Saturday, February 27, 2010

Toyota Isn't the Only Automaker Affected By Sudden Acceleration Claims

As we've seen recently, Toyota has been placed on blast by the media and our government for recalling millions of vehicles due to the possibility of sticky gas pedals. And like with the government bailout debate to rescue GM and Chrysler last year, this story has garnered a lot of attention, created great ratings for the media, but hasn't necessarily given the public all of the facts. Thus, these sudden acceleration claims have sullied the reputation of the Asian-based automaker, caused public panic and more importantly, in the short-term, affected the resale value of  the brand, who until recently, prided itself with building safe and reliable vehicles.

Ironically, a recently released study complied by, using data received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, revealed numerous automakers being hit with the same complaint. The data covers model years 2005 through 2009. You won't hear this from the mainstream media. While we're not defending Toyota or its actions, the fact is that upon analyzing the data, it is noted that the automaker is significantly higher than all of its competitors in the number of complaints being filed for sudden acceleration. The same study reveals that  Ford Motor Company is a distant second in unattended acceleration complaints being filed. Again, you won't hear this from the mainstream media.

Although no one wants to be placed in a position of having their vehicle drive out of control, we're wondering: Has the media and our government unfairly over exaggerated the issue or  like Tiger Woods has Toyota failed to live up to its reputation? You be the judge! In a day when everyone is fighting for ratings, it sure does make for a good news story.... even if we don't have all of the facts.

Hopefully, this will cause those who are pro-foreign brands and anti-domestic brands to take a second look. After recently reviewing a $70,000 Lexus LS 460 and a $34,000 Buick LaCrosse, which looks like a Lexus, we must honestly say we didn't really notice a significant difference in the the fit, finish, build-quality or ride of the vehicles. Both brands consistently rank in the top-tier in quality rating studies. So, we guess its fair to say every car maker has their share of problems. This time Toyota just happens to be in the hot seat.

While we still strongly recommend that you take the necessary precautions to get your recalled vehicle repaired, ask yourself the following question: Do you know someone personally, who owns a Toyota or Lexus, that has experienced an issue with unintended sudden acceleration? Ok, you might have a better chance of finding a  fan of  The Tom Joyner Morning Show who consistently watches Tavis Smiley's PBS nightly show or a high-profile politician who is free from marriage transgressions. So, before getting to consumed in all of the media hype, check out these findings:

Manufacturer/ Number of Sudden Acceleration Complaints
Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep/156
Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo/ 339
GM: Cadillac, Chevy, Buick, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn/134
Honda, Acura/ 89
Nissan, Infiniti/50
Toyota, Lexus, Scion/532

To view more details about Edmunds' analysis, click here.


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