In wake of the recent congressional investigation of the unintended sudden acceleration problem of Toyota cars, Toyota strikes back.
The tactics are ordinary: carrots and sticks. On the sweet side, Toyota dramatically increased lobby fund, on top of the 32 firms on the Hill already representing Toyota on every fronts. A whopping 40% of the 140 congressmen and senators who are involved in the investigation already on Toyota's payroll before the 'incident'. To show its teeth, Toyota pulled two managers from an advisory board of the Southern Illinois University, which is known for its automotive programs, 'in view of recent events'. The events refer to a Southern Illinois professor who testified on the Congress on possibility that an electronic malfunction in the throttle system of Toyota's unique drive-by-wire system caused the problem. Professor David W. Gilbert demonstrated the discovery on evening news with a real Toyota car. He also testified he couldn't duplicate the same problem on similar cars from other manufactures, including Honda and Ford.
The chief engineer of Toyota testified Tuesday that Toyota would make better cars, "so that Toyota customers would make less mistakes while driving Toyota cars". In the end, it's all customer's problem, after all.