IIHS/HLDI provides the data for insurance ratings. They provide it
directly at http://www.iihs.org/research/hldi/composite_intro.html
Most of the cars in the same class as the recalled GM vehicles (Chevy
Cobalt, etc.) don't have great ratings. See
The one exception is the Prius, which has very good ratings in all
categories except collision damage loss, and even there is very good
compared to other small cars. The Corolla is pretty good too (but not
great). If you are worried about bodily injury, you probably should
stay away from a Suzuki samall car. Usually the small VWs do really
well, but they aren't showing any injury data for those - I assume
becasue of a lack of data.
Of course one problem with using accident statistics to rate cars is
that you can't separate out the inherent safety of the car from the
type of driver that the car attracts. I'd guess that the Prius has
such a good loss histroy because of the type of person who drives
them, more so that becasue of the inherent safety of the design. The
comparison beteween the loss histroy of the Camry and Camry Hybrid is
an example of this. The Hybrid version has much better loss
statistics. My belief is that this is becasue the hybrid version
attracts more careful drivers.
Outsourcing is nothing new. All companies purchase parts from
component suppliers. There was a time when GM, and to a lesser extent
Ford, built a lot of stuff in factories that they owned, but for the
last 20 years GM and Ford have been relentlessly selling off the
component buisness. I assume this was mostly done so that they could
dump Union employees and use competitive pressure to force down the
price of components.
This is not a new trend in the auto industry. When Ford first started
building Model T's, virtually everything was sourced from outside
suppliers. Ford just handled the final assembly. Over time, Ford
brought more and more of the componet production in house, until at
the end, Model T's were largely built from Ford in-house parts. Henry
Ford even tried to set up a rubber planation in Brazil with the idea
of providing rubber for tires.
These days instead of fighting with the management of internal parts
operations it is much easier to play external component suppliers off
against each other to drive component prices down.
You need to remember that Toyota suspended sales of many models for
several days at the beginning of the month. They lost 5 days of sales
for many of their most popular models at the begining of February
(that is about 20% of the sales days for February). That had to be
part of the reason for the monthly decrease. From what I have read,
Toyota sales, on a per day basis adjusted for the days sales were
suspended, were up as well.
I suspect that for March Toyota sales will bounce back. Toyota is
running a lot of incentive programs and they are advertising like
crazy on the local stations.
I do think some of the dealers are making a mistake by running "we are
sorry" ads. And at least one dealer was running the "Toyota is no
worse than GM ads" that I hate. After years of convincing some people
that Toyota were super special extra good vehciles, it is stupid to
now try to excuse problems by saying they are no worse than GM's.
Oh yeah, and while I am commenting on Toyota commericals, has anyone
seen the silly Toyota Camry commercials where they try to promote the
Camry as a "sexy" car. What a hoot. They make about as much sense as
if Revlon hired Barabara Bush to do cosmetic commercials. Camrys may
be a lot of thing, but they aren't exciting or sexy. Mundame, dull,
reliable, sensible, comfortable, etc might describe a Camry, but not
sexy. Camrys have all the appeal of a well designed dishwasher, and at
this point, a relatively old design as well. In fact, unless Toyota
spiffs up the design, Camry sales are bound to go down. All of the
competitors, and most importantly Hyundai, have newer and in, most
cases, more interesting designs in the Camry's class.
The corporate Toyota ads say that. They are well produced. It is just
the locally produced ads that are whinning about Toyota being no worse
than GM. One dealer actually referred you to a web site where they
posted wildly inaccurate statistics that "proved" Toyota was better
than GM. I suppose you can pick and choose statistic to say almost
anything, but their numbers bordered on outright lies. I can't see
this as being helpful. Unfortunately, it is the same dealer family
members have purchased five Toyotas from in the last 3 years. They
dropped down a couple of rungs on the trust ladder in my book after
running that piece of misleading trash. I've always distrusted
Toyota's claims (well actually, I try to follow Regean's advice -
Trust, but verify), but this was a new low and it came from a dealer I
thought was a notch above the usual Toyota hype machine. Oh well,
Moving Forward, Oh What a feeling, is it Toyotathon time again?
I haven't had a really bad car from any manufacturer in at least 20
years. I guess among the cars built in the last decade the Saturn Vue
I owned (a 2003 Model) was the worst, but it wasn't terrible. Well, at
least until my Son decided to treat it like a military Humvee. It was
not built for that. I eat dinner with a couple of older buddies once a
week. One of them has Buicks (two of them). He has been unhappy with
one of them recently. Apparently his power windows keep failing (I
understand this is very common for certian Buicks). However, the car
is almost 10 years old, and except for the power window thing, it has
been dead reliable. The other older guy has an old Civic and a new
Avalon. We can't help but poke fun at him about the Toyota recall (if
you knew the guy, you'd know why). He seems mostly happy with the
Avalon (but he finally agrees with me, he would have been better off
with a Camry). He hasn't even taken it in for the "fix" yet. And he
isn't really worried. On the other hand, the guy with the Buick
doesn't like the Avalon (he rides in it occasionally, I never have).
According to him, the seats are uncomfortable and the console is in
the way. It should be noted, he hates consoles in all cars. He hasn't
bought a new car to replace the Buick becasue he can't find one he
likes without a console.
To see what is a common complaint go here
I entered the 2001 Buick I have and they showed many complaints with windows
not working. Two of mine had regulators go bad and it is very common.
I check the 2007 Lucerne that I considered buying and the window complaints
were gone, but there were many regarding the instrument panel.
Our Avalon is perhaps the best road car we have ever owned. It is
smooth and quiet and gets good gas mileage. It does have a console
but so did our LeSabre, IIRC. The Avalon may have slightly more
room inside than the last Buick had. As far as the seats, I see (rather,
feel) no substantial difference.
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