TTAC At Reuters: "Toyota's Exceptionalism Came Back To Bite"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The gentlemen at Reuters asked me to pen an op-ed on the Toyota situation (as of last weekend) for them, so I did. My conclusion, in a sentence:

If there’s a lesson to Toyota’s tumble, it’s that easy assumptions aren’t enough to keep you safe on the road, or in the showroom.

Read the whole thing here.

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  • Martin Schwoerer Martin Schwoerer on Feb 10, 2010

    Great article, Ed. You need a new photo. The current one makes you look like you're 19. I agree with what you say in the piece, and would add: *the field is open now. Toyota no longer owns the quality space.* If another car maker went in and said, "we are the new quality brand. Try us, please trust us. Our cars are good for 200k and ten years with minimized hassle. Machines as such may go wrong every now and then, but we'll cap your repairs per year for the next ten years to $1k/year and give you a free loaner every time you're in the garage outside of regular maintenance" -- that would give them a quick piece of Toyota's pie.

    • Patrickj Patrickj on Feb 10, 2010

      That $1000 deductible warranty over a decade would be a powerful marketing tool, and not very expensive for a decently built modern car. People's concern with older cars comes from spending thousands of dollars and very often NOT getting the car fixed properly.

  • Micheal Blue Micheal Blue on Feb 10, 2010

    It would take more than a handful of recalls to seriously affect how the great majority of people view Toyota cars. Even with these recalls Toyotas are still more likely to age gracefully than any other cars, except perhaps for Hondas. OK, so people might think that Toyotas are not the saints of vehicles any more, but they are still more likely to work reliably past the warranty stage than Nissans, Hyundais, Kias, Mazdas. As Psarjhjinian (dude, that's some complex nickname) already mentioned, a recall is not such a big deal, especially when it's a voluntary recall, and when it's handled well. OK, maybe Toyota's PR hasn't handled these recalls in the best way, but 99.9% of Toyota owners and potential buyers are not aware of that. People who buy Toyotas are usually not car enthusiasts and thus they don't follow the bread crumbs. If (let's say) Ferrari did that, the impact would be much worse for them, because it's customers and potential buyers follow the news more closely. Hopefully Toyota has learned a lesson from this. One of the biggest challenges for a financially successful company is not to fall asleep, not to get keep their feet on the ground.

  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Feb 10, 2010

    Great article Mr EN. Didn't know you were running a "GM hate site", though.

  • Mpoccia Mpoccia on Feb 10, 2010

    I just clicked over to the Reuters article. Dead on. I might add that there are many who were instrumental in quality turnarounds at other auto companies who will credit Toyota's model for their own successes. Some of those companies are now going through their second or third turnarounds since. The problem (from an outside perspective, at least) seems to be a syndrome we used to call "fat, dumb and happy." Maybe Toyota has caught that, and maybe the world is noticing.