FEB 22 2010

Recalls and Risk – Another Update

Akio Toyoda, Insurance, Toyota, United States

John Aquino points out that, in isolation, the recall information as presented is unfair to Toyota since it ignores overall fatality per vehicle statistics (certainly a fairer proxy for manufacturer safety) and it fails to address the potential conflict of interest inherent in a U.S. agency deriding an import (since it can transfer sales to the quasi-governmental domestic makes).

When we add the data as displayed in the following table, he is correct insofar as Toyotas overall have fewer fatalities per vehicle.  The acceleration problem, then, is a problem of risk perception.  People tend to be more accepting of the voluntary risk of driving as opposed to the involuntary risk of sudden acceleration.  SARF principles may potentially help Toyota manage this risk.

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