What does an auto company do when it’s offered an award in the middle of a massive recall? If the company is Toyota, decline it. Japan’s government recently awarded Toyota an energy efficiency award for the company’s hybrid car, the Prius. Because of the Toyota recall affects the Prius, spokesman Paul Nolasco said that Toyota must decline the award because accepting it would be inappropriate.
The award is given annually by Japan’s trade minister and is given to products that exemplify energy efficiency and ecological quality. The Prius was one of three products to receive the award this year. Toyota’s insistence on declining the award is fueled by the February 9th announcement that 437,000 of their hybrid vehicles, including the Prius, would be recalled to fix brake problems. This latest announcement brings the total number of Toyota cars recalled since last October to 8.5 million worldwide.
While the problems facing the Prius have nothing to do with the nature of the award, Toyota clearly feels that no model facing such a widespread problem should deserve being awarded. The Prius was the only car in the field of winners; Mitsubishi Electric Corp. won the award for an air conditioner, while Fuji Xerox Co. won for a multifunction copy machine.