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Toyota on the mend?

Toyota's legendary quality may be falling victim to record production volume.

Vehicle recalls in 2005 compared to 2004.

Toyota +100%
Ford +20%
Chrysler -87%
GM -63%

Link to complete article at:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2005-12-01-toyota-recalls_x.htm
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Comments

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    ...really IS on its way to becoming the next GM.
  • That is a bit misleading. A more meaningful statistic would be recalls as a percentage of total vehicles produced from year to year.

    For example, if in year 1, production=100 vehicles and recalls=20, and in year 2, production=500 and recalls =60, the quality actually went up, but this statistic would indicate a 3x increase in recalls!
    Anything to sell a paper, I guess!

    And yes, Toyota is opening a truck plant this year and is slated to overcome GM as the number 1 automaker in the world.
  • From the article:

    'Analysts agree the number of recalls could be a function of Toyota's rapid development.

    "It's really a factor of the rate of expansion, the speed at which they're growing right now," said Erich Merkle, director of forecasting for IRN, a automotive consulting firm. Anytime an auto manufacturer opens plants and ramps up production, "you open yourself up for some quality issues." '
  • reddogsreddogs Posts: 353
    or their Empire might collapse from all these recalls.... ;)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,052
    a recall is meaningless without more info. Are these major recalls or minor ones? And are these cars getting recalled mainly because inspectors are going over them with a fine-toothed comb? Are they voluntary recalls that Toyota initiated themselves, to try to keep in good standing, or are they recalls the government forced them to perform?

    Remember, cars can be recalled for the stupidest little things. My Intrepid was recalled twice. Once because the bolts holding the seatback in place could break, and once because, of all things, they forgot to put instructions in the owner's manual on how to install a child car seat! :confuse:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    Toyota's recalls this year were that minor, though. The Prius thing was a software glitch that caused some cars to cut out the gas engine and run only on electrics while in motion at high speeds where that wasn't supposed to happen.

    The recall for "older trucks" affected my previous 4Runner - they replaced the tie rods, don't know why. The old ones went 220K miles without a problem. :-P

    None of these recalls this year have been for owner's manuals. Some were relatively minor, like the earlier one (mostly affecting cars outside the U.S.) on Corolla headlights where they would malfunction. But they were all for functional problems, to the best of my knowledge.

    It is now generally accepted that the rattles and squeaks in first year models of the current Camry and Corolla were the result of rapidly expanding production that coincided with the retirement of a number of key old-school managers from Toyota Japan (which caused QC to drop off, I guess). That was the first time Toyota's rapid expansion bit them in the butt and cost them some empty circles in the Consumer Reports, and I doubt it will be the last. On the flip side, Toyota is a company that learns from all its mistakes, usually fairly quickly, and I am sure they will be making more of an effort to nip problems like this in the bud, especially in relation to bringing San Antonio on-line next summer.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    They'll have to be careful, obviously. My coworker's new Corolla had a bad third-brake-light bulb and the foglights weren't well aligned. Minor stuff, but noticeable; the kind of thing that affects customer satisfaction.

    Honda's had similar troubles too.

    Speaking to mechanics, I've heard that Toyota is no longer overengineering some of its parts, so that they all fail at about the same time (no point in half the car lasting 500,000 miles if the other half can't). I don't think that's part of this issue though.

    The question is, how much emphasis should they be putting on rapid re-designs, and how much of a price premium can they afford for higher quality parts and slower production?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    "Martha Voss, a Toyota spokeswoman, said that with the increased volume, ``it would be normal to expect that recalls would increase.'' She noted the federal TREAD Act, enacted in 2000 in response to the recall of more than 10 million Firestone tires, required more minor issues to be reported. She noted that one of the recalls dealt with older pickups and SUVs that involved a rod linking the steering wheel and the tires, and did not reflect current production."

    IF Ford lives by "Quality is Job One" then Toyota's quality comparatively is AWESOME. Vehicles recalled this year:

    Toyota - 2 million vehicles
    Ford - 6 million vehicles
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,052
    "If Quality is Job One, then I hate to think what the lesser jobs are!"
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...it's okay for Toyota to have 2 million recalls because Ford was way worse? Pretty weak.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Is there any reason to think recalls in general directly correlate to reliability and quality?

    There are way too many variables to even try figure it out, and even you could find a direct correlation, the margin of error would be huge.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    with the Toyota recalls is not the number compared to other manufacturers, but rather compared to itself in years past. They are increasing in number FAST.

    I did wonder why they would have to recall a group of trucks that were 10-16 years old though: almost all would be over 100K miles by now, and many would be much much higher (like my previous truck, which was under that recall, and which I had performed at almost 220K miles). If the flaw subject to recall takes THAT LONG to manifest itself, at what point do we say the manufacturer is no longer on the hook, and it is reasonable that it is the owner's responsibility?

    Toyota has done service bulletins and extended warranties on some things like head gaskets in the past, which could reasonably be expected to last the life of the engine, but something like the tie rods in that recall are subject to punishment by the road, and 100K is already a whole lot of miles for the manufacturer to still be on the hook if they then start to fail.

    Not that I minded the gift from Toyota of free new tie rods and an alignment at 220K miles! :shades:

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • You are right: Toyota made its reputation using overengineered parts that lasted and lasted.

    I remember reading in the 1990s that "the 4 wheel drive components on Toyota's small 1/2 ton trucks are rugged enough for use on a 1 ton truck - they should go almost indefinitely."

    I think that mindset is changing at Toyota.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    of the best made cars EVER.

    About that time, Japan learned from Detroit that "if you build cars that last forever, you will sell fewer new cars" and since that time, corners have been cut for the sake of the bottom line.

    In the case of Toyota, that bottom line means 30-40 billion dollars in the bank and soon the rank as #1 car company in sales.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    "Any fool can make a building stand up, but it takes an engineer to make it barely stand up."
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    I think Toyota still makes a quality car. However Toyota has had the following issues with the following cars: I got this reliability out of CR. Suspension Problems with 98-99 Avalon, 99 and 04 Solara(first year models for both of those Solara's.) Body Integrity issues with the 02 4 Runner, and 02-03 Solara(last years of that model in that bodystyle for the Solara) and 04 Solara(first year model.) Paint/Trim problems: with 04 and 05 Matrix and 01 and 02 Tacoma. braking problems with 01-03 Sequoia and 02 and 03 Sienna. A pre-02 Sienna has less braking issues the 02-03 models. Remember that Sienna ran from 98-03 in that particular bodystyle. Maybe Toyota was maybe going for cheaper suppliers that got them with the braking issues.

    Cr rated in these Trouble spots with these cars either under average or much worse than average in trouble spots like Body integity and paint/trim. I think Toyota has had problems in the past 3-5 years with body integrity and suspensions as well. What amazes me is an 02 Solara has more body integrity issues than than an 00 Solara. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? A 1998 4 Runner has much less body integrity issues than an 02 4 Runner.

    In my opinion particularly during the 02-03 model year Toyota's plant in Kentucky was not constructing their cars in the proper manner or else Toyota wouldn't have all these body integrity issues. The suspension issues are alarming. I think Toyota soft handling cars are maybe sensitive to these suspension problems. However all these cars with suspension problems, paint/trim, braking and body integity issues that I just named are still are still either much better than average in reliability or better than average in reliability overall The 03 Seqioua is just average in reliability overall however.

    I don't know about Toyota stopping overengineering their parts. I mean Toyota has always prided themselves on making a quality product. Toyota cannot slip up on Body Integrity again though. The 02 and some 03 Camry's I have heard about sqeauking/rattling but I think Toyota did fix that problem somewhere in the production of the 03 Camry. I think Body integrity was part of the reason that the Camry temporariliy slipped to average in reliability for a short while in CR when the 02 Camry first came onto the market.

    BTW, I have heard about tranny problems with 02+ ES300/330 on these. CR even shows the tranny problem with the 02+ Es300/330. From 1998-2001 Cr ranked the trouble spot for "tranny" as excellent reliability for the last generation Es300(97-01.) With the 02+ ES 300/330 the trouble spot for tranny is just average with a white circle. The current Es300/330 ranks above average in reliability where as the the 98-01 Es 300 ranks much better than average reliability. The drop in reliability is marginal but I think Toyota's plant in Japan didn't work out the bugs with the 5 speed auto in the 02+ Es300/330.

    I also have seen drops in Lexus's ratings in CR. Cr ranks the 04 LS 430 under average for reliability in the trouble spot "tranny". For 05 though they ranks the 05 LS 430 in the tranny trouble as excellent. Remember 05 models ranked in reliability by CR have only 3,000 miles on them. However the tranny problem with the LS 430 dropped the 04 LS 430 to just average in reliability overall where as the 98-03 models were ranked excellent in reliability overall. Lastly the 05 SC has dropped to average overall in reliability. The 02-04 SC's ranked excellent in reliability. The 05 SC ranked under average in the trouble spot "paint/trim". Toyota's Lexus's plant in Japan having paint/ trim issues? That is shocking.

    I'm surprised about Lexus having some reliability bugs with their cars of late more than US built Toyota's having issues. Toyota Lexus's plant is among the best plants in the world at constructing a car in my opinion.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    ...had a few trouble spots - notably the power steering pump and the electroluminescent instrument cluster.
  • for everyone once they pass GM in sales.

    Everyone admired Microsoft while they were overtaking IBM: same for Wal Mart against K Mart and Sears.

    But - once you hit the top of the heap the crowd wants to see you displaced.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Is there any reason to think recalls in general directly correlate to reliability and quality?

    There are way too many variables to even try figure it out, and even you could find a direct correlation, the margin of error would be huge.


    If that's true, then we shouldn't worry about Ford's recalls then either, right?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    are for the most part not a good thing! Anyone who thinks they may not correlate directly to reliability issues that inconvenience the consumer may have a point, but only a minor one at best. Even a recall that does not affect the operation of the vehicle usually causes the customer lost time in going to get the recall taken care of. That is annoyance no-one needs.

    And many recalls are more serious than that - either resulting in diminishing of the vehicle's usefulness or a safety risk. The tie rods on my truck were a safety thing, although I still question how much of a risk that was given that they had already gone 220K miles without a problem. To me, that is going the extra mile for a recall.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I don't know for sure.

    I do know I get pretty worried about the reliability of a car (and the manufacturer) when one model has five or so recalls in the first year.

    As an afterthought, I wonder if recalls are increasing as lawsuits increase. Just by coincidence, I had on my desk this morning a legal settlement involving Toyota.
  • ustazzafustazzaf Posts: 311
    Basing reliability on the number recalls is insane. I have only had one vehicle "recalled". The rear wiper had a switch that failed on a few models, so they were all recalled for a new switch because having the rear wiper fail could cause a safety problem if you can't see out the back window. How about the models without the rear wiper option? Are they safe? There were over 100K vehicles from about 1995-2002 recalled for this problem, but it did not effect the quality of the 2004 model year vehicles. I am sure there were idiots using this information against the manufacture also.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    how this topic is so dead.. Toyota legendary quality and reliability.. Perception, pure and simple. It has been drilled into our heads by the media that anything and everything Toyota or Honda builds is perfection, anything GM and Ford build is unreliable and bad quality.. Yet this is the first I have heard about this issue with Toyota. Not even a blurb on the news, or in my newspaper.. Hmm...
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    It's a liberal media conspiracy to keep the lips on the journalist shut !!!! :P

    Rocky
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    That is a bit misleading. A more meaningful statistic would be recalls as a percentage of total vehicles produced from year to year.

    For example, if in year 1, production=100 vehicles and recalls=20, and in year 2, production=500 and recalls =60, the quality actually went up, but this statistic would indicate a 3x increase in recalls!
    Anything to sell a paper, I guess!


    You make an interesting point, however the article points out that Toyota has already recalled more vehicles this year than the entire last year (2.2m last year, 2.4m this year). So they would have to have sold more vehicles in the half of the year that has gone by than the entire last year for your point to hold.
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    how this topic is so dead.. Toyota legendary quality and reliability.. Perception, pure and simple. It has been drilled into our heads by the media that anything and everything Toyota or Honda builds is perfection, anything GM and Ford build is unreliable and bad quality.. Yet this is the first I have heard about this issue with Toyota. Not even a blurb on the news, or in my newspaper.. Hmm...

    While I do agree with the content of your post to a degree, my personal experience with cars and SUVs over the years has basically mirrored the general opinions of the automotive press. My Toyota, Lexus, and Honda products have been as close to flawless as a man could possibly expect them to be. To the contrary, all but one of my Ford and GM products were horrendously bad! And all but one of my Nissans had average build quality and reliability at best. Had a couple of Z cars that nickel and dimed me to death. One domestic that I had back in the 70s turned out to be a really, really good car. Believe it or not, it was a 1977 Pontiac Trans-Am that I purchased new. That car was extremely reliable for me over an eight year period. And I drove it extremely hard too. :)

    Ron M.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    Toyota's fast growth may put a temporary strain on quality control.

    I predict Toyota will meet this challenge. They don't have any other option, as quality is the hallmark of their product.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2006-05-31-toyota_x.htm?csp=34
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    the 1 million cars that they recalled are going to put a strain on their repuatation. Didn;t they just recall some Lexus models too a month or 2 back. In an aritcle I read that a Toyota Prius you can lose control of the steering wheel or something. Thats a very un-Toyota like recall. That sounds like a Ford, Chrysler, or even a Nissan type recall. Toyota has taken their share of flack over this recall in the papers as well. The tranny problems in the Camry thats unheard of for a Camry. Toyota better get back on their game fast. See thats the consequence you pay for launching an 07 model early in 06 is mechanical problems. The good thing is I do think Toyota will be gast to work out the tranny problem because the Camry is basically Toyota's landmark vehicle and what their known for. Toyota's does not need the Camry to get bad press for a tranny problem so they have no choice but to work out this tranny problem.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    how this topic is so dead.. Toyota legendary quality and reliability.. Perception, pure and simple. It has been drilled into our heads by the media that anything and everything Toyota or Honda builds is perfection, anything GM and Ford build is unreliable and bad quality.."

    I do agree with you that we get drilled in the US with Toyota's repuation but you can't deny that the Toyota has a great repuation for reliability purposes. See, most car sales are made by word of mouth and I'm sure people reccomend Toyota's to alot of their friends, and in-laws. Another scenario why people buy Toyota's is they have been burned by a problematic car by another brand so that person who had a bad experience with another brand may get a Toyota. I am a Honda fan but I have liked Honda for awhile. I like Mazda too and would buy another.

    As far as GM and Ford's bad repuation they have improved I just don;t like any of their products except for their SUV's. I think GM and Ford have a bad repuation for what they produced in the 80's/early 90's. Some of the 20 somethings who are buying cars now think that the domestics don't build a quality car because their parents of that 20 something probably had a bad experience with a GM or Ford. Some of the product planning by GM and Ford in the 90's was awful I have to admit even as an import fan. Ford;s product planning has gotten better in the 00's but GM's product planning its still the same old thing it was in the 90's with the exception of Caddy, new Buick Lucrence, and their SUV's of course. BTW, My parents have owned Gm, Ford, and Chrysler in the 80's, 90's, 00's and they have served my parents well except for 1 Chrysler and 1 GM.
  • juniorswajuniorswa Posts: 3
    Interesting reading all the posts on here. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I'd definitely say that Toyota quality is slipping. My Mom has been a loyal customer of Toyota since 1975. That influenced my decision in buying a Toyota as my first car. Of course I had the misfortune of owning the infamous Toyota Tercel that came complete with an oil burning, sludge producing, prone to failure 4 cylinder engine. Now, I realize that the Tercel was Toyota's cheapest car and that many people were not affected by this crappy engine. If you were, however, boy did it leave a bad taste in your mouth! I don't buy into the argument that your cheapest vehicle cannot be well built. Isn't that how Toyota built their reputation in the 70's and 80's? I'm in my late 20's now. Bought a used Mazda, 5 years ago, and my car is now 7 years old and I've had NO problems. Toyota has totally turned me off for life as a customer. They are cutting costs too much and their vehicles do not feel much better built to me than the competition. Some of the interior bits in my Mazda may not be as solid or look as nice as what was in my Tercel, but the engine was built much better and frankly, that's what counts with me! Toyota REALLY needs to pay attention to their quality control. After all, isn't that why GM, Ford, and Chrysler lost so many sales to the Japanese? They weren't making quality autos? Personally, I was so disillusioned by my Toyota that I do not intend to ever buy another, let alone pay a premium (!?!) for one of their products! I had no first-hand experience myself with Toyota until that car and a cheaply built, flawed car is not the way to hold on to a young consumer for life. Their dealer network was not great either. They did not care about some unhappy 20-something customer with a cheap auto. They were too busy coddling their baby-boomer bread-and-butter customers to care about me! Yes, I went to numerous Toytoa dealers and it was pretty much the same everywhere. In the end I ditched Toyota. If they do not get their stuff together, the future looks grim for Toyota. Exhibit A is VW which has lost many buyers due to quality issues and charging too much for their cars. (Sound familiar?) Notice that many younger buyers are buying Mazdas, Nissans, and other makes besides Toyota. If Toyota seriously wants younger customers, they are going to have to give their 20-something customers quality products that are worth the premium Toyota is charging. The reason Toyota had to launch Scion is because the Toyota name means almost nothing to younger consumers except :lemon: ! Okay, I'm done with my rant! Thanks for letting me vent!
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