Toyota: What the Hell Happened?
What the hell happened to Toyota?
Toyota was once the world’s flagship car and truck producer.
Since my wife and I married over 20 years ago, except for one Subaru Forester, new Toyotas have been the only vehicles we have purchased. Overall we have been very happy with those purchases. Until now, when we joined a growing list of unhappy Toyota buyers.
A couple of years ago, Toyota experienced odd problems with cars taking off on their own, crashing, and killing the occupants. Some of those occupants can be heard crying, screaming, yelling to Toyota and 911 dispatchers as they unsuccessfully struggle to control their vehicle. Toyota sales plummeted. Significant inward analysis followed.
Enter the Toyota Tacoma, Toyota’s premier pickup truck. Tacomas have developed a loyal following, and an aftermarket add-on industry (bed extenders, cow pushers, roof racks, etc.) second to none. I myself owned a 2002 Tacoma for over eleven years and it performed flawlessly. It reinforced my brand loyalty.
But now, if you go on tacomaworld.com and other similar websites, you’ll see a growing chorus of buyer dissatisfaction. Tacomas apparently have been rushed to market without the kind of research and development necessary to work out the bugs.
I myself can tell you my own very recent experience with the new Tacoma.
It has been a deeply disappointing experience. The brand new Tacoma I purchased is flawed, and despite four visits to Faulkner Toyota (the first within days of driving it off the lot) to have it fixed, the problem persists. The truck is not merchantable. It should not be in the channels of trade, and yet here I am, another unhappy Toyota Tacoma owner.
Attempts to get customer satisfaction have resulted in arguments, outright lies by Toyota dealer employees, vague promises to fix the truck over the next month.
A month? It has already spent nearly as much time at the dealership as it has spent in my own possession, and another month is said to be needed to possibly resolve to the problem. May I say that I paid cash for the truck, and I perhaps unreasonably expect a brand new vehicle to perform flawlessly.
So here we go, watching Toyota self-destruct its last remaining stalwart vehicle. Very sad. Very sad, indeed. What happened at Toyota? No one seems to know.
For me, the Nissan Frontier is looking like my likely next pickup truck. On Consumer Reports it ranks much higher than the Tacoma with owner satisfaction. To Toyota, my lemon purchase is but one small statistic. To me, this experience is practically a change in lifestyle.