It has been a tough year for Toyota.
On Monday, CEO Akita Toyoda announced the latest in a series of embarrassing recalls for the auto company, offering his apologies to the public.
“I am afraid I must tell you that the 2011-model Japanese Prime Minister, known by the popular name ‘Naoto Kan,’ is under recall,” Toyoda said at a press conference in Tokyo. “There have been numerous reports of poor overall performance and a slow response time to emergencies; as such, it is our corporate duty to issue a general recall. Anyone possessing a Prime Minister is asked to contact the local authorities, who will provide a box with air holes in which to return the defective item.”
The recall is not expected to disrupt Toyota’s businesses in the United States, as the Prime Minister is not particularly well-known. The impact of yet another recall, however, could have far-reaching consequences.
Kathryn Moore, a public policy expert at Florida State University, agrees.
“I know that Toyota has a lot of really good cars in production. But having to recall 5 Prime Ministers in as many years like this? It’s simply not good business. Toyota should think very carefully about the design of their next Kan. It needs to be able to respond quickly and effectively to traffic problems, nuclear disasters, and American television shows about whaling. The Prius certainly can’t do those things.”
As this paper went to press, Toyota was announcing that the new 2011-model Prime Minister, nicknamed the ‘Yoshihiko Noda,’ will not come with heated seats standard.