Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A bad year for Toyota

The naysayers have been harking on recently about how the three vehicle recalls for Toyota spell the end for the Japanese manufacturer in America, and how Ford and GM will profit as a result. I doubt it. Have you seen the crap GM are producing? Ford isn't much better and their lot will only improve when the new Focus and Fiesta go on sale.
From Toyota's perspective, rather than letting lawyers and class action suits force them into it, the have (albeit late) acknowledged the problems and done the right thing. The floor mat issue was just silly. The sticky accelerator could be worrisome, but isn't especially dangerous - after all, we all have clutches and neutral positions in the gearbox. The software issue with the brakes on the Prius is more problematic but the scenario where you'd notice it is so remote you could probably own twenty Prius's and never have a hint of a problem.
The real issue here is when transportation ministers go on TV with comments like "if you own a Toyota, don't drive it". The general public seem to need little excuse to panic and reach for the lawyer they have on speed dial as it is. Making a sweeping and clearly false statement like that is known as pouring fuel on the fire. That alone could cause people to stop buying Toyotas and go for other brands. Sadly, that's how knee-jerk the public have become though. If Ford and GM benefit from this, it's not because they have a better product (they clearly don't). It would be because of panicking sheeple acting en-masse.
We need to have a level head here. Is your accelerator pedal sticky or juddery? If you've not noticed and now have to go and consciously go and check, then I guarantee you don't have a problem. Same with the brakes on the Prius - have you had a problem whilst braking on an icy washboard road surface? If you even have to think about an answer, again you're not affected.
Common sense dictates that if you own a Toyota, book it in for the recall, but continue to use it as you always have done in the mean time. If you want to see how this fits into the grand scheme of things, especially compared to the sheer volume of recalls for Ford and GM, check out a vehicle recall list (for example Ohio Lemon Law Recall List).


Perakath said...

Toyota has possibly the strongest name for quality in India, supported by an excellent after-sales service network. They're yet to have a model flop in the country. GM and Ford don't come anywhere close to it here.

Issues like this would hardly dent Toyota's image in one of the world's most important automobile markets.

Brad Collins said...

Over here their (New Zealand) dealers are arrogant and virtually impossible to deal with. We have 4 leased Corolla's at work and when we call Toyota to get them serviced - we've tried 4 different dealerships so far - they can never guarentee that there will be a courtesy car available, so we try and book further out, up to two weeks away, and they still refuse to guarentee. Our business relies on driving around in the cars all day long doing onsite work so you can imagine the problem this creates. Last time my car was being serviced I got there and they couldn't give me a car for the day. I asked for one of their demonstrators on the forecourt telling them I only needed to drive 10km, they refused. I then asked if someone could drop me off and they refused again. This was at 8am and no customers were there, it wasn't as if they were busy. Eventually I ended up speaking to the manager and telling him how disappointed I was with them. He said they are simply too busy selling cars to worry about courtesy cars for everyone. We also have 15 Honda Jazz's and 3 Mazda 6's, Mazda always have a car available, and Honda are simply superb, they drive the courtesy car to us, leave in our car and come back a few hours later when we say it is ok. They will even meet us at customers sites! I told him about this level of service from other people and got quite stuck into him. What I can promise is that we will never buy Toyota's again and I have written letters to all of the car magazines and news papers over here, most published the letter :) Frankly, Toyota deserve what they get if they have the same arrogant attitude over in America as well, which it would appear they do considering how they handled the recalls at the start. The final thing that angered me is that when I got the car back there were greasy fingerprints on the headlining and over the body, which they refused to clean, saying they were probably mine. I work with computers, why would there be a group of 10 greasy finger prints of mine all around one of the interior lights? Fvcking idiots! They deserve to lose the number 1 stpo.