customers to believe that the company had complied with the directive and that the remaining vehicles were in good condition. Therefore, it was unethical, immoral, and against all considerations of good conduct. After the revelations that some of Toyota vehicles had a vulnerability regarding instigating high acceleration by a floor mat, the company immediately claimed tensions and stated that it would take action by recalling all vehicles with this weakness. In fact, this was followed by the acceleration by the company that it had recalled all the faulty vehicles and an assurance to the regulator that all the requirements had been adhered to. Customers were assured that all the remaining vehicles were in good condition and that there was no need to panic. However, the information was not true, and the customers and the regulator were deceived into thinking that all vulnerable vehicles had been recalled and that the requirements had been adhered to respectively.
In the year 2009, Toyota deceived the NHTSA and the consumers about the root cause of the inadvertent quickening of its automobiles. Indeed, they recalled the eight models because of floor-mat entrapment, a hazardous situation where inappropriately fastened floor mat could trap depressed gas pedal resulting in high-speed acceleration. The public pledges were deceptive to the customers and NHTSA in two ways. First, there was the fact that by the time this assurance was being made, the company was aware that it had not recalled some vehicles with design faults, which could result in floor mat traps that increase acceleration. As a result, the company lied to the public and the regulator by claiming to have recollected all faulty vehicles when the firm was aware that not all of them had been recalled.
Secondly, in less than a month from the time the assurances were made, Toyota had taken deliberate steps to hide from the regulator a different type of design weaknesses in its equally dangerous vehicles. The identified problem involved accelerators getting trapped on a lower level, described as “sticky pedal.” In fact, it was a very dangerous fault in the design of Toyota vehicles that was supposed to be addressed because of the potential danger it posed to the consumers.
Toyota gave a misleading and false statement on a sensitive matter. The company also failed to reveal the truth from the regulator and deceiving the customer in spite of the increased public concerns regarding the safety of its vehicles. The height of this concern was the accident that led to the death of four members of one family in San Diego. As such, the accident was the center of discussion, not because it was the only accident involving the Toyota saga but because it received much publicity. Following this accident NHTSA conducted investigations into Toyota vehicles for alleged improprieties. In fact, the regulator accused Toyota of several issues that exposed customers to great danger. However, Toyota denied all these allegations stating that most of its vehicles were in good condition and there was no need to recall them. Nonetheless, Toyota investigated its various car models, where several weaknesses were identified, but refused to share the information with the regulator. In fact, the act amounted to deceiving the regulator. By failing to recall the faulty vehicles, Toyota was exposing clients and members of the public to great danger involving high acceleration safety and accidents.
The company decided to recall vehicles with the floor mat vulnerability for a proper redesign in the year 2007. However, there was another problem when the engineers decided there should be a clear distance between the floor and a depressed gas pedal. Therefore, the company decided this should only apply to vehicles undergoing a fully model redesign. As a result, vehicles that were produced or designed after 2007 did not comply with the new NHTSA guidelines, which included the car involved in the grisly accident.
In view of the situation, I hereby recommend the following;
- Toyota should apologize to the public, particularly the customers and the family involved in the San Diego accident. As such, the initiative will help ease the tensions regarding the faulty designs.
- The company should disclose all information to the NHTSA and offer clarification for the deceiving information and deliberate measures to conceal design faults, a situation that will reaffirm the company’s image as a law-abiding firm.
- Toyota should compensate all the customers and companies that had suffered directly or indirectly because of the faults. In this aspect, the company will pay for the damage, loss, or death the faulty designs have created.
- Toyota should pledge that it will not endanger people’s lives in the future. This will improve its reputation after the setback created by the faults in its vehicle design.
- Finally, the company should declare the measures it has put in place to prevent such incidences in future. In this case, the Toyota will establish a new avenue for stakeholder engagement and increase client favor.