More Evidence. More Deals. Would You Ever Trust Toyota Again?

by Paul Michael on 19 February 2010 17 comments
Photo: Mr Wabu

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.

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Guest's picture
GJGrady

I do not own a Toyota but the recent recalls would not stop me.
Check out
http://toyota-alabama.com/toyota-accelerator-recall-what-are-the-odds/

Guest's picture
falnfenix

i really wonder what the early cars were - to my knowledge, Toyota didn't start using drive-by-wire until 2003, and i believe this was directly related to the accidental acceleration issue.

drive by wire = bad idea.

Guest's picture
matt

We own 2 Toyotas an 06 RAV4 and an 08 Prius. I have no problems with driving either of the cars local or long distance. I would buy again, especially with the deals. My family (parents, sister, myself) has owned at least one Toyota since 1972. All that said I will not be looking to replace any cars for many more years (knock on wood).

Guest's picture

I don't think I'd feel safe enough getting behind the seat of a Toyota after what I read : http://www.londoffadvantage.com/blog/2010/02/toyota-recall-information/

Guest's picture
Guest

I would not hesitate to buy a new or used Toyota. Have owned them for years and have never, I mean never, had a problem. Toyota has taken this head on and I expect they will be a better manufacturer for it.

Guest's picture
BrigitteF

Roadway fatalities are never easy to accept. Fatalities due to an automotive failure are unacceptable and must be remedied. This is a huge recall for Toyota, no doubt about it. But it's not the biggest, and it's not the worst. What about the Firestone/Ford Explorer tire recall in 2000 where over 100 people lost their lives to tire failure? We would no more instill fear in to the American people and discourage them to buy Ford. Why would we do the same with Toyota, the manufacturer THE most American-made vehicle on the market? --the proud owner of a Toyota Sienna minivan, made in the USA (Indiana).

Guest's picture
Guest

MAN!!!! I wish our household wasn't so affected by the economy right now, cause I'd totally go trade in my 2004 Toyota Sienna (minivan) and get a nice new shiny red one!!!!

I LOVE my minivan. And we only owe 2 more payments on it, which is totally going to ensure that our family WILL keep being able to have dinner on the table at this point in time.....so having a new car payment is impossible....

But I'd LOVE to take advantage of those prices!!

Darnit! Darnit! Darnit!!

Oh, by the way, we've NEVER had a problem with our Sienna yet.
It's been the best car we've ever had, actually!

If we HAD had a car with problems though, I can see how people wouldn't want to buy another one of course.
But at this point, I'm sure there's no new Toyotas on the lot, with the recent recall problems.
And ALL cars have recalls. This is nothing new.

Guest's picture
Guest

I think everyone who's saying "I've owned/driven a Toyota for X years and I've never had a problem." is somehow missing the point.

Are you thinking that anyone here would casually post, "Oh yes, my accelerator stuck once or twice, and my car sped up because of it - but I didn't think much about it."

Of course you haven't had the problem. It's not very likely that you would - but if you do, your car will INSTANTLY SPEED UP while you're driving. You'll probably crash, and you have a good chance of being injured or dying.

Those who own Toyotas may be predisposed to wanting to believe the problems aren't a big deal - because they haven't experienced them - but that's not the point. This is a real problem and it's killed people, and it's going to kill more. Stop being so insistent on proving to yourself that you're safe, because if you own a Toyota - you're not.

Guest's picture
Ted

If we weren't in some solid debt and I had the cash for it, I would be at the dealer right now. Great cars! As long as I am buying one not a part of the recall of a fixed car- then yes. It is really sad to see the deaths and the accidents. Horrible.

Guest's picture

I let my emotions get the best of me by jumping in the car, happy to see that it actually existed, and forgot that I'd just need to put it somehwere else anyway.

Car Shipping Companies

Guest's picture
Guest

I own 2 toyotas: '04 Sienna and '06 Prius. Very satisfied with both but very unhappy with toyota's apparently deliberate hiding of info and crash stats, their early insistence that the trouble was with the floor mats, etc. That has cost huge amounts of lost confidence in the brand, and deservedly so. I still hope to buy the Prius plug-in hybrid when it's available, unless another brand gets better reviews, and I considered buying toyota stock until the apparent cover-ups hit the fan and put future growth of the stock in doubt. In this case I don't plan to "buy low"...

Guest's picture
Allison

Yes; I have one of these seemingly dangerous Camrys and have had it for two years; never had any kind of problems with it. After disastrous, expensive repairs and overall bad experiences with a (new) Dodge and (new) Chevrolet, I went to a Corolla in about 1989, with no problems whatsoever. Unless disaster strikes personally, I won't change.

Guest's picture
The Rat

If you ask me, there are a lot of loyal Toyota customers who will go the distance with their hard-earned dollars with future vehicle purchases. I also think we will see Toyota rebound in time.

Guest's picture
Guest

I will never by any other vehicle brand except for Honda high end Lexus or 4wheel sport vehicles.

Guest's picture
Guest

Meant the bad airbags in some of their vehicles exploding.
I've never had a car with one yet but I still drive 90's cars. Hondas have viable life until past 300k miles.

Guest's picture
gt0163c

Living is dangerous. There's a 100% mortality rate (well, depending upon your beliefs it might be slightly less than that, but that's a discussion for a different forum). There are things that we can all do to minimize the risks of injury and death, but there is no way to completely eliminate that.

Yes Toyota has gotten a lot of news because of some safety issues with some of the vehicles. And it does look like the company tried to deny/cover up/downplay those issues. This is nothing new in industry. To quote BSG, "All this has happened before and will happen again". It's not good but it's the way that things are and, while new laws can be enacted and regulations put in place, as long as there are unethical people in business, there will be these situations. These people and companies they run should face the consequences, especially if the issues were covered up. But I don't believe this is a good reason not to buy a Toyota vehicle ever again.

For me (and, really, for everyone, whether they admit it or not), it's all about balancing living our lives vs dealing with the risks inherent in living out lives. In general, Toyota vehicles have a pretty good safety record. The percentage of vehicles which have the accelerator or other issues is very, very small. The percentage of Toyotas which get into accidents not related to the accelerator issues is much greater. As a Toyota driver, I'm not thrilled that the company which I chose to purchase my vehicle from (Toyota Matrix, made before the accelerator issues. I really, really like my Matrix and would purchase another one) is involved in what appears to possibly be deception when it comes to safety issues. But I would not be surprised if in a year or two another auto manufactuerer had similar issues. Firestone tires delaminated on Ford trucks which also had cruise control cables which stuck and caused fires while I was driving a Ford Ranger. When I was very young, my parents had a Ford Pinto (which had issues with the gas tanks exploding during certain collisions). Airplanes fall out of the sky. Restaurants make mistakes and feed people improperly handled food which makes them sick. People get struck by lightning and runover crossing the street. But none of those things keep most people from flying, eating out, being outside or crossing the street. It's about weighing the risks of doing certain activities vs the benefits of doing those activities.

This in no way is meant to downplay the injuries and deaths caused by these issues. Those deaths are tragic (my high school journalism teacher often said that all death, save that of Hitler and Stalin, were tragic). And my heart goes out to the families and communities affected. But living in this world is a dangerous thing. And if we were to avoid all companies which have had issues with their products we'd be hard pressed to find consumer goods to fill our daily needs.

Guest's picture

that is serius accident..hemm iam scary look it