The escalating swirl of publicity surrounding what had become the top selling auto could lead to a death spiral if it continues. In an already soft market, the relentless probes, leaks, recalls, recriminations, and now hearings will only build consumer worries about what had been such a sought after vehicle.
After spending some four years in the retail auto business, I know that not only was Toyota a top seller locally and nationally, it was the go-to car for many shoppers and a strong performer in the used car market, meaning they were good trade-in vehicles.
Sales surely have dropped like a rock and the resale value along with it.
The sudden interest of Washington and the Congress is typical of their sanctimonious piling-on when there is publicity to be had. Now they are hauling the president of the car company in front of them and there are memos suggesting Toyota quashed more extensive recalls of an accelerator problem dating back to 2005.
This is a company with a great record of customer satisfaction up to now and for its competitors a little turn in the barrel may be rough justice for years at the top.
And the fact that Washington apparently runs GM and Chrysler, so there is an interest in seeing the top import hit the skids.
Nonetheless, I am sure these are tough times for the many dealership level people just trying to earn a living in a tough trade.
Toyota will likely rebound, but too many more revelations could make the problem permanent.
Docs: Toyota Surges Related to Electronics - CBS News