Adding 2.3 million vehicles to its record recall of roughly 4.2 million cars, Toyota's burnished image is quickly corroding. (Catch up on the saga of Toyota's long public-relations car-wreck over faulty pedals here and here.) With Ford on the ascendant, are Toyota's days as the envy of American car-makers over?
- Toyota Going the Way of Detroit, suggests Jon C. Ogg at 24/7 Wall St. Toyota was once "the most revered auto company of the world for reliability." Now, Ogg says, it sounds "more like a Detroit auto company every day." He concludes by saying Toyota isn't yet going the way of Audi--which got slammed in the 1980s for reports of accidental acceleration--but that the recall "is far from a positive development at the one company which the public and auto industry revered for years and years."
- Maybe Consumers Won't Care, but Competitors Are Closing the Gap Douglas A. McIntyre at Daily Finance writes that Toyota's days as the undisputed king of the automaker heap may be ending. This is partly because "American car companies have made quality gains, and even firms like Hyundai have moved up strongly in many consumer polls." Yet McIntyre suggests that fears of Toyota's decline may not account for the fact that G.M.--which filed for bankruptcy--hasn't seen much of a dent in its sales. Maybe, he says, car consumers "have short memories or forgiving natures."
- Problem May Still Not Be Fixed suggests Sean Kane in a report at ABC News's World News blog. ABC has been following the story for months, reporting on consumer complaints suggesting that the first recall--blamed initially on floor mats--obscured larger problems. Some car buyers allegedly experienced sudden acceleration. As Kane explains, "We continue to find evidence from a variety of consumers who come to us
with incidents that cannot be explained by a floor mat." They conclude by noting that Toyota hasn't "disputed" their suspicion that there may be other causes to "runaway cars."