Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but . . . .
Maybe it’s just the screwed up way I look at things and see connections that aren’t really there. I’m curious to hear other folks thoughts on this, more for my own sanity than to blow the doors open at the Watergate hotel. For the last 25 years, it’s pretty much become accepted by Americans — and the world — that Japan manufactures the most dependable automobiles. Open any issue of Consumer Reports where they rate cars, and Toyota, Honda, and Subaru are always at the top of their “recommended” lists. The coveted J.D. Power Institute has bestowed virtually all of their awards of late on car companies from the land of the rising sun. Even the Obama Administration was forced to admit that last year’s “Cash for Clunkers” program benefitted Japanese car makers more so than it did American. To keep from beating a dead horse, they’re good, and we like them. On to my point.
Everybody knows that General Motors is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the U.S. government after last year’s multi-billion dollar bailout. Bury that thought for a moment.
At the end of last year, with everything else going on with Christmas at home, and health care in the news, I must confess that I almost didn’t pay attention to the news of Toyota announcing a recall on almost their whole fleet for floor mats getting stuck under gas pedals. If my mother didn’t drive a Camry, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Then, last month, that gets compounded with a recall for sticky gas pedals on, again, basically their entire fleet of cars. Last week, the signature vehicle of the green movement, the Prius, gets yet another recall, for computer problems with it’s braking systems. In all of the instances above, complaints had been reported up to two or three years ago, but not gotten anywhere. It’s hard to try to determine exactly how many incidents were reported, but by my calculations, it must’ve been small enough to escape the radar of all of the magazines and institutes to never mention them in their ratings or recommendations. This morning, lo and behold, Honda is expanding a recall from 15 months ago to include 437,000 of their cars, for problems with their airbags. Again, no mention of how many instances or incidents occured to warrant the recalls, but the NHTSA does admit that the investigations have been on-going for many years in all of the instances.
So, why the emphasis now? Again, I admitted in my first line above that very often I see connections in events both current and historical, that don’t necessarily exist. But, when you know that the same folks who work at the NHTSA take their marching orders from the same folks that the folks who work at General Motors do, you have to cock your head to the side when you look at it and think, “I wonder if someone with something to gain might have made a phone call or sent an e-mail to someone else.” Is it just me?