DOT & Toyota: Is The Truth Out There?

Some people with a Fox Mulder frame of thinking suspect that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s handling of Toyota vis-à-vis the recalls has more than just a little to do with the U.S. government’s ownership of General Motors.

Some people with a Fox Mulder frame of thinking suspect that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s handling of Toyota vis-à-vis the recalls has more than just a little to do with the U.S. government’s ownership of General Motors. After all, what’s bad for Toyota is good for GM, right?

These folks got another bit of evidence for their conspiracy theory with word that there will be a $16.4-million fine imposed on Toyota for its less-than-urgent reporting of the sticky brake pedal to the feds. Apparently, this is an all-time record for the size of a penalty imposed by the Department of Transportation on a vehicle manufacturer.

The previous record was against—wait for it—GM in 2004, but it had to shell out a comparatively paltry $1-million.

However, the effect of that $16.4-million has to be put in some perspective, and when it is, it begins to make the notion of those who Want To Believe a bit more dubious.

2

The MSRP for a Chevy Malibu is $21,825. Add in the destination and delivery charge of $720, but don’t take any of the available deals. This brings the price to $22,545.

For $16.4-million you could get 7,274  727 Malibus, which is merely a drop in the bucket when it comes to even monthly sales for GM (and remember Oprah gave way 276 G6s). If that’s part of the conspiracy, it isn’t too compelling.