Toyota Aren't Number One … In Recalls

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
toyota aren t number one in recalls

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.

US Recall News’ article starts off rather reasonably:

“Toyota led the pack for recalls in 2009 with over 4.8 million units recalled across both the Toyota and Lexus brand names. And 2010 already puts Toyota as a front-runner so far with its Prius recall of over 437,000 units and the subsequent recall of over 4.5 million units for various problems. A Tacoma recall of 8,000 units was added to Toyota’s bill on February 15 as well.”

Nothing contentious there, but then, it takes a sudden turn:

“But wait – is the hype more bark than bite? While 5 million units for the Japanese automaker may seem like a sea of cars, there’s another car manufacturer that trumps Toyota in total recalls over time”

Your best guess in 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1

Time’s up, let’s take a look at the answer:

“Since the NHTSA started keeping records, Ford Motors has recalled over 20 million vehicles, the highest recall year being 1996 with over 7.6 million units. Thus, while the current recall hype might be news to the US consumer who favors Japanese models over their American counterpart, the news of Toyota’s 5 million units recalled could be overshadowed by Ford’s recall history.”

A partial breakdown of Ford’s recalls is then given, from 1972 when Ford recalled over 4 million cars for defective seat belts to cruise control issues of the new millennium. In fact, the article sticks the boot further into Ford by mentioning that the Dearborn boys barely averted a total meltdown:

“2005 wasn’t such a great year for Ford in the recall department, either. While we’re at it, we should mention 2009 as well. Both years resulted in a recall of 4.5 million units each for Ford, and were directly related to cruise control malfunctions. Had the NHTSA combined these incidents into a single report, it would have been the largest recall of all time with an estimated 14 million Ford / Mercury vehicles affected.”

But don’t think that this TTAC article is just here to pour water on Ford being on fire recently (are they on fire due to one of their cruise controls?) You see, despite Ford dwarfing Toyota in the recall stakes, Ford are making huge strides in quality and reliability and are now being thought of in the same vein as Toyota and Honda. Which shows that you can turn a perception gap around. So, things aren’t that bleak for Toyota and is it totally within reason that they can get back on top and put “acceler-gate” (copyright Cammy Corrigan) behind them. Then they can start worrying about Hyundai.

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  • Newcarscostalot Newcarscostalot on Feb 16, 2010

    I feel that Toyota is doing a good job of dealing with this recall. Better than some domestic car companies have in the past.

  • Zas Zas on Feb 18, 2010

    Inasmuch as there's been Toyota "bashing" or Ford "bashing" and every pundit claiming that they will survive (or has survived as in the case of Ford), some of you have been a bit brain-dead in remembering the Audi fiasco of the mid-1980's. How many people did those run away Audi 5000's kill? Who watched the 20/20 investigative report on it? The 60-Minutes profile about the safety of Audi automobiles? I could go on and on, yet, 25 years later, as part of VW, Audi HAS survived, and has done quite well in more recent times. They have a niche-upscale Euro market that delivers some stunning vehicles. The last batch of "holiday" commercials from them this past Christmas is an example of a luxury brand that has "come of age". They took aim at Lexus (as did BMW) and one-upped the par in showing that a "luxury vehicle" doesn't need a fancy bow or inane commercial to say "me" in that exclusive crowd. ALL brands have had some form of recall that has affected their ability to sell at one time in their history. No car manufacturer will be immune from it because that's just unrealistic. I don't remember who posted about "the economies of scale" when it comes to manufacturing millions of parts, but that statement is true. Regardless of what internal testing a car company does (or any manufacturer for that matter) things will fall through the cracks eventually and cause issues that the media will run with. Who here remembers the recent Graico recalls of their baby products that could kill or cause injuries to infants? How many million units did Walmart, Target, Kmart sell of these defective products before a recall was derived? Have people STOPPED buying Graico products because of this issue? - NONE: Walmart and Target still sell quite a number of their products, even with the massive recalls in the past several years. I only bring up these recalls that can be analogous to what's going on with Toyota and what "lemmings" people can be at times. But do we all have to run to the cliff and jump because one person does it? I don't think so. I know I don't want to. Certainly, people on this website are not prone to such things as well (I hope?). Toyota will survive, Arnold will retire and do another Kindergarten Cop movie and 20 year old Sarah Palin nudies will show up somewhere on the internet... ...ok, maybe the latter 2 won't happen, but one can always hope! -"Opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one!" I'm not a Toyota-fanboy, I've never owned a Toyota and never will. Not because I don't like them because of quality, I've just never been enthusiastic about any of their products, less maybe the old Celica GT Turbo AWD of years past. I've owned Nissan, Ford, GM and Honda automobiles in the past 25 years.

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