Official: State Farm warned NHTSA on Toyota in '07

Official: State Farm warned NHTSA on Toyota in '07
Nick Carey
Mon Feb 8, 2010 5:42pm EST
DETROIT (Reuters) - Private insurer State Farm informed a government regulator of a worrying trend of vehicle-caused accidents involving Toyota Motor Corp as far back as late 2007, an official at the company said.
"When you start to see significant claims activity that indicates that there may be widespread problems with a product, that's when you go to the NHTSA," said company spokesman Kip Diggs. "There had to have been significant activity, a noticeable trend, for that to happen."

Bloomington, Illinois-based State Farm is America's largest auto insurer, with 42.4 million auto insurance policies. That gives it a U.S. market share of roughly 18 percent, according to industry trade association the Insurance Information Institute.

Diggs said the company contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in "late 2007" and had been in touch with the regulator an unspecified number of times since then. (MORE)

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Toyota woes follow years of slipping quality
Giant automaker ramped up quickly to become world's leader
The complacency that brought General Motors, Ford and Chrysler to their knees seems to have infected Toyota, too.

The Japanese automaker's products have been a quality byword for American drivers, so much so that its management and manufacturing techniques have long been studied and copied by rivals in the United States and abroad.

Evidence has been building for years, however, that Toyota may have sacrificed its reputation for excellence to the quest for market share and that, in its smugness, it may have ignored its customers and its own management principles.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

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