Reviewing NHTSA's role in Toyota recall

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Also facing lawmakers today: the president of Toyota Motors will be apologizing for faulty cars. But Marketplace's Gregory Warner says the hearing may also look at how government regulators did their jobs.


Gregory Warner: Today's hearings will expose not only problems at Toyota, but problems at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA.

The regulating authority went easy on the company. Subpoenaed documents from Toyota bragged of how Toyota negotiated favorable recalls of just some floor mats. Toyota has now recalled more than 5 million vehicles.

Paul Eisenstein is publisher of TheDetroitBureau.com. He says the question is not just were regulators too cozy with the industry to enforce the rules:

Paul Eisenstein: But there's also the question of whether they have the simple capability of testing particularly some of the complex systems that are going into today's cars.

Eisenstein says one outcome of the hearings might be to give NHTSA the resources they need to do their job.

Gary Chaison is professor of industrial relations at Clark University. He says since last year's bailout of the auto industry:

Gary Chaison: The government, as they would say, has a dog in this fight.

He says that Congress has to crack down on Toyota without giving the impression it's just trying to make General Motors look good.

In Philadelphia, I'm Gregory Warner for Marketplace.

About the author

Gregory Warner is a senior reporter covering the economics and business of healthcare for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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