For decades, Toyota was known for consistently putting out reasonably priced cars that never broke. Unfortunately for them, that has changed. Toyota recalled 1.5 million vehicles 599,000 of which are in the US, for problems with, what else, the brakes. At least this signifies a change in the culture at Toyota after they were dragging their heels on recalling other vehicles earlier in the year after problems with ‘sudden acceleration’ (read: the car won’t stop) killed several people. That makes 10 million vehicles Toyota has had to recall over the past year, which kind of obliterates their previous sterling reputation.
According to this article, of the 21 major recalls by global automakers this year thus far, only four (less than a fifth) have come from Detroit. The rest are from either European or, mostly Japanese automakers. In years past, this ratio would have been exactly reversed, with the Japanese having just a few, and the Big Three claiming the rest. This is a huge step in the right direction. So, while Detroit still has an uphill slog to reclaim market share and retire debt, they’ve taken care of the product end of the business. I’m now of the opinion that US automakers have surpassed their Japanese counterparts in terms of quality for new products. It’s in the numbers. And, you can’t argue with numbers.