Toyota has, for decades, been an unshakeable rock of an automotive empire. Built on reliable, crowd-pleasing cars like the Corolla and Camry, they have never been considered anything less than superb at the job they do. And this has led the Japanese brand to world domination, recently overthrowing General Motors as the largest automaker extant.
Until four people were killed in a collision traced back to a sticking throttle pedal. Now known worldwide as “Throttlegate,” that collision has sparked a pair of recalls; the largest in Toyota’s long history. The first, traced back to floormats that could pin the throttle pedal to the floor, affected 5.3 million vehicles while the second (a hardware issue affecting the throttle pedal assembly itself) affects 2.3 million vehicles. Forcing Toyota to halt sales and production amidst rumours of conspiracy, the well publicized crucifixion of Toyota has had an obvious effect: $21 Billion US in lost market share and a thoroughly tarnished image. Consumer Reports has pulled their “Recommended” status off Toyota’s models, and the share price is falling at an astounding rate.