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Opinion: Toyota Losin' for a Reason

The notion that Toyota's damaged reputation is simply the result of growing “too big too fast” must have come from the Recall King's marketing department. Defective products - in and of themselves - cannot possibly account for the barrage of government fines, criminal charges, lawsuits, and investigations.

After the engine blew apart in my MR2 Spyder, I discovered that the same thing had been goin’ on with other Spyder owners. Two major car clubs - one in America and one in Europe - had been screamin’ bloody murder about the issue for years. Horror stories from Spyder owners were posted all over the Internet. I was shocked. How can an automaker simply refuse to address such a situation? I had a lot to learn about Toyota.

Producing a defective product is one thing. Stonewalling about it is something else. After Toyota and their dealerships refused to refund my money - $8,500 for a new engine and exhaust system - I posted my story on the Center for Auto Safety website and was soon contacted by someone who was suing Toyota because of an oil-sludged engine. She told me about an online petition signed by thousands of customers complaining of continuing problems with oil sludge. I contacted the person who originated the petition - longtime consumer advocate Charlene Blake - and got an earful regarding Toyota. The company settled a class action lawsuit regarding oil sludge, but thousands of customers - the list continues to grow - still feel cheated, maintaining that Toyota is not complying with the terms of the settlement.

A quick search of the Internet reveals plenty of websites and individual postings complaining about Toyota. Allegations of a cover-up is a recurring theme in the never ending litany of lawsuits. The Associated Press took a closer look and concluded that Toyota is deceptive when sued. Folks in Minneapolis are taking things a step further by planning a street protest to demand that the feds hold Toyota accountable for not installing brake overrides.

Toyota is losin' for a reason, and there's more to the story than errors in production.

Written by Parris Boyd
Parris is the publisher of He likes to drive fast cars and expose wrongdoing by government and industry.