Toyota Recall Blackbox Info Of Great Interest To Ford, GM And Others

The Associated Press reported today, after reviewing lawsuits and conferring with auto crash experts, that Toyota has been inconsistent in revealing what their black boxes actually record.

What Is Toyota Hiding And Why Are They Hiding It

What is known is that each Toyota vehicle has a device much like an airplane’s black box; what is a mystery is what, exactly, they record. After the Associated Press reviewed information on specific lawsuits, they realized that Toyota’s disclosures of whether the brake or accelerator pedals were depressed at the time of a crash in each case have been contradictory. The AP also found that Toyota has blocked the release of data stored in those black boxes which could explain exactly what happened in each crash.

An attorney for a lawsuit in Texas stated in court documents that Toyota may have deliberately stopped allowing its black boxes, or event data recorders (EDRs), to collect critical information. This would protect Toyota from being forced to reveal that information in court cases.

Toyota released a statement on Thursday stating that the EDR system is an experimental device. They went on to state that it is not intended for accident reconstruction because it is not reliable. The only sources that can request that data are law enforcement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or a court order, according to the statement. It should be noted that the automaker announced earlier this week that they will provide U.S. safety regulators the tools to read the “black boxes”.

It should be noted that most other automakers allow open access to information from their EDRs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that this week 52 more people have died in crashes linked to accelerator problems causing massive amounts of lawsuits.


Toyota Makes Recall No. 3

Today it is Toyota. Tomorrow it could be another car company. Many car companies, both foreign and domestic, use the same suppliers. The company that made the gas pedals for Toyota makes them for other companies. This is not to say that the parts will fail in other cars, but this batch did. It is cheaper to use the same companies and often the same parts in many brands of cars. The downside is that when something goes wrong with one company, it will inevitably affect others.

The Western Nations Should Unite Against The East

Instead of attacking Japan (which always considered themselves white and apart from the other Asian nations) we should be extending a sympathetic hand to them. But, the unions here are piling on the Japanese, seeing a chance to sell American cars (parts of which are made abroad) at a faster rate. The real enemies are the Chinese. As proof, until recently the Japanese were our largest creditors. Now the Chinese have that honor. The Japanese never tried to control us by lending us money as the Chinese do every chance they can.

Hybrids Are For Wimps

The wimps who drive the hybrids are having problems with the brakes instead of the gas pedal. Hybrids are complex machines that serve no purpose. One still has to put gasoline into them. They switch back and forth between fossil fuel and battery. This is a recipe for disaster. The batteries are charged in newer model Toyota hybrids by the act of braking, which stores the energy created. Either the car should run on fossil fuels or not. It is foolish to mix the two. It is just a sign of status for the Green crowd. It is mixing apples with oranges. This hybrid problem concerns the latest recalls of Toyota Prius and there are the same reported problems with the Lexus Hybrid.

Every Car Company Has Recalls

Cars are complex machines. Every brand faced a recall and will continue to face them. It is not the work of the Japanese that caused the problems. In fact, most of the defective parts were manufactured in the United States. We are an economy based on debt. When people do not go into debt our economy does not grow. We should not be throwing stones at the Japanese. Our status has fallen to a debtor society.


Shaky Stats Say Unemployment Dips To 9.7% Jobless Rate

The unemployment rate has dipped below the double digit number of 10%. But, all is not necessarily well in America. Or is America heading into a great new expansion? The White House seems to be spinning all the numbers to look much better than they really are.

Faulty Figures

The unemployment rate is hard to gauge in the first place. At best it is an estimate or guesstimate. U3 is the number that is usually released, which is the percent of the labor force unemployed. The labor force are the key words here. This statistic does not count those who have given up searching for work nor those who are not fully employed (U6) but are only working part-time. The number of people who have given up looking for work are not part of this figure. There are also a great many people whose unemployment benefits have run out. There are millions not counted in this labor force survey. The signals are mixed and open to interpretation by the pundits.

Odd Numbers Indeed – Government Work For All

This has to be one of the few times when the unemployment figures went down but the economy continued to bleed jobs. The computation of these figures changed under President Clinton, which allowed more of the unemployed, not to be counted. This made the economy look better. In these times, one can be sure the numbers are being manipulated secretly. The only real job gains are for those working for the government. Picture these figures. While government jobs have increased to well over 100,000 since the beginning of the Recession, private industry jobs have decreased by over 7 million. At this rate we will all soon be working for some branch of government. The economy supposedly lost 20,000 jobs in January. It is possible the new census jobs made up for this loss. Yes, we will all soon be working for the government.


Incentives Key To GM 21% Jump In Sales

General Motors (NYSE:GM) has seen a 21% increase in automotive sales over the last 12 months reports show. The four brands Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac seeing a strong upsurge of 43% on some models. Their other brands, Saturn, Hummer, Pontiac, and Saab only sold 27,00 vehicles, but are slated to be discontinued.

Why The Jump In Sales

Redesigning the Chevy Equinox and Buick Lacrosse helped the upsurge, but the majority of this rise in sales over the competitors is due to the incentive programs being offered. Low interest rates and rebates being the biggest contributors to the incentives. With incentive spending being about $3500 dollars per vehicle, according to, theirs is above the industry average by $700 dollars. Although J.D.Powers showed a different story.

Weren’t Automakers Going To Stop The Incentives

In the last few years the big auto-makers have vowed to rely on their good name to and the assets of their products to sell them. Incentives had started waning, but the recent calamities of recalls and the down-turn in the economic situation there was a need to bring them back. Interest rates and rebates aren’t the end of the incentives either, There is bonus cash and extended warranties.

The Thing That Set It All Off

Toyota’s answer to their sales struggles and then the massive recall of over 8 million cars globally caused havoc in the industry. Almost every manufacturer had to answer their free maintenance, and zero interest among their other programs. Without intending to, it would seem, Toyota (NYSE:TM) has created an automotive war of sorts that has aided in our economic recovery. Most every major auto manufacturer has experienced a jump in sales in the last 12 months.


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Government Rescues GMAC Once Again

GMAC is projecting a $5 billion fourth quarter loss. A record breaking sum for the troubled financial company. This loss was reported shortly after the government gave the company a third bailout sum at 3.8 billion dollars. The company claims that they will be selling $3.8 billion in troubled mortgages that are at the head of the company’s financial woes. So what about the other $1.2 billion?

Too Much Government Assistance

The government has pumped almost 11 billion into the financially troubled company in efforts to keep it afloat. Their efforts aren’t working. The company continues to see losses in greater and greater number. They failed to raise the 11.5 billion in capital that the government required this year so instead of holding the company accountable the government gave them more cash.

The company is projected to continue to report losses during 2010. So what does that mean for government bailout? If the company does not receive the funds they need then they will have to file for bankruptcy. Should tax payers have to pay for their poor money management skills? Risky investments and sub-prime loans have crippled the company and we should not have to pay for their financial mistakes.

Money Better Spent Elsewhere

The 11 billion the government has spent on this company could have provided much needed funding to schools across the country. Countless school districts are having to cut teaching and support staff to make their budgets. This only hurts the students. With larger class sizes and overburdened schools how can we expect our children to thrive?

If the government spent as much money on education and training services for the unemployed, then our country would not be in such a mess. Our economy will continue to sink and the government will continue to bailout the big companies. What about the little people? The working class American? I’m not a socialist but there needs to be some accountability on the part of the government. Should CEOs continue to receive million dollar bonuses when their company is failing and relying on government money to keep running?


GM Looking For Buyers For SAAB

Back in the summer of 2009 it looked like GM was already to sew up the sale of SAAB to Koenigsegg but the sale has fallen through. GM continues to look for buyers, accepting sales offers, but it will start to liquidate the Swedish based company until it receives the right offer,

Swedish Government

In an effort to save Saab from folding up completely the Swedish government has stepped in to help guarantee the sale for GM. GM has been reluctant to bow to the pressure from the Swedish government to help facilitate the sale. GM has received offers from Genii Capital, a Luxembourg equity investment firm, Dutch car maker Spyker Cars NV, and a group of private investor headed by Jan Nygren, former Swedish deputy prime minister. With all these offers on the table and Sweden’s deal to back up the loan what’s the big hold up? Something seems fishy in the way GM is shopping for buyers while it winds the company down.

Employees Blind-Sided

The employees of the Saab plant and distribution center in Sweden feel betrayed by GM. They live in a kind of limbo about their jobs, not knowing if they will have one in the future if they can expect to be on the street by summer. GM continues to lay off employees and shop around for a liquidation firm to help the company sell off bits of the company. The Saab factory in Trollhaetan restarted on January 11th after a four week “vacation”. Some of the employees shut down production and walked off the job on the 12th to show their frustration in the botched sale of the company. The 3,500 could all lose their jobs if GM can’t find a buyer soon. The liquidation process could take several months all the while GM will still be taking bids.


Ford Sales Up By A Whopping 40% For March Reporting

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) saw fantastic sales during the month of March. The automaker saw their Ford car sales increase by a whopping 40 per cent. The leader of the pack was the Ford Fusion. It set an all-time monthly record for sales with an increase of 79 per cent compared to the same time the previous year.

The Ford Fusion, Focus, And Taurus All Offer Strong Sales

Ford sold 183,783 units in March. The previous years sales in March totaled 131,465. The Ford Fusion was sold to 22,773 customers. This is almost double the number Ford sold a year earlier. Ford was also pleased with the sales of the Ford Focus. March saw sales of 19,500 units compared to 12,383 units sold a year earlier. Ford also saw strong sales in the Taurus. The number almost doubled from the previous year. They sold 7,001 units.

Ford Attributes Part Of The Sales Increase To Improving Consumer Confidence

Ford said that the March incentives along with improving consumer confidence has helped to create the strong demand in the last seven months. Another part of the equation has to do with a certain Japanese automaker yelling out for recalls. It ended having a nine per cent drop in sales.

Ford Is On The Road To Recovery

Since the new year Ford has had some wonderful news. One of these is the surge in stocks. After Ford sales surged, expanding beyond even the wildest expectations, it sent the company’s stock soaring. At one point it reach above US $11 which resulted in the highest level since August, 2005. The stock has more than quadruped in value over the past year. Investors laid odds that the automaker would stay out of all federal bailouts. They have been right. How many people will be buying a new Ford in April?


Feds Will Investigate Potential Problems With GM’s Pickups & SUVs

Troubled American automaker GM (NYSE:GM) received bad news this week when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced they would begin a preliminary investigation into possible brake problems on nearly 6.2 million GM vehicles. The affected vehicles are from the company’s truck and SUV lines, including the widely popular Chevrolet Suburban and Silverado pickup trucks. Preliminary investigations such as this one by the NHTSA are often a sign of a possible recall coming in the future.

The Issue At Hand

The preliminary investigation was launched after the NHTSA received 110 complaints from drivers of GM vehicles about brake problems. Allegations of three crashes involving Silverado and Sierra heavy duty pickup trucks are also being investigated. None of the crashes resulted in fatalities or injuries. The specific vehicles in question in the investigation include the 1999-2003 Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, and Yukon as well as 1999-2003 model pickups including the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado. Roughly 189,000 Sierra and Silverado heavy duty pickup trucks are also under investigation.

The investigation will be focusing on possible loss of braking effectiveness due to corrosion in the brake lines. 37 of the complaints received by the NHTSA of brake line failure have been confirmed by dealerships. The NHTSA opened the investigation due to concern that brake lines were rupturing under “normal driving conditions with normal brake line pressure”.

What Is At Stake For GM

If the NHTSA’s preliminary investigation leads to a recall it could be devastating for GM. The automaker accepted publicly funded bailout money from the government last year in the face of slumping sales and massive debt. The automaker appears to have turned the corner however, announcing this week that it plans on paying back nearly $7 billion to the Federal government in June, five years ahead of schedule. However, a recall could have devastating effects on GM’s turnaround, especially in the wake of the $16.4 million civil fine slapped on Toyota (NYSE:T) last Monday by the government for its failure to act to prevent its own brake related recall issues.


Feds Looking Into Another Fine For Toyota For 2 Separate Problems

The Feds have already fined Toyota (NYSE:T) over $16 million for hiding a “defect” in their autos. They are not satisfied and want further fines imposed. Toyota is not too worried since its sales have rebounded. In addition, the amount of money, like the fine, will not even make a scratch in their bottom line. Companies have funds to cover these nuisance fines and they are really “a drop in the bucket.”

Fines Meant To Cater To Unions

The fines are levied to earn support from the main supporters of the Obama administration, the unions. They have always wanted foreign competition stifled and this is a way, in lieu of tariffs, to assuage their feelings. There is nothing wrong with “protectionism” against enemies and those that make inferior products (the Chinese) but for allies and high tech manufacturers, they defeat the purpose of having good products.

Tariffs should be levied at those who want to undermine the nation, like the Chinese and other low cost importers who are putting Americans out of work with cheap labor and inferior goods. Japan certainly does not fall into this category. There are continuing investigations against Toyota along with private lawsuits. The Toyota attorneys will fend off these lawsuits. Perhaps the Federal government is trying to lessen the deficit by means of these fines.

All Cars Have Defects

Cars are complex technological products and have problems. How many readers know of someone (other than the couple who testified before Congress) that in reality had problems with Toyotas? The case in California of a man who is under suspicion for faking a brake problem, as well as a woman in Westchester county New York, who kept her foot on the accelerator and did not touch the brake at all are more prevalent. What the country needs are cars that can compete against the Japanese, not trying to move ahead of them by nuisance fines.