WASHINGTON If a Washington Post analysis of the Japanese car maker's post-recall lobbying efforts is accurate, it spells the beginning of the end for Toyota as a dominant global manufacturer.
According to the Post analysis, Toyota has for several years been spreading cash around in the form of campaign contributions and corporate sponsorships. The Post report says Toyota has just hired a "crisis-management" firm as it girds for a congressional hearing on recalls prompted by sticking gas pedals, faulty brakes and improperly installed floor mats.
The new lobbyist joins the 32 already working on Toyota's behalf on Capitol Hill, the Post reports.
In learning the ways of Washington, Toyota has adopted U.S. corporate management tactics and took its eye off the ball. In so doing, Toyota forgot that manufacturing quality was the key to its dominance. Instead, it is now caught up in the tawdry lobbying game that reflects the absolute worst in our current political system.
I've been to Toyota headquarters in Nagoya, Japan. I was very impressed. At the time I was there, during Nagoya's Expo 2005 (what used to be called a "world's fair"), Toyota executives were talking about the future of transportation and rolling out futuristic prototypes.
That's a distant memory now as Toyota digs in to play the public relations game. The only winners in this game are the lobbyists.