Edmunds: Toyota Consideration Down, New Products Needed

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Toyota “Lessons” TV Spot from electrocinema on Vimeo.

Edmunds’ has looked over its in-house shopping patter data, and has some bad news for the number one automaker in the US:

In December, 17.9 percent of car shoppers considered Toyota vehicles — 2.3 percentage points below levels seen in December 2009, before the 2.3 million-vehicle recall for potentially sticky accelerator pedals. Overall, Edmunds finds that 2010 consideration for Toyota vehicles was down about 3.8 percentage points year over year…

Evolving cross-shopping patterns on Edmunds.com also demonstrate the diminished power of Toyota’s brand. Consumers interested in traditional competitors like Nissan and Honda considered Toyota vehicles less often in 2010. Meanwhile, Suzuki shoppers – who qualify for higher interest rates, accept longer loan terms and make lower down payments, suggesting a lower economic status — increased their Toyota shopping considerably in the last year.

In recent months, though, some specific Toyota models are elbowing back in on traditional competitors. The rate of Edmunds visitors cross-shopping the Nissan Altima with the Toyota Camry, for example, has approached levels seen before the reports of unintended acceleration captivated the media and its audience last year.

The car-shopping site’s takeaway: Toyota isn’t just struggling against negative perceptions brought on by last year’s unintended acceleration recall… it needs new products. Which means Toyota’s plan to unveil 11 new or refreshed models through 2012 is coming just in the nick of time. Still, if those products don’t actually wow consumers rather than simply skating by on Toyota’s faded reputation, Toyota’s greatest strength, the trust and loyalty it enjoys from consumers, could be slip away. And given how disappointing the refreshed Corolla seems (at first blush… testing is still needed) in comparison to its hot-and-fresh competitors from Ford, Hyundai and Chevy, there’s a real risk that this could happen. Scandals come and scandals go… but resting on laurels is what really kills in this business.

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3 of 22 comments
  • Grzydj Grzydj on Jan 26, 2011

    Well Toyota, since you already designed a perfect vehicle in 1985, the Toyota 4Runner that I currently drive today, and will probably drive forever, I don't see a need to stop by your showroom to see any of your bloated, uninspired vehicles that you try to pass as competitive in the market today.

  • Obbop Obbop on Jan 27, 2011

    Toyota needs to bring back standard no-extra-charge curb feelers.

    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Jan 27, 2011

      The thing is you can still buy curb feelers and given the short sidewalls of today's tires and the popularity of aluminum wheels, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a set for my next ride, even if it's a sports car. I hate curb rash on my wheels or tires.

  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.https://www.lhd.com.au/lhd-insights/australian-road-death-statistics/
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.