It took 20-30 years of the Big Three producing bad quality crap before
they lost their loyal customer base. People aren't so trusting anymore, but
I reckon that Toyota will still have about a decade that they can push crap
into the customer base before they will start to feel kickback from it.
The thing is, though, is that the profits for selling crap on a good
are so high that companies that start doing this end up getting addicted to
it. Toyota has slipped on quality before - the Tercel is a perfect
but managed to pull back from the brink. This time around, only time will
But this much I WILL say. If Toyota is able to maintain high sales volumes
with crappy quality for 4 years, by then the internal hubris will be so high
that they will never return to building quality until they lose the market
and have to start over from scratch (much like the Big 3 are doing now)
Most car companies try to slip on quality but it will eventually get
Ford sent people to the scrap heaps to see what parts were still good
so they could put in cheaper parts.
Porsche almost lost on their reputation a few years back and then
stopped producing crap and are making it back.
Mercedes did the same.
Volvo did the same.
GM is only slightly behind Toyota in loyalty.
You could have just as easily headlined the article:
"GM Beats Honda, BMW, Ford, Subaru, etc. in Customer Loyalty"
Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. 68.9%
General Motors Corp. 64.7%
American Honda Motor Co. 63.3%
BMW of North America 56.9%
Ford Motor Co. 54.4%
Subaru of America, Inc. 51.2%
Hyundai Motor America 50.9%
Nissan North America 47.6%
Maserati North America, Inc. 41.9%
Porsche Cars North America 41.6%
American Suzuki Motor Corp. 39.6%
Volkswagen of America 38.8%
Kia Motors America 32.8%
Mitsubishi Motors 31.7%
Isuzu Motors America, Inc. 1.6%
I owned a 56 VW cabriolet -- back in my college years. 36 hp and no gas
guage. In those days, there were'nt very many options. For example, the
Renault Dauphine, Hillman Minx, and of course the Corvair. The Toyopet was
rarely seen in the States. Saw most of then in Japan. The mid to late 60s
saw quite a change, though.
The Beetle was the best selling car in history, no shortage of loyalty
The Rabbit also sold well and were fine to own and drive - unless you were
fool enough to get a Diesel or gas fuel injected Rabbit. Of course, after
about 10 years the window seals in the Rabbits all started leaking and the
of the vehicle would fill up with a couple inches of water. Great for the
I work with a bunch of folks who would sooner die than drive something
besides a WV. I think they think it "says something about them," but I
have no idea what that something is.
I think it says" I like to pay too much for ugly, unreliable cars."
Excepting the Beetle, of course... it's not ugly.
With the Beetle VW had the only low cost small car that stood up to NA
highway driving at that time up to 65 mph and also had excellent
straight ahead traction. Snow tires weren't necessary, but added weight
in the small front trunk was necessary for front traction.
The Beetle was loved by it's owners, me included, although it had
several serious shortcomings. For example mufflers were good for only
about 2 yrs. I haven't replaced a muffler since the stainless steel ones
came out in the late 80s.
When passing another VW Beetle it was common to wave.
I family near me drive two restored VW Beetles, I don't understand why,
considering the number of much better small cars there are now days.
In fact those polluting old VWs shouldn't be used as a regular car.
The coming of the Japanese cars in the 1970s had a serious negative
affect on the Beetle. I loved my 1970 Datsun 510!
So before I got into the Rabbit, I was gone to better cars.
We did have two Chrysler Horizons with the VW Rabbit engine that had
valve seal problems; thank goodness Chrysler soon came out with their
much better 4 cyl engine.
About 1979 or 1980- the 2.2L SOHC, although it continued to improve
through the era of the 2.2/2.5L "common block" engines of the late
80s/early 90s. It was built for turbocharging from the get-go, and
remains the most successful mass-produced turbocharged gasoline car
engine to date. The main and rod bearing shells on the 2.2/2.5 are the
same size as the 440 and 426 hemi main and rod bearings. You *CANNOT*
destroy the bottom end of a 2.2/2.5 if you ceep the oil in it. FWD drag
racers run the turbo 2.2 way up over 20 psi of boost and get 400
front-wheel horsepower pretty reliably- most failures are due to letting
it lean out and burning a piston. The head clamping force is at its
limit around there too, but the bottom end could probably hit 600
horsepower or so. Its a little brute of an engine.
The current Chrysler "world engine" 4-cylinder may be smoother and more
refined, but ultimate strength-wise its a piece of play-doh compared to
the 2.2/2.5 engines.
No, you're remembering the Mitsubishi 3.0L v6 not the 2.5 turbo. You
used to be able to pick 3.0 powered LeBarons and Minivans out of traffic
when you couldn't even see the car! After, oh, 1989 or so about 90% of
LeBarons and almost all the minivans got the Mitsu engine. The few
people that sprung for the 3.3 v6 were MUCH happier with their
minivan... and so were the people that had to drive behind them. Same
for the small percentage that opted for the turbo LeBaron instead of the v6.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a smoking 2.2/2.5 unless it was the turbo
itself, usually something causing back-pressure in the oil return line.
True, that can happen with any aluminum head, especially if overheated.
The aluminum heads on the 2.2/2.5 also tended to develop harmless cracks
between the intake and exhaust seat inserts, which scared the bejeebers
out of a lot of people when they first pulled one apart, but they rarely
OTOH, you could look at a Mitsubishi 3.0 with your eyes crossed and the
guides would fall down and rattle around the valve heads, and dump a
quart per 100 miles through the engine and out the tailpipe. Maybe you
remember better than I do, but wasn't the final "fix" to that engine to
install guides with a machined groove near the top and then install a
snap-ring in the groove so they would only drop so far and then stop?
Pathetic. I still shudder to think how close I came to buying a '92
Lebaron 5-speed 3.0L when they were closing them out in the fall of '92.
Pretty car, cool ergonomics, but rotten Mitsubhishi engine and the
turbos were all gone for the year.
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