Toyota has some explaining to do. The recent rash of Toyota recalls coupled with the sales halt of eight of its models indicates that there are potential safety hazards that not even Toyota knows how to fix.
The New York Times blog writes how under federal regulations, a carmaker is not allowed to sell a car with known safety defects. The only way that a carmaker can sell a car with known defect is if can be defect that can be fixed. Toyota had no choice but to stop selling the vehicles.
The Detroit News quoted the company's statement about the halt of sales: "In light of the safety concerns being raised about Toyota vehicles, we are taking the precaution of removing all of the approximately 20,000 cars that Toyota has identified for recall from our fleet in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico." It took them five days after their most recent recall in order to halt sales.
While it seems like a very bold move on the part of Toyota, they were actually bound by federal regulations to do so. The new administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, David Strickland told the Detroit News that the move "was an aggressive one and was the legally and morally correct thing to do."
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took it one step further and indicated that Toyota needed federal intervention in order to halt sales of their defective cars. He told Chicago radio station WGN: "The reason Toyota decided to do the recall and to stop manufacturing was because we asked them to."
While it remains to be seen why exactly Toyota needed federal prodding to halt sales of their defective cars, one thing is for certain; this is only the beginning of a long safety investigation.