Freep Initiates Toyota Deathwatch: Brand To Die From Boredom

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
freep initiates toyota deathwatch brand to die from boredom

“Toyota is in trouble. The Japanese automaker is playing defense as sales slump, dealer inventories swell — even for the Camry and Prius — and consumers demand larger discounts to remain loyal to the brand once viewed as unstoppable,” so beginneth a lengthy article in Detroit’s Freep that reads like a swansong for a formerly mighty ToMoCo. First, the requisite recitation of the ode to the obvious:

  • “More than 11 million recalls worldwide over the past year are taking their toll on Toyota. And they aren’t over.”
  • “Now, Toyota’s U.S. sales are suffering — even though it remains the most popular retail brand at the moment.”
  • “Toyota’s decline comes despite a large increase in cash-back rebates and other deals.”

Toyota itself identified another reason, would you believe it: Boring cars. Or make that a lack of exciting new cars. Or pretty much a lack of anything new.

Toyota spokesman Mike Michels noted that “a couple of our core products are at the middle or end” of their life and will (or need to be) updated soon.

Michels promised an all-new Camry to be introduced next summer. Prius will emerge with a new plug-in hybrid and an all-new gas-electric car. (We have that on the schedule for 2012.)

“Fresh product always gives you a chance to spur the momentum,” Michels told the Freep. However, Toyota had severely cut back on new car development during carmageddon, and it takes a while to accelerate an aircraft carrier from 0 to 60. A major avalanche of new Toyota product is not expected before 2012. Expect boredom to continue for a while.

There is one matter the Freep has to concede: „Throughout its recall crisis, Toyota has continued to be profitable. Earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30 quadrupled to more than $1.2 billion, and about $447 million of that came from North America.” And that’s what really counts in the business. You are only dead if you are bankrupt. Unless you have a rich sugar daddy. Boring investments are often the best.

So after writing reams of verbiage, the Freep comes to the surprising conclusion that the news of Toyota’s demise could be exaggerated. However, “it could take Toyota years to regain it former dominance.”

So there.

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  • Carve Carve on Dec 06, 2010

    I have an '11 Malibu as a rental right now. Awful to drive- everything is novicane numb and unresponsive. However, it's much better than the last Camry I rented. MUCH better. The engine is smooth and the interior is WAY more stylish with a much more quality feel (despite the huge a-pillers and ultra-high beltline. I'd still take my '98 Accord manual over either though. I've always thought of that as a boring but good car. Next to the new Malibu and Camry though, it feels like it has the handling and responsiveness of a BMW.

  • Governmentmotors Governmentmotors on Dec 06, 2010

    The "truth about Toyota's current sales challenges are plain and simple, and nothing more. The government bully tactics that forced Toyota to conduct the recalls and the storm of subsequent negative media coverage by the Liberal Toyota hating media are the only reason for sales challenges. A massive recall for 13 sticky accelerators in over 4 million vehicles? Are you kidding me? A recall for floormats? If someone puts floormats on top of floormats or the wrong kind of floor mat in a vehicle, or does not properlyinstall the floor mat, who is to blame? Kind of like installing a fuel filter wrong, then the fuel leaks and causes a fire. Ford had the same issue in the Spring with the Fusion mats. Their response? "In the owners manual its states....." The floor mat issue could happen in any vehicle.Toyota has the safest vehicles in the industry. First full line mfr with VSC standard on all vehicles. More airbags per vehicle then any other mfr. Safest mini-van. More NHSTA 5 star reatings then any other full line mfr. Ya see, the government and specificaaly this current administration wants their money back (prop GM and Chrysler and create demand for there products by bashing Toyota). And this administration is rewarding the UAW for the millions contributed to the campaigns. Don't believe me? Who was on those investigative panels that grilled the Toyota executives? Stupak D- Michigan, Dingle D-Michigan, Rockefeller D- West Virginia, Sutton-D Ohio, Waxman-D California. All have domestic auto plants in there districts. Waxman was really mad because Toyota pulled out of his district. He even made the connection between the hearings and the notion of Toyota possibly staying. GM was the company that started that closure. NOT TOYOTA. Toyota quality declining? Lets see..... Consumer Reports "how vehicles age through time" problems per 100 vehicles, After 3 years most manufacturers have 50% more problems per 100 vehicles then Toyota ( that would be a 2007 model). After 5 years most manufacturers have twice the number of problems per 100 vehicles as Toyota. After 10 years, Toyota vehicles on average have the same number of problems per 100 vehicles as most manufacturers have with there 5, thats right FIVE year old vehicles! See Consumer Reports, April 2010. Need more prof of Toyota's great continued build quality? The latest Consumer Reports Auto issue (December). "TOYOTA DOMINATES THE RELIABILITY RATINGS". How about the Consumer Reports annual Report Card. Toyota came in 2nd place behind Subaru, beating Nissan Hyundai, GM, Ford, BMW, Mercedes, Chrysler and all the rest. The point here? Toyota sold 1.8 million vehicles in 2009. Toyota sold more Corollas then the entire Subaru brand. Toyota sold nearly twice as many as Honda. Over Twice as many as Hyundai and Nissan. Toyota stomped BMW and Mercedes. And remember 1.8 million vehicles. 2.6 million in 2008. Are real competitors, Ford, GM and Chrysler? Those manufacturers were at the bottom. And oh, they build just as many vehicles as Toyota. Oh, don't want to believe CU? How about JD Power and associates 3 year dependability studies? Toyota rankedin the top 3, that's right top 3 in 12 out of 19 segments. MORE THEN ANY OTHER mfr. So....You tell me where Toyota's quality has taken a hit? Is Toyota perfect? No. However when the company recognizes a problem, the customer gets taken care of. 3 liter head gaskets in the 90s. Tacoma frames. Tundra frames. I could go on and on (and trust me I know, I have worked with eight other manufacturers who would laugh or choke on how Toyota takes care of their customers. No other automoblie manufacturer stands behind there product like Toyota. Toyota is a world class company, like John Deere, Catapilar, and Boeing. Look at BMW with their latest fuel pump issues. Look at the Cobalt steering issues (went on for years before GM acknowledged). Toyota styling bland? in some models, ok. But not the entire line-up. The Camry, while not the flashiest, looks like a nice suit. Refined but not to edgy. Tacoma, FJ, 4Runner-rugged. Corolla, Yaris, yea needs much improvement. Tundra, Sequoia, just as aggressive as any F-150, Silverado or Suburban. Yea, Toyota sales are suffering. Thanks to our socialist administration. Hopefully the new Congress with the leadership of John Boehner will turn that ship. Toyota sales will come back stronger then ever. Oh, and one more thing, with the 7 manufacturing plants in this country employing 200,000 people directly and indirectly, U.S built Toyotas have more then 75% parts content. What is the parts content of the Fusion, F-150, Silverado, Ram, or how about the newest from government motors, the new Cruze? P.S The new Cruze is a Daewoo/Opel designed engineered vehicle, assembled in Ohio. Just think, the American taxpayers funded the engineering and design of this vehicle, paying foreign workers. Daewoo=Korea, Opel=Germany.

    • Imag Imag on Dec 06, 2010

      Nice comment. Try double carriage returns to get paragraph spacing, if you still have time to edit. TTAC's edit window does the same thing in Opera.

  • RHD "Nevertheless, it was dead simple to connect, belts out 1000A..."Actually, a battery, or a booster pack, provides the current that is drawn. It doesn't force its maximum capacity into the starter motor. A 650 Cold Cranking Amp battery won't start a Ford Escort any better than a 325 CCA battery."Belting out 1000A" would fry the components in the circuit in short order.
  • SPPPP The little boosters work way better than you would expect. I am a little nervous about carrying one more lithium battery around in the car (because of fire risk). But I have used the booster more than once on trips, and it has done the job. Also, it seems to hold charge for a very long time - months at least - when you don't use it. (I guess I could start packing it for trips, but leaving it out of the car on normal days, to minimize the fire risk.)
  • Bader Hi I want the driver side lights including the bazl and signal
  • Theflyersfan One positive: doesn't appear to have a sunroof. So you won't need to keep paper towels in the car.But there's a serious question to ask this seller - he has less than 40,000 miles on some major engine work, and the transmission and clutch work and mods are less than 2 months old...why are you selling? That's some serious money in upgrades and repairs, knowing that the odds of getting it back at the time of sale is going to be close to nil. This applies to most cars and it needs to be broadcasted - these kinds of upgrades and mods are really just for the current owner. At the time of sale, a lot of buyers will hit pause or just won't pay for the work you've done. Something just doesn't sit well with me and this car. It could be a snowbelt beast and help save the manuals and all that, but a six year old VW with over 100,000 miles normally equals gremlins and electrical issues too numerous to list. Plus rust in New England. I like it, but I'd have to look for a crack pipe somewhere if the seller thinks he's selling at that price.
  • 2ACL I can't help feeling that baby is a gross misnomer for a vehicle which the owner's use necessitated a (manual!) transmission rebuild at 80,000 miles. An expensive lesson in diminishing returns I wouldn't recommend to anyone I know.