Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Toyota

Toyota is still heavily featured in the news. This morning, NPR had a little story about a guy whose Prius was stuck accelerating, so he called a cop to drive in front of him as a buffer in case he crashed into anything. He was able to get the car to stop before any damage was done, but the obvious implication of the story was that Toyota cars are still sketchy.

The feds launched investigations and will likely create some new regulatory agency to help oversee car safety. But more regulation is probably not all that necessary. Customers are able to punish Toyota for its actions quite thoroughly: many Toyota lines have had sales drop as much as 20% from 2009 levels. And if consumers continue to perceive Toyota as a poor manufacturer, it will continue to falter. The market is fully capable of chastising bad producers.

That being said, Toyota is getting hit harder than is warranted. It is true that their cars have increased risk of accident due to manufacturing issues, but people need to keep perspective. The increased risk from Toyota is low:
"Replacing driving by walking really increases the risk of dying," Fischbeck said. "Walking a mile is 19 times or 1,900 percent more dangerous than driving a mile in a recalled Toyota. Driving while using a cell phone would increase risk much more than the chance of having a stuck accelerator."

3 comments:

Mrs. Haid said...

Wow, I am starting to understand what an acutary actually does by reading your thoughts and getting a glimpse into your if/then/perhaps/percentage/likelihood perspective!!

Maybe math isn't so boring after all.

Kathy said...

Your dad and I were wondering if some crazy nuts would try to do scams like this to get money from Toyota. I am sorry for people who own Toyotas and will get less money from them when they sell them.
Mrs. Haid, I am amused that we are both commenting at 10:30!

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