Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Time to give up on Toyota for good

You've probably all been waiting for me to write this. Well. You're in luck, because I'm finally doing it.

Many of things I write on this outlet are nationalistic, and for people like me who believe unconditionally that this country and its citizens deserve the best lives possible simply because we are the best, this Toyota meltdown is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Now don't get me wrong here, because you and I both know that Toyota makes an excellent product, and has done so for nearly 20 years. Its Lexus brand is one of the most foolproof purchases that anyone could make. This company has slowly and surely taken over America and a good portion of younger baby boomers/Gen X'ers.

These people are about 30-55, have decent incomes, and bought their first Toyota in the late 80s or early 90s. These same people also buy Hondas.

Their first Corolla or Accord or Camry was a great car. It lasted a long time, it had few problems, and when it came time to get a new one in '96 or '97, they renewed their pact with Toyota or Honda. Can you blame them? Not really.

Back when they were buying their first Toyota in 1993, let's look at the American options.

Please feel free to take a picture of yourself while you make disgusted faces as you imagine these models:

Chevy Corsica
Chevy Beretta
Chevy Cavalier
Chevy Lumina
Geo Prism
Geo Metro
Oldsmobile Achieva
Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Ford Tempo
Ford Topaz
Ford Festiva
Ford Taurus
Dodge Spirit

And the list goes on and on, and friggin on. Just complete garbage. Utter worthlessness.

And that is how Toyota took over America. They simply made a better product than us for nearly 20 years (with the exception of trucks, SUVs, and musclecars). Owner recidivism among Toyota and Honda owners is the highest in the world, another reason why The Big Three has had difficulty getting repeat Toyota offenders to actually give their new products a fair shake. Despite enormous strides by GM (and Ford especially) in the last 3 years, Gen X'ers have refused to budge off their Japanese high horses and support American companies and American workers. In the '90s, I couldn't blame them. Now I can, because Toyota's rapid expansion in the last 10 years has now created some of the demons that the American companies have had to overcome.

If you were to poll a number of Americans on the following question, I believe their answer would be yes:

If a car made by an American company was equally dependable, priced, and desireable to that of a Japanese one, would you choose that vehicle over the foreign one?

If they were to say no, well, let's just excommunicate and deport them, because they are simply part of the problem. Back to the argument though...

Toyota has simply developed the same out of control "hugeness" that companies like GM developed. There are simply too many cars being made in too many places. The demand for vehicles like the Prius, Camry and Corolla as well as constant market pressure from Honda, has forced Toyota to bite off more than they can chew (obviously).

In fact, it is thought that they expanded operations and production so quickly that they simply couldn't do it alone, forcing the outsourcing of a number of parts and processes to inept Chinese companies. This is in addition to the fact that they rushed through testing and design of a number of things.

What it all comes down to is hubris.

It's the same thing The Big Three felt. It's the feeling of "we can do no wrong". It's the feeling of "people will always buy our product no matter what we do."

Well, in this changing economic landscape, people are making safer moves with their large purchases. The educated consumer won't buy things anymore just because you made it and slapped that weird looking firefly "T" on the hood.

If you need more reasons not to buy a Toyota, here are some more:

-- Two of their most popular vehicles the Prius and Corolla have put your life in danger

-- Countless other models could take off on you, including a nearly 6,000 lb V8 Toyota Tundra truck

-- We're not talking about one problem here. We're talking about gas pedals getting stuck on most of their cars, brakes failing on 2010 Priuses, and the steering on Corollas becoming a danger to its passengers.

That is three things on all different kinds of models. Quality control and design issues are widespread.

-- They refused to acknowledge the problem. They swept it under the rug. They lied to you. Finally, they begrudgingly recalled the cars with the gas pedal problems, but continued lying about the Prius's brake problems and refused to admit the Corolla's steering issues.

This isn't supposed to be a sleazy fly-by-night organization, but they're sure acting like it.

This final reason should make you sick to your stomach, and you should never consider buying one of these vehicles again as a result.

In Fremont, California, Toyota has been manufacturing vehicles at the Nummi plant since 1984. This state of the art factory has been one of the most efficient, productive, and problem-free facilities in the country. It is completely up-to-date, and can easily be revamped to produce nearly any model.

An intriguing aspect of this plant is that it a joint operation between GM and Toyota, bitter rivals, who somehow found a way to coexist for 25 years. Most recently the models produced at the Nummi plant were the Corolla, Tacoma, Matrix, and Pontiac Vibe.

In August of '09, GM was forced to commit infanticide, and killed its own child, Pontiac. Therefore, GM withdrew from the plant.

Shortly thereafter, Toyota announced that it didn't give a damn about American workers and the fact that 3 of their best-selling models were produced to exact specifications there.

In April of 2010, despite desperate pleas from all around the state, Toyota will put 4,700 Californians out of work and shut down the Nummi plant for good. The ramifications of this plant closure will in effect put closer to 6 or 7,000 people out of work, because of the myriad of supporting businesses that have done business with the plant. That's everyone from the guy working at the Quizno's counter down the street to the night security guards.

Toyota can't blame this on GM. They only made one car there, and it was based on the Matrix. I get that it is more expensive to build cars in California than in some godforsaken hellhole in Southeast Asia, but lower shipping costs must offset some of that. In addition, they could make the Prius in Fremont instead of Japan, market it truly as "California's Car", so that the liberals buying them could point at their hybrid-instect car being made in California and feel even more self-righteous than they did before.

Any of you who haven't been to California would be shocked at the amount of Priuses out here. THEY. ARE. EVERYWHERE. This state is truly the Prius's biggest market, and it would be a boon to both Toyota and California's effed up, 12% unemployment rated economy.

Of course The Big Three has shut down their share of plants recently, but it's only because they absolutely had to. They got too big, they had too much going on, and they lost their ability to control the quality of manufacturing.

Does that sound familiar?

It's time to give up on Toyota for good. It's simply the wrong automaker for America, and the wrong car for your garage. Buy American.

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