Toyota currently has only five Vice Presidents. Soon, they’ll have a sixth. According to The Nikkei [sub], Toyota HQ in Japan will install a new VP “in response to the increased workload in dealing with the recent massive global recalls of its vehicles.”
Apparently, Toyota is planning for the long term.
“If we lose that case, we will lose heavily” said Toyota in Delhi’s High Court. The judges had no sympathy for Toyota’s pleadings. Their decision might impact seriously on Toyota’s plans to market the Prius in 40 countries worldwide. As if Toyota doesn’t have enough problems with recalls and class action suits, now this: (Read More…)
Remember when Akio Toyoda, coming back from the U.S.A. went to Beijing in a hurry? China is an important growth market for Toyota. Toyota had been doing well in China, last year they sold 709,000 units, about the same as GM China if you don’t count the Wuling vans. Suddenly, Toyota is falling from grace in the Middle Kingdom. For the first time in years, Toyota dropped off the top 10 list of the best-selling cars in the Chinese market last month, reports Gasgoo, citing data released by China Passenger Car Association. (Read More…)
Just as Paul Niedermeyer, Edmunds, Consumer Reports or anybody else who has the time to download and analyze 103.1 Mbytes worth of customer complaints to NHTSA, Toyota is pouring over the data. However, their attempts are being thoroughly frustrated.
According to The Nikkei [sub], Toyota found out that oftentimes complaints submitted to the NHTSA “either are unverifiable or lack vehicle-owner information required to facilitate follow-up.” In other words, a lot of the complaints look like they are bogus. Even if they are real, their validity cannot be ascertained.
And herein lies the rub: (Read More…)
Legions of Toyota owners have brought their automobiles to their dealers to have their carpets zip-tied and their pedals shimmied. But did that end the customer complaints? You guessed it: It did not. The NHTSA has already received 10 complaints that the fixes were for naught and that cars still have a mind of their own. Understandably, do-nothing-NHSTSA, having received congressional tongue lashings about lackadaisical attitudes, is on it like sonic. (Read More…)
When we reported that unintended acceleration in general and Toyota in particular are not a big topic in Europe and Japan, the answer was: “What do they know? They use their excellent public transport system and drive less.” (A myth, by the way. Unless there are mandatory annual odometer readings, nobody knows for sure. But the generally accepted average number of miles driven by year and car is 12,000 in the U.S.A. In Germany, the industry works with a 20,000 km average. Which is 12,427 miles.) The only countries halfway accepted as comparisons were Australia and Canada. Well, their numbers are in. (Read More…)
Toyota may record “a double-digit drop in the automaker’s U.S. sales for February,” says The Nikkei [sub] today. The Nikkei bolsters the assessment with interviews at dealerships in the U.S.A., but knowing the Nikkei, a sales droid in northern California is not their only source.
The Nikkei notes that “Toyota was the only major automaker to suffer a double-digit sales decline in the U.S. last month. Its sales were down 15.8 percent from a year earlier, compared with the 24.4 percent and 14.6 percent growth enjoyed by Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co..”
A continuation of this trend would be extremely dangerous for Toyota. We are comparing with the absolutely worst times of carmageddon, and if you are double digits below carmageddon, you roast in hell. (Read More…)
Surprisingly good news out of Japan: Seemingly unimpeded by the Toyota-bashing, production of cars, trucks and buses in Japan increased 30.7 percent on year in January. Output is up for the third consecutive month, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said today via The Nikkei [sub]. Vehicle output rose to 753,773 vehicles in January from 576,539 vehicles in the same month a year earlier.
Even better fared Japan’s exports of cars, trucks and buses: Exports shot up 45.6 percent from a year earlier in January, the first rise in 16 months, says The Nikkei [sub] in a separate report. “Shipments to key markets such as Asia, Europe and” – gasp – “North America increased in line with recovering auto demand.” To this embedded observer, it seems as if the jobs created by this brouhaha are in Japan.
Akio Toyoda is getting a crash course in cross-cultural studies, while he is preparing for his appearance on The Hill this coming Wednesday. Toyota already uncovered the time-tested Washington axiom: “We will fight it tooth and nail, but if we can’t stop it, we might as well dress for it.”
Saturday morning’s Nikkei [sub] greets its readers with the message that “Akio Toyoda’s appearance before Congress on Wednesday could be a chance for the embattled automaker to win back consumer trust in the U.S.”
Hedging a risky bet, the Nikkei adds: “But a poor performance could further undermine its reputation.” To avoid the latter, Toyoda is preparing to counter a three-pronged attack. (Read More…)
To the victor go the spoils. Who will be the victors, and how much spoilage will be there in the protracted Toyota battle? Of course, this is all in the name of safety and the children, and any sales dislocations will be unfortunate collateral damage. Really.
As optimistic as Toyota might want to be, over the next few months, their sales will decrease. They already do decrease. “Toyota’s US sales tumbled 16 per cent in January from a year earlier and are set to record another hefty fall this month,” reports Financial Times. Stoppage of deliveries and production, topped by a media onslaught, can have that effect.
Maybe Toyota’s ideas of an increased warranty and more incentives will work, long term, but in the short term, they’d better prepare themselves for negative numbers at the end of each month ahead.
As the first law of thermodynamics infers, energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely transposed. If customers are leaving Toyota, they don’t just disappear like Toyota‘s reputation for reliability China’s interest in US debt, they have to go somewhere. So where will they? (Read More…)
Do you think being the scion of a global brand is easy? Well think again, it’s hard work. No-one knows this more than Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford. So, when Akio Toyoda got thrown into a quality nightmare, Bill Ford empathised with the fellow (and currently not so great) grandson of Kiichiro Toyoda, the one who had founded Toyota. Bill feels for Akio, in the family way. (Read More…)
According to popular wisdom, the flood of recalls will change Toyota and will permanently damage Toyota’s market share in the United States (much like what happened to Mitsubishi and their cover up scandal). But there are some people who believe (like I do) that this is “man bites dog” journalism. That the Toyota recall (whilst serious) is being blown out of proportion. It seems that other people are starting to see it that way.
US Recall News‘ reason for being is recalls. They would be dead without recalls. US Recall News has written an article that says that the real recall bogeyman doesn’t live in Toyota City, but in Detroit. The identity of the true bogeyman’s name may surprise some. (Read More…)
Here’s something positive you may get out of the Toyota recall debacle: Cash on the hood and a Hyundai-like warranty. Reuters says that Toyota is discussing a range of options with its U.S. dealers to support sales.
Toyota already gives a $1,000 “loyalty bonus” to match monies offered by GM, Ford, Chrysler and Hyundai to Toyota customers who want to abandon their brand. Toyota is now thinking to pay a total of $2000 to returning Toyota customers, an anonymous source told Reuters. If this turns into a bidding war … (Read More…)
The Toyota case is heading towards hearings in DC and to courts all over the country. Both sides are putting heavy artillery in position. Both sides of the SUA wars commission heavy caliber studies – both with inconclusive results. Toyota funded a study into the electronics in its vehicles. Before that, a group of lawyers had “sponsored” Safety Research and Strategies, a company that makes money by investigating auto-safety for those suing auto makers. Ford, which had been at the receiving end of an SRS fusillade during the Explorer crisis, called the company “supposed safety advocates who are actually just shills for trial attorneys.”
Here are the latest dispatches from the front lines: (Read More…)