By on February 22, 2010


We at TTAC pride ourselves as “equal snarkiness journalists”. We don’t care if you’re GM, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Fiat or anyone else. You try to pull the wool over our eyes, we’ll strike back with the truth you’re trying to hide. Likewise, not only are we journalists, we are also humans and as such we have our own brands and marques which we are partial to. Anyone who’s ever read my posts and articles (and not just to comment on my regional grammar and spelling) will know that I like, very much, Toyota and Jaguar cars. But that matters not a jot today. I am a blogger and an impartial one at that, so when I say this next article pains to me write, trust me, it PAINS me!

HonestJohn.co.uk reports that Warranty direct have released the results of their survey of brake failures in an average 12 month period and  done over a database of 80,00 policies on cars between three and eight years old. The results are kind of, well, not that surprising. With all the media hoo-ha about Toyota’s quality problems you’d think that Toyota would be somewhere near the top. They’re not. In fact, they’re not even in the top ten (though if Warranty Direct, do an “unintended acceleration” survey, I’d be first in line to read that). Honestjohn.co.uk reports that Toyota came 12th in list of 36 brands. Here are the top five brands with the highest brake failure rate, in reverse order:

5. Mitsubishi: 2.48%. 4. Peugeot: 2.55%. 3. Fiat: 2.74%. 2. Chrysler: 2.78%.

No surprises here. We have the weakest of all Japanese makers, Mitsubishi and Peugeot in 5 and 4, respectively (If they ever do link up, imagine how reliable THOSE cars will be!). Then we have Fiat and Chrysler in 3 and 2, respectively (Those cars makers HAVE linked up, so that should be fun). But in number one position for the highest brake failure rate is:

1. Jaguar: 3.73%.

Pardon me, while I’m sick. Jaguar beat Chrysler by almost 1%. This will be a huge blow for a brand which is trying to shake its old image of Ye Olde Worlde cars with woeful reliability. Another blow to Jaguar, in this survey was the model breakdown (insert your own joke here). Jaguar’s model with the highest brake failure rate was the Jaguar XK8 at 8.38%, a car which was meant to be driven at high speeds and, therefore, should have good braking. Got to love that British sense of humour. Number one position was held by Peugeot’s 407 model. “When it comes to safety-critical car parts, the brakes are top of every motorists list of items that should never fail,” said Warranty Direct’s Duncan McClure Fisher, “Not every brake problem will be a catastrophic failure though – brakes can have issues ranging from calliper malfunction to servo failure. These kinds of issue can be expensive to put right but they don’t always mean you’re going to have an accident.” Maybe Toyota could hire him as a PR speechwriter?

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17 Comments on “Toyota Outbrakes The Competition In UK Brake Failure...”


  • avatar
    tced2

    And these statistics concerning Jaguar are undoubtedly apply to mostly the Ford subsidiary Jaguar. Are there common pieces of the Jaguar braking systems to Ford systems? But there are so many other influences. Jaguar drivers are more aggressive? And would suffer the consequences of braking “failures”? And the density of Jaguars in the UK would be higher?

    • 0 avatar
      dkulmacz

      Ford is significantly lower on the list than Jag, so I don’t see the connection.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      The connection is that Ford owned Jaguar from 1989 to 2008. And I would suspect that a number of basic systems (brakes) would be shared in the Ford Corporate world. If the Jaguar brakes aren’t good – are some Ford brakes not good?

      If Scion brakes weren’t good – would they be bad Scion brakes? or bad Toyota brakes?

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Yes I have to admit, brakes ARE rather nice to have, aren’t they?

    Especially when driving in the UK when two-lane A-and-B road overtaking closing speeds are sometimes 140 mph plus, and when roundabouts are around every corner, so to speak….

    Have to say I never relied on brakes in hundreds of thousands of miles of driving in the US and Canada, as I had while living or visiting old Blighty.

    Mr. Tata should go knock some heads together until they right like a bell and demand improved results RIGHT NOW.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    Looking at these stats:

    Manufacturer Overall brake failure rate
    4. Peugeot 2.55%
    6. Mazda 2.44%
    8. Lexus 2.21%

    So Peugeot has about 10% higher rate of brakes failure than the much much more expensive Lexus and about 5% higher rate than Mazda which in many Euro surveys comes up as very reliable overall.

    Not exactly figures to make this comment in the article deserved:

    No surprises here. We have the weakest of all Japanese makers, Mitsubishi and Peugeot in 5 and 4, respectively (If they ever do link up, imagine how reliable THOSE cars will be!)

    Seems more like deliberate use of statistics to further prejudice.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    How is “brake failure” defined? Since these are warranty claims, very likely its folks coming to the dealer complaining about squeaky or noisy brakes, not “failure” the way the word usually implies. A true brake failure is mighty rare, and if brakes were truly failing at these rates, this would be all over the media.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    Eric: First opportunity you get replace your pads with ceramics. A little pricey – but a good DIY job and buying online will probably be substantially cheaper than your dealer replacing your original organics -, and be careful when they are cold, but no brake dust. Hallelujah.

  • avatar

    IIRC, Jaguar backed out of the CTS-V challenge because they were worried about brakes. At least Jaguar knows they have a problem.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    “If you wish to converse with me, first define your terms.” -Voltaire

    As Paul and Eric have mentioned, what exactly constitutes “failure”?

    If “failure” meant foot-to-the-floor-holy-shit-Conan-the-emergency-brake-heading-for-the-back-of-a-truck-at-50mph, we’d be seeing hundreds of deaths a day at even a .01% “failure” rate. Let alone at 2.x%.

    So, the question rermains. Define “failure”.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    This Warranty Direct story really is much ado about nothing. These days , with dual circuits , brakes don’t fail. ( except on the last model “E” class )

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m not that surprised.

    Jaguar was owned by Ford after all.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    Typical brake faults include squeals, roughness, and so on and so forth.

    Do you really think that 1 in 30 cars has brake FAILURE?

    Until that data is properly stratified I don’t think you can really call it failure.

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    Sorry to be all kind of factual about this Cammy, but the only problem Toyota have in relation to brakes coming from this current bout of anguish in the media, is with the Prius. You perfectly highlight the problem they’ve got – someone raises a question about quality and a brand, and immediately everyone thinks it universally applies to every aspect of what the company is doing/ has done in the past.

    There’s no reason to imagine that Toyota would be high up that list. As it is, the brakes on the Auris were shockers and i’m guessing that most of the warranty issues would relate to that one model. As for the Prius, it’s not even like the brakes have failed. They just work differently under some obscure circumstances than what the customers expected. But there’s no suggestion that they don’t stop the car exactly as they were designed to do.

    Of course, if they weren’t so awful at explaining themselves, then people wouldn’t have all the fear and anguish about this. All the Prius recall will do is change the software to recalibrate how the brakes work. It won’t improve the stopping performance one little bit – just change the feel on the brake pedal.

    As for Jag being #1, that’s just terrible. I so hope Tata turn them round and make a credible alternative to the German premium cars. But they’ve got toget rid of those nasty, Chinese-OEM looking grilles (IMO).

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