The Toyota recall story you haven't heard
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
By Dr. David Eifrig in Retirement Millionaire:
In case you haven't heard, Toyota is in trouble with the Feds. But not because of anything it did or didn't do.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is demanding the president of the company sit under its klieg lights and explain himself. Committee leaders are going to bully him with the threat of legal action until he shows up.
Politicians know they can get a lot of free press by stoking the popular perception that Toyota somehow knew the gas pedals were "dangerous," but installed them anyway, violating U.S. laws and regulations.
This is utter nonsense, though you can be sure the U.S. automakers are doing everything to encourage this hysteria.
When I heard the news about the gas pedals getting stuck and causing fatal crashes, I had to think about the probability these accidents resulted from the use of an ill-designed component.
Consider the numbers: 34 people died in accidents blamed on the pedals. That's a pretty small number, but maybe enough to raise some concerns... until you realize that's the total number of fatalities since 2000.
Toyota has recalled more than 8.5 million vehicles in the U.S. Assume the owners drive those vehicles 10,000 miles a year (12,000 is probably more accurate, but 10,000 is a conservative estimate... and a factor of 10 makes the math simpler). That means Toyotas are logging more than 85 billion miles a year in the U.S. - 850 billion miles during the last 10 years.
So divide 34 deaths into 850 billion miles, and the odds of a Toyota owner having one of these accidents is one in 2.5 million... That's a random event.
If Toyota were using faulty equipment, we would have seen thousands more accidents and deaths.
You're more likely to get killed by lightning: 60 people died from lightning in the U.S. just last year. Heck, I'm more likely to get a hole-in-one on the golf course. The odds of that are only 5,000 to 1.
But statistics aside, just apply a little common sense to the question. The allegedly defective accelerator part is made in Canada by Indiana-based CTS Corp. Many makes and models use this same part. For example, the Pontiac Vibe uses it. Ford sells a van in China with the component.
Why aren't we hearing about those cars? None of the drivers with American cars that use identical parts ever experienced a stuck accelerator? It just makes no sense.
But never mind... The demagogues know a vote-getter when they see one. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told people to stop driving Toyotas... and then retracted it saying it was "obviously a misstatement."
I'm confident those parts are safe. Still, if you drive a recalled Toyota, you should take it in to get the pedal replaced. Ignoring the recall could void your warranty.
And look for Toyota stock to be one of the great buys of the decade, too...
Leider, die D -Medien spielen mit.