Inside Toyota's epic safety breakdown
The article is worth your time, but for the laziest:
Toyota seemed to change its focus on quality and safety first as it tried to grow to become the #1 automaker. It stretched them. Perhaps too much too soon. After the US government got wind of the potential length, width, and breath of the problem (early 09, i think), they started talking to Toyota. Toyota mostly ignored requests to tighten up their operation, disliking foreigners (in this case, a foreign governmental entity) making technical requests of them. They failed to listen to concerns being voiced internally and externally and concerns being presented by consumers over the last several years.
When that sh!t hit the fan (January, 2010), Toyota got disorganized. Major divisions of Toyota failed to communicate well with each other, leading to further confusion amid the millions of recalled vehicles and embarrassments. They failed to respond when they could (should) have. They still aren't sure what the problem may actually be.
Perhaps it's the curse that comes with trying to be *the biggest* and stay *the biggest*. you inevitably cut corners or accept production errors in order to keep the lines moving and keep up with the Jones'. in this case, it'll be one of the costliest and embarrassing shifts in recent history.
Toyota was probably better off not trying to take over the marketplace.
What's the over/under of them recovering their public perception? Especially given that it's likely far from over and that their latest "fix" may not work? Then there's the Prius..
resale value is dropping faster than rain.
word on the street is that many dealerships aren't accepting Toyota's as trade-in's for now because they don't know if/when they'll be able to resell them.