More Evidence. More Deals. Would You Ever Trust Toyota Again?
Recently, Xin Lu wrote an article about the falling price of used Toyota cars. The price drop obviously came about as a result of the 8.5 million cars Toyota recalled globally, due to serious mechanical failures that led to deadly accidents.
How many deadly accidents? Well, in an article by Matthew Fordal, a recent government report alleges 34 deaths from sudden acceleration have been linked to Toyota cars since the year 2000. And since Since Jan. 27, NHTSA has processed 686 complaints from consumers about problems related to "vehicle speed control" on cars and trucks manufactured by Toyota.
The keyword above is "alleges" but there’s no smoke without fire. Sorry, awful analogy. Matthew goes on to write:
Complaints to a database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the popular Toyota Prius hybrid grew by nearly 1,000 in just over a week.
In the past three weeks, consumers have told the government about nine crashes involving 13 alleged deaths between 2005 and 2010 due to accelerator problems, according to a NHTSA database. The latest reports are in addition to previous complaints from consumers that alleged 21 deaths from 2000 to the end of last year. The database also shows that new complaints skyrocketed over the 2010 Prius gas-electric hybrid, which was recalled last week to replace braking software.
With this new data now floating around the internet, you can bet that Toyota’s bottom line will continue to suffer. And it's not only used cars but brand new cars that are being discounted. There has been talk of yet more rebates and cash incentives, and even completely free maintenance for the first 5-10 years of the car’s life, including oil changes and wiper blades.
These represent significant savings for the consumer, and more financial woes for Toyota. Will you be taking advantage of the savings though?
As an example, my wife will be in the market for a new car soon. Maybe sooner if Toyota cars and trucks continue to go down in value. I mean, they were one of the most reliable cars on the road at one point.
But how much is it worth to have that nagging doubt in the back of your head? How much would you pay for peace of mind? Or lack thereof? I have two young girls, and my wife’s car is their primary source of transport. It gets them to school, and to the park, the swimming pool, parties, that kind of thing. Would I feel my stomach churn every time I heard they were out and about? I mean, can you ever really trust something again after it has been the subject of so much controversy. Mud sticks, right?
So, is Toyota the steal of the century right now, or is it just too much of a risk? Would you drive one away from the dealership if they put $5000 in your pocket? Yes? No? How about if the car was free, only you couldn’t resell it…you had to drive it?
I’m sure Toyota will fix the problem and the cars will be fine. But that huge “what if?” may be too much of an emotional price to pay. And even for me, a deal hunter, I just can’t bring myself to buy Toyota right now.