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March 16, 2010


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My hubby worked on the new design Honda Pilot at his last job as an automotive engineer. :) He also worked on the CRV. Despite quitting his last job (at a supplier for Honda), he still drives a Honda. They are good cars.

I wouldn't see any shame in at least mentioning it, especially since you WERE thinking about getting a Toyota before this mess. I wouldn't be a big jerk or make a huge deal about it though.

I know it's your decision, and you need to buy something that you're comfortable with, but I totally disagree that Toyotas should be avoided right now. Have a look at this article:

I think Toyota's "sudden acceleration" problems are about 95% mass hysteria, driver error, and a gullible mainstream media. The other 5% is floormats that can untether from their moorings and become tangled up in the pedals. The floormat problem has a simple, DIY, low-tech solution. In any case, even when you add up the 100%, it's still an extremely tiny proportion of the accidents that occur every day with these cars. If you're willing to accept the risks of driving generally, it doesn't make much sense to especially fear sudden acceleration from Toyota or any other make.

Smart Spending is right to suggest that because of the media feeding frenzy, it's an excellent time to buy a Toyota. Remember: a good definition of the word "news" is "something that hardly ever happens"

The best car deals are buying program cars with about 10-20K miles on them. Let someone else absorb the initial depreciation. You can still get 100K+ miles out of one of them. It feels good to buy a brand spanking new car, but it isn't the best financial deal. Nothing wrong with buying a Toyota.

It is suspected that Toyota's sudden acceleration problems have been ongoing since 1999. See link:

"...2,262 incidents of apparent unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles since 1999. That total includes 815 crashes, 341 cases of injury and 19 deaths, according to the firm."
Total Toyota's produced 1999-2008: 65.68 million
Total Toyota's sold in North America (proxy for US) 1999-2008: 21.93 million

(Production and sales for 2009 and 2010 is not given, but looking at the last two years, Production would be ~16 million more and NA sales ~4 million more. I'll use lower numbers for production and sales and include the total acceleration incidents through 2010 to get a "worst case")

2262/(65.68x10^6) = 0.0034% (specifically, 1 in 29,037)
2262/(21.93x10^6) = 0.01% (specifically, 1 in 9,693)
(341+19)/(65.68x10^6) = 0.00055% (specifically, 1 in 182,450)
(341+19)/(21.93x10^6) = 0.0016% (specifically, 1 in 60,906)

2262-815-341-19 = 1087 instances of sudden acceleration that did not result in a crash, injury, or death. This must be the number of people who were able to maneuver or fix the problem while driving.

Now my opinion: (and I'm not trying to influence you one way or another) Even at the highest rate of 0.01%, I feel like you're more likely to be in a life threatening situation in ANY vehicle on your daily commute than to have a sudden acceleration problem with a Toyota. But, because the failure mode is so severe (potential death), the reaction of the public/media is compounded. Unfortunately, the US government also has an interest in making Toyota look bad. Not saying they ARE intentionally doing so, but full disclosure...

If given the opportunity to buy a Toyota at a real bargain, I would take it. Of course, I am also comfortable making emergency maneuvers and split second decisions.

I think this fact can't be overstated enough. No amount of engineering will ever prevent all problems or account for all driving conditions and I think this is terribly under-taught in Driver's Education.

Sorry for the long post! I just wanted to be thorough!

In response to Matt H. "Remember: a good definition of the word "news" is "something that hardly ever happens""

I can't agree more. if this were as big of a problem as the media is making it seem we'd be seeing Toyotas go crazy on the roads around us every day. I have yet to see a Prius accelerate uncontrollably around me. and I do still see the Prius and all other Toyota vehicles out everywhere. they're very popular cars here. (San Antonio, Texas)

That being said, I would not hesitate to buy a new Toyota at this time. Obviously the problem has been brought to the company's attention. Surely they would not continue selling the actual cars that have been recalled. Just to be sure, you could always check into the production of any specific car before you buy, which would always be a good idea anyway.
So, I say go for it... buy a Toyota. Mistakes happen, people fix them. Graco has had baby car seats recalled.... people still buy them.... you just have to check out the one you chose, that's all.

PDubbs --

No problem.

Also, is it worth mentioning that my wife drives a Toyota? Any value to me not owning one since she does (in case the problems are more pronounced than some suspect)?


I am also in the camp that the media is blowing this Toyota thing way up. My guess is 99% is human error of some type.

Remember, these are the same people putting on makeup, shaving, texting, making out, and eating a whopper while driving.

and 22oo incidents since 1999. That is 180 per year. Average 7 million cars sold per year, so 80 million+ cars Toyota has sold in that 12 year timeframe. That is .002%

Interestingly, Honda announced a 400K vehicle brake recall this week. Add to the window swith and the unintended airbag deployment recalls, and there are issues there as well.

I like both Honda and Toyota though. We have a newer 4-Runner. It's KBB value has gone UP in the past 3 months, by alot. Crazy.

The Highlander is a great choice.


Due to the recent alleged repaired Toyota's not really being fixed, maybe. If these are actual repeat failures, that indicates they don't really know what the problem is and therefore didn't scope the recalls correctly.

But again, the failure rates I touched on earlier are so low that you have a better chance of getting in an accident any day of the week than getting a faulty Toyota. (6.02 million accidents in 2007 200 million drivers: 3% chance per year)

It all really depends on your own peace of mind and aversion to risk (but then you just wouldn't drive at all, right? ;-) )

I'm not an advocate for Toyota. I would get one, but their cars aren't what I'm looking for. The one I want is a Subaru for the AWD in Minnesota winters! Currently I'm saving up for one that will be lightly used in a couple years.

Toyota is no doubt suffering in the court of public opinion. Their perceived lack of concern for their customers will have lasting affects. But Ford Motors comes in 2nd with over 50+ “Sudden Unintended Acceleration” cases. My Pontiac Car had a bad anti lock brake control unit so GM has also had serious recalls this year. I looked on and found the recall info and local dealership listing; my co Worker had a pedal recall on his ford truck so just look out .

Not clear to me what other car one would buy. Honda just recalled 400,000 vehicles for brake problems. We're told that Ford and Chevvie are better products than they were...but they'd have to be an awful lot better to come up to the level of Toyota and Honda.

If the figure of .01% is correct, that's a very low risk. Granted, it morphs to 100% if the event happens to you. Still, trading in a paid-off car and taking the financial hit involved in buying a new (even second-hand) vehicle because of a lot of media hype...I dunno. Doesn't seem like a great idea.

Before I start, we do own a Toyota Prius (no issues yet, lol) and a Chevy Aveo (rattling piece of...). I have no other association with car companies. I do work with car dealerships on a daily basis but no specific manufacturer. I get all recall notices emailed to me though since my job needs to know about the really important ones.

That said, and knowing you prefer new vehicles to used, I would get whichever of the two (Pilot or Highlander) are cheapest when you go to buy.

Toyota is recalling for acceleration issues and Honda is recalling for brake issues and every other manufacturer has had some sort of recall in the past 2 years (and most have some going on right now too...just google random makes for's fun).

Recalls happen all the time. Vehicles are not always safe to drive. Period. It's usually cheaper for a manufacturer to pay out for law suits than to recall a whole vehicle line. Toyota was targeted by our media and made a business decision to recall whole lines instead of getting worse publicity.

I'd get a vehicle I wanted at the best price possible and ignore media and government sensationalism. Maybe a Pilot will be cheaper anyway...

Good luck!


i agree with a previous post that most of all the Toyota hype has be created and drawn out by the media. Hondas are ok but I would strongly consider a toyota

I want to say that their production system finally shows its limit. It could be fit for old manufacturing method but not in new era's manufacturing system. Which means, more complicated, more diffcult to find the defect in the right time. Many expert says the problem that they have with their cars is in their computer-based break control design. And it is really hard to find before launching the vehicle.

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