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Will you still buy Toyota?

January 30th, 2010 · 14 Comments

I’ve been a loyal customer and a fan of Toyota for a long time.

I’m not a car enthusiast. When I buy a car, all I need is a safe and reliable vehicle that can move me from point A to point B.

I’m not the most mechanical inclined person. I don’t like to do work on my car. All I want is to bring the car in for periodic maintenance. I want a worry-free, reliable car.

Toyota fits the bill. Eighteen months ago, when we needed a mini van, we got a Toyota Sienna. It is not sexy to drive a mini van around, but when it’s time to change diapers while we’re out or go on a long road trip with extended family, you cannot beat the space and convenience of a mini van.

For the past two weeks, I have been shopping for a commuter car. On January 20, 2010, after visiting several dealerships, I made up my mind to purchase another Toyota vehicle. I didn’t make the purchase because I wanted to wait until the end of month, which should put me in a better position to negotiate with the dealer.

I was lucky that I didn’t pull the trigger. On the next day, Thursday, January 21, 2010, Toyota announced the recall of 2.3 million Toyota vehicles.

The situation got even more serious and confusing this week as Toyota announced that it was temporarily suspending sales of selected vehicles and it was extending the recall to Europe and China.

I have decided that I will not buy a Toyota car this time around. I don’t know if my thinking is representative of a typical Toyota consumer psychology, but let me share with you my rationales for not buying Toyota.

First, Toyota lost my trust.

When Toyota announced its recall last year, I didn’t take it seriously. I thought it was blown out of proportion by the media. But, the most recent recall surprised me. It made me think that Toyota did not get into the bottom of the issue last year. Even now I still don’t feel that Toyota’s management has a good handle on the situation. Just looked at their announcements in the past week. They first announced the recall of vehicles in the U.S. They then suspended sales in the U.S. They then added vehicles in Europe and China to the recall list. I don’t feel that they have done all of the homework and come up with a thorough, well-prepared plan to address the issues. They were making up plans as they investigated the problem.

Toyota just announced today that they have a remedy. But, as a consumer, my question is: "Will the fix work?" Given the series of recent events, Toyota has to prove to the public that it has gotten into the bottom of the issue. It must re-establish trust with its customers. Only time will tell.

Second, there are plenty of alternative products in the market. Honda’s reputation is as good as Toyota’s. GM and Ford are making good commuter cars. Hyundai and Kia have done very well in the North America market. I don’t have to buy Toyota. The switching cost is very low — I’ll lose very little by switching to another brand.

Third, at least in my household, my wife calls the shot for big purchase. She has told me that we will not buy a Toyota. Women’s role is incredibly important in the auto purchase decision process. It was funny that I was chatting with a Toyota sales person a couple of weeks ago. He told me that he estimated over 75% of the cars he sold were decided or heavily influenced by women.

Toyota’s belling selling car is Camry, which is a family sedan. Who is the key influencer in purchasing family sedans? Women. That’s why I think Toyota has dug itself a deep hole in the marketplace.

I browsed a Toyota message board on recently. One guy was talking about his dilemma after the recall. He recently bought his wife a brand new Toyota Avalon. But, his wife basically told him that there was no way that she would continue to drive the car. He had to get rid of it. This might be an extreme case, but it showed female auto consumers’ preference for safety, and aversion toward uncertainty.

Will you still buy a Toyota car?

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Tags: Company Analysis · Personal Finance

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 orchid444 // Mar 30, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    In past 14 years I had have “Corolla”, then “Camry” and now “Sequoya”.
    Best of the best vehicles brand!!! Love it! Love it! love it! And will buy this brand only!!!

  • 2 Penny Stocks // Apr 8, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Toyota has good market. Toyota sales person a couple of weeks ago. He told me that he estimated over 75% of the cars he sold were decided or heavily influenced by women.

  • 3 home remedy // Jul 30, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Interesting article and nice blog you have too!

  • 4 Vehicle Inspection UK // Sep 2, 2010 at 9:21 am

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  • 5 Used Transmission // Sep 23, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Just came and read, this is wow! I was seek from many blogs, but here is the best, I love it.

  • 6 // Nov 12, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Toyota has had a bad time recently but they are still a really popular brand. I like Toyota personally.

  • 7 рефераты // Nov 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

    В настоящее время интернет просто заполнен всякими не нужными, и не полезными информациями, но этот блок достоин наград, он отличается от других своей новизной и изюминкой.

  • 8 Reginald // Nov 23, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Toyota's recent problems must be weighed against their many years of reliability…

  • 9 woodworking ebooks // Dec 19, 2010 at 6:56 am

    There are plenty of alternative products in the market.

  • 10 // Jan 4, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Hmm this is very interesting.

  • 11 ThuanTM // Jan 8, 2011 at 4:03 am

    that good ideas

  • 12 remove My Disk // Jan 9, 2011 at 5:55 am

    I won't buy Toyota. I like GM.

  • 13 rachat de credit // Jan 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Great article, I really appreciate it. I like TOYOTA

  • 14 sante mutuelle // Jan 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Happy to share your blog!

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