The Nikkei [sub] reminds Toyota fanpersons and Toyota haters alike that Toyota “still faces uncertain times despite the preliminary findings of a U.S. Transportation Department investigation that indicate driver error may have been a contributing factor.” You mean, that wasn’t the fat lady? You mean, we have to wait for someone more obese? (Read More…)
Some people (like about half of the nation) are convinced the Government has a conflict of interest when it comes to Toyota. Many believe there is a witchhunt against Toyota by a government, and by unions that want GM’s major competitor bleed money and market share before the big GM IPO. 25 percent believe the criticism stems from an outright desire to help GM, while 38 percent disagree and 37 percent aren’t sure. Whatever the reason may be, Toyota is beginning to show battle fatigue. (Read More…)
The one thing I love about the car industry it its ironic sense of humour. Remember the four dead brands of GM? Who’d have thought SAAB would be the last man standing? When Ford was trading at $1 a share and their stock was labelled “Junk” status, who’s have thought they’d be where they are now? Now, I can’t speak for the rest of the B&B, but I’m, personally, sick of this UA business with Toyota. I’ve been rather sceptical from the start and very little has happened to change my mind. However, the God of Irony is still working in the car industry and whilst I was grazing the internet today, I came across this belter: Unintended deceleration. (Read More…)
More and more Americans have recently detected that they have a rich uncle in Japan. The uncle’s name is Toyota. From LaHood to a bevy of lawyers, all have a yen for Toyota’s money. Latest (but surely not last) to join the fray: State Farm. You know, that same insurance company that had disclosed all those claims to NHTSA and never received an answer. They went public with the story a few days before the congressional hearings. Now we know why: Like a good neighbor, State Farms wants its money back.
“Armed with reports of accidents for which they’ve already paid claims, State Farm insurance has asked Toyota to repay them for any crashes related to unintended acceleration by its vehicles,” reports USA Today. The request for a little Farm Aid is just the beginning.
Other insurance companies are expected to – make that will follow and ask for money. In the trade, this is called “subrogation.” No, it’s not a kinky sex practice. (Read More…)
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…)