Toyota recall no reason to panic
The recently announced power window glitch puts the automaker in good company with Honda, Ford and GM.
Toyota (TM) has recalled 7.4 million vehicles for a power window glitch that could be a fire hazard, but there's a big difference between a recall and The Biggest Catastrophe In The Automotive World Ever.
On Wednesday, the automaker said that certain models in its Camry, Corolla, RAV4 and Matrix series have a power window switch on the driver's side that may feel sticky during use. The company blames an uneven application of grease for the problem and says the issue could result in a fire in some cases, but that it hasn't caused any accidents or deaths.
It's a big recall, to be sure, but it's far less than the 8 million to 11 million vehicles recalled by Toyota in 2009 and 2010 that forced the company to halt sales of eight models and cost it precious ground in the U.S. market. The troublesome floor mats and sticky accelerators were a far more immediate threat to drivers than lube-deprived power window switches, but will the American public or its automotive press ever be able to distinguish between the two and save its "We're all gonna die!" outrage for the most dire situations?
The reaction to the latest recall implies we're not quite there yet. Some outlets went with the narrative that Toyota's latest recall was the world's largest in 16 years, though even Toyota's front office could tell them it wasn't even the company's biggest in the last half decade.
Meanwhile, Honda (HMC) caught earlier this month a similar driver-side power window problem that forced it to recall nearly 500,000 CR-V crossover vehicles, another fire issue that affected 573,000 Accords and Acura TLs and a headlight issue on 820,000 Civics and Pilots. That's no small matter for the auto company that led the market in recalls last year, but Wall Street Journal blogger Joseph B. White implied that the Toyota and Honda recalls put a dent in each company's reliability, diminished their vehicles' value and made them more vulnerable U.S.-based competitors.
As another well-known Joey -- "Blossom" star Joey Lawrence -- once said, whoa.
First off, recalls happen. Manufacturing flaws occur at every major automaker and cars are brought back in for repairs made free of charge. To call them a detriment to a vehicle's reliability represents a fundamental misunderstanding of reliability. If a vehicle doesn't force its owner to keep it in the shop for day-long stints or to pay out for costly repairs, that's a reliable car.
Secondly, though Toyota's 2009 and 2010 recalls showed what factory flaws and lost sales can do to a company's bottom line, it wasn't alone in recalling cars this year. For example, back in August, the National Highway Transit Safety Administration reported that General Motors (GM) had to recall Chevrolet Impala police cruisers from 2008 through 2012 because parts of the suspension could fracture, which can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle and crash. Will that put GM's government fleet sales in the tank?
Also in August, GM also had to recall the 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL and 2006-2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, SAAB 9-7x, and Isuzu Ascender vehicles because a fluid leak could cause a fire hazard similar to that in the Toyota and Honda recalls. Is GM's U.S. market lead in danger? Also in August, Ford (F) had to recall 2011 and 2012 Transit Connect vans because their wiper arms could break off and leave drivers defenseless against the rain. Are they now out of the running for florists' vehicles of choice?
Absolutely not, and the American car buyer is increasingly aware of it. Despite the recalls in recent years, Toyota and Honda sales are up 32% and 24% year to date, compared to 3% and 5% growth for GM and Ford, respectively. Last month, Toyota's 14.5% market share came within a whisper of Ford's 14.7%. Combined, Toyota and Honda make four of the top 10 best-selling cars in the U.S., matching Ford and GM's totals, and six of the top 15.
Recalls are inconvenient and troublesome, but in the U.S. they're slowly becoming a reasonable expectation rather than a reason to run to the hills.
I wish Toyota would handle their sudden acceleration issue first.
Our 2009 Lexus ES350 went through an event on August 6th of 2012
only to hear, someone must have had their feet on both pedals. REALLY"???
Toyota will never admit they have an issue until hundreds more die.
I recently replaced a Toyota T100 4x4 SR5 ExtraCab that I bought new in June 1998, and put over 310,000 miles on. The most serious mechanical problems I had included a power steering unit that had to be replaced, a HVAC switch that was loose, and a broken driver's side electric window switch. I could be mistaken, but I don't beleive a Ford, GM, or Dodge truck would have done as well.
I would like to buy American, of course, but the plain truth is that at this time, Toyota trucks are superior to American trucks. My family is in no financial position to "buy American" when that would mean spending more money on truck maintenance and replacing it sooner due to major mechanical issues like engine or transmission problems.
If someone who has ACTUALLY OWNED an American truck and has had as good luck with it's reliability as I had with my Toyota, I would like to hear about it.
And yes, I bought another Toyota truck.
If this was an American maker all you would hear is typical American garbage. Its Japanese so all you hear i oh dont worry its just them being proative and taking care of their customers.
If you buy and drive Japanese you should be tried and hung for treason against the USA. Just remember when your taxes go up its because you buy foreign and the government isnt getting enough tax revenue on corporate profits.
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Consumers are very status conscious in Asia, Africa and other emerging-market areas. This is especially true in China.
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