March 14, 2010 |
On a summer day in 1911, Donald MacPherson was driving his Buick runabout to Sarasota Springs, N.Y., when the wooden spokes snapped on a rear wheel, flipping the open car and trapping him under the rear axle. MacPherson suffered a badly lacerated eye and a broken wrist so painful he couldn't grip the tools he needed to ply his craft as a stone cutter. He sued Buick Motor Co., alleging negligence in failing to ensure the wheel was roadworthy. In what would become a landmark ruling in product liability law, the New York Court of Appeals in 1916 awarded MacPherson $5,025 in compensation -- about $115,000 in today's dollars -- and established the automaker's "duty of care" to ensure customers are sold a safe product.
March 14, 2010 |
Federal regulators in 2007 asked Toyota Motor Corp. to consider installing software to prevent sudden acceleration in its vehicles after receiving complaints that vehicles could race out of control, company documents show. Yet the automaker began installing the safety feature, known as brake override, only this January after a widely publicized accident involving a runaway Lexus ES that killed four people near San Diego. Safety regulators acknowledged late last week that they pressured Toyota anew last fall to consider the override software in the wake of that crash, which set off a chain of events leading the company to issue nearly 10 million recall notices worldwide.
February 24, 2010 |
Apologizing for Toyota's missteps in dealing with defects blamed in dozens of fatalities, a contrite Akio Toyoda told members of Congress that his company's rapid growth had "confused" the priority it places on safety. "Quite frankly, I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick," the president of Toyota Motor Corp. said during more than three hours of testimony. "I regret that this has resulted in the safety issues described in the recalls we face today, and I am deeply sorry for any accidents that Toyota drivers have experienced."
February 22, 2010 |
Toyota Motor Corp. officials took credit for saving hundreds of millions of dollars by persuading federal regulators to limit or avoid safety recalls and rules, a company document released Sunday shows. The document, an internal company presentation, depicts an automaker focused on getting what it termed "favorable recall outcomes" from regulators, with a goal of saving money even as the death toll climbed from accidents in which Toyota vehicles accelerated uncontrollably. The presentation by executives in the company's Washington, D.C., office was addressed to Yoshimi Inaba, Toyota's top U.S. executive, and dated July 6, 2009 -- months before the sudden-acceleration problem was widely known outside Toyota and the federal highway regulatory agency.
February 8, 2010 |
Between the Super Bowl and word that thousands of Prius hybrids could soon join the millions of vehicles already being recalled, Sunday threatened to be an awful day at Toyota of Glendale. But a slow stream of customers headed into its Brand Boulevard showroom throughout the morning and early afternoon. Some were looking for bargains, some for answers and some loyal customers were looking to buy. This weekend a company spokesman said Toyota was considering recalling its 2010 Prius hybrids because of problems with the anti-lock brake system.
February 1, 2010 |
Here in this Mississippi Delta county, they are waiting for the return of the slender man in the elegant suit -- the one who spoke, in a heavy Chinese accent, of a promise that couldn't have been more welcome or fashionable. It was the promise of a new green industry, with hundreds of green jobs. "I heard about it," said Claude Boyd, a 41-year-old farmhand out of work after the winter harvest. "I need it bad. I've got good references." Joey Lowery, 42 and also unemployed, sounded a skeptical note.