My wife and I are looking for a new (or used) family car. Or van. Or something a little more family friendly than the vehicles we currently drive. This weekend we drove to a couple dealerships to look at vehicles on our list and we drove by one dealership several times without stopping. But had this been a year ago, it is probably the first or second place we would have gone.
I’m referring to Toyota. Until he last few months, Toyota was the darling of the car world – top ratings in quality, safety, and customer satisfaction.
I was one of those happy (former) customers. I currently drive a Mazda, but I have owned 3 Toyotas in the past, and I had nothing but good experiences with them. The Toyotas I owned were high quality, never had mechanical problems, were fuel efficient, had high resale value, etc. In short, they were everything you want out of a vehicle.
But a lot has changed in a few short months. Toyota had some major safety issues and recalls (find more information here: www.toyota.com/recall) that extended over several makes, models, and years. There was evidence that Toyota withheld information about the safety issues from the public before finally coming clean, and the problems have even spilled into Toyota’s luxury line, the Lexus.
It took Toyota decades to build such a robust track record for quality, safety, and value. But it took a month or two to seriously tarnish their image.
Should you buy a Toyota?
By all professional accounts (car magazines and respected websites), Toyotas are still very good vehicles. Many sites have gone so far as to recommend buying a Toyota now if you were already planning on buying a Toyota because prices are depressed. They also recommend delaying trading in a Toyota because you may get a lower trade-in value now than you could possibly get in a few months.
How do you feel about Toyota now?
I’d like to say that I feel the same way about Toyotas as I did 6 months ago, but I can’t. Part of me wants to blame the media for over-sensationalizing the situation, but let’s face it… Toyota could have handled things better.
Would you feel comfortable or safe buying a Toyota?
Recommended personal finance and career articles:
- How to buy a house.
- I Quit My Day Job. An entrepreneur shares his story.
- The Car Buying Blues, Part One: Doing The Research. Part of a series; be sure to check out all parts.
- Test Driving for a Bargain.