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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Frankly, I'm surprised no one has brought this up yet..........so I will. To the mods - before you move this thread somewhere else, please reconsider because this is not just about Toyota, but the world auto industry.

Ok.........the Toyota fiasco. What do you think will happen with all of this? For me, this goes waaaaaay beyond Toyota. It goes without saying that this is going to shake the confidence of the consumer when it comes to buying a Toyota for the foreseeable future - whether it's deserved or not really makes no difference, it's going to happen. People still need to buy cars, and this could be a MAJOR turning point in the future of the auto industry........the first "dent", so to speak, in the (what we thought was) un-penetrable armor that seemed to protect the japanese auto industry. You see, perception can stronger than reality, and in this case perception could threaten to cover up the reality, unfair as that may be. Is it possible that perception could cloud the consumers confidence in the ENTIRE japanese auto industry? I'm not saying it will, but I'm not going to say it's impossible either. We have some recent history that gives us room for thought.........look at what just happened in the last 2 years with the american auto industry - not just Ford, or GM, or Chrysler.......but the INDUSTRY. Separate companies, separate management teams......yet all making similar mistakes. Does this similar "group mentality" exist within the japanese industry, and if so might we see other major recalls from the other companies because of similar miscalculations to the ones that Toyota made? Consumer confidence in the ENTIRE american industry was badly shaken because of what happened in the last 2 years, and it's quite possible that the residual perception of what's happened to Toyota could affect sales of the entire japanese auto industry as well.

Finally..........how will the REST of the industry ultimately respond? I'm sure that Ford, GM and Chrysler are all breathing a sigh of relief - basically thinking "thank god our problems aren't front page news anymore". How about the rest of the industry? Will they be ready and prepared to "pick up the slack"? There's potentially going be A LOT of customers considering other brands now, and the change in market share over the next 1-2 years could be DRAMATIC...............and just think - I haven't mentioned anything about China yet! Perception can be a powerful tool here, and with China being the largest market in the world now fortunes can change dramatically here as well. The ramifications of all this is potentially staggering, and I'd really like to hear some other opinions from all of you. Speak up!:thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tony, the media and government interference is EXACTLY what I am talking about when it comes to PERCEPTION. Is Toyota a bad car company? No - far from it. I have never owned one (I was a Honda/Acura guy in the USA), but I've driven many (rentals, friends cars, etc.) and I find Toyota's cars to be quite well made and very competent to drive (although for the most part I do find most Toyotas to be very low on the excitement scale). Perception is EVERYTHING here, and it's like a snowball effect.........and the media just makes it worse. Everybody remember H1N1? Where was that global pandemic that the media had us all terrified about? I am not trying to downplay the seriousness of something like bird flu, but the media tried to make it sound like a mega disaster on our doorsteps. I would LOVE to see the 2009 sales figures for companies that make surgical masks and antibiotics.....those companies need to thank the media big time!!

Back to Toyota............unfortunately, the snowball effect is getting worse right now. Edmunds.com is already reporting that used Toyotas have dropped in value by 10-15%, and some dealers (from other companies) are actually REFUSING to accept Toyotas as a trade-in for another car. Absurd? Absolutely - this is perception in full force right now, and the media jumps on every new story and makes it front page news. Also, it looks like there's going to be a limited recall for the Prius now......and even though it's a relatively minor issue (a software tweak with the regenerative braking system), this is Toyota's FLAGSHIP car - and the media is acting like sharks and they smell blood in the water.

Toyota CAN weather this, and they will still be around for years and years......but how much market share are they going to lose- and how weakened will the company be when this is all said and done? Dragin, you make a GREAT point about China, and I REALLY hope that the leaders here are sitting up and paying attention to all of this. Whichever chinese company is first to sell a car in the USA better be ready..........it can be underpowered, it can be boring, it can even be ugly - but it DAMN WELL better be safe, or it will be a disaster not only for that particular company, but the chinese auto industry in general.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmmmmmm..........maybe I should think about changing careers and buy a crystal ball. This is a AP story, and it's on the front page of Yahoo -


DETROIT – In a few short weeks, Toyota has done what General Motors, Ford and other automakers have failed to accomplish for decades: Erase the perception that the Japanese automaker's cars are of much higher quality than those of its rivals.

A series of recent safety recalls — now totaling more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide — has cracked Toyota's bulletproof reputation and given rivals an opportunity to capture some of its customers.

Toyota stumbled as industry sales are just starting to climb after the worst slump in 30 years. It's not yet clear which automakers will benefit most, but several stand to benefit and are wooing Toyota drivers with new ads and incentives.

"The perception game has changed," said James Bell, an executive market analyst for the vehicle information company Kelley Blue Book.

According to Kelley, 27 percent of new car shoppers who were considering a Toyota before the recall are no longer contemplating the brand. Nearly half of the buyers who have defected from Toyota say they may never consider the brand again. Kelley questioned 406 people before the recall and 285 after it. All were U.S. buyers who said they planned to buy a car in the next 12 months.

Ford, Chevrolet, Hyundai and Honda have made the biggest gains with those customers, Kelley Blue Book said. Sixteen percent of new-car buyers said they weren't considering Ford before the recall, but are now.

David Tompkins, vice president of analytics with Edmunds.com, said the crisis also is starting to affect Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, which has seen the number of buyers intending to purchase the brand drop by 25 percent in the last two weeks. Those customers are now looking at Audi, Acura and Volvo. His data is based on 3.5 million Web site visits per week.

Publicly, rivals insist they're not gloating.

"There may be an opportunity for us to get some consideration from folks that we didn't get before. We'd like to sell them our vehicles based on the merits," GM's North American President Mark Reuss said Wednesday at the Chicago Auto Show.

At Ford, chief U.S. sales analyst George Pipas noted that CEO Alan Mulally has long admired Toyota and implemented its global production system at Ford.

But Bell said that at a recent executive-level meeting at one of Toyota's rivals, participants were grinning from ear to ear.

"GM and Ford in particular are really rubbing their hands together and saying, 'Here's our chance,'" he said.

Shortly after Toyota announced the recall of 2.3 million U.S. vehicles to address sticking accelerators, General Motors, Ford, Hyundai and some Honda dealers began offering incentives of $1,000 or more to drivers who traded in Toyotas. New TV ads from Ford say, in bold letters, "Ford quality can't be beat by Honda or Toyota." GM isn't running ads that mention Toyota, but continues its "May the Best Car Win" campaign, which has taken on new meaning after the recall.

"If someone loses, someone wins," said Natsuno Asanuma, manager of public relations at Honda Motor Co.

Homer Benavides, 37, a civil engineer and father of three from Waukegan, Ill., had agreed to buy a Toyota Sequoia sport utility vehicle before the recall. He canceled the sale after the recall and is now considering the Chevrolet Tahoe.

"Toyota has made millions of vehicles, and millions of people are driving them, but if you are the fraction of one percent to have a problem, you don't want to be that one person," he said. "I do like Toyota, but safety is first and foremost."

Dave Sargent, vice president of vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates, said it's unclear how long buyers will stay away from Toyota. Recalls don't necessarily kill sales. The Ford Explorer, which was recalled in 2000 and 2001 because of tire tread separation, saw one of its best sales years ever — with 433,837 sold — in 2002.

"Clearly, there will be some long-term impact, but the magnitude is a little hard to predict right now," he said.

Some analysts say South Korea's Hyundai is particularly well positioned to benefit, with a new Sonata sedan going on sale in the U.S. in a few weeks. The Sonata is already 10 percent cheaper than the Toyota Camry, said Michael Sohn, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities in Seoul.

"Hyundai is very aggressively trying to attack the U.S. market," he said, noting that the company just ran ads during the Super Bowl, including a spot that touted its 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The ad was created prior to the recalls.

Sargent said his firm is seeing Toyota buyers defect to well established brands like Honda, Ford and Chevrolet.

"Toyota owners want high quality and high resale values. When they don't buy Toyota, they look for those things in other brands," he said.

But Tompkins said GM may have some trouble luring buyers because the automaker still owes billions to the federal government and buyers are unsure of its cars long-term values. He predicts Hyundai, Honda and Ford will win Toyota's business, with Mazda, Subaru and Volkswagen right behind.



Perception, perception, perception........unfortunately, this is far from over for Toyota.
 
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