Toyota is not having a good month, to put it mildly. With the recall of 9 million cars worldwide, and the call from Washington lawmakers for the company's chief executive officer Akio Toyoda to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee tomorrow, you'd think the worst was over.
But wait there's more! The Associated Press and The Detroit News reported Sunday on how Toyota was quite pleased with itself for saving $100 million by limiting recalls related to sudden acceleration complaints, according to a document sent to U.S. congressional leaders investigating the carmaker and regulators' handling of defects.
Under the heading "Wins for Toyota - Safety Group," the document boast of saving millions of dollars by negotiating with lawmakers an "equipment recall" of floor mats involving 55,000 Toyota Camry and Lexus ES350 vehicles in September 2007.
"Negotiated 'equipment' recall on Camry/ES re SA (Sudden Acceleration); saved $100M+, w/ no defect found," the document says.
Toyota also cites millions of dollars in other savings by delaying safety regulations, avoiding defect investigations and skirting other industry requirements. The documents were shown in an internal presentation in July 2009 at its Washington office.
There may be more to come. The committee has another 50,000 Toyota documents ahead of this week's hearings and are expected to get another 5,000 today from a former Toyota lawyer who claims he has evidence the company covered up safety issues.
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