Did anyone read last week in the Dow Jones Newwire about Toyota being sued for defective tires? Do you think Toyota is slipping in the quality of their products? Traditionally, auto makers do not take direct responsibility for the integrity of tires on a vehicle, instead leaving the tire maker responsible to back up quality. However, a high-publicity recall earlier in the decade involving Ford Motor Co. (F) and Firestone brand tires put more emphasis on an auto maker's responsibility for a tire design's compliance with the overall performance of a vehicle. Traditionally, Toyota is known to have industry-leading quality, but has been criticized of late by competitors for having less focus on vehicle dependability and more recalls than ever before in the U.S. In September, General Motors Corp. (GM) product planning vice president, John Smith, said in comments to Reuters that Toyota has slipped in quality leadership.