Commentary: Toyota's pain is Ford's gain

Toyota is handling its latest recall by the book. Rather than chase the problem incrementally, it stopped making and selling eight popular models with potential accelerator problems.

That's as it should be, but the 2.4 million vehicle recall — including models such as Corolla sedans and some Camry sedans — is a blow to the image of the world's largest automaker. By Thursday, the recall broadened to Europe and China.

The sales and production halt hurts hundreds of thousands of Toyota's American workers, who are employed in assembling vehicles, making parts or marketing final products.

It's easy to forget that while the headquarters flag may be in Japan, Toyota has a massive U.S. presence, with assembly plants in several states, along with ancillary enterprises devoted to parts, automotive research and development.

These days, it's not easy to distinguish "American" cars from "imports." Chrysler minivans are made in Canada. Ford's popular Fusion model is made in Mexico.

Speaking of Ford, the company has been on a hot streak. Unlike General Motors and Chrysler, Ford never sought a government bailout.

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