Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's a Good Time to Buy a Toyota

For the last few weeks we've been flooded with stories of out-of-control Toyotas that zoomed up to 140 km/hour without driver intent.

I'm no auto expert, but the stories don't seem credible. Braking systems are more powerful than engines so functioning brakes can stop an accelerating car; if the stories are true, then the accelerator and brakes failed at the same time - and then miraculously went back to normal. That seems impossible even with the computer malfunction explanation.

The most plausible explanation is that the drivers panicked and hit the accelerator when they thought they were braking. The more they tried to brake, the faster they went - because they were pressing the accelerator, not the brake. The panic explanation is reinforced by other things in their stories: they always seem to keep accelerating without thinking to put the car in neutral and turn it off.

This is is what I think happened: there was a problem with Toyota floor mats (the original issue) affecting the gas pedal, after which Toyota drivers with this sort of driving mistake in their past started re-remembering their mistake as a fault of the car. That whipped up a mass hysteria. And perhaps Americans who fear for their domestic car industry were happy to feed the scandal.

People who believe that Toyota has a zillion defective cars should take a look at the runaway Audi scandal of 1986. This sort of faux scandal has happened before.

Me, I drive a 13 year old Corolla that has cost me virtually nothing in repairs, and when it gives up the ghost I plan to get a Yaris. There might be some good bargains on used ones...



Mr. Lorne said...

I'm with you. I've had several Corollas over the past decade and I was thrilled with each one. My brother has a Toyota that's about 12 years old also with no major problems.

I would love to get a Prius.

Anonymous said...

Toyota Sales in Canada increase 25% in February.
It's official: Canadians are now more stupid than Americans.

Bert said...

I was wondering exactly the same thing, Yappa. Engineers tested that latest Prius and could not reproduce the error.

Yappa said...

Hi Bert -

I saw that latest Prius thing. It's really unbelievable - the brakes don't even show any sign of having been pressed hard.

I wonder if this "problem" has occurred on any standard transmissions. It's a lot harder to mistake the brake and accelerator on a standard.

marie said...

Excuse me but I own a Toyoto preius and the floor mats have small hooks to keep them from sliding down on the gas pedals. I believe Toyto remarked at the time that the problems were with the floor mats consumers were putting on top of Toyota.

Another thing, I would worry too about other car maunfactures that purchase their parts, brakes etc. from the same manufacturing out lets so this problem could also and I am sure has been experienced by General motors Ford, Honda and many others but the Media pick on Toyoto mainly because they are the biggest sellers of autos in Canada until all this bad publicity came out. I wonder how much the Media is making to spread the propaganda.

Arlyne Nelms said...

Absolutely true! Cars are being quality controlled before it's released in the market. Some issues are heresy and some are black market cars. These are common reasons why car makes have faulty features. It's best to always buy a car from a trusted car dealer that provides good insurance.