Posted by: conservativecritic | February 12, 2010

Toyota Recalls – Dumb and Dumber…(or is that just a movie title?)

Toyota’s decision today to be “proactive” and alert consumers to potential car problems that do not clear the bar for full “recall” has to be one of the dumbest moves that I have seen in the auto industry in the many years since I was associated with the aerospace division of the Ford Motor Company.

Individuals who are already reluctant to pull their Prius or other Toyota out of the garage to drive on the freeway now have more reasons to keep the car carrying the wife and kids off the road and to stay out of the Toyota showrooms.

If the brakes and accelerator are not functioning correctly, when is the steering wheel going to come loose or one of the front tire tie rods going to give way at 60 mph?

The entire management of Toyota needs to line up at the front of their corporate facility and commit seppuku for their ineptness in handling these serious problems where many died and were brutally injured while Toyota tried to keep the rabbit hidden somewhere under the rug and only responded when the US government Department of Transportation forced their hand.

I happen to own a 1990 Toyota Supra and while that was a nice car(and only required two engine changeouts), I would never think of buying any of their products in the future – given their management’s off handed and ill-advised treatment of these current problems.  

Toyota is not “too big to fail” and if their corporate finances take a big dive, the Japanese government should just let them slide into the ocean to serve as an example of how ingrown over-confidence in a brand name can lead to disaster on the highway and in the income and balance sheets.  A few lessons from Tylenol’s management might be in order.

P.S. the Toyota is for sale –  I prefer my Mercedes SL500 roadster any day over the Toyota. 

What do you think?

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Responses

  1. Perception….It started with it and it will end with it….perception. I worked at a Buick dealership in Riverside, California in the 60’s….I fixed Buicks, Opels and MB’s….the Buicks were nice American cars but were about 95% done when we received them from the factory, we had to finish putting them together at the dealer. If you had a good dealer team then you got a good car….if not then you got a piece of junk. Moderately priced junk. The Opels were cheap junk….I know there were exceptions but I seldom saw an Opel with over 25K miles. The MB’s were over engineered, way too complicated, heavy cars that the MB techs had problems keeping them running. It took about 10 hrs in the shop for every 2000 miles on the road! We always had one or two sitting in the shop, like hanger queens, waiting for the German “specialist” to come and fix them. But they were perceived as great cars, much like the Lambos’ and Masarati’s of today! And their shop time vs. road time is worse than the old MB’s Then in the mid 60’s we saw the first Honda car. It used an air cooled motorcycle motor, it was a flimsy piece of junk. Then the Datsun….junk too. Then Toyota, better junk. But I think the general car buying population was yearning for something better than the “American” cars. They “wanted” the Japanese cars to be better….so they became better, remember this was the 60’s….nothing made in America was considered worthy….perception. Made in America was representing the establishment, and you know what most people thought of the establishment in the 60’s. They perceived them/wanted the Japanese cars to be a better as the 70’s rolled through and that perceived reputation just got better. Somehow the inscrutable Japanese were able to build a better car than the Neanderthal American’s could. You know like the Americans working in the Japanese car plants in KY, OH, TN, IN and others….perception. Well now the gleam of the Japanese cars is getting a little dull….some people are thinking American….again….perception is their reality….

    PS….I have owned nothing but Ford products since the 90’s, I have tried everything else but like the Fords better….when I was working I drove 55K miles a year and bought a new vehicle every two years since 1970…. I now drive a ’07 Ford Sport Trac that is wearing out with only 70K+ miles on it but Ford keeps warranting all the repairs. I also drive a ’34 Ford 3 window coupe, 650 hp Chevy big block street rod….that I work on it about 10 hrs for every 2000 miles on the road! Some things don’t evolve….grin

    • while at Ford Aerospace, all I had were exec ford or merc cars – got spoiled since I didn’t have to do any maintenance on the exec cars. First car was a ford skyline retractable hardtop – circa 1958. My perception was a big 352 cu inch engine with three quarter cam and dual glass packs – real screamer but also a cop magnet with the loud mufflers. Had a datsun hatchback – was quite pleased with it and it became a hand me down to the daughters when they were old enough to drive to school. thanks for your perspective – very interesting. gene


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