Toyota vs. Government Motors

posted at 10:07 am on February 24, 2010 by Danny Glover

The bureaucrats and politicians in Washington are out to get Toyota because of ongoing recalls of the Japanese automaker’s popular vehicles. The House held one hearing yesterday, and another is scheduled for today. Toyota also is target of a U.S. criminal probe and a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

The intense, critical focus on the company has shaken the faith of this Toyota fan a bit. But in the back of my mind, I keep remembering extenuating circumstances like this:

Toyota’s U.S. operations are extremely successful, not saturated by inefficient union monopolies, and are in direct competition with the now government-owned General Motors.

From their first U.S. factory in 1988, the Japanese company’s success in the U.S. is extraordinary. In 2003, the Camry became the best-selling car in the U.S. and still is. In 2005, Fortune magazine stated: “By nearly every measure, Toyota is the world’s best auto manufacturer. It may be the world’s best manufacturer, period.” In 2006, Toyota became the third-biggest seller of cars and trucks in the U.S. In 2007, Toyota captured second place in the U.S. market, replacing Ford, which had held the No. 2 position since 1931. In 2008, as GM declined and temporarily avoided bankruptcy, Toyota surpassed their unionized competitor becoming the largest automaker in the world.

Toyota’s handling of the recall has been miserable. Weeks after I first learned that my car is subject to one of the recalls, I still haven’t been notified directly by the company, and so far as I know, there is no fix yet for the potentially faulty gas pedal in my 2009 Corolla. I’m not happy about that.

But the evidence that the federal government’s recent entrance into the car business has influenced its antagonizing approach to the Toyota recall is quite convincing:

There’s no question that in the first, heady days of recall, at least some in the Obama administration and Congress saw advantage in undermining Toyota. The majority owner of Government Motors felt it couldn’t hurt to fan the image of a “foreign” auto maker disregarding the safety of American drivers. Shoppers might just buy a Chevy instead, propping up government investment and bolstering United Auto Worker union jobs. And of course the trial bar would be thrilled by a fat new class-action target.

Vehicle recalls (there were 16.9 million in 2009 alone) are usually handled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—but the Toyota case was commandeered by Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He skewered the firm for being “a little safety deaf,” complained it hadn’t been responsive, and bragged it was the government that forced a recall. …

Over in Congress, a geographically notable contingent of representatives piled on. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., announced an investigation into “dangerous” malfunctions. Toyota was ordered to report to his Oversight subcommittee hearing next week. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., berated the company for taking “two years” to step up and ripped them for not recalling more models.

UAW lobbyist Alan Reuther demanded Toyota make amends by keeping open a unionized factory in California, currently scheduled for closure. Chrysler, GM and Ford started offering cash incentives for car buyers to trade in recalled Toyotas for domestic wares.

That leaves Toyota owners like me in the predicament of choosing the bad guy in this scenario. Toyota may not be the good guy, but given the choice between incompetent government and a private company with a solid track record, I pick the government as the one to wear the black hat.

[Cross-posted at The Enlightened Redneck]

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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Comment pages: 1 2

On the quality issue, check J D Powers. US cars are fine and somewhat safer even without these problems.

Wait about a week, Toyota may have a real problem coming when a former lawyer releases memos about the cold way safety issues were handled.

And on trial laywers, you wouldn’t be safe eating a hot dog without them. Who would protect you? The Government? Ha.

Asian cars are crap.

IlikedAUH2O on February 24, 2010 at 10:49 AM

I like crap. I like it a lot. In fact, I like crap that consistently beats other crap in safety tests, consistently beats other crap in reliability tests, consistently beats other crap in price/performance.

Now, if you really want to see a recall waiting in the wings, look at the Chevy Cobalt.

I gave American manufacturers a fair shake. I owned a Chevy Vega — need I say more? I also bought a Ford Taurus, and that car spent 90 days of its first year in the shop. I ended up suing Ford when the entire power steering system went out at road speed, due to a missing heat shield between the exhaust manifold and the power steering hoses. Ford claimed it was my fault, and I claimed otherwise. Key evidence was a parts manual showing a heat shield attached to the body via a welded bracket, but no welded bracket on my body.

Of course, my problem was undoubtedly UAW sabotage rather than Ford — they went on strike for three months while my car (a factory order vehicle) was on the assembly line, and I guess they forgot a few parts when they finally finished building it. The heat shield wasn’t the only thing missing…

unclesmrgol on February 24, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Decider on February 24, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Hey douchebag, how ’bout not affixing my moniker to someone else’s words (even if I do agree with those words completely)?

Douche.

Doorgunner on February 24, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Toyota’s handling of the recall has been miserable. Weeks after I first learned that my car is subject to one of the recalls, I still haven’t been notified directly by the company, and so far as I know, there is no fix yet for the potentially faulty gas pedal in my 2009 Corolla. I’m not happy about that.

Sorry to reject the LottoWinner! culture that has taken over the country, K. Daniel, but I have an inconvenient question: does your accelerator suddenly function outside of your control? If not, you might consider the possibility that nothing is wrong with your car and you don’t need to be “notified by the company” for what’s not wrong.

If the car suddenly accelerates, you might want to shift into neutral and take it into the shop.

I have always been a reluctant supporter of U.S.-owned manufacturing, while recognizing the clear superiority of Toyota as a carmaker, a manufacturer, and a management philosophy. They learned it from us, and perfected it.

And I have no doubt that nearly everything we are hearing and reading about Toyota right now is a direct result of this most corrupt and craven administration owning GM, and owing graft to the UAW. I might be switching my car search from Ford to Toyota, out of spite and opportunism.

Jaibones on February 24, 2010 at 11:26 AM

That was Full Metal Jacket, chowderhead.

Doorgunner on February 24, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Heh. It was the 80s, gimme a break. And I also enjoy Vincent D’onofrio blowing his brains out more and more. Good times, good times.

misterpeasea on February 24, 2010 at 11:27 AM

I owned a Chevy Vega — need I say more?

Was it a stick, complete with Vega’s super-fun habit of not ever going into first gear unless you used a hydraulic press to push the shift handle?

I’ve owned some bad cars in my life, but a Vega? Oh man, you must have been desperate.

Bishop on February 24, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Republicans are doing exactly what Harry Reid did when he said “The war is lost.” They are hoping the country fails in the same way.

Decider on February 24, 2010 at 11:19 AM

How so? I don’t see any record of Republicans wishing we do poorly in Afghanistan. Frankly, I’m happy as hell when we capture or kill Taliban leaders and I’m sure not upset with the drone strikes.

NoDonkey on February 24, 2010 at 11:28 AM

They are hoping the country fails in the same way.

Decider on February 24, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Can you provide an example that supports your opinion?

Jaibones on February 24, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Here’s a tip: if your car accelerates beyond your control and brakes dont help, put the car in neutral and/or shut the engine OFF.

shick on February 24, 2010 at 10:36 AM

In the most recent Car and Driver, they tested several models. They pinned the gas and the brakes at the same time and at different speeds in order to see if there was a significant lengthening of stopping distance. They found in I believe every car they tested that the brakes easily overcame the engine power and stopped the vehicles every time…without even that much of an extended stopping distance.

If your car is speeding up, safely and firmly apply the brakes and shut the car off when it stops.

Youngs98 on February 24, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Jaibones on February 24, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Or he could nut up and call the frigging dealership. That’s what I did and the recalls have been done on my car.

There was no letter or anything. There was me using my G-d given right to use my brain and take care of the situation myself.

mjk on February 24, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Here’s a tip: if your car accelerates beyond your control and brakes dont help, put the car in neutral and/or shut the engine OFF.

But won’t that require me to drop my cell phone, Big Gulp and iPod?

NoDonkey on February 24, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Are you serious?

Decider on February 24, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Brilliant response! That’ll show em./sarcasm

shick on February 24, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Who do you trust?

My Nissan is still running perfectly, 6 years old and doing fine. After watching a roommate take half-***ed care of a used Nissan (with 200,000+ miles on it) for a couple years without mechanical issues I knew what brand I’d pick for my next car.

Of course my Dodge was in the shop every 2-3 months with around 100,000 miles on it.

So I can’t imagine why I’d pay the extra premium for a Toyota; I’m not that enamored with “pretty”. I certainly can’t imagine paying more for lower mechanical quality to “Buy American”. If the quality were better I’d consider it; but lets be honest… if you want to run 150,000-200,000 miles on a vehicle with minimal costs, American isn’t the way to go.

gekkobear on February 24, 2010 at 11:47 AM

If your car is speeding up, safely and firmly apply the brakes and shut the car off when it stops.

Youngs98 on February 24, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Thanks for the info. Your reply however doesn’t cover those who say their brakes DIDN’T help.

Side note: I wonder how many claims will falsely state “My Toyota accelerated and that’s why I hit the person in front of me.” rather than “I know I was tailgating and should have been farther away.”

shick on February 24, 2010 at 11:47 AM

If your car is speeding up, safely and firmly apply the brakes and shut the car off when it stops.

Youngs98 on February 24, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Thanks for the info. Your reply however doesn’t cover those who say their brakes DIDN’T help.

Side note: I wonder how many claims will falsely state “My Toyota accelerated and that’s why I hit the person in front of me.” rather than “I know I was tailgating and should have been farther away.”

shick on February 24, 2010 at 11:48 AM

oops

shick on February 24, 2010 at 11:50 AM

If your car is speeding up, safely and firmly apply the brakes and shut the car off when it stops.

Youngs98 on February 24, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Why not just shift into neutral and then apply the brakes?

NoDonkey on February 24, 2010 at 11:52 AM

The woman who testified claimed she tried to shift to neutral and couldn’t. Hence, the concerns that there’s something undetected yet.

The 911 call that was so shocking from the family in San Diego was another situation where, surely, the man tried everything. He was even able to call 911.

I think that solution is what has confused the issue and scares people so badly right now.

AnninCA on February 24, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Was it a stick, complete with Vega’s super-fun habit of not ever going into first gear unless you used a hydraulic press to push the shift handle?

I’ve owned some bad cars in my life, but a Vega? Oh man, you must have been desperate.

Bishop on February 24, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Nope. An automatic, complete with Vega’s super fun habit of having the engine seize up for about 15 minutes after you turned it off. Many’s the time I spent an extended stay in the service station waiting for the engine to cool. Had to do with using an aluminum borosilicate block, no sleeves (they acid-etched the bores to remove the aluminum and leave just the borosilicate), and iron plated pistons. The engine was one of Mr. DeLorean’s finest technical feats — ranking up there with the flux capacitor.

Since you didn’t have the problem, you undoubtedly had a later engine — which used the standard iron sleeves.

unclesmrgol on February 24, 2010 at 11:57 AM

AnninCA on February 24, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Maybe there’s just a lot of crappy drivers out there. I see dozens of stupid, unsafe moves every single day I drive to work.

The states hand out licenses as if they were halloween candy and then we wonder why there are so many accidents. Most drivers are at best incompetent and at worst, menaces.

The least of my worries is my car malfunctioning.

NoDonkey on February 24, 2010 at 11:59 AM

So I can’t imagine why I’d pay the extra premium for a Toyota…
gekkobear on February 24, 2010 at 11:47 AM

 
Me? Because Honda doesn’t make an actual truck and, at the time (2001), Toyota was the only manufacturer offering a true push-button locking rear differential and not just a limited slip. Sold a full-size Chevy to buy it. FWIW, if I accelerated unintentionally sideways into a ditch and totaled the Toyota I’d find another just like it. Best truck I’ve ever owned (of 7 total), and I’ll pay the extra $1k premium 20 years from now to replace it when it finally wears out.
 
Don’t skimp on toilet paper, peanut butter, pop tarts, and pickup trucks. Spend a little extra to get a lot more.

rogerb on February 24, 2010 at 12:08 PM

We have been snow bound for almost the month of February and we are the owners of two new Toyota products. They have done nothing but “nag” us to get our cars in for service.

I smell a rat. This is the government gone wild because in the cash for clunkers fiasco last summer, Toyota was the one that the government had to deal with not their own government motors looser company. We bought our cars before last summer specifically because the government was getting more than annoying about their new venture and because we could get exactly what we wanted from Toyota. We had a feeling that something was going to happen to the entire car industry and we got this purchase out of the way because we needed new cars and we didn’t know what the future would bring.
This is what happens when government over steps it’s boundries. They love to cause havoc and this is a prime example.

I have had Toyota’s off and on for over 25 years. They are reliable and relatively cost effective. For my needs my Camry is just dandy and has been for ages. All this does is to create a forum for the inept government to bloviate and diminish Toyota. Not falling for it. Not watching it. And my next new car will also be a Toyota.

BetseyRoss on February 24, 2010 at 12:08 PM

AnninCA on February 24, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Ann,

Thanks for the information. If putting the vehicle in neutral wasn’t possible then you are right to say that the problem is serious. I still think the old killswitch (keys) could have been engaged. (They might have tried that too.)

Most everyone being seperated from actual events thinks of what they would have done in the situation. Sometimes they are right in that they could have made a difference. But panic can muddle clear thinking.

When I said, put it in nuetral or turn it off, it wasn’t my intent to belittle those who have been in this ordeal but to provide a solution if you experience it in the future.

shick on February 24, 2010 at 12:13 PM

unclesmrgol on February 24, 2010 at 11:20

I would NEVER recommend or damn a car since the experiences go all over the map (it seems) with all types.

The imports improved our firms with competition. They did a lot more than our NHTSA or IIHS. Makes you wonder about the gov’t in healthcare, doesn’t it?

I know our Yankee cars aren’t the best but I like keeping ordinary working guys in a job. And I know that imports play fast and loose with lobor standards abroad, have a mercantile posture toward our selling products there (which our kids may pay for) and have a very low regard for injury or life (the Asians mostly). See Firestone or do research. The labor loving libs in imports really make me sick and I have black Democrat friends who agree with me.

The idea that a diverse group of workers in a decent enviroment made my vehicles gives me some satisfaction. That would not be the case if someone forced me to buy them or if we were competing unfairly with import manufacturers. I have a relation who hates the UAW as much as anyone here. He buys American since he also understands what sending money to Japan will do to us in the long term.

You are a smart person with a post that is consistent with your usual high standard.

IlikedAUH2O on February 24, 2010 at 12:17 PM

BetseyRoss on February 24, 2010 at 12:08 PM

I smelled the same post-C4C conspiracy. Honda and Ford might want to consider themselves future targets of the new government.

Exit question: How many accidents can be attributed to unexplained acceleration of non-Toyotas?

shick on February 24, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Really concerned about American jobs are we Decider?
Then seriously talk about the loss of jobs to illegal aliens and the need to control our southern border.

RileyDnwJ on February 24, 2010 at 12:22 PM

I guess money corrupts politics, unless its Democratic recipients of the money from special interests like the UAW.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/UAWs-invisible-hand-behind-the-Toyota-hearing-going-on-right-now-85208332.html#ixzz0gTWawkdV


The Auto Prophet doubts Toyota defect is in electronic throttle control

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/The-Auto-Prophet-85204882.html#ixzz0gTX0xm2P
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/The-Auto-Prophet-85204882.html

evie on February 24, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Exit question: How many accidents can be attributed to unexplained acceleration of non-Toyotas?

how many people died in Pintos, what about Crown Victoria’s?

Chevy Vega what a fine car that was – wife had one, it rusted in spots I didn’t think a car would rust.

Expect to see a lot of reports of gas pedals sticking or brakes not working, the power of suggestion isn’t it wonderful.

RonK on February 24, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Ed, like you I have received no formal recall notification from Toyota for my 2010 Corolla. The dealer was much better. I got a call and an email from my dealer’s service manager informing me of the recall, and also telling me that parts for the recall may not arrive for a month or 2. He also assured me that the car is safe, and I do not need to park the car, as suggested by the labor secretary. During my conversation with the service manager, he seemed a bit ticked that the Obama administration was on a witch hunt after Toyota in order to help Government Motors. Recalls happen all the time. This is not a first, and Toyota obviously has some problems, but the owner of the largest car manufacturer in the US holding hearings about it’s biggest competitor raises some red flags. If I was Mr. Toyoda, who is testifying today before a high tech lynching congress, I would certainly bring up that this seems to be a conflict of interest.

simkeith on February 24, 2010 at 12:29 PM

You are a smart person with a post that is consistent with your usual high standard.

IlikedAUH2O on February 24, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Heh. I learned long ago that the modern American auto worker is my enemy, and I don’t do things that encourage the enemy. Now that the Government has given GM to the UAW and Chrysler to the Italians, I guess all we have left is Ford.

That said, I understand fully why the Mazda dealer steered me away from the Flat Rock (Ford/UAW-built) Mazda 6 and to the Hiroshima Mazda 3. My Taurus story is the clincher. I will never own another car made by the UAW. I’d rather buy that Asian crap, as you put it, and give the money to people who’ve earned it by making a product that meets all of my requirements, not just the patriotic one. With Mazda, I got the patriotism covered — Ford owned the largest hunk of Mazda stock at the time I bought.

When I buy stuff, I try to buy American, or, if I can’t buy American, Canadian or Mexican. But when a manufacturer (American or otherwise) tries to pawn off shoddy workmanship on me, that’s where I draw the line.

unclesmrgol on February 24, 2010 at 12:35 PM

I don’t want a Obama owned Chevrolet parked on my property.

Will never own one unless the UAW goes broke and the company sold with new owners.

bluegrass on February 24, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Who do you trust?

My Honda Civic, thank you very much. Gonna drive it till the wheels fall off.

infidel4life on February 24, 2010 at 12:50 PM

This is a political witch hunt. There’s nothing wrong with Toyota cars. Welcome to Obama’s new fascist economy.

modifiedcontent on February 24, 2010 at 12:54 PM

I could be wrong but I thought I heard one of the news reports mention that part of any deal that Toyota was to keep open a plant that was planned to go union. This lets me know that the dems are trying to give a pay back to the unions with a witch hunt.
Part of any jobs bill they should make the nation a right to work nation.

lwssdd on February 24, 2010 at 12:57 PM

That said,I understand fully why the Mazda dealer steered me away from the Flat Rock (Ford/UAW-built) Mazda 6 and to the Hiroshima Mazda 3. My Taurus story is the clincher. I will never own another car made by the UAW. I’d rather buy that Asian crap, as you put it, and give the money to people who’ve earned it by making a product that meets all of my requirements, not just the patriotic one. With Mazda, I got the patriotism covered — Ford owned the largest hunk of Mazda stock at the time I bought.

QFT

This is why I try and stick with German cars. I love my GTI…

liquidflorian on February 24, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Asian cars are crap.

IlikedAUH2O on February 24, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Empirical data says otherwise.

TheUnrepentantGeek on February 24, 2010 at 1:07 PM

The Toyota president did seem to me, anyway, to be very sincere, precisely because he didn’t pretend that they were sure the issue is merely about fixable items.

They have tested and retested the computerization angle and cannot find a link. However, the 911 call was extremely explicit about what was happening. The guy couldn’t shut down the car. Some cases, probably, are driver error. But the off-chance that this is truly a technological problem exists.

And I personally felt very reassured that they were still pursuing that angle.

This isn’t all about wrongful death suits. This should be about safety.

AnninCA on February 24, 2010 at 1:53 PM

I could be wrong but I thought I heard one of the news reports mention that part of any deal that Toyota was to keep open a plant that was planned to go union. This lets me know that the dems are trying to give a pay back to the unions with a witch hunt.
Part of any jobs bill they should make the nation a right to work nation.

lwssdd on February 24, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Well, if so, then the government agency just shot itself in the foot.

That has nothing to do with safety.

AnninCA on February 24, 2010 at 1:54 PM

This dog and pony show is more bullying by goverment, like we saw before GM became Goverment Motors, unions want to oust Toyota because it is a better car. I think I could get better talking to an Toyota person than a goverment person as far as repairs go. Just another Bully tactic, yes, it will get fixed. Congress cannot fix it.

sharkman on February 24, 2010 at 2:15 PM

I am not a Democrat but I am not someone who blindly votes for the person with the (R) either. Yes, what the Republicans are doing now is exactly the equivalent of what the Democrats did in regards to Iraq. Republicans are doing exactly what Harry Reid did when he said “The war is lost.” They are hoping the country fails in the same way.

Decider on February 24, 2010 at 11:19 AM

No, we just realize that Socializing the economy isn’t going to help and if it works in the short term, we may end up having people believe it will work in the long term and demand more of it.

Tim Burton on February 24, 2010 at 2:27 PM

TheUnrepentantGeek on February 24, 2010 at 1:07 PM

What empirical data? Or did you say ideological propaganda? You measn like your uncle or your wonderful old 1985 Honda?

The posts here are like letters that The One used to read while on the campaign trail. Maybe true, but questionable as to the point He was making. And the allegations are like His charges about tonsils.

No offesnse, but I haven’t seen anything much around here but anecdotes. Used to have some Consumer Reports cites bit not even that here lately.

I mentioned J. D. Power and Associates. And I don’t mean the 90 day defect nonsense. US US cars do fine there. Buick won, the last time I checked.

I gave examples about prior Toyota problems and Firestone.

You guys got fan lettters. And charges that the US can’t build strong, reliable vehicles.

A coup de grace:: Call any police department about Crown Vics. Check what the troops use abroad. Like a lot of Ford Trucks and Tahoes.

Oh and Chevy Tahoes and Vics and even Imapalas run to 500K miles around me before they are taken out of service in taxi and police work. A driver I knew had a Chevy Caprice which he claimed hit 800K miles. Lincoln Town Cars and Devilles in NYC sedan service. Very few Toyotas in cab fleets.

Tauruses couldn’t handle it.

Now let us curse the UAW, American engineering and act really paranoid about the gov’t hurtung the imports. Makes less sense than birtherism.

And we get to drive our knock-kneed wimpy import like we are on an anticorruption crusade.

IlikedAUH2O on February 24, 2010 at 2:38 PM

If they keep this crap up I think I may just have to buy a Tundra when I’m ready to trade in my Silverado.

rollthedice on February 24, 2010 at 2:52 PM

The Board of GM and Chrysler grilling Toyota…..DISGRACEFUL!!

lilium on February 24, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Now let us curse the UAW, American engineering and act really paranoid about the gov’t hurtung the imports. Makes less sense than birtherism.

And we get to drive our knock-kneed wimpy import like we are on an anticorruption crusade.

IlikedAUH2O on February 24, 2010 at 2:38 PM

That’s OK. We understand, but we aren’t buying today.

Maybe, as someone put it, after the UAW goes bankrupt and American companies actually become American again.

unclesmrgol on February 24, 2010 at 2:54 PM

And we get to drive our knock-kneed wimpy import like we are on an anticorruption crusade.

I thought you lefties wanted us to drive “fuel-efficient” electric cars and other green tributes to Gaia?

Get your story straight or is Barry asking us all to go out and buy big ol’ Lincoln SUVs like in the Prez’s motorcade.

NoDonkey on February 24, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Why not just shift into neutral and then apply the brakes?

NoDonkey on February 24, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Well, that would work fine too but apparently when you add more than one step, the process of stopping your car becomes far too complicated for some and 100 mph, 6 mile out of control rides are the result.

If you stand on the brakes, even the most powerful vehicles will come grinding to a halt in rather short order.

Youngs98 on February 24, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Empirical data says otherwise.

TheUnrepentantGeek on February 24, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Using the JDPowers website IlikedAUH20 referenced, we have the following comparison between Toyota Camry and Ford Taurus — two mid-sized vehicles. I chose 2001 because that’s as far back as the JDPowers database goes, and hence would have the best data over the longest time. If I choose 2006 for the three-year reliability figures, there aren’t enough samples for the Ford Five Hundred to allow comparison (no Taurus manufactured that year), so I had to drop to Focus vs. Corolla.

In both cases, Toyota wins every matchup overall, with Ford winning on “body integrity” after three years; that’s the only category they come out ahead.

unclesmrgol on February 24, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Now let us curse the UAW…

IlikedAUH2O on February 24, 2010 at 2:38 PM

That thar be the varmint!

Ace ODale on February 24, 2010 at 3:26 PM

My friend has a 2008 Camry and she only just the other day received a notice that she should bring the car in. But given that she has had no problem with the accelerator in the two years she’s owned it, she is not in any hurry to take it in. Likewise for my Highlander. It’s on the recall list, but I haven’t received a notice. Nor have I had any trouble with it, so I’m not terribly concerned.

It seems pretty simple to me. If your accelerator sticks, take it to the dealer. If it doesn’t, keep on truckin’.

Ultimately we’re talking about a very, very small number of defective vehicles in comparison with the number sold over the last ten years. Toyota builds a quality product. Some individuals are lemons. But I would still maintain there are fewer Toyota lemons overall than domestic lemons. Fercryinoutloud, Ford used to make vehicles that would spontaneously catch fire, and there was never this kind of public anxiety over it. GM, et. al. certainly seem to me to resist issuing recalls much more than Toyota has in this case. In fact, I’d say Toyota has gone a bit overboard in trying to reassure people and that, coupled with the media’s calculated campaign to make more of this than is necessary, has contributed to people’s overblown fears.

It’s very simple what is going on here. The govt., in concert with the UAW and with the assistance of their flying monkeys in the media, is trying to undermine a competitor. If anything calls for outrage in this whole situation, it’s that.

NoLeftTurn on February 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM

When I think of Toyota, the first thing that always comes to mind is the Top Gear episode that tests the overwhelming durability of a Toyota pick-up truck.

Killing a Toyota

Maybe they should try a similar test on a GMC truck to provide us all with a helpful comparison…

racecar05 on February 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM

I feel bad for those guys up at the Hill right now. These men don’t deserve this.

Sultry Beauty on February 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM

There’s no question that in the first, heady days of recall, at least some in the Obama administration and Congress saw advantage in undermining Toyota. The majority owner of Government Motors felt it couldn’t hurt to fan the image of a “foreign” auto maker disregarding the safety of American drivers. Shoppers might just buy a Chevy instead, propping up government investment and bolstering United Auto Worker union jobs. And of course the trial bar would be thrilled by a fat new class-action target.

I’m concerned about the conflict of interest due to the government majority ownership/control of General Motors. Doesn’t that render these House hearings akin to Burger King launching a “criminal probe” and investigation into MacDonald’s?

jix on February 24, 2010 at 3:54 PM

racecar05 on February 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Wow. And after the farmer had turned it into a rust bucket too.

Built Toyota Tough.

unclesmrgol on February 24, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Call any police department about Crown Vics.

ya do that, the Crown Vics had a tendency to go up in flames and take the police officer with.

RonK on February 24, 2010 at 6:16 PM

We see again that Republicans fall on the side of the anti-American crowd. They want our American President to fail and want our American car industry to fail.

Whose side are you on? How is the current Republican Party any different than Al Qaeda? Because your “team” is not in power you want the other “team” to lose by any means.

It is discussing what talk radio and Fox News has done to political discussion in this country. It will ultimately be the downfall of the country. Divided we fall.

Decider on February 24, 2010 at 10:58 AM

I know you think you’re making sense, but this was hilarious. Yes, it’s discussing what discussion does. It’s also amazing how dissent stopped being patriotic the moment a leftist got elected.

But what cracked me up was the question, “How does the current Republican party differ from Al Quaeda?” If you don’t know the difference, I can’t help you.

tom on February 24, 2010 at 7:03 PM

25+ years as an Automotive Technician here, I have seen it all, and worked on them all, give me a Honda or Toyota any day of the week. Every manufacturer has issues, EVERYONE of them. To their credit, they all try to identify, and correct problems, safety, or otherwise.

As someone that is constantly taking apart and putting together cars, I can safely say, GM does one thing better than anyone, they can cut the Hell out of corners. The word “Cheesy” comes to mind if I look at the way they are put together, even something like an Air-Bag simply snaps into place, no bolts or screws here. I could go on for hours.

I own an ’02 Tundra, 82K, it has given me no issues, we have a 95 Honda Odyssey, 300K, no issues, just routine maintenance, though it now burns a quart of oil every 2000 miles. My daily driver, a 95 Civic, bought it @90K, customer overheated it, blew a Head-Gasket, I paid 300 bucks for it, fixed it, I get 38 mpg and have 120K on it now, it will go 300K.

I’ve seen things screw up on the domestics that have no reason to fail at low mileage, and when they do, the manufacturer will offer no assistance, import manufacturers often will help, if not foot the bill.

I know that keeping the American worker in a job is a good thing, my Tundra was built in Evansville Indiana, chances are, your 1500 Sierra was built in Mexico City. Most import manufactures are building their cars in the US, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai, VW, and BMW, have plants here, they hire Americans at good wages, and great benefits, just one problem as far as our President is concerned, no unions…

I hate to admit this, but our President is making me want to look for the union label, and avoid it like the plague. I feel bad for the poor slob working, but his leadership does not deserve one hard earned dime from me. As long as this President is at war with the American people, I will steer clear of what he puts his seal of approval on. I still have that right, for now…

M-14 2go on February 24, 2010 at 8:17 PM

I printed a new “sticker” for my 79 Chevy truck.

TOYOTA
GUILTY OF COMPETING
WITH GOVERNMENT MOTORS

I stuck it proudly next to the one that says.

SUPPORT AMERICA
APPOSE OBAMA

Slowburn on February 24, 2010 at 8:58 PM

If you push down on the brake and the car accelerates out of control, that’s not the brake.

If the braking systems on these cars fail, that will be immediately evident on the “post-accident” examination, and that’s not happening.

An electronic throttle may go haywire, but hydraulic brakes are NOT going to cause the car to accelerate.

Like Audi in the 80s, the yellow journalists and yellow-bellied politicians have found a whipping boy and are going to whip it until they go blind.

Waitching those self-righteous clowns scream is painfully embarrassing.

Merovign on February 25, 2010 at 2:25 AM

SWMBO just bought a Prius. Pity. Solo car.

Caststeel on February 25, 2010 at 3:48 AM

The general design requirement is that brakes must be four [4] times the maximum engine horsepower. The brakes will overcome any engine propulsion. This makes sense when energy is convertible from motion to heat as in conservation of momentum. It is just the way Nineteenth century experience allowed analysis of motion.
Try it on your car. Push the gas and the brake together. Harder and your mechanic will appreciate the business.

This is not new, grasshopper.

Nor is the phenomenon of stepping on the brake then the car accelerates. And the harder you push, the faster the car goes. People are fallible. Opps, that brake?

In all instances of “uncontrollable acceleration” the human element is the most likely fault.

Of course it is scary. The GD car is outta control. My feedback loop says panic. Do not apply any logic but do what I am doing more and more. Panic works that way.

Quit pushing on the Accelerator and the GD car will act normally.

Take your brain outta “panic” and the car will work. Just like it has always done before. Think and be surprised at the power of your understanding.

Caststeel on February 25, 2010 at 4:45 AM

I’m also in the camp that believes that the government just found a great way to create an unfair competitive advantage for their company – GM.

I’ve owned 3 GM vehicles in my life so far and all have been poor for quality. I started with an 86 Firebird, the moved up to a 96 Grand Prix. The GP had major quality issues. I replaced 3 alternators, had to rebuild the tranny at 60,000 miles, another rebuild at about 80K and now it’s about shot. The engine bangs and the mechanic told me that he also owns the same generation of GP and that it’s a quality prob in the V6 engine.

Maybe I was stupid to buy my current car, an 05 GMC Yukon Denali XL, but I thought moving up in price to the top of the line would eliminate most of the poor quality issues. Boy was I wrong. The thing is an electrical nightmare; I’ve replaced airbag sensors, the heater module, and now the memory module needs to be replaced. I’m replacing the gauge cluster right now because they used faulty stepper motors on 03-06 yukons, silverados and escalades. Lucky me. In the hardware department, I need to replace the heater flappers, which GM also had to redesign because of excessive failures. Both front windows need new window regulators.

Then there’s the interior and the finishes. Looking at the Denali, they used crappy paint on their center consoles and dashes, so if your car is more than a couple months old, you have places where the paint is worn or scraped off. All of the buttons they used also wear off right away. I bought my car at 36K miles and they were already all worn off. (If you want to try something fun, check out an 02-05 denali at the dealer and you’ll see missing paint on the silver dash pieces and worn off button labels.)

I am a manufacturer. I know part costs and I know part quality. The interior of the most expensive GM is pretty much the cheapest crap they can get away with. Cheap plastic everywhere, parts not trimmed right and poor fit. Sheesh.

Anyway, that’s my story and why I will be buying a Toyota or a Nissan as my next vehicle.

Free Indeed on February 25, 2010 at 9:22 AM

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