When I announced three years ago that Toyota would open a U.S. vehicle assembly plant in Blue Springs, Miss., I said Toyota was the world’s premier automobile manufacturer. I still believe that.
Make no mistake, the safety and reliability concerns identified in some Toyota automobiles — although they occur very infrequently — are serious. It seems to me, however, that the company is doing everything it should as quickly as possible to make things right. This includes not just a full recall but also temporarily halting production in five plants to focus on the problem and repairing recalled vehicles. The company has taken significant steps to improve quality and reliability worldwide, and to increase the transparency of its communications with government officials and customers.
But as two House committees and one in the Senate prepare for hearings on Toyota’s safety issues, I worry that there has been a rush to judgment. The way that Congress and the Obama administration respond to this controversy will have real economic consequences.
Haley Barbour op-ed
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