Toyotas Reliability Takes a Hit

By: Anthony Fontanelle

When it comes to car buying, a lot of people consider the different attributes of a vehicle. Others are looking for a new vehicle with good performance while others put more value on comfort. Some buyers are after the exterior design of a vehicle while some are looking for vehicles loaded with features. There are also those whose choice of vehicle depends on its safety. But one thing that all consider is a vehicle's reliability. And when it comes to reliability issues, Toyota is tops - that is, until this year.

Consumer Reports recently reported that Toyota's vehicles' reliability has declined. This comes after years of the Japanese automaker's leadership in the industry when it comes to reliability. The Consumer Reports 2007 Annual Car Reliability Survey shows that consumers are now finding Toyota vehicles less reliable than their ancestors. In contrast, Ford's vehicles have received good marks from consumers.

The most popular Toyota nameplate, the V6 variant of the Camry received a dismal and surprising below average rating in terms of predicted reliability. The Camry has been redesigned fore 2007 and it has always been Toyota's best selling vehicle. It has been known through the years as a reliable car. The redesign though may have had negative effects on the reliability of the car.

Aside from the 2007 Camry, the redesigned and beefed-up Toyota Tundra also received a below average rating in reliability. The four-wheel drive V8 version of the full-size pickup truck received the dismal rating. Even Lexus' all-wheel drive variant of the GS sedan received a below average rating. Since Consumer Reports does not recommend any vehicle with a below average rating, the three variants are no longer on the prestigious "Recommended list" of Consumer Reports.

Although reliability of aforementioned variants dropped below average, the automaker in general is still third in the overall reliability ranking. That includes Toyota's luxury division Lexus and its youth brand Scion. The Japanese automaker ranked below fellow Japanese automakers. Honda is ranked as the producer of the most reliable automobiles. Subaru, the makers of the durable , spark plugs, and spark plug wires is ranked second.

Toyota Motor Sales Executive Vice President Jim Lentz had this to say in response to the Consumer Reports announcement: "Over all, this survey reflects well on our products. However, we're taking measures every day to continue to sharpen quality and enhance customer satisfaction." Being on track to become the largest automaker in the world, Toyota has been stepping up its production output. It is only normal for automakers to have problems with quality control after a huge boost in production. Thus Toyota is expected to bounce back from this minor stumble.

In the past, redesigned Toyota vehicles have been recommended by Consumer Reports due to the automaker's track record. The Auto Channel reported that even if Consumer Reports have insufficient reliability data for a new vehicle, it still recommends redesigned Toyota, Lexus, and Scion nameplates due to the aforementioned reason. But with the amount of Toyota recalls this year, Consumer Reports gave the redesigned Toyota vehicles below average reliability scores. If Toyota can bounce back to its trademark stance in terms of reliability, Consumer Reports may bring back its policy to recommend the automaker's newly redesigned vehicles.

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