First it was the sudden acceleration incidents in Prius and other Toyota models; then internal memos revealed that Toyota had known about problems in the Prius much earlier on in the process and argued against recalls; and now, internal memos once again have Toyota in trouble, this time over transmission problems in the Lexus ES line. The L.A. Times reported that five months before the new 2002 Lexus ES was to go on sale in the U.S., Toyota engineers sounded the alarm about concerns with the car’s transmission. The sedan shifted gears so roughly that it was “not acceptable for production.” Did Toyota executives consider delaying the roll out of the ES or making repairs to already manufactured models? No-- "The objective will be to limit the number of vehicles to be serviced to those owners who complain, and to limit the per-vehicle cost," a Toyota staff attorney wrote in an Aug. 15, 2005, memo explaining the automaker's legal defense strategy. In light of yet another damaging revelation, is Toyota a trustworthy company?
Ralph Vartabedian, national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times