Toyota surpasses GM

So the inevitable finally happened and for the first time in 70 years, GM was surpassed this quarter in auto sales. GM is quick to state that one quarter isn’t a trend. But does anyone want to take the bet that Toyota is not going to stay ahead of GM?

Toyota simply makes a better car, in my opinion and obviously the opinion of a lot of people. We used to buy American for philosophical reasons, but after having a Ford minivan break down on us three years in a row (each time, spring break 2 day drive to my parents 1000 miles away) - one year, transmission broke down in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee, next year, new transmission broke again (but not covered by warranty, “different part broke”,) next year the engine literally broke apart in the middle of nowhere Alabama, right after the kids cheered because for the first time in 3 years we’d made it through Tennessee without the car breaking, we bought a Toyota minivan. We also had a GM car previously that was repeatedly in the shop, never really fixed completely, plus other nagging issues, and a Chrysler that broke an engine and transmission. We change the oil every 3000 miles, etc.

So we bought a Toyota minivan. Not only has it never had a mechanical problem, but when a Ford 150 pickup truck blew through a red light and hit the van broadside, with my kids and wife in the van and two kids sitting on the side where the truck hit (without even hitting his brakes) they weren’t even bruised. The van looked as if someone had been killed - the cop said he was convinced he’d be pulling bodies out when he saw it when he pulled up - but the engineers designed the energy absorption mechanism so well that it absorbed the full impact of the truck in a way that completely protected my family. Had they been in the Ford van, I’d have probably lost a family member or two.

Now we have a Toyota minivan (same one, still running great,) a Toyota corolla that my college daughter is driving (10 years old, never been in the shop, runs like a new car) and our next car will also be a Toyota. The costs are comparable and the car is superior.

I thought foreign auto makers were outselling domestic ones for quite some time.

I just bought my first Toyota, a Prius, and its overall fit and finish is comparable to the 2003 BMW I had. In fact, ergonomically it kicks the crap out of the M3 – it’s a much friendlier car to drive and use.

Is this a good excuse to link to the Top Gear segment where they try to break a Toyota Pickup?

Funny, my Econoline has over 250k on it and still runs great…Also had over 150k on my last 2 Mustangs and they both ran great.
Too bad they can’t make small stuff.

They do one-for-one, but remember that GM is Chevy-GM-Buick-Pontiac-Cadillac-Saturn-Olds-etc. So Toyota with many fewer brands has beat the entirety of GM. It’s pretty darn significant.


It’s always a good excuse to post a link to this.

Yeah, my ex-wife owned an old Toyota which she bought from her aunt when her uncle went to prison (yet another long story). That thing was a tank and never was in the shop.

It was about 20 years old when we finally scraped together the cash to buy a new Toyota, so we went to our local church to donate our old car to a needy family. They introduced us to the family who was going to receive our car, and we walked out to the parking lot to hand over the keys.

So we’re there, and I opened the door to show them the inside - we were standing around chatting when a gust of wind came and started to blow the door shut. Without thinking, I reached out and grabbed the window to stop the door…and the entire window shattered to pieces in my hand, raining little cubes of safety glass all over the driver’s seat.

At that point, all I could think was “No givebacks!” so I said my goodbyes and left them there with their new car.

I owned a Ford Escort for a numbers of ears and had no problems with it until it got totaled and I switched to my Honda.

My wife and I are in the process of transitioning to a German and American car family to a Japanese car family (largely Honda at this point, although we may replace the Jetta with a Camry). I can’t tell you how nice it is to just have cars that you can count on working, all the time.

QFT. My current cars are a 1990 Mazda Miata and a 2001 Passat Wagon. Guess which one is like a tiny red tank, and guess which one is constantly in the shop?

Like a dumbass, I got suckered into buying the “extended warranty” on the Passat by the sales guy - turns out it was the best car-related purchase I ever made and has already paid for itself many times over.

Let’s not forget Hyundai, eh? Cheap and good. They’ve come a long way.

What took so long? Seems like hyping OnStar is one of the few things that’s keeping GM in the hunt.

I’m of mixed opinion on this stuff. Here’s my track record:

~1987 VW Fox (bought new). Decent mechanically - but the paint job on it (dark red) faded badly, fairly quickly, and so the car looked ugly for much of the time I owned it.

~1994 Ford Probe (bought ~6 months used). Great car - no problems.

~1995 Nissan Altima (wife’s car, bought new). Great car - no problems.

~1998 Ford Windstar (wife’s car, bought new). Solid - a few electrical and other problems. Probably about par for course, given 76,000 miles of mostly city driving, and a fair amount of beating from the kids.

~2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse (convertible, bought new). Great car - no problems.

~2005 Hyundai Tucson (bought new). Great car - no problems.

We probably spent the most on repairs on the VW and the Ford Windstar, but I don’t remember exact amounts…

So really, we’ve had few problems with either American or non-American cars (except the annoying VW paint job). OTOH, I don’t think we’ve kept any of the cars to 100K miles, so perhaps the problems show up later.

One thing that annoys me is when I see people talking about resale value in a simplistic manner. It’s true that the resale value of an American car, relative to the sticker price is generally poor. But with any kind of research and/or general negotiating competence, you should be able to get a big discount of sticker for an American car, likely much bigger than for a foreign car. I suspect that for a competently negotiated for American car versus a Japanese car, the resale issue is close to a wash - probably still a slight edge, percentage-wise, to the Japanese car, but then, the Japanese car probably cost more to start with, and on an absolute dollar basis, you may have depreciated more…

I recently made a choice between a Saturn VUE and a Honda CRV. The VUE seems to have a history of problems and even though it had some nice features I still went with the Honda because I know it will run for umpteen thousand miles without any problems. In my research it looks like the newer VUEs don’t have the same problems as the older ones but it’s just not worth it to me to take a chance on it.

I like to drive trucks over cars, and so I have owned nothing but Chevys and Fords in the past. My father has owned Chevys as far back as I can remember. They used to be beasts and easy to work on, and you just got used to the little stuff. After my last Chevy truck, I had had enough of the problems that are considered “normal wear”, and decided that GM wasn’t going to get another truck sale off me. I test drove a Toyota Tundra and was totally mesmerized by the quality and ride compared to the American trucks. I custom ordered a Tundra right then and there, and haven’t looked back. GM has a long way to go before they could even interest me in another one of their trucks.

My dad was in the market for a new truck about the same time I was, and was interested in the Tundra as well, but decided on another Chevy. He really doesn’t like it, but the reason he gave me for buying it over a Toyota was “The North Koreans may nuke the Japanese, and then I won’t be able to get parts for it.” To each his own I guess…


My wife loves her CR-V to an unholy degree. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

My car ownership history:

1991: 1976 Buick Century. Was a tank. Had quite a few minor mechanical problems, but I was able (with help from my dad) to fix most of them. Car was old, obviously, but not a total lemon.

1993: 1992 Eagle Talon (same car as Eclipse). Ran pretty well for about 2 years, then started to have MAJOR problems. Spent approx. $4k on repairs over the course of 5 years.

1996: 1996 Chevy Cavalier (wife’s car). Had mechanical problems starting about 6 months after it was driven off the lot. Spent approx. $6k on repairs over 9 years.

1998: 1998 VW Jetta (sold the Talon, and the new owner had the transmission go out shortly thereafter – this on a car with only 75k miles!) Jetta has been trouble from the get-go. I wish I’d bought the fucking extended warranty. I’ve put at least $9k into repairs on this car over the last 9 years.

2005: 2005 Honda CR-V (wife’s car – replaced the Cavalier, which never quite ran right). Haven’t had a hiccup with the CR-V so far. About to celebrate its second B-day, and has over 40k miles.

2006: 2000 Honda S2000. Got a sweet deal on a sweet car. No problems at all so far. This has become our “third” car (in a house with two drivers) because I just can’t let go of it, but it’s not safe for the car seat and kid. Seven years old and runs perfectly.

The Talon, Jetta, and Cavalier were all pretty much lemons.

A friend of mine who used to live in Detroit told me that American car mfr’s problems were largely the result of how people in Detroit drove their cars. She said that no one in Detroit typically kept a car more than three years, and, as a result, they weren’t made with long term quality in mind. That may have changed, but it’ll be a long time before I think about buying a GM product, since I plan to drive a car for at least a decade.

She said that no one in Detroit typically kept a car more than three years, and, as a result, they weren’t made with long term quality in mind.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone get cause and effect reversed in quite so spectacular a manner.

I have a 2000 Impala that I foolishly paid $1400 for a warranty on (I got it in 2004 for about $9k). Since then I’ve gotten two replacement transmissions and a new driver’s-side window motor that the Chevy dealer claimed cost $400. Thanks, warranty!

That reminds me, the warranty expires in about 12 months. What should I do? I’m obviously not keeping something that needs a $2000 transmission job every few years.

Man, I’m glad I know how to fix cars…