OT: Toyota: totally up shit creek?

Submitted by ChiliDog on February 9th, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Today more U.S recalls on Camry and Prius. Apperantly Toyota was aware of 8 million vehicles having
safty issues with the acceleration pedal. State Farm insurance quoted as picking up a pattern in accedents all the way back to 2007 and informing goverment officals of the problem. Now, steering and braking issues are coming up. Can the "big three" slide in here and benefit. Let's hope so, Michigan needs it. Link can be found on CNN. Com



February 9th, 2010 at 8:28 PM ^

up shit creek, but they're in some trouble.

What Ford needs to do is really do some serious PR on their own vehicles. They really have to promote the Focus, the Fusion and the new Taurus, even more than they have in the past. Those three are some of the best new cars out there.

GM has to start hyping the Cruze as a solid fuel efficient option once that hits the showrooms. The Malibu is one helluva car as well, and Buick is making some nice cars, too.

Chrysler.....well.......Ford makes the Fusion and Taurus and GM has a nice option in the Malibu. There's just nothing new at Chrysler, and there probably isn't going to be for a little bit yet.

Toyota made a very nice reputation over the last 20 years with their quality. It's not going to come crashing down overnight, but it's going to take one helluva hit.


February 9th, 2010 at 8:45 PM ^

NBC did a special a couple weekends ago at the Detroit Auto show...they showed Ford and GM's new models (Cruze, Taurus, etc). When they got to Chrysler, they said something to the effect of: Chrysler doesn't have any new models, but the board is confident the new year will bring Chrysler around.

So sad. I want Chrysler to turn it around...I just don't see it in the cards.


February 10th, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

Just a slight correction, the new global C-platform Focus isn't going to show up in showrooms until late this year. Until then we are stuck with a face-lifted version of the Focus that was introduced all the way back in 1999 (party like it's....) It really annoys me that the Europeans have gotten a slew of awesome C1 platform Foci between then and now, it has always been one of my favorite small cars but the current model is just severely outdated when compared with its contemporaries right now.


February 10th, 2010 at 4:47 PM ^

Yes we did get those C1 platform cars in addition to the Volvo V50, C70, C30, XC60, and Mazda 5 but none are "American" cars. Also, I wasn't really enamored with the MS3 and the 2.3L DISI engine after reading Blackstone Labs reports and how it abused oil. IMHO the 2.5L I5 in the euro Focus RS was a much better FI base to start from.


February 10th, 2010 at 7:19 PM ^

I really like the Fusion in the C/D segment. The Taurus is a nice car, just a far bigger car than I want or can see myself needing in the foreseeable future. That said, I would definitely shop both of them if I was looking for something in their class. I am a big Honda fan but I am not as enamored by their latest generation of vehicles and I would like to support Ford if they produce a competitive product (which they do now IMO).


February 10th, 2010 at 8:15 PM ^

I was referring to your "American Car" comment.

The Fusion is built in Hermasillo Mexico from the Mazda6 platform designed by Mazda, although the current gen Fusion displays much more American design influence than the first iteration. Mazda6s are also built in Flat Rock, Michigan.

The Taurus is the built in Chicago (IIRC) from the [evolved] last-gen Volvo S60/80 platform, which is why they had such trouble fitting an appropriate engine into the car prior to the 3.5 TwinForce/EcoBoost engine and redesign occured.

Technically, the entire Ford car renaissance is driven from global (or at least outside US lead development) platforms. The new Focus is moving to the next gen C1. Fiesta is the global B platform designed for Europe. Fusion is built off the evolved C/D platform born in the first-gen Mazda6. Interestingly enough, Fusion branched the C/D platform more towards D, while Mazda6 and Mondeo (globally anyway) are on a separate branch of that platform. Taurus is still on that heavily modified Volvo platform, and will be in the forseeable future as Ford has divested Volvo and is yet to announce a global FWD/AWD platform, although a global RWD platform is in the works.

TL;DR - An "American Car" doesn't make sense as a business concept anymore. A car built in a American by an American owned brand, well, you have that option still.


February 11th, 2010 at 4:32 PM ^

That is why I put quotation marks around American Car. Most of Ford and GM's best models use platforms designed by their overseas subsidiaries such as the ones you listed from Ford (Or the Opel/Saab Epsilon platform, Opel Epsilon II, and Holden Sigma platforms) and some of them aren't even built in the US anymore. I didn't feel bad at all buying my wife a Honda Accord (hers was built in Marysville, OH) but I would like to support Ford for vastly improving quality and not taking bailout money if they offer a competitive product. In the end Ford will only overcome my brand loyalty to Honda if I decide that Ford offers a better product after research and test drives.


February 10th, 2010 at 11:31 AM ^

Well, hopefully all the suppliers will be able to make up the logistics gap. Because, you know, increased demand will turn in to immediate purchases from these suppliers. Oh...wait..

What a wonderfully neophyte view on manufacturing. Seriously.


February 10th, 2010 at 10:37 PM ^

could just go away and I wouldn't shed a tear. The japanese auto companies have no problem purchasing from american suppliers, just as long as those american suppliers purchase the raw materials used to make those products from the foreign supplier of Toyota or Honda's choice. They are willing to pay more then double the cost to ensure we get our latex and powders from Japan. We could easily get equal quality goods right here in America for less then the cost of shipping those raws from Japan. No Japanese raws, no business...so on the outside it might appear they are contributing to the health of the local economy but in reality not so much.


February 9th, 2010 at 8:41 PM ^

Could end up hurting GM a little bit too, right? The Pontiac Vibe is a joint venture with Toyota (the Toyota Matrix), so those are getting recalled too.


February 9th, 2010 at 10:22 PM ^

They've already decided to not work together (at least from a model sharing standpoint) before this all happened. As part of the GM bankruptcy, they decided to get rid of their interest in NUMMI (in California), which was the GM/Toyota joint venture where these were made. Toyota since then has said their shutting the plant down later this year.


February 9th, 2010 at 9:00 PM ^

So about 2 months ago my mom rammed her '05 Camry (not part of the recall) into a local dry cleaners. Thing just took off on her from a parked position. Luckily nobody was hurt and insurance covered the damage, minus a $1000 deductible. She was told by Toyota that it was probably her floormat and that they wouldn't do anything about it. She was scared to drive the car and ended up trading it in for a Honda. A few lawyers told her she had no case.

It seems now that there might be a case, but it probably wouldn't be worth it to try to get back the $1000. It definitely freaked her out, especially at first when she thought she did something wrong and nearly killed people in the store, but not enough to sue for "psychological damages." Sucks that Toyota didn't take it seriously, but you can't sue for that, right? Maybe it's worth reporting to someone in the hope this doesn't happen to other '05 Camry owners?

Any advice would be appreciated.


February 9th, 2010 at 9:13 PM ^

-1 for trading in a Toyota for a Honda.

But to be constructive, you can sue for absolutely anything if you've got a lawyer who's willing to pursue the case thoroughly (maybe not worth your $1000). I can see a few lawyers shrugging this off 2 months ago as no case, but with Toyota going into PR panic mode and problems popping up left and right, I'm sure those same lawyers would reconsider today. Sue for damages: physical, psychological, imaginary, whatever...go for the jugular.

That, or you can wait for the inevitable class action suit to drop.

Also, I'm not a lawyer.


February 9th, 2010 at 9:28 PM ^

I have a very limited understanding of how class action suits work, and whether this Toyota thing will likely end in one. Don't want to sue for the sake of suing, but it would seem fair to at least get that $1000 back, if not a little extra for this nightmarish event and the ensuing headache.

Captain Obvious

February 9th, 2010 at 9:52 PM ^

To answer the original question, you probably don't have much of a case. You probably could recover actual damages if you prove the manufacturer's faulty design caused the wreck. It's generally strict liability for these kinda things. As you said, there's no basis for punitives, emotional distress, etc.

To scottcha - no, for several reasons. First, you can't sue for anything. File a frivolous claim and you get hit with Rule 11 sanctions. Second, there wouldn't be a $1000 payment for this type of case - they are taken on contingency and the most you would pay upfront is the filing fee (couple hundred). Finally, because of the contingency factor, these kind of lawyers won't take just any case for fun - they won't make any money on the case if they lose. The kind of lawyers that accept marginal cases are unintelligent themselves - they are seeing merit in meritless cases or perhaps just don't have anything else to work on. That's why several lawyers turned down the case.