On August 24, new President Shinji Izumi sent his second video message to all employees.
The nearly nine-minute message opened with words of gratitude to employees and their families, and was followed by the following
＜In the face of this issue, and in the course of our daily discussions, the real reason for the various problems that come up every day is that our organization and systems have not kept pace with the expansion of the scale of our business.
We believe that the real reason for the various problems that appear daily in our daily discussions is that our company’s common sense has not kept pace with the world’s common sense.
“Our common sense was not in line with the world’s common sense.
These words can be taken as a reflection of the fact that the company’s own rules took precedence over the rules of the government, and that a system that ignored compliance was the norm. It has been one month since the new system was put in place. I feel that it is not so easy to change the mindset of the upper management.
After 47 years of expansion under a system that ignores common sense and various laws and regulations, we have received a lot of information about the actual situation that is far removed from the “common sense of the world.
Mr. A, who worked for a subcontractor of Big Motor, witnessed many unbelievable scenes.
This was back when drinking parties and banquets were strictly forbidden at the COVID-19 crisis. It was a time when banquets were considered out of the question, but I was told that the restaurant was holding a year-end party and I was to attend. When the party started, the boss forced his subordinates to drink until they were tongue-tied.
What surprised me was when I was leaving after the party. Mr. B, the supervisor, had his subordinate, Mr. C, drive him home, knowing that he would be driving drunk. Mr. B had no hesitation in ordering Mr. C, who was inebriated, to take him home. And no one could stop him. This is an athletic company with a strict hierarchical relationship. We had to absolutely follow what our superiors told us to do.
After that, Mr. C., who was forced to drink and drive, decided to resign. He notified the company of the incident.
In some general companies, if a person is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol, he or she is immediately dismissed from the company. However, at Big Motor, where “company rules are more important than national rules,” such common sense did not prevail, and even after Mr. C notified the company of Mr. B’s misconduct, Mr. B’s good sales performance did not result in any severe punishment. However, it was later discovered that Mr. B himself had been driving under the influence of alcohol in a different situation than the one in which he forced Mr. C to drink and drive. In addition, he was found to have sexually harassed a female employee by touching her, and the head office finally ordered Mr. B to be demoted or transferred.
Incidentally, this Mr. B later left the company but continued to work independently in the used car sales business. The company has a group of about 20 former employees of Big Motor.
The aforementioned lenient response was also extended to the employee who caused the hit-and-run accident.
In a hit-and-run accident that occurred in Fukuoka City in the early morning of September 7, 2014, the Fukuoka Prefecture Sagara Police Department arrested Big Motor employee D, then 32, on charges of violating the Motor Vehicle Driving Punishment Law (negligent driving causing death by negligent driving and evading the influence of alcohol, etc.) and violating the Road Traffic Law (hit-and-run, etc.).
Mr. D, who had been drinking in Nakasu, Hakata for nearly 10 hours from after 8:00 p.m. on the night of August 6 to around 6:30 a.m. the next morning, drove his store’s loaner car (a car rented in place of customers’ cars for repairs or vehicle inspections) onto the oncoming lane of a national highway in Fukuoka City and collided head-on with a car driven by a 40-year-old female office worker who lives in Fukuoka City. He abandoned the car in a parking lot near the scene and fled, returning home on foot. Fortunately, the woman sustained only minor injuries, but the company’s response was surprising. A former employee who knew the woman recalls, “It was a drunken hit-and-run, you know.
It was a drunken hit-and-run. There were rumors that she would be fired this time, but Mr. D’s boss wrote a petition to then president Hiroyuki Kaneshige, and it was accepted. In other words, he was not fired, nor was he demoted. Mr. D and his boss have since moved on to a competitor.
Big Motor has been the subject of numerous reports of misconduct, but at the heart of it all was the headquarters’ policy of prioritizing “company rules over national rules.
Since they only look at numbers, they are willing to cheat in order to increase sales. They also had no problem cutting down or killing street trees for their own convenience to make them look better so that they would not receive bad marks in “environmental maintenance inspections,” in which headquarters executives visit store sites.
In addition to forced drunk driving, the author has received earnest complaints from current employees who are suffering from power harassment and bruising violence from their supervisors.
It is not only employees. Some customers who purchased used cars from Big Motor are suffering large losses because they were lied to by employees at the time of contracting. They intensely regret their purchase at Big Motor, and some are fighting in court.
If Big Motor intends to take good care of its employees and customers, shouldn’t it listen more carefully to their plaintive cries? I think that is the first step to regain “common sense in the world.” ……
Interview and text by Kumiko Kato： Kumiko Kato