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Toyota on the mend?

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  • prigglypriggly Posts: 643
    Toyota is being investigated for hiding defects

    This brings up an interesting and important point. It is one thing to have multiple vehicles with serious defects but is quite another to try to hide them. This speaks of a culture of corporate dishonesty and is yet another reason not to reward a greedy, arrogant entity that cares so little for its buyers that it insults and tries to deceive them by trying to hide the defects. Guess what? The defects are now so numerous and so serious that hiding them is no longer an option so ol' Toyota decides to come clean . . . but only after being exposed.

    Personally, I find the domestic car makers much more honest than their Asian and German counterparts who try to deal with their foibles by denying their existence and getting on their high horses when buyers complain. I have never been too thrilled when the prevalent attitude at a dealership, specifically a Toyota dealership or a Lexus dealership, has been such that they consider they are doing you a favor by even talking to you, projecting the image that it is a privilege to be considered as a buyer for their overpriced wares.

    Give me the American car dealerships any day with their refreshingly relaxed, forthright and appreciative attitudes who project the genuine aura that they are happy I came in their store to consider a purchase.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    In reality, a car buyer now is buying a current car, not one from decades past. It makes no sense to let ancient experiences color present objective evaluation

    Unfortunately for the detroiters this statement is absolutely wrong. It's past experience that's the basis for current purchases. Not only that but those, my children, who were not drivers but also suffered through the 'Dark Ages' are similarly lost to the detroiters. The current retro trend brings back names that often had horror stories attached to them. In my case - the Charger. Dumb marketing.

    As I noted GM has some interesting and quality products spread throughout its lineup. However, with a total of $400 +/- in total 'unexpected' costs with my 7 Toyota's over the last 17 years and 500,000+ miles there is no reason to switch. I like the products and the advancements and simply the peace of mind to expect each of the three current Toyota vehicles to go into the 200,000+ mile range with little or no cost. In addition the cost of normal maintenance has gone from $500-800 annually in the early 90's to about $200 annually more or less indefinitely now.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,158
    "Give me the American car dealerships any day with their refreshingly relaxed, forthright and appreciative attitudes who project the genuine aura that they are happy I came in their store to consider a purchase."

    LOL. That is such a generalized, bias driven statement, I almost choked from laughter.

    So what dealership do you work for Mr. salesman? "genuine aura"... hmmm maybe SATURN? ;)
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I had a good laugh from that one too.

    More often than not, the same big dealership chains own both import and domestic stores, and their business philosophy doesn't vary from one building to the other. This trend is accelerating, and the small family-owned single outlet dealership is rapidly disappearing, except in the more rural areas of the country.

    Oh, you might get more deluxe and individualized service for the luxury makes, but certainly there is no difference for comparable import and domestic models.

    And about "secret" or "hidden" recalls, weren't they invented by the Detroit 3? Besides, "service campaigns" are fully accepted as legitimate by NHTSA, as long as no serious safety defect is involved.

    BTW, there is a difference between a hidden recall and a service campaign. In a hidden recall, only people who bring their cars into the dealership and complain about a particular problem may get it resolved for free. In a service campaign, all owners are notified by mail just as is the case for a safety recall. It's just that service campaigns don't have the same legal standing as safety recalls, because they don't involve serious safety defects or noncompliance with a federal safety standard.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    This is the kind of thing that bugs me in threads like this. People take a fragment of news, find out nothing about it, and then proceed to distort and broadcast it.

    The thing with the Tundra involved improperly manufactured ball joints by its supplier, and the ball joints are being replaced under recall. No injuries occurred as a result of this problem.

    Toyota is not being investigated for "hiding defects". Two former Toyota executives are being investigated by the Japanese commerce ministry for ignoring evidence that a particular design may have been flawed. It is relevant to note that this supposed "flaw" caused no problems AT ALL anywhere in the world until an 11-year-old Hilux Surf crashed last year. One 11-year-old truck prompted this safety investigation, which led to the "revelation" that a questionable decision was made in going with the steering design it had, which is still under investigation. The Japanese government has already made the statement that there was no criminal wrongdoing here.

    There were half a million Hilux Surfs (4Runner in the U.S.) and pick-ups going out of Toyota factories every year for eight years with the steering design in question. And ONE developed a problem in 11 years. That problem led to a crash. It may turn out that the maintenance of this vehicle, already 11 years old when the crash occurred, was neglected, which led to the accident.

    But despite the actual FACTS of the case, this and a couple of headlines about increasing Toyota recalls cause every anti-Toyota hysteric in the woodwork to come running out making statements that have no accuracy at all.

    :-(

    Toyota DOES have a problem with less effective QC in the last couple of years, as a result of enormous manufacturing expansion outside Japan, and it needs to slow down and get an iron grip on this problem. And that's the extent of it. I think we will find that three years from now, the reliability studies still place Toyota near the top.

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

  • lahirilahiri Posts: 394
    Hope this isn't a move to attract young male buyers :mad:
  • jazonjazon Posts: 9
    Actually I know a lot about the issue, I drive one of the non recalled vehicles that is under investigation by the Government right now.

    Toyota hasn't recalled all of the suspected models.

    Some people can try to blindly support a company for whatever reason, but I think it is the CONSUMER who should be protected.

    One can try to minimize the defect, but loss of steering is a big issue for me! The accident in Japan highlights a defect that was known by Toyota since 1996. Toyota chose not to recall the vehicles until after 5 people (including kids) were seriously hurt by the accident caused when the defective, non-recalled Toyota went outof control and hit another vehicle head on.

    Considering this wasn't the only problem reported and Toyota recalled the vehicles 2 months after the accident shows the seriousness of the defect.

    The Wall St Journal quote from the Senior Toyota Engineer about Toyota not going to "hide" defects anymore pretty much sums up what a lot of consumers suspected about Toyota.

    To blame consumers for being concerned shows the insensitivity of some who will support a company no matter what comes out. Their credibility is zero in my book.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,666
    Well said, nippononly! I will be watching 3 years from now for the reliability studies, and I would bet that Toyota will still be at or very near the top. Honda has had (and is having) issues with reliability too, but they are still very strong. My point is even the best can have problems, BUT they have the resources and the foresight to correct problems before they become really detrimental.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Give me the American car dealerships any day with their refreshingly relaxed, forthright and appreciative attitudes who project the genuine aura that they are happy I came in their store to consider a purchase.

    Well you have been living in a cocoon for the last 20 yrs because if you peruse the detroiter boards here you'll find
    - '45,000 miles? Fix your own tranny' ( twice in my case )
    - I know this is the 7th time you've had it in here but we have no idea what's going on here ( Chrysler LHS first year out ) [ insert your own nameplate ]
    - the guy who had a friend's GM truck crap out on him in his driveway and he impounded the vehicle because the GM dealer wouldn't pick it up.
  • ...I have considered American-made products as becoming increasingly better instead of stagnating or becoming worse. I also am beginning to see that all Japanese brands are not infalliable.

    Father: Say thirty Hail Toyotas and pray for forgiveness for your sins.
  • kdhspyder: Repairing the tranny at low miles? 45,000? You know that sounds strikingly similar to a certain Lexus SUV. Hm...Looks like imperfection doesn't just strike Detroit makes.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    With one very very important exception...

    As in my two cases the cost was $2500 each and at 45000 miles any Toyota or Lexus is still under warranty...Cost $0.
  • All Toyota employees (and that means you, kdhspyder) please sit on the sidelines.
  • Sorry, despite your personal preference, all members are welcome to participate as long as they're civil. You are not, however, required to read their posts if you don't like 'em.

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,890
    Indeed...imagine if all GM employees and shareholders were silenced...this place would be a lot less entertaining.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Sorry, I missed where this forum was created to give a freehand to any and all to blast Toyota without any opposing views. ;)

    As an owner of three Toyota's ( 7 in the last 16 yrs ) with nearly zero problems an alternate view to the alleged dropoff in QDR gives a good balance.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    is not the point of the discussion. Brand differences in quality and reliability seem to be getting much smaller.

    I like the way Toyota has made a commitment to get to the root of their problems even if it means delaying model launches.

    Once car companies solve reliability issues we can just go out and buy the car we want without any worries about quality!
  • kc7kc7 Posts: 96
    For clues to what's going on at Toyota, I got some interesting stories, pls have a look :

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_08/b3921062.htm

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060825/bs_nm/autos_japan_toyota_dc_2

    After reading these articles, I am NOT surprised by what is happening with more and more Toyota cars. I feel that Toyota's new boss, Katsuaki Watanabe, is the classic case of genius / mad man. The line between a genius and a madman can be quite slim. And in this case, I think Watanabe has gone overboard.

    My observation is Toyota, especially under Watanabe has over the pass years squeeze their suppliers over and over again till I once read some suppliers joked that they have to call Watanabe " Uncle " to get Toyota's business.

    The thing is there is a LIMIT to how much suppliers can be squeezed before they have to resort to " countermeasures " to meet Toyota's price demands and get their big business. No supplier in their right mind will maintain their quality and risk losing business with Toyota. They WILL fool around a bit or more with their quality to get Toyota's massive volumes at all cost.

    It's like the classic building contractor story. Many people, including myself are at times guilty of playing off several contractors. Then we chose the lowest price contractor. Later we found out how he managed to quote such a low price : inferior material, cutting corners here and there etc.

    That Camry windshield rubber seal recall in China, though not serious as an engine failure, perfectly indicates suppliers are squeezed so badly that they even have to " alter " the rubber formula. I mean rubber seals are such simple stuff in cars, and that is the LAST thing I expect to be recalled. I mean this is not some new engine model having problems, which is understandable. Even the domestics, while often maligned for inferior quality, I don't think they got many problems with rubber seals !

    Anyone in business as a supplier and faced continuous squeezes by their big customers may understand why Toyota is facing more and more problems in their components. Suppliers just have NO CHOICE.

    You just cannot give the same quality AND reduced cost forever. I wish I could tell Watanabe " Friend, don't forget the Law of diminishing returns ".

    Moreover, I can expect how shocked the Japanese suppliers will be when Toyota starts using China made parts prices as benchmark. How can the Japanese suppliers match China when Chinese workers are paid a tiny fraction of Japanese workers, never mind the Chinese suppliers may not be as experienced as the Japanese. And that the Chinese parts may not even come close to made in Japan parts in quality standards.

    Toyota may think that they are smart enough to help suppliers lower cost and still maintain quality, but to what level ? Sooner or later the line is crossed and I think Toyota may not even know precisely where the limit is.

    That could be why Toyota made in Japan cars have more recalls recently, and that these cars are no longer guarantee of superb quality. More and more overseas parts are being used.

    There is even an article on the net which said years ago, Watanabe was so hell bent on cost cutting, he even reduced staff canteen menu so that majority sold are the most liked (less food variety as a result), small things like that don't escape his attention. Which reminded me of the story of one company (forgot the name), in a cost cutting drive, even limits how much tissue staff uses when they go to the toilet ! My God !

    One might call that genius, efficient or what, but for me, that kind of thing is too far, too much. It risk lowering staff morale in the long run. I mean how many of you will be happy working for a company that is SOOO obsessed with lowering costs (even though they already have billions in cash) that even small things like that are " adjusted " ?

    That could be why Toyota's cash piled up so big, so fast. Even though I know they sell many cars. Those cost cutting money sure adds up.

    Just that this time Toyota may have gone too far, and I fear that many more Toyota cars sold in the recent past few years may report more problems in the future.

    Frankly speaking, I feel today Toyota quality and quality of other automakers is not really THAT much different today. Those JD Power surveys may give the wrong impression. The quality gap between the no.1 and no. 5 say may actually be close, but those rankings may mislead people to think no.1 and 5 is far away.

    Anyway, when I know Toyota's boss works in this fashion, frankly speaking I think I will buy a car whose maker does not squeeze suppliers like that. I think if Toyota does not change their ways, this recent problem could become a big snowball for them in the future.

    I think Toyota got too greedy, too ambitious, and wanting the no.1 position too badly.

    One of my favourite mottos is " YOU PAY PEANUTS, YOU GET MONKEYS ".
  • kc7kc7 Posts: 96
    This may be a bit old fashioned, but I remember Mr. W E Deming is known as the American who taught the Japanese about quality. Wayback in the 1950s, after WW2, Deming was invited to Japan to give many lectures and taught the Japanese about quality. Before WW2, anything made in Japan was a joke, remember ? Other than Toyota, many other Japanese companies also attented Deming's lectures, including Nissan, Honda, etc.

    I even read that in Toyota's lobby, there are 3 portraits. One is of Mr. Toyoda, the founder, the 2nd is of the current boss, the last one, the biggest, is portrait of Deming ! That is Toyota's way of thanking him ! Whether Deming's big portrait is still there today or not I would like to know.

    But from what I know about Deming's teachings, I think Toyota may have deviated from Deming's teachings. Whether Deming's way no longer works today or not I can't say. But here are some aspects of Deming's teachings that I remember :

    1. People have to be happy to have quality. What he means is people (insider or business associates) with links to the company must be happy to produce quality. That sounds obvious, but I think many companies forgot. I think many of Toyota's suppliers today are NOT happy being squeezed like that year after year. Also Toyota staff may also be forced to live with a very austere working environment under Watanabe's obssession with deep cost cutting.

    2. Deming stressed that the MOST important variables / factors in business are often UNKNOWN and UNKNOWABLE. He always said managing by numbers alone will result in disaster later. What he means is other factors like quality, people morale, etc also counts, and these things cannot be measured by numbers alone.

    Deming always stressed the key to quality is to always improve the process, not just get cheaper prices only.

    I believe the Toyota several years ago got to where they are today by doing what Deming said. BUT looking at their case today, I fear Toyota's new management may have strayed from this path. Otherwise how could so many problems arise ?

    Some say Toyota sells more cars today, naturally more problems occur. I disagree, because look, Toyota in the past few years grew at a rate of about 10-15 % or so per year, BUT their recalls around the world rose MUCH more than that !

    Which tells me something wrong is happening, and that they had better wake up. If I remember correctly, the recalls almost doubled in the last 2 years. Now Toyota did not double in size in the last 2 years.

    Also Toyota's obsession with sharing many parts means we might see many Toyota cars with the same looking parts. I hope one day the Camry and the Corolla won't look too similar and won't share the same dashboard ! Otherwise Toyota cars could become very boring !
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    both have center-guages. Cost-savings in production action.

    Now, the cost of the xA and the Yaris are very reasonable and gentlemen, these cars hold their value come resale time. All of the things mentioned almost to a 't' have been sinned similarly by GM, Ford and Chrysler-Dodge-Mopar. Haven't they?

    Those that are freaking out by the higher volume of Toyota recalls or defects, answer me this. Would you balk at buying something out of the Toyota product lineup tomorrow?

    I am a Kia fan but I acknowledge the success and the quality of the Toyota product. In fact, I would call up a Tucson Scion dealer tomorrow and order a Polar White 2006 5-speed Scion xA if my wife didn't love our 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4 so much. The little South Korean built SUV is running like a champ at 118,850 miles, so we're hanging onto it.

    Would I trade it in tomorrow, though, if I...ummmm....demanded to have my way and my way or the highway...and...and if I don't get my way people are going to...to...yes, yes I would trade it in on a Toyota/Scion xA.

    The quality is there and the resale is excellent and the reputation is there. I also feel that Hyundai and Kia (especially Hyundai) are making nice strides towards catching Toyota and Honda. They're getting there and have, in fact, passed Toyota already in quality circles and publications. So, keeping a 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4 and holding on to it instead of trading in tomorrow is not a problem. It's a nice problem to have. Glad I don't buy in to the "gotta buy American" malarkey that some people in the U.S. are still buying in to.

    The domestics are improving, though, too. They really are I just don't like them as much as some of the imports. As this discourse goes on are you starting to sense a trend developing? Yep-you are. Automobiles and those that make them are so competitive and the automotive product is improving so much all the time that the consumer is the one who gains from it all.

    Take it back-how much did Hyundai and Kia make last year? A lot! So did Toyota. I agree, Toyota should probably bump up the prices it pays suppliers for parts. Not a good time to go overly cheap on suppliers. Just look at GM for a great example of why not to go cheap on suppliers. Yikes. :sick:

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

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