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


Captain Obvious

February 9th, 2010 at 10:06 PM ^

Honestly, it's probably not worth the hassle to sue, especially if insurance covered most.

Despite what the sensationalist media will tell you, recovering any punitive damages or emotional distress is difficult, and recovering a significant amount of either is an exceedingly rare event, usually coming off of extraordinary facts.

By the way, none of this is legal advice, just a general discussion, etc etc


February 9th, 2010 at 9:24 PM ^

My mom buys into stereotypes and gets pretty stubborn about it, so there's no arguing logic with her. Most of her friends drive Japanese cars, and most of them buy into the meme that they are safer and more reliable (she doesn't live in Michigan and never has). When I recently adopted a half pit-bull she flipped out because of the rare horror stories and BS stereotypes.

Hoken's Heroes

February 9th, 2010 at 9:05 PM ^

...is made by CTS, an American Company that was founded in 1896. I write supposedly because Toyota isn't sure what is causing the problem. Remember back in the 80's that Audi was targeted as having a similar problem and almost went under because of it. At the end, it turned out it was "driver" error that caused the Audi's to accelerate (ie the driver mistakenly hit the gas pedal when they wanted to brake). Not saying that this is the problem with Toyota but you never know. What ever the reason, Toyota is getting bashed. Could it be that cars are getting too technical?


February 10th, 2010 at 1:08 AM ^

Worst car I've ever owned (2004 GTI). Two manual tranmissions, one coil pack, one faulty aluminum rim not covered under warranty, slipping clutch off the lot, and all this in 10,000 miles. On top of this I was treated like a pesky booger. Best vehicle, Jeep Commander or Plymouth Neon. Preventive maintenance, I've learned over the years, is the best way to stay away from the dealerships. As soon as you see a bill from them, your opinion of the company can change quick.


February 10th, 2010 at 12:37 AM ^

In my lifetime I've owned 2 Fords, 1 Chevy, 1 Pontiac, 1 Olds, 1 Chrysler, 1 Jeep, and 1 Toyota. Of those cars, my wife currently drives the Jeep and I drive the Toyota. (I love the fact that my wife has the Jeep for winter months, she's not a very good winter driver.)

Anyway, based on my own experience, I can tell you this: The fit and finish, overall quality and reliability of my Toyota has far surpassed any other vehicle I've ever owned.

My Wifes Jeep is nice and all, but it has a lot of cheap plastic and the leather is neither soft nor real. The seat warmers do work well though, so she's got that going for her. On the other hand, my Toyota has real leather and the interior materials are of the highest quality. I've owned this Toyota for almost 10 years and it still looks brand new, inside and out.

Of the "American" cars I've owned: The 2 Fords were junk. (The Ford Explorer I purchased brand new in 1998 was in the shop probably 10 times in the first year. I eventually sued Ford under the Lemon Law and won.) The Chevy was OK, the Pontiac Grand Am I drove during college was pretty cool, until it broke down, the Chrysler was pretty nice, but had lot's of cheap plastic, and the Oldsmobile was nice.

While I might not appreciate your defintion of "Cars", I do appreciate high quality, reliable cars.

Eck Sentrik

February 9th, 2010 at 9:19 PM ^

Sure they have no presence in Michigan but I don't think we should be cheering on Toyota's demise. They have ten or so factories in this country as close to us as Indiana. Between manufacturing, suppliers and dealerships, Toyota employs or indirectly pays well over 100,000 US citizens. I know a few myself and would hate to see them out of a job as I am with GM.

The Toyota corp has also donated hundreds of millions over the last 20 years to US charities. I'm just saying*

*I do not work for or represent Toyota in any way. I don't even own one.


February 9th, 2010 at 9:31 PM ^

Actually, Toyota's North American Technical Center is in Ann Arbor, and two years ago or so announced an expansion that would add 400 engineering jobs to the area (making a total of about 900). This sort of thing can happen to any company, especially large corporations.*

That being said, the Big 3 should use this to shift their momentum. For GM and Ford, I don't think this could have come at a better time.....Chrysler on the other hand....eh.

*I work for an OEM, but not Toyota.


February 10th, 2010 at 4:58 AM ^

I'm not sure where things are in development, but Toyota was putting in a research and development facility with a testing track in York Township near the border between Saline and Milan school districts.


February 9th, 2010 at 9:20 PM ^

"up a/shit creek without a paddle."

I mean, if you're up the creek, you can just float down it with the current. I'd think it would be much worse to be down shit creek without a paddle.


February 10th, 2010 at 4:52 AM ^

I presume with a paddle, you would just paddle to shore and be on your way. Without a paddle, you're forced to either linger in a creek of shit (following the current to where there's likely a massive buildup of shit), or use your hands to paddle to shore, both of which are decidedly sub-optimal.


February 9th, 2010 at 9:21 PM ^

People need to stop referring to the Big 3. Chrysler is like the 7th biggest automaker, has been bankrupt twice and acquired and sold 3 times. It's a shitty car company, always has been.

Dark Blue

February 9th, 2010 at 9:23 PM ^

Did anyone ever read the Tom Clancy book "Debt of Honor"? In that book America goes to war with Japan. Its been awhile since I've read it but I think one of the underlying issues was safety issues involving a Japanese made car.

A Case of Blue

February 10th, 2010 at 12:08 AM ^

but I'm sure that the good people at Hyundai (no, seriously, I love them) are planning on stepping into the breach here. They've been steadily increasing their market share and profits, and this only provides them with a new opportunity.


February 10th, 2010 at 12:14 AM ^

Hyundai kinda reminds me of Lexus when they were introduced in the late 80s. They built a luxury vehicle that rivaled the established players of the day (Mercedes, BMW, etc) at a price point quite a bit south of the others. Hyundai did this with the Genesis...but of course it's yet to be seen if they'll be as successful as Lexus has.


February 10th, 2010 at 1:09 AM ^

Honestly, for me this is like a second Christmas. You have no idea how much I hate Toyota. Not a small part of that is that they're the Detroit Three's biggest rival, but the thing is, to me, Toyota makes refrigerators. Washing machines. Their cars are nothing but appliances that move you around. They have no style, no excitement, no performance. God forbid we ever see a world in which the Toyota approach to cars is the only one.

And it's actually a dangerous one for the company, because if they lose their reputation for quality, what do they have? They're boring as hell and not priced any better than any other car. They can't make a truck that does a job better or a sports car that beats its competitors, and every attempt at style has been a disaster (FJ Cruiser - I have never understood why the Pontiac Aztek gets criticized and the FJ Cruiser gets a pass.)

I'll never be caught dead in a foreign-brand car, but at least I can respect, say, Nissan or Mitsubishi for making an attempt at building a car worth driving instead of a blandbox reminiscent of nothing but my toaster.


February 11th, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

Toyota has a business model. They targeted the sedan market, and have shown a lot of success there. Initially, they weren't interested in trucks so much, and that's why Toyota trucks ten years ago were junk compared to Ford and Chevy.

However, you're sorely mistaken to think that Toyota hasn't made a serious push into the truck market with their newest Tundras. They're also going to be releasing a diesel version of the Tundra soon, which is about the last stronghold that Toyota has yet to breach. Of course, getting into this market will be difficult more Toyota because Ford and Chevy really do make some nice trucks.

Again, Toyota is not interested in sports cars. Lets be honest though, the Toyota Supra Mark IV's are some solidly built cars with a lot of performance capabilities. It's sad that it went by the wayside, but those could be some really nice cars.

Still, with this economy, its hard to really build a tier 1 sports car and make a profit. Heck, Honda has always had a really good performance sports department and look what (sadly) happened to the NSX.

Now companies are doing what Nissan did--taking their top end sports cars and making them affordable. Nissan did this with the Skyline (now the Infiniti V35 series), and I expect whenever Honda re-releases the NSX it will not longer be a pure sports car but a luxury vehicle with some nice pick up.

The point is, its just not profitable anymore to make super awesome cars. Toyota realizes their niche is the classic sedan, and they do a good job at it. Having really captured that market, now they're expanding into others. Sometimes they do a good job (i.e. Tundra), and others not so much (FJ cruiser).


February 10th, 2010 at 9:55 AM ^

My only issue with Toyota is that the media has fawned over them for years concerning safety and reliability (wait, where have I heard that before...) despite the fact that their cars have had problems similar to those experienced by the likes of Ford, GM, etc. And I'm not talking about just this recall - I distinctly remember a story in the Freep when I was in college about ignition problems with Corollas and Camrys. It was the type of problem that domestic autos would have been vilified for, but Toyota just skated by. And like this recall, they apparently knew about the problem at least a year in advance and slow-played it in order to minimize the negative PR hit.

I don't wish any ill will or pain upon Toyota because they do make nice, functional cars that provide some style and substance that domestic autos ignored somewhat in the race for the biggest SUV. I just hope that this revelation changes the narrative for Toyota to one shared by virtually all other major autos - good car company that, unfortunately, has problems from time to time.


February 10th, 2010 at 1:40 PM ^

Every company has recalls.

Every company helps the US economy, in one way or another.

Every company has defects.

Drive the car you like and be done with it, that's how I see it.


February 10th, 2010 at 8:40 PM ^

2003 Ford Ranger 4x4 with the 4.0 V6 under the hood. Just under 80K. I have 2 complaints: Ford's propensity to put a 4:10 rear end in almost every 4WD vehicle they can get their hands on, and my truck's appetite for rear brakes. I'm on my 3rd set of rear brakes. Other than that I love the truck and intend to keep it for years to come.

My dad worked at the Saline Ford plant. A Ford paycheck provided my father the opportunity to buy his farm, and the proceeds from corn and soybeans, as well as the Ford paycheck, allowed my sister and I to both attend and graduate from college. So when the time comes to replace my vehicles, it's a no-brainer. A Ford gets parked in the garage, and that will continue to be the case as long as Ford continues to provide for my dad's (now) retirement. That was the deal when he was hired in 1968, those were the rules he played under, and that's how we're going to operate.

I have yet to own a bad Ford product, and in my 35 years on this earth, my dad has yet to have a bad Ford truck. He's had 4 of them that I can remember, and they last about 10 years each. And being on a farm, those are not easy miles on those trucks. They've been worked, and when he's done, there's not much left when the odometer reads 190,000.

I wholeheartedly agree that for most vehicles, the best thing you can do is the preventative maintenance. If you do that, for most vehicles all 100,000 miles means is that it's time to change the spark plugs. 20-25 years ago 100,000 miles meant time for replacement. Now that number is closer to 150K-200K.