It was only after several years, millions of vehicle recalls, a humbling apology by Akio Toyoda (in front of a hostile US Congress), and a joint NHTSA / NASA investigation into the issue to really show that TPS was doing what it had to do! After the investigations concluded, the data showed that the majority of the accidents occurred due to drivers not pressing the brakes.
(There is no justifying any death or injuries due to poor designs and/or quality… and the mat issue did contribute to these. However, the fact that the Media and Government went to such great extents to damage Toyota’s image – in order to prop up GM and Chrysler – makes me wonder if they perpetuated the problem. If anything, that witch hunt probably forced Toyota to commit resources to a wild goose chase and likely lose focus on the real issue… the floor mats.)
This year’s JD Power ratings were released and Toyota claimed the top spot in 8 of the segments. It is also interesting to note that these ratings concern 2009 models, the bulk of which went under the microscope due to the ‘runaway’ issue. This not only confirms Toyota’s commitment to quality, but that in the wake of the ‘fiasco’, they continue to do what they do best… learn and continuously improve.