As a Toyota-guy, February 8, 2011 was a remarkable day. But let's not get ahead of ourselves; we'll start at the beginning.
I've mentioned before that I've been a Toyota-guy since I was 16. This isn't because I sell Toyota vehicles, although you probably won't believe that, but I just loved my 1991 Camry because it was a solid car. I mean this thing got 35 mpg--and it was a 1991! It was safe, efficient, and didn't cost me a dime to maintain. Ever since then I've simply loved the Toyota.
When I started at Handy Toyota in April of 2010, they were in the midst of the early stages of public outcry regarding the supposed mechanical malfunctions causing sudden acceleration and supposed accidents. Soon after one fearful person turned to two, two turned to four, then four turned to literal throngs, ABC News and host Brian Ross produced an episode called the "Toyota Death Ride," where they spoke with an engineering professor at some Californian college and they not only went over why the malfunction was occurring but the duo took a trip in a Toyota. As we all know, the Toyota veered out of control and "proved" that Toyota was a faulty machine.
This of course denounced countless years of reputation as the safest vehicle on the market in one foul swoop.
As a Toyota-guy I need to be truthful and clear: this was the low point. It wasn't as though we had any inclinations toward assuming this to be the truth, but it certainly made us worry as responsible members of our society. Luckily, however, the truth of light was shone on this ABC debacle.
It seemed Brian Ross had hired a "professor" to rig a Toyota--the very Toyota in which the duo rode--to accelerate "suddenly." A box was wired to the Toyota's circuitry that allowed the vehicle to stop reacting to the brakes or add to the throttle, I'm not 100% certain as to which way it went anymore, but regardless they rigged the car. This allowed ABC to be on the forefront of this past calendar years McDonald's coffee-type fiasco, something that Mr. Ross and ABC should be severely ashamed of.
After a few months, the National Highway Safety board had looked into the issue briefly and shown nothing in terms of any mechanical issue, asserting that so far it was user-error only or perhaps improper use of their floor mats. We Toyota-guys across the world heaved a collective sigh of relief as finally some good news had come our way. We were all proud of Toyota, mind you: without any necessity in the sense of the business itself they had initiated a recall. Toyota's entire company philosophy is based off from customer satisfaction, good product, and safety. With these three key concepts of the Toyota pyramid in jeopardy, Toyota Motors was truly remarkable in stepping to the proverbial plate.
Now back to the present. Here were are, six days after the miraculous findings announced by the NHTSA-NASA, stating quite plainly that user/driver error and floor mats are to blame, not mechanical problems.
I feel bad for Toyota Motors as they spent a ton of money fixing a problem that wasn't really an issue in many instances, but I'm still glad to say I'm a part of a company, at least in a franchised sense, that will take that kind of initiative. Even though our reputation was tarnished due to propaganda, poor business sense, and flat out slander, we shall prevail. As the world's leader in the automotive realm across sales volume, safety, and many other facets, we shall prevail.