Thursday, February 4, 2010

Real Toyota Trouble

I've had my own personal Toyota troubles before, though to be honest, every one of their vehicles I've owned has had only minor problems. Certain things simply start to go bad when a car ages, even one made by a quality minded manufacturer.

Toyota has maintained a reputation for producing quality, reliable vehicles, for many years. So this recent recall business with the sticking accelerators (a defect that has lead to at least 19 deaths) has had many car owners and buyers (even Toyota loyalists) questioning that reputation. My first impression was that this was probably unfair. It appeared a minor problem (in spite of the few unfortunate tragedies that may have resulted) easily corrected (a postage stamp-sized piece of metal is the fix) and nothing to lead a rational person away from otherwise very fine automobiles.

On the other hand, as Toyota has gotten bigger, there has seemed to be a reduction in that fabled quality. Last night as I watched TV I saw a commercial from Ford comparing the Toyota Camry to the Fusion. Obviously Ford is taking full advantage of their rival's woes. And is a Ford a lesser vehicle? Does Ford make a worse product than Toyota? I have my doubts that that is any longer the case. Now I'm not saying that this applies across the board to other American car companies (I pity you if you own a Chrysler product, even a brand new one) but Ford (and maybe even Government Motors) are making much better cars than they used to, and they can probably match Japanese cars in overall reliability and quality. Maybe.

Toyota's specific troubles may be able to be traced right back to their management. Something I wasn't aware of is the fact that "As recently as December, Toyota was asking its suppliers to reduce parts costs by 30% over the next three years."-Where Toyota went wrong.

Come on, when you start cutting corners like that, of course your quality (and eventually your hard won reputation) is going to suffer.

So would you buy a Ford over a similar Toyota model? I think I would at least seriously consider it. Then again if I was in the market (as a wage slave I'm currently not) for a new car I'd most likely stop by my local Honda dealer first.

1 comment:

  1. I have a 2006 Toyota, so it might be a while before I need to buy another car, but I think researching several cars that meet your needs and test driving them all is the best you can hope for. Our understanding of who is ripping us off is always years behind the actual deeds themselves, so there's no way to "know" ahead of time which companies are cutting corners just to save a little money.

    The answer is all of them are, and it's a crap shoot to see which ones cut a corner too tight.


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