Automakers With The Lowest (And Highest) Recall Rates – Forbes. I have a blog post called Brands to Avoid and I list brands that I have had problems with and why you should avoid them too. I was thinking today of adding another car company to the list, but then I realized that my favorite car company has had more recalls. In fact, in this link above it shows Toyota/Lexus/Scion as 7th in number of recalls. Then I looked at this link Honda, Lexus Are Tops In Perceived Quality; Ford, Hyundai Improve and clearly the perception is different.
So I thought back to my list and my experience with automakers, and thought why do I support Toyota/Lexus when clearly they are positioned number 7 on this list? In the past I always justified their recalls by saying that they are “taking ownership” and they care about their customers. However it was clear in the trial with the unintended acceleration that Toyota tried to blame the driver and not the car. This is not consistent with a company that takes ownership. It is rather like GM hiding the fact that they knew about the ignition problem but didn’t want to spend the money to fix it.
I don’t claim to have any secret knowledge of how the automotive industry works. I can only judge things by their actions. Toyotas failure to meet Hyundais excellent and longer warranty is surprising. Also the discussion that cars made in Japan had higher quality than those made on US soil seems to be true from the evidence of past owners. Also its just a subjective feeling, but I tried a test drive in a 2013 Camry and I was quite disappointed. It was worse in my opinion than my 2003 Camry. I drove a Dodge Dart after that to try it out and it was much better. I was shocked. The last Dodge I was in was barely working. So what happened to the Camry to rate worse than a dodge in the driving experience?
So why does part of me want to defend and support Toyota? I think its because I have had three Toyota cars that were completely reliable and never had an issue. I think its is because I had tried a Volvo which was a disaster and then a Camry a decade ago which felt like a luxury vehicle. I think its because my experience with other car companies has been terrible and full of issues and disappointments with quality/reliability. I bought all my cars used, and even used the Toyota worked better than anything else I had driven. I have bought into the Japanese quality but unfortunately there are still flaws.
I guess that is the real decision isn’t it? No car company is perfect but the flaws of Toyota seem the most reasonable to me. For the almost no cost of repairs, you might have a rare unintended acceleration and possibly kill yourself and everyone else in the car. I said that you should avoid Ford because its cars go up in flames, avoid Volvo because its just a wreck of engineering, avoid GM for lying, now I have to wonder if I should put Toyota on the list? What car would I drive instead? The only car that I can think is better than Toyota is Tesla, and if they make a cheaper one perhaps one day I can afford it. Maybe that is the answer. What would you do?