Toyota Safety Investment Claim Questioned By Ralph Nader

Automobile Staff
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Toyota is responding to Ralph Nader's questioning the truth of recent ads claiming the automaker spends $1 million an hour on safety and technology.

During the height of the Toyota recall crisis, Toyota ran the ads and Nader says it would need to spend $8.7 billion annually for the claim to be true.

Here is Toyota's response:

"As stated in Toyota Motor Corporation's public financial reports, the company's investment in Research and Development was 725.3 billion yen, or approximately $8.9 billion, for fiscal year 2010. This exceeds Mr. Nader’s calculation of $8.76 billion in his letter questioning Toyota’s R&D commitment."

The ads featured statements like the following, shown on Toyota's Web site: "Toyota is investing a million dollars an hour to improve the technology and safety of every vehicle."

Nader has also sent Toyota's U.S. sales chief a letter, reprinted in a USA Today article:

"At one million dollars an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the total comes to 8,760,000,000 dollars! That is an astonishing amount, compared to your industry peers, to be spent on safety R&D."

Nader continues, asking Toyota to break down that sum into specific amounts so the public can see where it was spent. In responding to Nader, Toyota also noted a report from consulting firm Booz & Company, which has found Toyota to spend more on R&D than other automakers in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

The attack on Toyota's ad claim isn't perhaps the most timely as the automaker is now focusing on its no-cost two-year maintenance plan, but do you think Nader has a point suggesting the automaker's ad was misleading?

Source: USA Today

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