What a miserable week for Toyota! The gas-pedal recall has the automaker reeling, suspending sales on its most-popular models. Can you imagine a worse public-relations nightmare than nightly news videos showing worried Toyota-owners crying in front of Toyota dealerships that have no answer to the safety crisis?
So here I sit with two Toyotas in my garage – both of which qualify for the recall fix. I’m on a bit of Toyota buying spree, my last three vehicles have been Toyotas. My brand switch to Toyota from American brands did not come easily.
I was born in Detroit and grew up in the Downriver suburb of Grosse Ile. Many of my friends, neighbors and family made a living from Ford, GM & Chrysler and some still do. The brand loyalty of the Detroit area is as firm as ever, if my recent drive up the Southfield Freeway in Detroit is any indication. For about 10 minutes I was the only foreign brand I saw on the heavily congested motorway – it was really quite remarkable.
My last Ford, though, was pretty much a lemon (requiring two expensive transmission replacements before reaching 75,000 miles) and its been Toyotas for me ever since. Of course, Ford reported this week its first annual profit in four years, of the big automakers it seems to have the best momentum right now.
This gas-pedal recall shakes my confidence of bit. If the thing actually fails on one of my cars and I end up flying off a freeway in an uncontrollable acceleration mishap – well, I probably won’t be buying any more Toyotas, if I survive.