Jason Lancaster is the editor and founder of TundraHeadquarters.com. He has nearly a decade of experience on the retail side of the auto industry, and another decade of experience of the part and accessory side of the industry.
In the last two weeks a few class-action lawsuits against Toyota have been announced (one by the Orange County DA, one in Phoenix, and a few others). Central to all of these lawsuits is the allegation that Toyota knowingly mislead consumers in regards to unintended acceleration problems, which is technically known as “consumer fraud.”
For the record, there are degrees of fraud. Fraud as a result of stupidity or negligence is different than intentional acts that will knowingly injure another party. For example – accidentally writing a bad check from an account you closed is definitely considered fraud, but it’s not the same as stealing someone else’s checkbook and writing what you know to be a bad check. Intent is important.
Toyota’s problem is, it’s very difficult to argue that their actions weren’t intentionally designed to hurt consumers. Here’s how allegations of fraud at Toyota break down (and why they’re probably going to lose billions when it’s all over):
For the last five years, J.D. Power and Associates has declared the Toyota Tundra to be the most dependable large truck on the road. This year’s award is significant in that it is the first dependability award based upon the 2nd generation design of the Tundra. Considering all of the issues the 2nd generation Tundra had in it’s first year, it’s nothing short of miraculous that this truck won JD Power’s dependability award…and that’s likely bad news for Ford, GM, Chrysler, and Nissan for the future.
If you’re a vehicle owner and you live in North America, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve had at least one bad experience at a car dealership. Car dealers (generally speaking) aren’t too popular because the industry has a long history of poor service. While this has most definitely changed in the last decade (dealerships are better than they’ve ever been), there’s no disputing the fact that dealers aren’t perfect.
If you’re having a problem with your dealership and you’re not sure what you should do, there are TWO posts you should read. The one you’re looking at now, and this post on Dealership Customer Service – Tips for Getting Your Problem Solved.
Search terms people used to find this page:
- sue dealership service department
By sheer volume of sales, China is the biggest automotive market in the world. 13.6 million new vehicles were sold in China in 2009, compared to only 10.4 million in North America…and that trend is only going to become more pronounced as the world’s economy revs up again.
Note that China’s market is only bigger by volume – the average new car in China costs about a third as much as a new car in the U.S. or Canada, so it will be awhile before the actual value of China’s market exceeds the value of the North American market…but that day is coming. Fast.
In other words, an automaker’s success in the 21st century depends on having an effective presence in China. While Toyota’s unintended acceleration problems might seem important to U.S. consumers, the truth is that the unintended acceleration issue is minor compared to Toyota’s struggles in China.
Independent journalist and blogger Michael Fumento doesn’t pull any punches. A quick scan of Fumento’s blog posts regarding the Toyota recall fiasco shows that he’s not afraid to be blunt. He calls Prius driver James Sikes a
“media whore liar.” blatant liar. [NOTE: We misquoted Mr. Fumento – our apologies.] He takes big media to task for glossing over key facts and details. He outlines the conflict of interest between GM, Chrysler, and NHTSA. At first glance, Fumento definitely seems “pro-Toyota.”
Maybe so. But a story from Fumento’s past would seem to indicate that he doesn’t have a lot of love for the automaker: