Whistleblower asks PM to examine flaws in Toyota cars

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A Toyota engineer has proposed that the Prime Minister look into technical flaws which he alleges exist in the company's cars after his findings were rejected by the company leaders.

Le Van Tach of Toyota Motor Vietnam said Wednesday that he has sent the proposal to the PM and the Central Committee of Vietnam's Fatherland Front, an umbrella organization of public groups in the country.

Tach's proposal came after the director of Toyota Vietnam rejected his contention and refused to take corrective action, the man said in the letter.

Meanwhile Vietnam Register, the country's quality control agency which in April 2011 received Tach's complaint about three major problems with the Innova and Fortuner models, has acknowledged his complaints, but have not yet taken any steps to solve the problem.

Tach's public complaint led to Toyota Vietnam issuing a public apology to its customers in the same month and pledging to recall more than 65,000 cars.

Tach said in the subsequent letter that he had shared his findings with Toyota's leaders "as I understood that many terrible accidents were happening to the two models involved those technical flaws."

He said he discovered the flaws after tens of thousands of cars from the models were sold, so he wanted the company to recall the cars to check and fix them. "But Toyota Vietnam's leaders rejected my suggestion."

According to Tach, his efforts to right the wrong have been punished by the company in different ways, including a three-month suspension in June last year, and being transferred to another job at reduced salary.

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In September last year, the engineer filed a lawsuit with the Vinh Phuc provincial court near Hanoi, asking that charges to be brought against Akito Tachibana, general director of Toyota Vietnam, claiming that the company had violated his emails only to presumptively accuse him of having illicit affairs and planning to bring down the company.

The petition was rejected later, with Toyota arguing that the email technically belongs to the company.


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