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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,666
    I like the idea of putting a sign on the car. There should be no law stopping you from stating the truth, as long as it is the truth. Most people have trouble getting the dealer to fix something ONCE. It intrigues me when the dealer REPLACES something multiple times, and the new parts are as defective as the old ones. Your wiper motor, for example. I would expect the trouble would be to get it replaced once, but that the new part would fix the problem. Same with weatherstripping. But when the replacements have the same problem, I really begin to get concerned about the entire shebang.

    OTOH, why is it that most don't have any problem at all, but those who have problems, have them repetitively? Why should one bad wiper motor cause you to experience another one, manufactured at least six to 12 months after your original? I just wonder, sometimes.
  • I am amazed at how many people seem to speak harsh of Toyota quality. I am in the auto industry and see (as well as hear from) hundreds of car owners each week. It seems that a domestic car owner can have a car that only operates correctly 80% of the time and are happy most of the time because their car is simply running. They will put up with many small quality issues as long as the vehicle runs. This is generally true for everyone from a low-end Chevy to a Lincoln Navigator. People who own a Toyota or Honda, however, seem to find the littlest things to complain about. I believe it is because they can find nothing else wrong with the car. Most Toyotas and Hondas do 99.9% of what any owner possibly wants 99.9% of the time. Yet we complain about weatherstrips that lose color and other little complaints. Talk to a Dodge owner who lost a transmission at 12,300 miles. Or I can introduce you to a Chevy owner whos new Camaro sucked in rain water, to the point it was standing water on the floor board. I saw a Ford dealership (in '96) who had a Ford Escort come in badged as a Ford Tracer. That same Ford dealership in '97 had a Mercury Mountaineer that lost a transmission with less than 100 miles. If someone trades in a Chrysler product van, most dealerships want to know when the tranny was last replaced. Or if it is a Neon, it either has a new head gasket or it needs one. Yet we complain about how dirt shows on our ivory leather. I am in the process of purchasing a new Avalon, because the overall quality is unmatched. It is at a level that the Domestic automakers can only dream of. So lets applaud Toyota and Honda for the 99.9% that they do so well, instead of complaining about the .01% we don't agree with. Talk to a domestic car owner, and you'll appreciate the quality that you have. As a note, a few years ago I put my mother in a '96 Avalon (new at the time). The car performed flawlessly and is her favorite car the she has ever owned. Drive a new Avalon and you'll see why they are getting such rave reviews.
  • jcarr7jcarr7 Posts: 2
    I had a 98 Avalon and the weatherstrip wore off it also. It was replaced and promptly wore off once more. I just accepted it as a design problem when the seat is pushed all the way back.

    Those of us in the 70 year age bracket can remember much worse things than that. My best friend had the motor fall out of a 55 Pontiac beause the motor mounts were not fastened properly.

    What did I do about the weatherstrip-nothing. When I traded the 98 in on a 00 nothing was said. I did notice that the design problem was corrected.

    In summary, don't forget that there are some 10k or more parts in an automobile and I sometimes marvel that they move at all.

    One more point, I own a 99 Silverado Z-71 pickup. While I have no complaints myself about the truck, you should go over and read some of the problems others have had. They cover the waterfront.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,666
    I believe you have hit the nail on the head, except for the reason why, and I can offer one possible reason, which may subject me to great insult. My opinion, having sold auto parts for many years, and then worked in Detroit many years, is that anything made by the UAW union will never, I mean NEVER, come close to the "imports" in overall quality. I did not say American built, I said union built. American workers employed by Honda, Toyota & Nissan build great cars for the import companies, often good enough to export back to Japan (2 door Accord coupe comes to mind). It is simply this: by being non-union, if you screw up, show up drunk and make junk on the line, you can be fired that day. In the UAW plants, if you are drunk and make junk, you will stay on the line and continue to make junk for two years until the union grievance process is FINALLY exhausted, and then they can fire you. Naturally, you receive full pay while that union process goes on. Hence, the union is protecting your job against the big, bad corporation. Hogwash. If the Big 3 could get rid of the bad and just keep the good, their quality would probably increase by 50% in one year! It is sad, but that is the way it is!!!
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,666
    The people who "Buy American" IMHO, do not have the exacting standards of those who buy imports. If they did, no one would have bought the Big 3 from 1975-1990, when most of their product was of such poor quality that it would have trouble adequately functioning as a boat anchor.

    US products are better in the last 5 years, but they still don't hold a candle to vehicles made by people who actually risk losing their jobs if they make junk. The incentive (disincentive) is a big one, and I believe that the buyers of the import products inherently believe that, but would never say it out loud because their neighbor (brother, brother-in-law, etc) works for the Big 3 and they are afraid of backlash. After living in Detroit for 10 years, a fact remains: union workers go absolutely violent and ballistic when their product quality is compared to the imports, because they know they cannot (refuse to?) ever make a car that good. Look at how they demolish the import cars at the Detroit Auto Show. In less than one week, the cars are keyed, slashed, steering wheels broken, etc., and all because they make a better car.
  • mikochanmikochan Posts: 2
    Years ago, when Japanese cars were first imported, it was easy to point to "American workers" as being at fault for the lesser quality of domestically produced autos.

    In recent years, the proliferation of Honda, Toyota, BMW, MB, et al, plants in the U.S. producing cars of quality comparable to those from their native countries has muddied the question a little. It seems a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction to blame the lowest end of the food chain (i.e, the line worker or the UAW) for the lesser quality.

    Rather, I'd submit that it is the management philosophy of American car companies that is to blame. Sure, one can carp about UAW workers making a couple of dollars more an hour than those in Japan or Germany, where in truth the foreign worker may in fact make more. Even more more relevant, it is harder to fire a worker in almost any developed country than the U.S., unions notwithstanding. German unions are far more influential than U.S. ones, and despite a little recent trend towards restructuring, lifetime (or very long-term) employment is still the norm in Japan.

    The question to me, more than the UAW, is how come the foreign car companies can produce cars here, with American workers getting paid similar wages to UAW workers, get better quality, and not have to pay CEO's and upper management in the millions. The difference between working conditions and compensation for a Toyota worker in Georgetown and a GM worker in Detroit is pretty minimal. However, for the upper level it is pretty huge - maybe rather than focusing on blaming the grunts, we should be asking why domestic execs are pulling down orders of magnitude greater compensation for more meager results, in terms of a quality product, than their foreign counterparts.

    The workers on the line, if properly led and motivated, produce the goods - the foreign manufacturers here have proved that. I suggest that the culture of domestic car companies is lacking and, as in most organizations, this is the fault of those at the top, not at the bottom.

    FWIW, I own a Toyota and avoid, where I can, paying for products to support some CEO living like a member of the Bourbon dynasty and treating his company like his personal cash cow. I'm also a white-collar professional w/a graduate education, so the statements above are not due to any kind of class solidarity.
  • djamiesondjamieson Posts: 8
    I will pick up this car tonight @$26,423.+ taxes and the documentation fee of $200 (the extra profit fee that we are not supposed to understand but can't seem to avoid) which is $300 over invoice (dealer tells me). It is also the best price I could find after visiting three other dealers. This is a local guy whom I know and expect great service from as I tend to have a large sphere of influence in the area (big mouth) and can refer other business his way.

    Between Consumers Reports, Edmonds, et al the bottom line is the bottom line and these are merely tools to be used in determining the best price you can get in a given area. I think that I got a fair price all things being considered.

    The car is Black with Stone interior, Moon roof, the leather and wheel package,mats, keyless entry & cargo net.

    I'll add aftermarket wood in Rosewood and perhaphs an amp and sub-woofer to the car if the radio does not produce to my liking.

    I am interested in what other black car owners might have to say about this color combination. Anybody have the "gold package"?

    Dave - Massachusetts
  • smoore5smoore5 Posts: 8
    I purchased a 2000 XLS in March. This summer in Ontario has not been very hot so I haven't really pushed the air conditioning. However,and the Air is in auto and it is hot outside I find that the fan runs in a high speed (4 or 5 bars) for at least 30 minutes. I also find that the fan speed is constantly changing. I suspect that there are at least two fan speeds for every bar and when it is at 3 bars the fan is fairly noisy. When it is at these speeds the passengers in the back seat find it quite cool because the air from the rear vents is constantly blowing on them. Incidentally I usually have the temperature set at 23 degrees Celsius (73.5 degrees F.).

    My previous car was a 1996 Maxima and in that car the initial fan speed was high on hot days but it dropped back to low in 10 or 15 minutes and usually remained in that position thereafter.

    I have ensured that the visor for the sun roof is closed as I know sun through the sunroof can upset the cooling cycle but this does not seem to help.

    Is my system operating normally or should I be complaining to the dealer? I would be interested in the experience of others. This is the only real complaint I have about my car.
  • bigrichzbigrichz Posts: 4
    Has anyone heard whether or not Navigation will be available on the 2001 Avalon. I have it on my Lexus LS 400 and love it. Toyota would do well to make this option available on their lower priced vehicles.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,666
    While I am not in full agreement with your statements, having dealt with UAW people who bragged about sabotaging the product while being assembled, your points are certainly worth considering. I do not know if German unions bend over backwards to keep "trash employees" on the line, ruining the product, but I know the UAW does, and that bothers me as much as overpaid CEO's bother you. Thanks for your thoughts.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    My latest information is that the nav system will only be available on the land Cruiser and later in the year on the Prius.
  • djamiesondjamieson Posts: 8
    XL in Black w/ stone leather and wheel package with remote, and moon-roof. It came with DUNLOP Tires (thank goodness) and both the cargo net,trunk mat floor mats. Under $26,500. which is a very fair price. Thank you, Northampton Toyota in Northampton, Massachusetts. They also own Tri-State in Dudley, MA

    My initial impression after the first fifty miles is that the car is quiet and that the basic sound system does not need anything as the sound quality is excellent. Also, with the stone interior I have rethought the after-market wood trim as I think that it would actually detract from the interior appearance. I am putting on the locking wheel nuts and re-intalling my Viper Alarm system. Then the handfree and radar detector go in and the package is ready. I like it a lot!

    I'll track mileage at 87 Oct. and report in.

    Finally, the car seems to be traveling faster than the speedometer indicates. I'll ask one of the locals to clock me in town at 50 just to check it.
    My windshield did not have a green image in it and I am a six footer. I can see the speed but not the turn signals easily. The dash configuration needs some work, and I wish that an onboard compass were on all models.

    Thanks for everyones comments, you all helped a lot.

  • I have owned both American and Japanese cars. My father is a firm believer in Toyotas and will own nothing else....and for good reason none of his cars have ever been back to the shop from the first Corolla he bought new in 1974.

    When you look at my new Avalon you have a car built in the US with American labor and it is a great car. You then wonder why my '98 Suburban suffers quality issues like it does?

    The answer is simple, it is engineering and profit driven. An American automaker can screw together a car as well as anyone else, it is what he is screwing together that matters.

    Take for instance a conversation I had this year at the autoshow with a GM worker from the transmission plant. He told me the 4L60E in my Suburban was engineered to only last to 100,000 miles. It was designed and engineered to break. Compare that to a Toyota Tacoma for instance and many have well into the 200,000 mile plus range on the original tranny. A fluke? I think not.

    As long as American executives force engineers to design "more profitable" cars, our beloved Buicks and Fords will continue to be made of cheap plastics and poor mechanicals that have planned obsolesence.

    Unions may have something to do with it to, but before you blame the worker on the line it is important to look at who designed the part he is installing.

    Just my two cents.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    To comment further on your post, let me tell you what I was told by a Toyota engineer when I asked him about why Toyota does not put limited slip differentials in their trucks. I was told that Toyota had looked into this for years but could not find one that would last beyond 120K miles and this was unacceptable. The lack of an LSD in our trucks makes them difficult to sell but Toyota will not compromise long term quality to sell more vehicles today.

    As to the Union issue, I have some very strong opinions here but I really don't think this is an appropriate forum for them.
  • phandmkphandmk Posts: 3
    When trying to get to the bottom line price what add-ons have you encountered? So far I have seen TDA of $376, Gas of $6, and some times a docking or delivery fee. Just wondering how your final price was affected by these charges. $500 over invoice plus TDA and gas, etc.??? Thanks for your help. Also, how annoying is the glare on windshield for those of you who have noticed?
  • boordboord Posts: 27
    I had $45 doc prep fee and a $425 Cal license fee. No gas fee. What is the $378 TDA fee?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    For those of you who don't know, this stands for Toyota Dealer Association fee. This is basicly an advertising fee. Every region in the country has some form of TDA but it varies by region. My understanding is that Southern CA is the cheapest and Northern CA and New York are the highest.

    This is a real fee and we are not compensated for it. We used to get half the money back as a secret holdback. This practice was stopped in '95 after a class action suit. The suit also had Toyota issue those $150 coupons you have seen advertised on Edmunds.

    This is also why the coupons are specific to a region. There was a certain number of those certificates issued for each TDA and when they are gone in that region (as they are in MD and VA now), you can't get any more.

    For any who are curious about the fee in VA, the TDA on an XL Avalon is $459.
  • Cliffy:

    If you can answer this, I will be very thankful.

    Do you know if the 2001 Avalon will have a black or almost-black leather interior option?

    If not, WHY? Is there some reason there is not a dark interior option? This is the only thing keeping me from buying one.

    Thank you so much for your help.

  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,666
    When I originally received my Avalon brochure, I, too, noticed that you could not get a dark interior, gray or black. I would get a light interior (leather) dirty in a flash.

    I also wonder if they will ever offer some kind of a "Sport" package on the Avalon, for those who want the same comfort, but firmer handling without feeling like a rock.

    As long as we are at it, why don't they raise the HP to 225-250, and let the car really fly?
  • mikochanmikochan Posts: 2
    I'd definitely like to see something like this.

    On the performance side, according to the ToyotaParts4U website, TRD/Kazuma will be producing a version of the Camry/Solara supercharger, a bolt on, smog-legal, warranty preserving (I believe) addition that boosts HP to around 270. When this becomes available, I'm going to really consider this. For suspension, slightly stiffer springs and a little more damping in the shocks would be nice, but I don't know if anything is available for this, esp. if they are Toyota parts.

    Even if available as aftermarket Toyota (TRD), it would be nice to have this as a factory package (supercharged Avalon w/tighter suspension) to avoid futzing around w/modifying a stock car. However, such a machine may not be to Toyota's advantage from a CAFE or marketing niche standpoint.

    Would be nice, though & I would buy one.

    On the engineering question of foreign vs. domestic, I saw an analysis once that was interesting. It contended that in Japan, the best engineering graduates, from places like Tokyo University, Waseda (Japan's Ivy league equivalents) sought jobs with Toyota, Honda, etc., since these were the companies/technologies of the greatest prestige in Japan.

    However, in the good old US of A, it has been a long time since hotshot MIT/Stanford, etc., grads have been angling for positions at GM/Ford. For the past thirty years, our top technical talent has gravitated towards defense/space/basic research/computers/biotech. As a result, the U.S. is a leader in these types of technologies (we make super missiles/bombs/submarines, for example), while Japanese/German economies have had their most talented techies working on automotive and other consumer related technologies.

    I don't necessarily agree w/this whole-heartedly, but it is an interesting proposition. What I believe is that the continuing lag in U.S. automotive quality is a combination of a number of cultural and economic factors. UAW work rules/grievance procedures probably contribute as a negative factor, but the problem appears to have more dimensions than that.
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