On-Air : have you lost your faith in the Japan “brand” ?

Toyota president Akio Toyoda will be up in front of U.S politicians later today to talk about his firm’s safety problems.

We’ve discussed Toyota’s woes on this programme before but we’re seeing comments from some of you saying that this is undermining your faith in the “Made in Japan” label…

Here’s a thoughtful piece from Kenichi Ohmae in Tokyo in the L.A Times :

The question is whether, panicking in the very un-Japanese glare of the American media and political spotlight, it will dig a deeper hole by losing the trust and reputation for competence among its customers. That would be bad for Toyota, and for America.”

The national Asahi newspaper said in an editorial that Mr Toyoda’s evidence would be a crucial test for his company and perhaps for japan’s reputation among consumers globally.

Certainly in this country anything with the words “Japanese Technology” on it is a sign of reliable quality.

And rightly so, companies like Sony – and for that matter, Toyota – have, in the past established superb reputations for top quality products which will work and work well.

So has the Toyota issue affected the way you think about Brand Japan?

95 Responses to “On-Air : have you lost your faith in the Japan “brand” ?”

  1. 1 steve
    February 24, 2010 at 15:49

    Not in the slightest. Though my next car will probably be a Ford Mustang. My last three cars have been Japanese (Honda) and all have been amazing cars. The only reason why I don’t buy Toyota is because they make boring cars. I still wouldn’t hold any reliability issues against them despite even the current news, because I know so many other cars, like VW, are so poorly built, that a defective Toyota is superior to a VW. However, Toyotas are very BORING cars.

  2. 3 Roy, Washington DC
    February 24, 2010 at 15:53

    No, I haven’t lost faith in that which is “made in Japan”. From my (limited) knowledge of Japanese culture, they tend to take it seriously when they make a mistake. They also have a long standing reputation for making high quality products; this is in contrast to labels coming from third world countries, or even China.

    People make mistakes. Companies make mistakes. Taking responsibility for them is what is important.

  3. 4 Ronald
    February 24, 2010 at 15:56

    Yes, I still trust “Made in Japan”, if it is really made in Japan, and not “made in China” but with a Japanese brand name!

  4. 5 neil
    February 24, 2010 at 16:01

    Toyota’s problems stem from a 3rd generation family CEO who has no credibility in management of an international company and no crisis management [which was non-existant]. But there is no problem with Japanese quality overall for a simple reason that today it is cheaper to produce good rather than poor quality – there are so many economic benefits – no maintenance cost, longer term guarantees, higher customer loyalty, no re-work product lines, stronger brand values etc.

  5. 6 Gary Paudler
    February 24, 2010 at 16:12

    The problem with any brand, including “Brand Japan” is that it informs a prejudice; in Japan’s case, a positive prejudice, but it prompts the uninformed to pre-judge a product not based on the merits of the specific product but based on a simplistic feeling about the brand. Your title is either similarly simplistic or perhaps deliberately provocative asking if a single falter by one company can adversely affect our perception of everything produced by all Japanese companies. Toyota has a well-earned reputation for making excellent cars and trucks rising from the post-war rubble, weathering abject derision in the West and becoming the largest automaker in the world (currently sharing the title with VW). Flawed as any human endeavor, Toyota seems to have bungled what might have been a run of the mill, if rather large, recall by trying to minimize their costs. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the media focus on Toyota’s uncharacteristically inept handling of the issue is being spurred-on by Detroit automakers and their congressional lackeys desperate to improve their own positions not by making good product but by impugning their competitors. Just as the last humans become extinct on Earth, when Chevrolets and Renaults are so much rust, there will still be hundred-year-old Toyotas starting every morning and running all day. If there is such a thing as “Brand Japan”, it will survive in good shape.

  6. 7 Dr R
    February 24, 2010 at 16:15


    Toyota has not affected the way I think about Brand Japan. In fact, my opinion of Brand Japan has been low for years and I’m actively avoiding it until Japan ceases to actively support whaling!

    If Japan stops whaling I’ll start showing my support for Brand Japan – even at the risk of ending up in a big car smash!

  7. 8 Elias
    February 24, 2010 at 16:16

    As an owner of a 205 Toyota Camri I understand from the dealership my Camri has no problems, I hope that is true. What bothers me is as to why it took so long for Toyota company taking so long in realising the faults in their manufacture, so that I do not feel assured my car is in proper condition. As to still having faith in Toyota, my confidence in its manufacture is somewhat tarnished, and feel the resale value of my car has lessened.

  8. 9 Gary Paudler
    February 24, 2010 at 16:20

    To whatever extent non-japanese manufacturers make products worth owning and can do it profitably, many own their success to business and manufacturing processes and philosophies pioneered and shared by Toyota. Rather than piling-on, every honest manufacturer in the world should acknowledge some debt to Toyota, if only for raising the bar and forcing them to do their best. I think that Toyota’s temporary public relations hiccup, far from damaging “Brand Japan” will, in the short term, benefit other Japanese automakers.

  9. February 24, 2010 at 16:23

    It will take more than this kind of slip for the rest of the world to loose its confidence in Japanese products. They remain the most trusted and durable products ever. I will opt for a Japanese product anyday anytime.

    • 11 jim morocco
      February 24, 2010 at 18:26

      for me japan don’t rely only on 1 country they got relations in africa , asia , europe ect … which they are used to buy their nice cars and to be honest toyota’s car has been known as strongest car maybe some prob appeared recently but i got deep feeling they can work it out as soon as posible but some readers they couldn’t give chance to japan to make it up they want the problem be sorted out via computer no they need time to solve the issue it’s like we need things to happen so quickly it’s all wrong give them chance they made good cars why we did not complain before or we were just waiting for the press to start it then drag us into it so we are involved now in the end of the day we will remain obeyed to the japan’s car they were & still the best regardless for some who trying to give a bad reputation & misbehave about they goods , let’s dont forget some companies they snatch the opportunity to let other client give up buying japan’s goods lol but hey we all knows the truth we aren’t robots we are human we make mistakes every1 did so let’s try to let it go mistakes happen
      glory to japan china without forget the BBC lol

  10. 12 Gary Paudler
    February 24, 2010 at 16:24

    As much as I admire Japanese manufacturers, I’m in total agreement with Dr R and think that an organized boycott of Japanese goods would put a quick and permanent end to Japan’s whaling, a barbaric and inhumane anachronism that must be stopped.

  11. 13 Kev in Canada
    February 24, 2010 at 16:28

    I’ve always been a great fan of Ford, I don’t have any less faith in Toyota but if you think that all the big car manufacturers are any different from Toyota then I would love to know what colour the sky is in your world. It’s all about the profit…bottom line people.

  12. 14 rob z.
    February 24, 2010 at 16:33

    Hello to all!
    The over all problem in the USA car market is we have a glut,or over abundance of used cars and new cars to choose from.
    So the major manufacturers are playing games to find a way to boost sales across the board.Japan agrees to take a (hit) so US car makers can get a boost.As long as the players in the game don’t change.
    It may sound crazy,but with global sales down;and the USA being the biggest market,for now.It would be in the best interest of all car makers to keep your market stable by keeping your competition in the game.Like the U.N. tolerates some dictatorships and corrupt administrations for the sake of stability.
    Toyota just screwed up.
    Robz in florida.

  13. 15 dan
    February 24, 2010 at 16:34

    No one believes that Mr. Toyoda should commit Seppuku before Congress today but he has much to apologize for and to correct within the Toyota culture.
    His statement today that they did not pay enough attention to safety in the quality drive to be number 1 rings hollow.
    Quality and safety are inseparable and while Toyota wanted to be the darling of a media that was eager to tear down G.M. as #1 car manufacturer and make Toyota #1.
    The truth is that it is irrelevant who is number 1 but who meets their profit goals producing a safe quality vehicle.
    Japanese products are very good products but their insular culture has again led them astray.
    Toyota has forgotten that the strength of the Japanese and their products are intrinsically tied to the United States and that lesson will most likely cost Toyota over $20 BILLION, worldwide prestige and a few executives their careers both in the United States and in Japan.
    I wonder if the Lexus division has suffered as well?

  14. 16 K.Balendra
    February 24, 2010 at 16:40

    I am writing this mail from Srilanka. Once upon a time the Japanese products were considered inferior to European products Not only Cars and other machinery, but even paper ,pencils, pens and other utility products made in England and Germany were considered good, Austin, Hillman,Morris,Humber Hawk cars together with BSA, Triumph motor Bicycles and Raleigh. Humber, Herculis and BSA push bicycles were considered the best.
    But with the passage of time from 1960 onwards Japanese product began to trickle in to Srilanka and caught the market, displacing the European products . Initially the quality was was not very good , but the prices were cheap, But subsequently both the quality and the prices were acceptable. and most of the Srilankans started buying anything and every thin MADE IN JAPAN.
    IT appears that That Japanese manufacturers have become greedy and did not concentrate on quality control ,thus resulting in today’s unfortunate situation. Meanwhile South Korean and Chinese products are catching the markets in Srilanka in a big way.
    I am of opinion that Japanese have become arrogant and egoistic in marketing their products.
    Japnese down fall will help the Chinese greatly ,provided their price and quality is maintained . Unfortunately there is no limit to man,s greed and countries are no exception.

  15. 17 Joseph
    February 24, 2010 at 16:44

    Because of this? Definitely not. If I was so radical I would soon have problem to find a brand I could trust. If I applied this attitude to our government it would have to be changed sometimes on daily basis. Thats not practical

  16. 18 Kate M.
    February 24, 2010 at 16:56

    Not at all. This seems to be a problem with Toyota and not Japan.

    • 19 jens
      February 24, 2010 at 19:20

      Kate M.

      i hope you do not drive a car or use public transport, since these machines of the devil kill instects and small mammals….

  17. 20 Ronald Almeida
    February 24, 2010 at 16:58

    I haven’t lost faith in Japanese brands. I never had any. I just bought Japanese products because I couldn’t afford better. They are just cheaper. They tend to be showy in order to cater to the new rich. Who’d buy a ‘Toy-Auto’ if one could buy Mercedes or BMW?

  18. 21 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 24, 2010 at 17:01

    When I was growing up in the 1950’s, “Made in Japan” meant poor quality junk.

    When my niece was growing up in the 1980’s, “Made in Japan” meant the best quality.

    What “Made in Japan” will mean in the second decade of the 21st Century is anyone’s guess.

    The only thing we can be sure of is that things change. Complacency that things will remain the same is always ill-advised.

  19. February 24, 2010 at 17:05

    Quality has been synonymous with Japan. The hallmark of quality especially of electronic, electrical gadgets have been Japanese for decades. So it comes as a rude shock when you see thousands of Japanese cars being recalled for crucial electrical and electronic safety checks. It is baffling to see Japanese car bosses squirming under the glare of upcoming Congressional hearings in the United States. What has gone wrong with the almost invincible Japanese car manufacturers? Time will certainly tell and the Japanese will bounce back. But this embarrassment will hurt Japanese pride and profits immensely.

  20. 23 Andrew in Australia
    February 24, 2010 at 17:15

    I have to say no.

    I will still seek out and pay more for ‘Made in Japan’ products. Sadly, consumer electronics from Japanese companies are being manufactured in China, but I prefer Japanese branded goods especially in this area.

    At least it can’t be worse than goods made in China which to my mind is a indication of low quality rubbish. I have had so many problems and wasted a lot of money with Chinese brands and Chinese made goods. Things break down, my clothes wear out, etc. But what choice do I have really? It can’t be said that you do have a choice when all your own manufacturers or overseas brands outsource manufacturing to China for cheaper production cost and higher profit when they charge as much for these inferior goods. Virtually everything I can find in Australia (food excluded that seems to be coming from India now) is almost exculsively made in China.

    Maybe Japanese companies have better quality control or manufacturing standards I don’t know, but I prefer Japanese products when I Can find them.

  21. 24 stephen/portland
    February 24, 2010 at 17:18

    What Japanese products?

    The faulty part in the Toyota cars is made in Canada and the car was put together in the United States.

    As long as they are really Japanese products and not parts and vehicles made under license they are still the best!

  22. 25 Denise in Chicago
    February 24, 2010 at 17:18

    While I’ve lost faith in Toyota, I cannot imagine purchasing a tech product not made in Japan. I’m still happily driving my 12-year old Honda.

  23. 26 gary indiana
    February 24, 2010 at 17:25

    No, because I trust all people implicitly rather than explicitly. That is, though they may say or fail to say almost anything imaginable and thus usually can’t be believed, they cannot fail to do the things people do and are thus quite predictable. Toyota will learn its hard lessens, and after a while they will forget them and do something equally stupid. It is the way of people.

  24. February 24, 2010 at 17:27

    Japan doesn’t produce just Toyota cars, which of course aren’t of the same technology. Personally I have a Sony TV which is still working perfectly well although I bought it 15 years ago.

    Japanese technology remains superior and trustworthy compared to Chinese products which remain hazardous when it comes to toys or to water gas heaters which have killed in Morocco more than thirty people. Just in the past months more than six people were killed by them.

    The Japanese are very creative. They can surmount the Toyota and Honda crises. What can secure them a superior place is to be frank with their customers and to amend their technological mistakes before it is too late.

  25. 28 steve
    February 24, 2010 at 17:27

    Isn’t the issue with US built cars only? They make Toyotas here, and I believe those are the problemed cars, not the ones built in Japan. Kind of like why American cars are crappy, is because they are built by American union members who resent having to work, and do it in a poor fashion, unlike in Japan, where basically everybody, even the lowest of the low positions takes a LOT of pride in their work.

    • 29 Maccus Germanis
      February 25, 2010 at 15:40

      Are you sure that Toyota plants are union? None of the Korean or German automobile plants in Alabama are union. It’s part of the reason that I’m still a little suspicious of the owner of GM and the friend of unions pursuing this safety issue. I wouldn’t expect our g’mnt to ignore consumers concerns, but their past decisions make even responsible action look unseemly.

  26. 30 Anthony
    February 24, 2010 at 17:33

    Most people who listen to WHYS are going to say no, but the regular American who watches a few minutes of news at night before Letterman and after Biggest Loser will just see a minute of the story, not look into it any more, freak out and not buy a car based on the little info they have and based on media scare tactics.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  27. 31 T
    February 24, 2010 at 17:41

    Unfortunately, in many ways Toyoda testifying before Congress means nothing.

    Assuming that everything reported is true, it means that Toyota took the easy way out and got caught. Realizing this, they go into spin control. Hire lobbyists and use their influence. Also, many of the Representatives on this committee have been taking Toyota “campaign contributions” for years.

    Based on all of this, you can’t tell me that Toyota isn’t going to utilize this power (call it what it is) to the max for their gain.

  28. 32 Clamdip
    February 24, 2010 at 17:49

    No, I think it’s a witch hunt because Washington owns GM and wants to sell GM cars. Toyota makes wonderful cars despite this latest hiccup. I’ve never seen them go after any other car company with such vengeance. People always try to sabotage the best.. That’s what’s happening with Toyota right now.
    Toyota does need to replace the rugs in the Yaris though. I couldn’t start my car once because it was covering the start up button thing on the clutch. Despite this, I’m a loyal Toyota lover. I just wish they’d invent a little pick up truck the size of the Yaris.

  29. February 24, 2010 at 17:57

    For me, just a safety problem would not disqualify Japan’s product. Anyway, no one is perfect. How do you campare the Chinese and Japanese product? The difference clear.

  30. 34 Guido, Vienna
    February 24, 2010 at 18:03

    When you buy a Japanese car in Europe or the US it is definitely not made in Japan.

    My father was a car mechanic with a Toyota dealer. He observed than faults he knew only from European cars became common with Toyotas when they switched production to Europe. Toyota simply used the same spare parts as European manufacturers.

  31. 35 Kenneth Ingle
    February 24, 2010 at 18:09

    For many years I had no faith in products from Japan or China. European goods were always my first choice. This has now changed, but not in the way most people might think. Too many firms, in Germany for example, let their goods be produced in Asia to reduce the costs. The result is that the quality has gone down while the profits rise. For the consumer t is a bad deal, they lose out in the end because you only get what you pay for, Nothing more or less!
    Several famous firms have lost their good reputations as well, because badly paid employees cannot be expected to take the same interest in their work as is normal under those who have a good standard of living.

  32. 36 Crispo, Uganda
    February 24, 2010 at 18:27

    “Hell No” I still trust “made in Japan” and if you want to know why, use the cheap products from China. That is what I call “cosmetic engineering” These Chinese produce some of the most useless products. I wish you bought a Chinese product sold in Africa. Man, that’s called a sham, a raw-deal.

    This Toyota crisis is just a little scare. Personally, I think its good to be sincere, like many have said, they’ll soon come out of it.

  33. 37 John in Salem
    February 24, 2010 at 18:27

    Like Donnamarie I can remember “Made in Japan” being a mark of low quality and something to be avoided, and I’ve been impressed over the years with how hard they’ve worked to turn that image around. Companies like Matsushita, who produced Quasar and Panasonic, became industry standards and models of excellence that have been copied worldwide.
    What we’re seeing is the enevitable downside of a longstanding success story. The ones who made that effort and achieved that success are now retired or dead and those who have taken over are learning one of the hardest lessons of life – you don’t really know the value of a good reputation until you lose it.

  34. February 24, 2010 at 18:28

    For those who are quick to lose faith in the Japan brand, just try Chinese products to see the difference. Even those who are frightened to buy a Toyota car can’t jump to buy a Chinese car. They can opt for German, French, American or Italian cars.

    Let the Toyota case not become a pretext for other industries an opportunity to attack Japanese technology just to have more domination or to set their foot on the world market.

    Japan can’t survive without its technology. For it it’s a matter of life and death as it has no other major resources to sustain itself. It should work hard to keep its technological credibility to remain in its current economic position. If not it will be surpassed by China notorious for low quality products.

  35. 39 Andrew in Australia
    February 24, 2010 at 18:32

    This highlights another problem, that of high technology. My car has electronics but the brakes and accelerator are not fly by wire, cables and hydraulics are directly manipulated by my control peddles.

    The problem with electronics are that moisture will affect them, magnetic fields or any number of other interference add to that dodgy manufacturing in something so small as circuitry and you have major problems with no direct inputs by electronic interfaces.

    How many aircraft incidents have occurred through faulty electronics? High tech can advance systems and make things better, theoretically, but we live in the real world not an ideal one and small faults with electronics mean you can pump your brake peddle and nothing happens. Some things really should not be relinquished to computer control but that is probably whistling in the wind.

  36. 40 Eric in France
    February 24, 2010 at 18:37

    I personally do not, for the time being, question the overall quality of Toyota products. After all they all (car manufacturers) have recall hundreds of thousands of cars in the past without affecting much their brands. Indeed some brands have bought the Toyota technologies rather than developing themselves.

    Nevertheless in the USA in particular, I wonder if some interests’ groups are not pushing and lobbying to damage the Japanese brand, and promote the rebirth of an American one. I feel like this is an attempt for protectionism, but unfortunately it is the American employees who are going to pay the price at the end.

    All industries have applied through years the Toyota methods (i.e. Kaizen, Six Sigma, Lean) and the Japanese way of working since Deming. So, if it is not working as some are pledging, we should soon admit that all brands in all industries are tarnished.

  37. February 24, 2010 at 18:53

    No, I will never loose confidence in Toyata because of this mistake. Other brands are not resistant to the road conditions as Toyota in my area. With Toyota, I am always confident, we can go all the way. Besides, everyone is liable to erros. As I mentioned previously, even the doctors make grave mistakes which cost human lives, yet patients entrust them with their lives. There are a lot of examples around us to support my claims. I just hope that Toyota will work to correct the errors for good on the systems of their cars and it will go well. I am sure Toyota with still attract customers. Do not give up Toyota. In Japanese we say 「頑張って下さいね」。

  38. 42 d in indiana
    February 24, 2010 at 19:00

    I haven’t lost faith in the Japan brand. This is a minor setback magnified by the recent GM fallout. Toyotas and Hondas are still far more superior, regardless if a few cars on the road are experiencing difficulties.

  39. 43 roboturkey
    February 24, 2010 at 19:05

    It is a bit disconcerting that the US government, which has a substantial shareholder stake in GM, is taking the lead in public criticism of a competitor. It looks like the fix is definitely in. Let the US Congress drag GM and Crysler back in to review what exactly they have done about their own problems.

    As a 2-Toyota owner (both vehicles a decade old and dependable as ever) I do not intend to abandon this excellent and safe company. Tather, I am even more interested in how the current scrutiny of Toyota makes the company even better. Right now the likelihood that a new Prius is technologically and mechnically first rate is very high because of company attention to the publicized defects. I would buy a Prius without hesitation.

  40. February 24, 2010 at 19:09

    Japan is still leading our planet in innovation and industry. Everyone makes mistakes, and Toyota is only one company of MANY in Japan. Any negative views I have on Toyota are completely separate and Independent from Japan as a country.

  41. 45 jens
    February 24, 2010 at 19:09

    Eric in France,

    You must be joking, with your comement. France is the biggest protectionist country i have heared of. In addition american companies are closing down brand names not opening new ones.

  42. February 24, 2010 at 19:12

    I am a proud 3 time owner of toyota 4runners. The only issue I have EVER had was replacing the wiper blades. I have no doubt that Toyota makes some of the best quality automobiles out there. The current issues Toyota is going through have no effect on my future buying decisions.

  43. 47 Mr. Kawakubo {PORTLAND}
    February 24, 2010 at 19:15

    There is a difference between quality in the manufacturing process, and quality in the design or engineering process. Toyota still manufactures quality products, that are well-made, the area in which they are lacking is in the design itself. This is an important distinction—the quality of the manufacturing has not declined and once the design is remedied, Toyota will quickly be up to snuff.

  44. February 24, 2010 at 19:16

    Its really no such thing as made in Japan or America anymore. These are multi-national corporations who out source much of their manufacturing. And those who have some irrational loyalty towards any company (in this case Toyota) as to ignore the current situation are putting themselves at risk. Shop smartly! Those who know about the auto industry know that Toyota, or any car company for that matter, was never immune from problems.

  45. 49 Iddi Musyemi
    February 24, 2010 at 19:18

    Japanese brand is what fills the street in Nairobi. From cars to kitchen utensils. I guess that means there must be something they are doing right which is probably availing the products people need. But then that comes with a disadvantage. When things start going wrong, they really go wrong!
    After this Toyota story blows over, I am sure Japanese products will continue to be most used products, most known brand.

  46. 50 Lauren in Portland
    February 24, 2010 at 19:19

    I find this to be a caddy attack on Japan in effort to shadow and/or neglect other issues within the United States. American car makers historically have participated in numerous recalls. Recalls which have actually been thought to cause more than 25 deaths. Stop blaming Japan, fix the problems relating to the Toyota cars, and move on. I have never, and most likely will never, own an automobile made by an American brand. My first car was a Honda and it worked like a GEM. My family has been buying Japanese cars for 60 years, and are yet to stray away.

    As another blogger brought up, I do find it interesting that the cars themselves were actually assembled in the United States with Canadian products. I must ask: “Why hasn’t the public been as informed about this point?”

  47. 51 David
    February 24, 2010 at 19:20

    Does anyone recalI the issues faced by Ford a few years ago, so would not be surprised if your listeners is correct when they state it has become a witch hunt to destroy the Toyota brand.

    However, Japan does produce some of the best cars on the market based on quality and price and the rest of the worlds car manufacturers have a long way to go. They have also lead the electronics industry for years. Japan has outclassed the rest of the world over the past years and its upto other countries to challenge them.

    I drive a Honda Accord Hybrid and have enjoyed ownership of a Honda for over 10 years.

  48. 52 Fred in Portland Oregon
    February 24, 2010 at 19:20

    I can’t say that I’ve ever had any faith in any one countries superior skill at manufacturing anything, so obviously I couldn’t have lost faith.

    But that’s me, I like to live on the edge and drive my ’70 VW Convertible (sans air bags, ABS, GPS, DVD players, radiator and all that stuff that cars really don’t need)

  49. 53 Maxim from Los Angeles
    February 24, 2010 at 19:21

    I drive Acura MDX ’07 that was designed in Pasadena and assembled in Canada, so yes I consider it a North American car.

  50. 54 Evan (Oregon, USA)
    February 24, 2010 at 19:21

    I have a 1992 Toyota Previa (also known as an Estima) van with 183,000 miles on it (just shy of 300,000 kilometers). Other than tires and a little routine maintenance, much of it deferred, I have not had to do anything to this car in the seven years I’ve owned it. When I consider the fact that a few Toyotas may have trouble stopping versus the fact that many American cars would have trouble simply going forward at all after 100,000 miles, I’ll happily consider buying another Toyota. Something I am thinking about right now, as a matter of fact. Not to mention the fact that my Toyota has a resale value equal to most American cars half its age.

  51. 55 Hasan Sagkol
    February 24, 2010 at 19:21

    ı really find it difficult to observe people in such uptight mode over what seems to me is a aprtially fabricated, intentional scheme to undermine the image of what is one of the most credible brand name in the world.

    What does it take to pull the rug beneath Toyota’s feet? Not mush. For what it is worth, coordinated and carefully devised scheme is all it takes. Coupled with the support of the media, you can expect attention at a vast scale.

    Nothing is as plain as it seems, I reckon. A company that has proven itself over the years cannot and should not be jeopardized in this manner. Coincidently, GM has been bailed out:) I find this amusing. Dont you think?

  52. 56 Alan
    February 24, 2010 at 19:21

    The problem, IMHO, is not with Japanese quality, but with manufacturers of any brand adopting new technology before it has a chance to iron out the bugs.
    We’ve had 100 years of throttle pedals linked to the engine by mechanical means, but within just 2 years or so, it appears Toyota have released 6 million (or whatever the figures are) cars, with electronics and software linking the pedal to the engine. We all know that software can have bugs, and such a new technology should be introduced slowly and gradually, allowing problems to be recognised and solved before they become a major global issue.

    Does this affect my view of japanese reliability or of Toyota? Not in the slightest – a problem like this could have happened to any manufacturer who rolled out a massive new technology in a short time.

  53. February 24, 2010 at 19:21

    This problem doesn’t affect Made in Japan. All the cars that had problems were made in America and other countries and not Japan, by non Japanese workers. Should this problem not actually be associated with American workers? Especially as none of the cars made in Japan seem to have the same problem. When I buy anything, Japanese brands are still the number one choice, followed by Korean, Taiwanese, Indian and then Chinese. Of course, the price also falls in the same pattern. Again I’d like to reiterate, these were American cars not Japanese, and they tried to go too fast, too soon….an american theme i think.

  54. 58 Chris
    February 24, 2010 at 19:21

    This is definately a Toyota problem. Honda is seen as a Japanese brand in Canada and I don’t feel Japaneese companies will suffer. The media is being very aggressive in its attempt to sway Americans and Canadians away from Japaneese cars. As a Corolla driver I will not be changing my car any time soon and when I do it will be for another Toyota of a Honda depending on models available.

  55. February 24, 2010 at 19:25

    Korea is basking over this. Nothing they would love better than to top Japan!

  56. 60 Nnenna
    February 24, 2010 at 19:27

    Maybe Toyota’s rate of growth had probably gotten in the way of their safety excellence; but when I still think of Toyota – I associate the brand name with safety, efficiency and style. This is why I will forever remain a customer of Toyota – recall or not.

  57. 61 Irene in Texas
    February 24, 2010 at 19:27

    My subaru has been a decent enough car, but my next car will be German, regardless. It has nothing to do with the Toyota coverups. Japanese car companies lie about their gas mileage.

  58. February 24, 2010 at 19:27

    As a consumer, I expect the auto industry will produce a certain percentage of cars with minor problems (i.e. cup holder, headlights). However, a major defect which involves road safety (brakes), should have stopped production.

    I’m jaded by mass production more than losing faith in the Japan brand. Toyota certainly reflects badly on Japan and their reputation is at risk. Surely, Toyota should care enough about manufacturing cars in order to insure repeat business. Do the math– Profit should equal Safety.

  59. 63 Lauren in Portland
    February 24, 2010 at 19:28

    Also, to JENS-

    Eric in France’s comment of protectionism was a minor addition to a much larger argument. What you’ve done has taken a portion of a sentence and used it to spark a separate, rediculous issue. No need to attack France, especially since France has NOTHING to do with this topic. He makes some good points and I appreciated his thoughts.

  60. 64 Alan in AZ
    February 24, 2010 at 19:28

    Toyota will always be a top quality company. At least they are up front about the problems. Try and remember what it was like dealing with a car problem before the Lemon Laws. No American car maker would admit to a problem if they could help it.

    My wife and I are on our 3 Toyota RAV4 and 5 Toyota. We’ve always been happy with the low maintenance, quality fit and reliability.

    As a Quality Manager during the day for an Aerospace company, there are very few American cars I would even consider buying.

    When it comes to Quality in everyday items, I prefer German or Japanese, Italian or American.

  61. February 24, 2010 at 19:29

    The brand value of Japan-made stuff is going doing because Korea and Taiwan and even India are going up in technology and products, AND they cost a lot less than Japanese product, while providing a pretty good quality…not as good as Japan-made products but still reliable and lasting enough.

  62. 66 margot in oregon
    February 24, 2010 at 19:29

    Are the Toyota recalls on cars made in both the US and Japan, or only the US? The problem seems entirely typical of large American business.

  63. 67 Jeremy in Portand OR
    February 24, 2010 at 19:33

    It seems that issues of quality have been looming for some time in regards to consumer goods as American-style consumerism has spread around the world. The taste for luxury goods has growing in new markets throughout Asia and South America. The problem with an increased demand for luxury goods is that there is inherently a limited supply. The major issue with these consumer goods is that many companies desire to grow sales which means cutting corners somewhere along the line in their manufacturing to satisfy demand. Most consumers are unaware of that shift in quality because they are driven to make their purchase based on image and brand recognition not on the strength of stitches or purity of steel.

  64. February 24, 2010 at 19:39

    I cannot believe no one has brought up the fact that these are ELECTRIC CARS. This recall, and the media’s spastic reaction to it not only hurts Toyota, but is absolutely damaging the possibility of our society moving away from fossil fuels. This smear campaign smells like oil to me.

    • 69 jens
      February 24, 2010 at 19:56

      no it is not a smear campaign, since there are no electric cars available to kill, yet. just as a wee hint, the american companies are also working on electric cars. so clam down the world is not coming to an end

  65. 70 Felix
    February 24, 2010 at 19:41

    I personally don’t care if an item is made in Japan – I don’t even know which brands are Japanese! I just look for price and if it is electronic how many shiny buttons it has. If it is Japanese great – if it is not great too!

  66. 71 Tom D Ford
    February 24, 2010 at 19:42

    I can remember back in the 1950s when any product from Japan was considered inferior and US products were the top quality. Then over the years the Japanese cleaned up their quality and took over the top quality status, and US products went down the tubes in quality.

    Japanese products get a price and profit premium because they are so good, but they are more of an investment because of their long term life of service and quality, whereas US products are just a short term cost and a waste of money.

    I hate to say it but Japan competed on quality and won and the US competed on profit and the US lost out as a result.

    There some Nations that are known for top quality companies, like Finland and Polar Heart Rate monitors, The Netherlands and Philips Norelco electric razors, etc.

    I’d like to restore the US “brand” to the top of quality worthwhile products.

  67. 72 jens
    February 24, 2010 at 19:44

    Lauren in Portland,

    do not throw with protectionists stones when you are sitting in a glass house. And which ridicliouse argument did i make?

    He mad a direct accusation against americans, and i have the right to debunk his point of view since he lives in the country which is the protectionist extraordinaire…..

    in addition toyota manufactures plenty of its cars here in the states, so his protectionist arguments is even sillier when you look upon it in this light.

    what everybody ignores here is that Toyota was aware of the problem for a long time and did nothing about it. i am not blaming them nor do i wish toyota ill. i used to drive a tercel for years and was more than happy with the car.

  68. 73 Kwame
    February 24, 2010 at 19:46

    Toyota is a great brand and I hope they get out of this quagmire. How do we differentiate accidents not due to the said faults from those due to them. definitely toyota are probably taking blame a little beyond what they may actually deserve.

  69. February 24, 2010 at 19:46

    Recent events do not shake my trust in Japanese product quality. Additionaly, from an environmental perspective, Japanese firms are producing high efficiency products in an energy scarce island environment.

    For years Japanese have taken products invented elsewhere and made them better. As we enter an energy scarce future, the Japanese are the inventors and the rest of the world needs to stand on their shoulders and make them better.

  70. 75 Suzy in Portland OR
    February 24, 2010 at 19:52

    People are so quick to defend Japanese quality. Would they have been so forgiving if Ford or GM had to recall millions of cars? The US Senators are simply treating the Japanese company the same as if a US company had put millions of citizins at risk with an inferior product. I applaud them for putting lives above international politics.

  71. 76 patti in cape coral
    February 24, 2010 at 19:53

    When it comes to cars, I have owned two Toyotas in my life and loved them both. They were excellent cars. They were old and ugly as skin, but very reliable. I now have a Ford F150 and it never lets me down either, though that was a suprise to me, because I’ve had Fords let me down before.

    A mechanic once told me that if I could manage it, the best used car to get would be a Toyota made in Japan.

  72. 77 Daniel
    February 24, 2010 at 19:55

    The discussion on the show has been revolving around manufacturing processes. But this is not the primary issue that Toyota has had problems with. The issue at stake is the way that Toyota handled this quality escalation. Their products are very reliable. But they chose to ignore a very rare but very dangerous failure case. And that is where the failure is.

    Every company makes mistakes in designs. Toyota is in trouble not for making a design mistake, but for taking such a long time to identify this mistake as a recall.

  73. 78 Ray in Ohio
    February 24, 2010 at 19:58

    We in the USA, as a culture, tend to blame others and ignore our own responsibility.

    US companies have had far more recalls than Toyota

    I had the gas pedal stick on a Ford vehicle many years ago….I turned off the ignition key and stepped on the brakes.

  74. 79 esce
    February 24, 2010 at 20:06

    The discussion is about Japanese brands. Why take a dig at China ? Japan is 40 years ahead of china. Its a new player and cater for a different market. It help to empower poor people with cheap goods. It help to build Angola ‘s infrastructure and it held the Africa’s cup of nation. It build roads ,housing , hospitals and schools. Not the best quality but good enough to help people at a cheap price. Thanks to China made I bought my 1st computer.

  75. February 24, 2010 at 20:09

    The running and and looking back which the lion does is not to be interpreted as a sign of cowardice.

    Toyota has just begun convincing more intending buyers by this occasion.


  76. 81 matt from Cleveland
    February 24, 2010 at 21:12

    I only wish that the Toyota company had informed all consumers 10 years ago about the problems they were having in Europe with their cars. I believe that this may be some form of universal karma for retribution of their reprehesible policy of killing and eating whales, porpoises, and dolphins.

  77. 82 Lauren in Portland
    February 24, 2010 at 21:37


    In my comment to you I did not question your loyalty to Toyota, nor even mention it. I merely pointed out your neglect of the topic in question as well as the unnecessary attack on the country and people of France simply because the blogger, Eric in France, is clearly somehow related to France. We (as in people) have found that we tend to get much better outcomes from critical thinking, not criticizing. And in case you think I’m a hypocrite, I didn’t call you rediculous, in fact I called the argument which you were putting forth, rediculous.

  78. 83 Colin L Beadon
    February 24, 2010 at 21:56

    The Japanese car has lead the world for a good many years. The are by far the most long term dependable, Toyota, Suzuki, Diahatsu, take your pick. What I can’t understand, is why did Toyota have to meddle with their braking systems in the new models ? People need to learn to leave really dependable systems alone.
    As for Chinese products, I don’t want to hear about them and refuse to buy anything made in that country, having had my fill of buying their trash. No doubt, just like the
    Japanese did when they started, the Chinese will learn to build good equipment, boots, shoes, tools, cars and motorcycles too, perhaps.

  79. 84 Lauren in Portland
    February 25, 2010 at 01:23

    In my comment to you I did not question your loyalty to Toyota, nor did I mention it. I merely pointed out your neglect of the topic in question and unnecessary attack on France simply because the blogger you originally responded to was from that country. We (as in humans) have found that we arrive at much better outcomes from a result of critical thinking, not criticizing.

  80. 85 Bornfree
    February 25, 2010 at 02:31

    Yes, I do lost my faith on “Japan brand”. I haven’t realized they are exaggerating their product. They are selling their product the same way as other companies do. So I was quite disappointed….

  81. 86 tanboontee
    February 25, 2010 at 03:52

    As I have said before, in its haste to boost the quantity, Toyota has inadvertently overlooked the quality.

    The Japanese car icon is fast losing the consumers’ trust. It will take time to regain the hard-earned confidence.

    Let this fiasco not destroy the name of other good Japanese brands….

  82. 87 Maxine
    February 25, 2010 at 04:45

    Have I lost faith in the “Japanese Brand?” Well, No, because all I can find in the shops comes from China! However, I am expecting to be able to buy made in India soon, as these two giants take over the world for cheaper goods.

  83. February 25, 2010 at 06:26


    I watched this on TV this morning. Toyota G M apologized for the call back of its best selling vehicle, which I think is wonderful and especially being honest to admit that there is a fault with the vehicle.

    They have taken responsibility for their mistakes.

    Has any other manufacture done this? I cannot recollect that that has been the case.

    Many manufactures do make mistakes BUT do not recall their product for correction nor do they admit to their mistakes.

    Yes Japanese goods are still quality conscious and their products are good and reliable.

    Make not mistake Japan has done a wonderful thing and set a precedent.

    Will others follow


  84. 89 Subhash C Mehta
    February 25, 2010 at 06:51

    Don’t panic and you won’t lose faith; at least not after decades of faithful and high quality service by the Toyota. The markets can be heartlessly selfish to cash on each others’ mistakes, miseries and misfortunes; but the public or the common man is not so insensitive or ungrateful as to lose faith so easily.

  85. 90 Cabe UK
    February 25, 2010 at 12:11

    What has Toyota got to do with the vast majority of other Japanese Brands?
    It is stupid to Tar everything with the same brush… And anyway – Toyota is only as bad as people want to make it.
    People will always take the opportunity to exploit any situation. The Toyota one is already a mountain out of a molehill…
    HEY! – Lets not stop at other Japanese Brands, why not Tar all of Toyota’s / and Japan’s International suppliers? …. (now I wonder who the Biggest one would be….?) – and while we’re at it – why stop at Japanese Brands? – Let’s tar All of Japan’s International Friends – They could have had a hand in their downfall ! ….
    – This shouldn’t even be an issue!

  86. 91 James Loudermilk
    February 25, 2010 at 14:42

    Funny how now that the U.S. government has an intrest in some of the american auto companies that all this is being made such a big deal of.
    Just an observation. I had a Dodge Daytona back in the 80″s that would cruse down the road at 4000 RPM without having my foot on the gas, I was lucky and had a cluch to push in other wise I would not have been able to stop it. I took it in over 15 times to have them fix it and they never could, finally had to sell it but didn’t get anything in the traid because of the problem. Where was my government then?

  87. 92 Clamdip
    February 25, 2010 at 14:48

    I love everything Japanese!

  88. 93 Clamdip
    February 25, 2010 at 14:56

    I love everything Japanese!
    Have you ever bought crackers in a Japanese store? They always go the extra mile to individually wrap each cracker in a cute little tie thing. The Japanese strive for excellence, a concept long lost in American culture. Toyota makes great cars and will continue to make them so long as Washington doesn’t try to put them out of business because they don’t want to unionize. We can learn a lot from the Japanese.

  89. 94 Columbia Shuttle
    February 25, 2010 at 16:03

    Toyota has a better safety record than the NASA shuttle space craft,if one compares it with the number of units sold world wide,the QC in USA seems to be the reason of this noisy spectacle which aim is to help resuscitate the almost dead US car industry .I rather have a car with self acceleration problems than a tow truck propelled FORD or GM made

  90. 95 Mona
    February 25, 2010 at 19:58

    No, Not at all, their products quality is the best world wide, from cars to pen.

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