The news is full of Toyota recall information. That’s to be expected. But government ownership of two major Toyota competitors has to make one wonder: What’s up with all the government visibility in the matter?
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Toyota owners to “stop driving” their recalled cars and then “clarified” his bombshell statement.
LaHood also said Transportation Department officials are considering civil penalties against Toyota for its handling of the sudden-acceleration matter. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said he would hold a hearing to consider how quickly and effectively Toyota responded to complaints about sticking pedals and slipping floor mats.
These government announcements have had a major impact on Toyota stock, which has plunged about 19 percent since the start of the recall frenzy; the manufacturer has lost tens of billions of dollars in market capital. All that bodes well for the government-auto companies competing with Toyota.
It’s no secret that the government and union owned auto companies would like to see Toyota forced into union domination one way or another. The question is how much more can the government hurt Toyota by dragging out hearings, investigations, time taken to clarify government misstatements and double-guessing Toyota’s every move. Would the government take the same approach against its own controlled auto companies?
Is the government’s aggressiveness indicative of what other auto competitors and their suppliers can expect in the future? Is this an expansion of the government vendetta on the banks and the coal industry? Has the government taken all the steps necessary to separate its auto companies’ planning, incentives and strategies from Toyota investigations, research, data, hearings, records, analysis and questioning?
Toyota is a proven, top-quality company. It doesn’t need government to beat it into satisfying customers and doing the right thing.
The government-owned auto companies didn’t compete well with Toyota in the marketplace. But now they just might have the equalizers they need — the long arm of government interference and our tax dollars.
Which is more credible: Toyota or the government entities working to bring a great private company down?
It’s time for the commonwealth’s politicians and citizens to show support for a major free-market Kentucky manufacturer and employer.