Saturday, March 6, 2010

My last post on Toyota's hassles

Have I decided that Toyota is guilty of deliberately harming its customers?

Not hardly, but two things happened recently so I am signing off on this fight.

I am standing next to a woman filling up her Solara at Costco. Mid 30s--expensive hair and clothes. She spots my car and apparently, knows enough about Lexus to know it's just a really nice Toyota. So we have something in common.  Asks me what I think about the Toyota story. I said, "I think it's bullshit--what about you?"

Oh! my! goodness! Got the whole female-Toyota-driver rap from a woman with an education and a career. This was her third Toyota. The previous two had been utterly trouble-free. She really likes "Mike" her service rep down at the dealership because he always explains everything so well. She just could NOT believe that someone was saying such things about the most reliable thing in her life. It was like someone was insulting the best lover she ever had.

It was great!

She made an interesting remark. "I think there are American men who resent the 'little nippers' (real air quotes) actually making something better than they do. And IF 'the nippers' (air quotes) actually do make something better, goes the accusations / excuses / rationalizations, it's because they cheated--trade barriers / exchange rates / reverse engineering / flouting patents, and so on. So now these insecure men are taking a stand against Asia on quality control--the one thing that Toyota actually DID invent. Well, they won't change MY mind--my next car will be a Toyota. There is no other company I work with that comes CLOSE to solving my problems and making my life less difficult than Toyota. I am LOYAL to those sorts of people."

Thus spaketh the affluent yuppie. So I drove away muttering to myself. "Yes I LIKE talking cars--it is one of my favorite subjects. But I just met the reason Toyota can not be brought down by this bullshit. Loyalty is earned--and I just got an earful from a loyalist. She's WAY more pissed about this than I--she has this subject covered.

The other thing that happened was report I got last night from a woman who drives a 2003 Camry.  Nothing wrong with it, understand, but it is coming on spring and she has money for a new car. So she decided to drop by her friendly Toyota dealership to see if there were any bargains to be had, what with the slanders they are dealing with.  Turns out Toyota is offering some zero-interest financing so for the first time in anyone's memory, there are some bargains.  The showroom was just packed.  "I was there for over an hour just climbing into everything that looked interesting.  No salesmen annoyed me because they were swamped with other customers."

It turns out that Toyota owners are more willing to believe their own experience than press reports from folks who have been lying and getting things wrong for years--even if they have been following the recall story very closely.  Already, the accusations against Toyota are getting more shrill, and impossible as this may be, even less believable.  This story will soon be relegated to the blogs, if for no other reason than the commercial press needs to pay its bills and Toyota buys a LOT of advertising.

In an uncertain world, reliable commercial arrangements are even more important than ever, and the overwhelming majority of Toyota drivers are happy with their arrangement with their car's builder.  Toyota has some powerful enemies--Jap-bashers, car companies owned by the USA government, would-be Ralph Naders, folks that hate ALL car companies, and folks who would take Toyota down a notch for the sin of being #1.  But Toyota has had enemies before.  Just remember, they built their market out of nothing because their products were reliable--even when those cars were just plain UGLY, even in a country that once thought so little of their existence they NUKED them--TWICE.

Anyway, now I can go back to the designated subject of this blog which is: How do we take power from the moneychangers so we can fund the economic development we need.  Thanks for indulging my car talk.  As you can see--I enjoy it--too much sometimes.


  1. All Car Companies should have came forward with a full disclosures of what car were dangerous. Instead of waiting for a huge media blitz and tons of public pressure. I never seen so many car companies GM - NISSAN - TOYOTA - HYUNDAI having recalls all at the same time. I had no idea my car was affected until I looked on and found I had a bad Anti Lock control unit on my 2008 Pontiac G8 , my co workers Ford Truck had a recall also. So be careful

  2. Actually, cars have never been better built. If you think these recalls are bad, you should have been around in say, the 50s or 60s. THEN they were making shit.

    But I HOPE your G8 is fine. It a pretty car anyway.