Toyota Responds To Associated Press Article Regarding Southern Illinois University

July 15, 2010
Toyota would like to set the record straight regarding a July 10 article by Jim Suhr of The Associated Press that grossly mischaracterized our relationship with Southern Illinois University and Professor David Gilbert.  Toyota does not deny that it questions Professor Gilbert’s findings because we stand by the safety of our vehicles.  But to imply that our support of Southern Illinois University has changed as a result of his research or public statements is simply wrong.  In fact, Toyota has enjoyed a relationship with SIU that began in the mid 1980’s when we launched an on-campus recruiting program that continues to this day.  Over the years we have expanded our relationship through financial and in-kind donations including:
  • Grants totaling approximately $200K, including $100K in support of the University’s Transportation Education Center.
  • Donations of vehicles and vehicle parts.
  • Annual scholarship programs (beginning in 2007) of between $6,000-$8,000 to deserving students.
The article incorrectly implies that Toyota took a number of steps to “pressure” Professor Gilbert and the University, including advisory committee resignations and a withdrawal of two internships.  In reality, the resignations were intended to avoid any appearance of undue influence over Professor Gilbert’s Congressional testimony.  As for the internships, they were reduced not just at SIU but at many universities due to the challenging economy.  Finally, the article cites a letter from an SIU alum and Toyota employee that was critical of the University and Professor Gilbert.  What Mr. Suhr does not mention is that the correspondence was sent from the employee’s personal email, and in no way represents Toyota’s position on the matter.
 
A diversity of opinions and debate is at the heart of the Toyota Way and our focus on continuous improvement.  While we may strongly disagree with Professor Gilbert’s research, our relationship with SIU remains strong and we remain open to continuing our work together in the future.    
Categories

< back

You must be logged in to view this item.




This area is reserved for members of the news media. If you qualify, please update your user profile and check the box marked "Check here to register as an accredited member of the news media". Please include any notes in the "Supporting information for media credentials" box. We will notify you of your status via e-mail in one business day.

Copyright Notice

All materials on this site are for editorial use only. The use of these materials for advertising, marketing or any other commercial purpose is prohibited. They may be cropped but not otherwise modified. To download these materials, you must agree to abide by these terms.