Toyota's Unintended Acceleration
Toyota's reputation for safety (and boring blandness) was so firmly in place that when its cars started to speed up on their own, terrifying drivers and causing 31 deaths, the auto blog Jalopnik tagged it "beige bites back." In a scramble to protect its reputation, Toyota tried the ever popular "blame the victim" maneuver, saying people weren't driving right. Then they blamed an innocent floor mat, issuing a recall to fix floor mats in 2009. Really, Toyota? It finally had to fess up in 2010 and issue a recall for the sticky pedal mechanism. In total, 9 million cars were recalled. The incident still haunts the company; in 2014, Toyota paid a $1.2 billion settlement for misleading investigators.