deconstructing toyota

This is actually about my ongoing struggle with the shortcomings of story and language in recreating the world…

Toyota president Akyo Toyoda, appearing at congressional hearings today, said in his prepared published statement

…I would like to discuss what caused the recall issues we are facing now. Toyota has, for the past few years, been expanding its business rapidly. Quite frankly, I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick.

This makes sense in a broad brush way, but not a real world way.

This is the scenario Toyoda suggests:

As a crowd of American car buyers is chanting “TOY–YO-TA! TOY-YO-TA!” 24/7 outside company headquarters, a frazzled overworked designer is being forced to deliver the finished specs for the driver side flooring overnight. (Remember, Toyota denies the problem is in the software).

I picture him played by Bobcat Goldthwait.

He is forced by Toyota’s insane growth to design the flooring for two new models in the same time he used to design one, exhausted but running on adrenalin at 4:00 in the morning, the shine of the florescent lights overhead glaring off his monitor, he hits the “5” key instead of the “4” working on a CAD rendering of a plastic floormat.

Three hours of work later his team boss comes around, growls. “Is it ready yet?”

“Yes, yes, sure boss, uh…”

“Good!” The boss leans over Bob’s shoulder, hits a key, sends the design.

“But- but!”

“But what!? We have to get these new models out now! The Final Approval Committee is meeting at 8:00!”

“Shouldn’t you, uh, check it first? Cross the i’s and dot the t’s and doublecheck my figures and my lines and all that?”

“Can’t you hear that hungry public outside screaming for Toyotas?”

“Uh well, I don’t know why we have to design new floormats, and a whole new interior floor, can’t we just work things around a reliable and, uh, proven safe floor design we already have? I mean, uh, just a couple millimeters to work around, I could do that. In fact, I’d feel better about it….”

“No! Your design goes out now!”

And we hear the crowd’s chanting swell, as Bobcat hunkers, cowed, and pushes his glasses back up his nose. “Uh, okay, yeah, you’re the boss…uh, can I go home and get some sleep now?”

Sorry, this kind of “story logic” might work in pulling along a Troma Team movie, and the argument works as a gloss-over in the semantic structure of an apologetic sentence… But it flounders as a logically causal scenario. Do you really think busy showrooms would force a design department and subsequent safety department of a multi-billion dollar industrial corporation to skip a series of doublechecks?  I don’t know the truth here, but just saying.


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