[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/15/toyoda.jpg caption="Akio Toyoda, president of Japan's auto giant Toyota Motor, delivers a speech to employees and suppliers." width=292 height=320]
Editor's note: Rik Paul is automotive editor of Consumer Reports.
Special to CNN
Watching the Toyota recall crisis unfold over the past few months has been like watching a wildfire on a windy day. Just when it would appear that the flames might be contained, another powerful gust sweeps through, stirring them up and blowing them still higher.
True, Toyota has acted as its own arsonist at times. If it had attacked the floor-mat entrapment problem as aggressively in 2007 as it is doing now, then perhaps the current crisis could have been avoided. And if the company had been acting as a better switchboard operator between Europe and North America, it could have more quickly connected the sticking accelerator problems in some European cars with the fact that the same pedal assembly was used in eight U.S. models. And it might possibly have avoided the recent stop-sale on those models.
But some of the gusts have been whipped up by the news media. The software glitch in the antilock braking system of the 2010 Toyota Prius and Lexus HS 250h, which causes a momentary loss of braking capability, is serious enough that it should be fixed. But on an overall scale of recalled problems, it's relatively minor. Yet, it continues to grab headlines in this Toyota-sensitized environment.
Filed under: Toyota
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