After watching today’s Toyota Hearings with Jim Lentz, President & Cheif Operating Officer of U.S. Toyota; whose primary background, based on his statements today, is Sales & Marketing; There were many things that were glaringly apparent as I watched muttering to myself during the entire hearing.
I find it interesting that some say Mr. Lentz was the wrong man to be answering questions at today’s hearing because he’s not equipped to answer the questions that relevantly pertain to “manufacturing”.
I beg to differ with that opinion; Who better to send then a Sales/Marketing expert. Sales & Marketing is essentially one of the major area’s wherein Toyota was in my opinion criminally negligent. Mr. Lentz more or less has opened himself up to be crucified because he was made aware of the acceleration issues in europe years prior to having complaints in the U.S. The complaints reported to Toyota in the U.S. increased 400% yet for the most part it appears that they were not only negligent in denying the issue to consumers for almost 10 years, but in doing so they were in my opinion “criminally negligent”. Choosing to ignore the deaths caused by their product to consumers in the U.S. when they were fully aware of the issues is what makes it criminal.
Toyota’s failure to test specific cars that were part of a fatality is yet another blatant example of their lack of sincere concern to the public’s safety. Mr. Lentz made so many excuses it almost seemed as if I was watching Saturday Night Live; it was that bad. Mr. Lentz is a marketing expert and this is a marketing & sales disaster of their own creation.
Mr. Lentz gave the impression that he has no power over manufacturing and no power when it comes to his position in terms of making the kinds of changes and tests that were necessary to significantly correct the issues. Mr. Lentz implies that those choices are made by “higher ups” at Toyota in Japan.
Mr. Lentz responded so many times when asked a question that , “he didn’t know”. So much in fact, that it was transparent and obvious he was holding back more fully detailed answers; that he surely had to be aware of considering his position with Toyota over the last 4 years.
This isn’t sales or marketing in the sense that we would normally think of it in terms of selling automobiles. This is sales & marketing to congress and the American people as a whole. This is the selling of pure horse shit. It will boil down to “what did they know” & “when did they know it” and Mr. Lentz has already admitted that they were aware of the acceleration issues in europe long before they were reported here in the U.S.
I have no doubt Mr. Lentz is answerable to the heads in Japan, however at the end of the day, the neglect of this company and their representatives is nothing short of criminal. The choice to willfully endanger the public, resulting in the deaths of some and life long injury to others which will require life long medical care; this lack of corporate conscience is what I see to be the most criminally liable of all.
Mr. Lentz continually made promises that they would test this or that, and they would create this group for quality control for such things, and they would test the cars that were part of fatalities . The overwhelming question is why haven’t these things been done already? Why are they in the process of creating these things when in fact they should have done so back in November 2009 at the latest and yet it is nearly March of 2010.
Mr. Lentz made many excuses, lack of knowledge, lack of authority and power to affect changes on his authority alone and if this is true then there should be some sort of correspondence that reflects his attempts to passionately persuade & encourage the heads in Japan to make the appropriate tests and changes here in the U.S. for the safety of the public
I have a friend in Orange County, California that had the acceleration issue on the 2001 or 2002 Lexus which caused the death of the passenger and resulted in life in a wheelchair for my friend.
My personal belief is that when an individual such as Mr. Lentz, accepts a position with a company it is their choice. If the company is endangering the public welfare of their consumers, Mr. Lentz should have blown the whistle or left the company rather then choose to be part of such “inaction” on the part of those in power. When Mr. Lentz reported issues & test results to Japan’s Toyota corporate heads and became aware they were not going address the issues, but choose to deny and ignore them instead; this is where their actions including Mr. Lentz ; become morally and ethically corrupt.
There are some who say that we should not be so quick to judge until all of the evidence is in. However based on the testimony of Mr. Lentz today it seems clearly evident that Toyota was aware of the problems and complaints and they chose to deny the issues. As a company Toyota has blatantly refused to act in a moral and ethical capacity and failure to do so, in a timely manner has cost additional harm to the public safety and further hardship and pain to the families that have suffered a loss due to Toyota’s greed.
At the end of the day, this companies greed cost human lives and that in my opinion, is neglect by choice and that in and of itself is criminal corporate behavior. Toyota’s prolonged denial and willingness to continue to endanger the public in my mind, is nothing short of criminal, resulting in the loss of human life, pain and suffering and they should be dealt with and prosecuted as an example to other corporate greed mongers in the future.