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Can Toyota handle being number 1?

corvettefan427corvettefan427 Posts: 92
edited March 9 in Toyota
Toyota is expected to surpass GM this year as the world largest automaker. They have grown so large because they have garnered a reputation for making quality vehicles. However, it is much easier to make sure that every vehicle being produced is of very high quality, when you have less vehicles rolling out the door, and recently, Toyota has been slipping. If you read the forums discussion on the 2007 Camry, there are many people who have already had bad experiences, and the Edmunds review of the new Yaris is very unfavorable. I have also compiled this article from forbes.com along with some quotes from it and other articles from the website that show Toyota may not be able to produce the same ''quality'' cars they have come to be known for if they continue to produce so many vehicles.

http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2006/07/18/ap2886860.html?partner=alerts

''Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it was recalling about 420,000 vehicles globally, including some Echo and Prius models sold in the U.S., over a faulty engine part.

The faulty part is the latest in a string of problems requiring recalls by Toyota, raising doubts over whether the automaker can maintain quality standards amid booming sales.''

''The investigation was another embarrassment for Toyota, whose once impeccable image has been tarnished by a number of recalls. ''

''Three Toyota officials also face allegations that they failed for about eight years to announce a recall after learning the Hilux Surf had a defective relay rod, which connects the steering wheel to the front wheels.''
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Comments

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,682
    right on target. I think that Toyota is starting to have some quality problems(DUH!)and that they are directly related to building more rigs in a compressed time schedule. They are going to have to realize they are going to have to hire more people or tweak their quality control process a tad to be able to find these defects on the line in time.

    Or put out engineering that fixes the problem on paper and gets the defect addressed while the car moves along, somewhere in the process. I know that increasing the line speed no doubt is creating some serious stress.

    It is going to be interesting to see how Toyota handles this growing concern. Car enthusiasts are noticing and, if the company isn't careful, normal car people out there are going to start hearing about real Toyota quality problems. That, my car-freak friends, is called dancing on dangerous ground for Mr.T. :surprise:

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    change has started. The media acted as Toyota cheerleaders for years but are now turning adversarial.

    Notice all the headlines on Toyota's recent recalls. Toyota recalls once were ignored by journalists.

    We saw this with Microsoft years ago. Headlines like 'Can this band of upstarts displace IBM?' and articles filled with breathless excitement about Bill Gates.

    Same with Wal Mart. The media was full of news reports asking 'Can this Arkansas store group expand nationwide?' 'Could Wal Mart someday be larger than Sears or K Mart?' Article after article was written about the genius of Sam Walton.

    Once a company actually is #1 the media pulls out the long knives.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    It's merely growing pains.

    Toyota is still in the top three best made cars on all the 3rd party studies.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Well that is a matter of opinion. I know many folks that think differently.

    Rocky
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...do you want to buy a car from a company going through "growing pains"? And reliability is a long-term thing, so it's hard to say how the current "pains" will affect that.

    Having said that, I wouldn't be afraid to purchase a Toyota. I just don't think that the long-term reliability would be measurably better than GM/Ford/etc.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Which part is a matter of opinion? We have studies and tests for this sort of measurement.

    Toyota finishes in the Top 3 in just about any reliability study which is published.

    That's not an opinion.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,154
    ...once Toyota has wiped out all U.S and most smaller foreign competitors, (Mitsubishi, Mazda, Isuzu, etc.) it will become just like GM of the 1970s with a workforce with all the rights and privileges of 1890s coal miners.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    ....everything has to go to "heck in a handbasket" so to say.

    Toyota already does not have a great retirement plan, and it's because they are smart as a corporation.

    Look at GM with their ridiculously overdone benefit plans of the 70s and 80s and 90s - now they are paying dearly for it.

    You can be LARGE and GOOD and a GOOD EMPLOYER all at once - they are not mutually exclusive....
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Toyota already does not have a great retirement plan, and it's because they are smart as a corporation.

    That'll work for a few years, until their American workers start retiring and find that they are SOL because they didn't save enough. They might not be so happy after that. But the heck with them.

    It's why pensions are going the way of the dodo - good for the corporations, bad for the workers. Whether you care or not depends on whether you're an employee or shareholder. But I shudder to think of the upcoming welfare crisis in a few decades - there are a lot of people who are BAD savers.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    You ain't a kiddin' :surprise:

    Rocky
  • cortoncorton Posts: 53
    I'm a former Toyota fan. My ownership experience with Toyota is based on 8 vehicles and many years and miles of ownership, but I will not be purchasing another Toyota.

    The last two Toyota's that I've owned (2005 Tacoma 4x4 DC TRD Sport, and especially the 2007 Camry XLE V6) showed substantial shortcomings in engineering, build quality, and reliability. When I addressed these issues with Toyota's Corporate "Customer Service" department I was rewarded with the worst customer service experience of my adult life.

    Before that I had excellent luck with my Toyota vehicles, which included various Tacoma, Camry and Sienna models.

    I firmly believe that the incessant cost cutting at Toyota is really taking a big bite out of the quality that Toyota used to deliver with their vehicles. Growth and all that goes with it is taking another big bite out of the quality picture at Toyota.

    It looks as though the highest levels of Toyota Corporate Management in Japan understand what a pickle they are in

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2006-07-20-toyota-quality_x.htm

    but it will take them a while to get things back on track, if ever.

    The Corporate side of Toyota Motor Sales USA is mired in bureaucracy and just does not seem to know how to respect a customer.

    The gentleman who has the title of "Vice President of Customer Services" apparently does not actually ever talk to customers. How in the world can this person do their job correctly if they don't talk to the folks that they are supposed to be taking care of?

    Toyota has some real issues. My recommendation is "Buyer Beware".
  • once Toyota has wiped out all U.S and most smaller foreign competitors, (Mitsubishi, Mazda, Isuzu, etc.) it will become just like GM of the 1970s with a workforce with all the rights and privileges of 1890s coal miners

    GM pays all of its employees more, gives them more time off, and gives them greater benefits than Toyota.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    corvettefan427 says "GM pays all of its employees more, gives them more time off, and gives them greater benefits than Toyota."

    That's right, they do, and look where it got them - on the verge of losing #1, being bought out, profit on the nosedive, reputation for vision destroyed, possible government bailout of their retirement pensions, etc etc.

    That might be very NICE of them, but the shareholders are paying the price now, and so might WE if a govt bailout happens.

    Toyota is approaching it the correct way - don't go overboard with benefits.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Toyota is approaching it the correct way - don't go overboard with benefits.

    Toyota isn't so perfect are they ? They even tried to cover up the recall issue of the hundreds of thousands of vehicles.

    Toyota pays their workforce better than GM's new hires because they are offering benefits. So you could say Toyota is currently going overboard on benefits. :P

    It's pretty sad when we look at other americans and wish them the worst. :sick:

    Rocky
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,851
    Why, I wish my employer(s) would provide me with 60 days vacation per year, paid holidays, free healthcare, and full salary from retirement to death. While it is true that they may only be in business for approximately 15 seconds after announcing this policy, at least they'll have been "nice" during my tenure.

    There HAS to be a balance between the compensation packages and long-term profitability. If Toyota is striking this balance correctly, seems like they'd be a model for other manufacturers.

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    No one is wishing any Americans the worst, at least as far as I can tell.

    And no car company or any company or any person is perfect.

    But there has to be a "Number One" and I'm plenty happy to see Toyota become that designee, because I know they make great cars, and so does anyone else who follows the car industry.

    I'm still very mad at GM about the EV1 and I might never get over that. What a shame that was to kill that program.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Well then why hasn't the great Toyota made a EV1 type of a car or why hasn't anyone else stepped up to the plate ??????

    What's a shame is we have over paid suits in the automobile industry that have no motivation or drive to be #1 or stay.
    They continue to blame others for their failures. Many of these suits came from the so-called "greatest generation" and just because your a overpaid suit, doesn't make you great. ;)

    I personally don't think Toyota, deserves to be #1 and they have been hyped by the media for the last 10-15 years and not one model of theirs is any better than lets say a Honda/Acura or a Nissan/Infiniti IMHO. ;) GM certainly is far from done also.

    Rocky
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    I'm still very mad at GM about the EV1 and I might never get over that. What a shame that was to kill that program.

    Guess you should have leased more of them. :P
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    We did lease one, had it for 10 months. I drove it for 150 miles one weekend. We loved it. The EV1 was perfect for a LOT of people as a commuter car. Too bad not enough people knew about it, and too bad GM only leased them in CA and AZ.
    (estupidos)

    As far as Toyota stepping up to make an EV car, they might someday. They at least admitted they are working on a plug-in Prius. They also have a goal of 94 MPG for the next gen Prius.

    Apparently Mitsubishi is the only company who is seriously working on a full EV for the USA market. Battery technology needs to improve, so we'll see how that goes.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    As far as Toyota stepping up to make an EV car, they might someday. They at least admitted they are working on a plug-in Prius. They also have a goal of 94 MPG for the next gen Prius.

    I thought it was 103 MPG ?

    Rocky
  • phinneas519phinneas519 Posts: 115
    Why are the other two occupying the top 3 never mentioned? When problems per 100 vehicles is considered, Toyota is often times not the best - in fact, the oh-so-despised American make, Buick, has been listed as superior in those terms.

    If their product doesn't do Toyota in first, their arrogance and lack of customer service will inexorably tie the name "Toyota" with the word "hubris."
  • ew3074ew3074 Posts: 20
    Edmunds review of the new Yaris is very unfavorable
    Sometimes, Edmunds editors just do not represent most of the Americans. If you kinda check out the rating of Yaris, it is 9.5 which is pretty good.
    Edmunds people also choose Accord over Camry, but sales told you what Americans like better?
    However, I am afraid that 2007 Camry is likely to ruin the reputation of Toyota. Hope Toyota will take it seriously and solve the problem.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,154
    Certainly no better than Mazda. My girlfriend's brother just got a new red Mazda 6 and it's nicer than anything I've seen from Toyota at that price point.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    was a RAV4. It had a range greater than the EV1. Unlike the EV1, you could lease or buy the electric RAV. There was very little interest, not surprisingly. List for the electric RAV when I bought my Celica in 12/01 (they had one in the showroom) was $42K. But they did have a $399/mo lease, like the other EVs that made it to the showroom.

    It is possible that some Toyota officals (former and current) in Japan will be indicted for not recalling (in 1996, when they initially investigated) the trucks that were finally recalled last year. The Japanese government is a lot more strict about holding car companies accountable than the U.S. government is.

    Toyoa can handle being number one, to address the title of the thread, but structural changes will need to be made to handle the rate of growth which is now exceeding any other time in Toyota's history. If you "believe the hype" (Toyota's recent apologies and press releases), those structural changes are already in the works and will be happening in the near future.

    Despite some complaints to the contrary here on the boards, I still think that one of the few things that makes Toyota stand out in an automotive world of increasing sameness is their superlative attention to backing up the product even years out of warranty, as well as their track record of listening to their customers.

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

  • corvettefan427 says "GM pays all of its employees more, gives them more time off, and gives them greater benefits than Toyota."

    That's right, they do, and look where it got them - on the verge of losing #1, being bought out, profit on the nosedive, reputation for vision destroyed, possible government bailout of their retirement pensions, etc etc.

    That might be very NICE of them, but the shareholders are paying the price now, and so might WE if a govt bailout happens.

    Toyota is approaching it the correct way - don't go overboard with benefits


    First off, there will be no govt bailout as long as GW Bush is president, and secondly they wont need it. Your right, it is a nice thing to do, but its more than that, its the right thing to do to pay your employees well and to give them good health benefits.
  • Apparently Mitsubishi is the only company who is seriously working on a full EV for the USA market. Battery technology needs to improve, so we'll see how that goes

    Too bad Mitsubishi may not stay in the US market much longer. After only selling around 125,000 cars this year, they have said they may pull out of the US market in the next few years if market share doesn't go up. And people think GM is doing bad, Mitsubishi total sold about as many cars as GM has sold with their successful models like the impala.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    corevettefan427 said-"but its more than that, its the right thing to do to pay your employees well and to give them good health benefits."

    Sure, up to a POINT. But when benefits start becoming a factor in the demise of the company, then it's time to face reality.

    GM in the old days used that benefits package to entice the "best and the brightest" to their company. That's not working today, and the engineering and marketing has suffered.

    Toyota will have to address their quality issues in a more effective way as their volume increases. It's nothing any growing company hasn't had to do - just on a larger scale.
  • miccomicco Posts: 1
    After having 2.7 million cars recalled this year, they are having a bad time at being #2. One step at a time.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    lemko, I think one could argue or make a case for Nissan/Infinti, which seem to rival anything Toyota makes and are much cheaper. I am optomistic and say if GM, can somehow get good quality parts from Delphi, we will be able to say Toyota and GM in the same breath within 3-5 years as far as overall quality goes. ;) The Saturn Aura, will steal sales from the Camry. Motor Trend said we might see a revival of independant Saturn dealerships spring up across the country which could seriously harm Toyota/Honda.

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    2.7 million ? Really ? I thought it was only 450,000. Thanx for the info. pal. :surprise: It was also sad they tried to cover it up from our public.
    "Man Up Toyota for yor mistakes" :mad:

    Rocky
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