Thursday, February 10, 2011

Toyota. Buy, Buy, Buy!

Tuesday was a very sad day for me.  I have to admit I had started to believe that Toyota was just like any other huge corporation that had lost its way.   The lure to become, and remain number one in the auto industry was too much for them.  They had lost touch with customers, and worse still, they had put profits ahead of the safety, and lives of customers.

While I was suspicious of the media, and the agendas of the U.S. politicians, not to mention those of the U.S. auto industry, I never, for a moment believed that such unprecedented numbers of every-day people would misrepresent the difficulties they were having with their family automobile.  Now, I understood many, many people were walking away from home mortgages, but that seemed to me like a case of, "I can't pay what I don't have."  In the case of Toyota, they were actually blaming the car maker.  In addition, they were, and are, demanding compensation for problems which were, largely, not the fault of Toyota.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has studied the problem and in every case, any difficulty caused by sudden acceleration would have caused the engine light to come on.  Only a handful of such cases exist according to the NASA studies.

Once again, we have to wonder what role the media has played in all of this.  As for our own media, the CBC in particular, I was sickened, when on that very same Tuesday, they chose to show the execution of one of the Egyptian protesters by, what appeared to be, the Egyptian police.  Is there not enough violence in this world already?  Is it any less violent to show such an act on national television than to commit the crime in the first place?  Are they trying to incite even more violence?  Do they feel they must go to these lengths to gain viewers?  Personally, in future, I will get my news from the internet, thankyou, CBC.  Just when I think people can't act any dumber...  Perhaps they have been watching their own newscasts for too long.

Having said all that, the thing that sticks in my memory about Toyota's difficulties is the chairperson of Toyota offering his sincere personal apology for not having listened to customers better!  Now this is the type of company I would be interested in.  Management plays a huge role in successful companies.  I can only contrast this with the likes of Firestone.  Firestone knew their tires were defective and that tire failures would result in people dying, but deemed it more cost effective to continue with production.  There were also other tire companies whose products I will never in my life-time buy again.  How's that for cost effective?  And, if I wouldn't buy their products, I'm not about to buy their stock.

The same goes for the likes of cigarette companies, or asbestos companies.  I know there are people in the media (and outside, for that matter), who believe the ends justify the means.  How can we invest in cigarette companies without condoning the sale of poison to people under the guise of free choice?  What type of greedy, mostly self-centred people should we think run those companies?  Do we really think they care about treating employees and shareholders fairly when they are prepared to poison their very own customers?  What about what it is costing you and I in health care expenses?  Should we feel that we can trust these people on any level?

For the free, capitalist system to work, we should reward the best companies that are able to achieve their greatness while upholding their ethical standards.  The only result of rewarding those who cheat and lie is more cheaters and more liers, especially when they are granted special status like "too big to fail".  I would rather make less money investing in honest and trustworthy companies and maintain my own integrity.  It isn't like I can buy it back again with the extra money I might otherwise make.  I say fire the politicians and bankers who created our current financial crisis, and stick with companies who have proven they can be trusted to be profitable while remaining fair, ethical and uncompromising - companies, as it turns out, like Toyota.

Do you believe the end justifies any means of obtaining it?  Why?


  1. This was a great post, Ian. You have a great way of looking at things, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. :)

  2. Thanks Jessica. It's nice to hear from others who also think it is relative.


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