It seems there is no sign of an end to the bullying. Despite the media’s spotlight, lapels are still be shaken. There have been no official complaints yet, just a whiff here and a hint there that there’s more to come. The US government may be the worst culprit. The media are to blame too. Yes, that’s right, we are talking about Toyota.

According to a report on Bloomberg, the probe into Toyota currently being conducted by the US government is being fuelled by politics as well as safety. According to the Washington Examiner, Ray LaHood, who is the US Transportation Secretary, is behaving like “a brand manager for GM and Chrysler – running around, ripping Toyota to shreds.”

Toyota’s big problem, it seems, is that it isn’t American. At least that seems to be the gist of the views held by a number of state governors. For example, the governor for Indiana said: “There seems to be a degree of witch-hunting.”

Meanwhile, The Times ran a story suggesting Toyota covered up the extent of its problem, and that an internal document from the company’s safety division boasted it had struck a winning deal with the US government and had managed to avoid costly recalls. Meanwhile, it appears the Japanese car maker is now under criminal investigation after a US grand jury issued a subpoena forcing it to give up certain documents relating to a potential cover up.

So, naughty Toyota. It is just that it could be argued that the company is no different from the rest of the auto industry. Faults that are hushed up, recalls that are done on the quiet, without a media crusade looking to vilify the perpetrators, are common.

It seems Toyota may be a victim of US protectionism. Not obvious protectionism, but rather by the back door.

We covered this issue in yesterday’s lead story. And we got a good comment too, which itself is worth a read. If you haven’t read the piece yet, then consider your lapels grabbed, and click here: The PR behind is a Toyota

© Investment & Business News 2013