By Stephen Markley on February 10, 2010
Governors with Toyota manufacturing plants in their states have come to the defense of the embattled automaker. Four governors sent a letter to the congressional representatives who will lead hearings about Toyota’s recalls and service issues.
"It is unfortunate and unfair that Toyota has fallen victim to aggressive and questionable news coverage of these issues when the real story is how quickly Toyota identified the problems, found solutions and delivered those solutions to its dealers worldwide," the letter says. It also referenced “the federal government's obvious conflict of interest because of its huge financial stake in some of Toyota's competitors.”
The governors included Democrat Steve Beshear of Kentucky and Republicans Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Bob Riley of Alabama.
Not among the letter’s signees were Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, where the Toyota Tundra is built; Gov. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, where Toyota has a facility; and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, where Toyota has its North American headquarters. Spokesmen for Perry and Manchin each told the Associated Press that the governors would be writing their own letters.
A House committee had planned to hold a hearing into Toyota's recalls on Wednesday, but it was postponed due to inclement weather. It has been rescheduled for Feb. 24.
In other Toyota news, President Barack Obama made his first public comment on the Toyota recalls, telling Bloomberg News that while automakers have an obligation to act “quickly and decisively” when public safety issues are at stake, he didn’t have an opinion on Toyota’s actions thus far. “That’s going to be investigated,” he said. He went on to say that “Toyota has been an extraordinary automaker for a very long time, and I suspect that they will continue to be, despite this recent glitch.”
4 Governors Ask Congress to Be Fair to Toyota (Associate Press)