Daily Podcast: The Car In Front is a Toyota

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Over the years, I've noticed that TTAC flamers arrive in groups. Usually, it's down to a reader posting a particularly blunt TTAC editorial or negative review in a fanboy forum. While these single-minded venues usually prefer to kick the snot out of TTAC in the psychological safety of their own website, an emotionally charged individual or two (or three) often feels compelled to vent their home site's collective ire in the forum that gave rise to it. Needless to say, I gently remind them of our policy, issue a warning and invite them to write an 800-word rebuttal– which is WAY too much work for most. Recently, as The Big 2.8's blunders have escalated from dumb moves to farce, the flamers have reappeared in force. I take it as yet another sign that the domestics are facing "the end of days." Later today, I'll pen a Death Watch on Rick Wagoner's pronouncement that his turnaround plan is working. Meanwhile, I noticed that USA Today published a review of a plug-in electric hybrid Toyota Prius– some two years ahead of GM's now we say it, now we don't launch date for the Chevrolet Volt. Yes, it's different technology. But surely we can conclude that it's all over bar the shouting. Which is, of course, our job.

Robert Farago
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  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Jan 19, 2008

    Steve Lang: “Toyota and Honda were very far behind the curve in that market [trucks and SUVs] and it cost them billions in profits.” "Sure. But they weren’t ready for that market. Their strategy was to work on the passenger car market and ease into others. Looks like it’s working." Toyota had been making SUV's for nearly 20 years at that point. They had the 4Runner on the lower end and the Land Cruiser on the higher end. Both models were firmly entrenched offerings in North America by the mid-1990's. They also had been making trucks for over 50 years at that point. I don't see how 'they weren't ready for that market' is a qualified statement. "CR is the best survey going because it has the largest response pool, by far, of any automotive reliability survey." You need a lot more than size to ensure an accurate survey. CR has addressed some of their bias issues and will most likely continue to do so. Hopefully the first part of your statement will be correct in the times to come. But CR has largely been a victim of the type of the 'groupthink' that comes with attracting a very narrow audience. As far as CR recommendations vs. J.D. Power, 40% of CR's top picks were Toyota products. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/news/2007/04/top-picks-for-2007-4-07/overview/0704_top-picks-2007.htm Toyota only received roughly half the percentage of awards with J.D. Power's recent durability study (4 out of 19) and was actually outperformed by Ford which was the most awarded manufacturer by that measure. "The J.D. Power and Associates annual Initial Quality Study (IQS), released Wednesday, showed long-time leader Toyota Motor Corp.continuing to lose ground in the study, with its high-volume Toyota brand slipping behind Honda Motor Co. and barely outpacing Ford's Mercury brand. Ford was the most-awarded company on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis." You also have Buick now tied with Lexus as the overall leader in the 2007 durability study. Who knew? You definitely wouldn't even bother if you read the following introduction from CR.... which has absolutely nothing to do with the actual product they reviewed. http://blogs.consumerreports.org/cars/2007/03/from_the_logboo.html Pch, I have no qualms with recommending the Toyota Corolla for a TBAG award based on how it performs for those who value it's attributes. In fact the majority of my list was composed of 'imports' for our most recent survey. But I definitely think that if you simply demonize those who disagree with you (by calling them fanboys for instance), you're going to miss out on an awful lot of exceptional opportunities in the marketplace. It's your call. Judge a vehicle by it's merits or simply slam it for not having the 'right pedigree'. I prefer to be fair. In fact, it helps me get a far greater bang for my buck.

  • Dangerous Dave Dangerous Dave on Jan 19, 2008

    ya gotta love Fark.com headlines "GM says new fuel requirements will add $6000 to the prices of their cars. Toyota engineers point and laugh"

  • Rtx Rtx on Jan 20, 2008

    This just in........look for an announcement around Feb.8th. For the first time in history Toyota will have outsold GM. You heard it here first!

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Jan 20, 2008
    But I definitely think that if you simply demonize those who disagree with you (by calling them fanboys for instance), you’re going to miss out on an awful lot of exceptional opportunities in the marketplace. I don't see the correlation. Previously, I noted that products and their manufacturers should be viewed with as much objectivity as possibility, which is the last thing that the average diehard fanboy will do. I'm not demonizing anyone. But I am certainly going to mock the blithering juvenile cheerleading that I see from some of the more vocal members of the fanboy crowd. Particularly when it is often a thin disguise for racism and xenophobia, as it frequently can be.