It's easy to look good when everything is humming along on an even keel.
Sooner or later, though, you're going to make an error...particularly if you're turning out millions of complex examples of your craftsmanship every year.
What is true of people is also true of corporations: It's how you own up to your mistakes that reveals your true character.
Toyota is new to this business of acknowledging its faults and making good on them--something American automakers have gotten accustomed to, if not exactly comfortable with.
Because they're newcomers, Toyota fell into the trap of trying to stonewall, rather than preserve customer goodwill by immediately taking responsibility. Now they've annoyed people and hurt the reputation of their brand.