As Toyota careened from one recall crisis to the next, the contrast was almost funny.
In one corner, we had pure Kabuki theater — a highly-stylized corporate drama playing out on the world stage.
At a hastily-called news conference in Nagoya on Feb. 5, Akio Toyoda — Toyota president and grandson of the company’s legendary founder Kiichiro Toyoda — bowed deeply in remorse before a gaggle of Japanese photographers. He then, dutifully, uttered phrases like “personal responsibility,” “deeply regretted,” and “very sorry.”
Finally, Toyoda announced a new “taskforce” under his control to look into quality problems, and skedaddled.
It was everything you’d expect from a Japanese mea culpa (minus the ritual suicide) — stoic, very public and, of course, entirely predictable.