Friday, February 26, 2010

Toyota exec: Focus on safety

Toyota Exec: Focus on Safety

As seen in the Orlando Sentinel. February 22, 2010|By Ed Sheehy, Guest columnist

In 1937, Toyota entered the auto market with a simple but powerful principle: to build the highest-quality and safest automobiles in the world. Our customers and the reliability of our vehicles have always been our top priorities.

The past few weeks have been challenging for Toyota and its dealerships nationwide. We have seen sales drop due to the temporary halt in the sale of eight models while repairs were made, and we have struggled with the fluctuating confidence of prospective customers who have been inundated by aggressive media coverage, which has often blurred the facts.

However, we believe Toyota's remedies only underline the company's commitment to drivers' safety, and we are proud to support their efforts.

As the president of Southeast Toyota Distributors, I am confident in the products we sell and proud of the impact that Toyota has had in America.

The company's total U.S. investment has grown to more than $18 billion and, together with dealers and suppliers, Toyota has helped create more than 200,000 jobs in the U.S.

Recalls are not unprecedented, and many other car makers are currently experiencing them as well.

While the number of vehicles that Toyota has recalled may seem significant, it is worth putting this issue in context.

Confirmed incidents of unintended acceleration are a very small fraction of Toyota's vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's online database indicates that most automotive manufacturers have received numerous consumer complaints of unintended acceleration, including the other four with the largest shares of the U.S. market, and have had to recall vehicles because of this issue.

According to an independent report by, Toyota still has the fewest complaints of all major automotive manufacturers.

Among the 2.3 million vehicles that were recalled, along with those affected models that were temporarily unable to be sold due to a sticking accelerator pedal, fewer than 20 cases have been confirmed — none of which has resulted in any accident.

While Toyota takes responsibility, we want to remind you that these vehicles were recalled voluntarily because safety and quality are paramount to our company. We believe that the voluntary recall reinforced Toyota's unwavering commitment to continuous improvement. Toyota is using this time as an opportunity to review all aspects of their vehicles and make them better.

We remain focused on our customers — their safety and satisfaction. All of our dealerships have extended service hours, some operating around the clock with a second shift of technicians, to make sure repairs are as simple and trouble free for customers as possible.

Our loyal customers continue to support us and express their trust in Toyota. We sincerely thank them and promise that we will do everything in our power to show that it is deserved.

The silver lining to recent events has been the renewed opportunity to receive feedback on everything we do.

                                                     ABOUT THE AUTHOR
          • Ed SheehyEd Sheehy of Deerfield Beach is president of Southeast Toyota Distributors. It distributes Toyota and Scion vehicles, parts and accessories to 173 Toyota dealers in Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina and Florida, including Legacy Toyota in Tallahassee. Contact him at

No comments:

Post a Comment