February 25, 2010

I Now Believe in Global Warming

Well, compared to believing something truly ludicrous, like say, that Toyota has exceptional manufacturing, engineering, or safety problems.

Compared to belief in that, Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe is a slam dunk.

I was pretty queasy about GM Ownership's involvement in the serial contretempses. The media coverage had that witch hunt vibe, and the body count -- if I may put on my cool, statistician's face -- just didn't seem high enough [insert standard disclaimer how every life is precious and every death a tragedy, &c.]. I assumed that there were some problems, but that government and media were overblowing them -- that wouldn't exactly break precedent.

But no more. Yesterday put me in the full deniers’ camp.

"There is absolutely no problem with any Toyota motorcars that is any more serious than any mechanical defect that one is likely to find on any car." -- John Kranz

I don't know that any ThreeSourcers disagree. Bright lot that you are, you probably all beat me to the punch. If anybody still feels leery of cutting off that smug guy in the Prius, let me present three stunning exegeses (surely ac will let me use that term in the plural).

1) Holman Jenkins: My Sudden Acceleration Nightmare. The nightmare is facing the US regulatory industry, tort bar, and UAW-owned Congress if your name is Toyoda and you make cars without union labor. In this devastating piece, Jenkins pins the defect on "driver pedal misapplication."

2) John Stossel: The Parasite Circuit. Stossel points out that "No one looks at safety 'rationally' when the media and Big Government are stirred up." Stossel runs the numbers and notes the tort sharks already circling in the waters.

3) Washington Examiner: The Taint in the Toyota Probe traces UAW contributions to the congressfolk whipping this controversy up and questions the veracity of some expert witness.

There's a taint a right. Tain't nothing there! Every car has some flaws. Some 40,000 people die each year and surely thousands could be avoided with some vehicle modification. But we buy and drive cars accepting the risk. One of the above links discusses a national news that opened with an 11 minute report on a defect that hasn't been seen since 1992.

This is a witch hunt exacerbated by government ownership of "the means of production" for a competitor. There are no significant Toyota defects.

Posted by John Kranz at February 25, 2010 11:34 AM

AHA! I'm here to debunk you. Government doesn't own the means of production, the unions do! Just like they own government. What, are you calling the president a socialist or something?

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2010 2:30 PM

I'll admit to a certain amount of Shadenfreude over Toyota's troubles. I've long felt the Japanese brands' quality is overrated by the likes of Consumer Reports. But this is getting ridiculous.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2010 9:57 PM

Prob'ly fair, but this punishment does not fit the crime. Yeah, in both instances, the press is exhibiting the lazy groupthink we've come to expect. But this is a company-threatening non-event trumped up by some very nefarious forces.

On your topic, I think the big three do themselves no favors marketing that they have "pretty much finally caught up in quality." I would not highlight the years they lagged without making some bold claim that they have surpassed their rivals.

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2010 6:31 PM | What do you think? [3]