Toyota! You Asked for It, You Got It!

"This isn't your daddy's Toyota!" - Michael Patrick Murphy

When Toyotas first came to America, you were promised a cheap car that wouldn't break down. They pretty much fulfilled that promise. So what if you could die in one more easily? They didn't promise you a long life now, did they?

Today, you get more than you bargained for—or should I say a lot less! Chances are that Toyotas are the "Found On Road Dead" car of the next decade; a title who's initials, F-O-R-D, used to represent the Ford Motor Company.

Today, like most large corporations, Toyota is the over promising and under delivering car of the century. With recalls up the yin-yang and astronomical repair costs, especially on hybrid battery replacements, one realizes that perhaps it is China's turn to try to be the next cheap sturdy car. I'd love to say buy American, but I'd rather tell you to just walk to you need to go. You'll feel better.

I bought a Prius in late 2002. It was very expensive but it was cool. I called it a green, green, green car. Green #1: It promised high milage, albeit way less than the stated 50 plus miles to the gallon. I only averaged 42 mph the first few years and 39 thereafter based on its own over stating information screen which goes through a mile faster than the government posted roadside markers prove. Green #2: It promised low emissions. Well, it passes the smog check in California, but beyond that, only the sky knows for sure. Green #3: The car was painted green and it has actually stayed green.

When one goes to, we find that the older the Prius the more black it’s history. The electrical system is for the birds. However, it doesn’t tell the whole black story that Toyota would prefer you not find out about.

The recommended tires wear out at about 20,000 miles. Not good; not cheap; and not environmentally positive. The added expense further diminished fuel savings. I’ve been through many sets of tires. The car now has almost 140,000 miles. That’s about 7 sets of tires.

In 2007, the car broke down in the fast lane on the freeway due to a malfunctioning computer responding to a malfunctioning part. Fortunately, it just cost a few days stuck in Los Angeles as Toyota finally recognized the huge flaw and offered to pay for it.

The GPS navigational system asked you to do numerous “U-turns” on Highway 65 headed to Marysville and of course didn’t even come with the current year’s neighborhoods added. Cost to replace CD was $200 plus, more than it would cost to install a much better portable unit with hands free blue tooth service. What did I get? A $200 plus CD. Ripped off again!

This year the main hybrid battery failed. The service gal almost choked when she informed me that it could cost over $4,000 to replace it and that Toyota wouldn’t do a damn thing other than give me a one year warranty on it. Remember, this expense is at 139,000 miles and year 7.5.

At about 90,000, wondering if I should sell the car, I asked a Toyota staff how much would it cost to replace that battery. He said about $800 and that he’d never heard of one going bad. In fact, a lot of them go bad. And now that the breed is reaching the 7 to 9 year mark and more of them are achieving the 140,000 mark, I think we’ll learn that buying a hybrid, let alone a Toyota, was a very bad financial move.

Toyota is hurting from numerous recalls and a declining dollar causing their parts and service prices to skyrocket. They must now pay the price which will ultimately cost them far more than the $4,000 they could have spent to appease this past customer. As more and more folks complain on or other websites, Toyota’s ancient management may one day wake up to the fact that they are the piece of junk car of the next millennium. The chances that the big corporate wheels can respond to my petty complaint are almost nil.

This brings us to a larger question. What happens in an inflationary depression to corporations that already over promised and under delivered? I’ll leave that answer up to a further article on Meanwhile, I’ll simply say that I no longer plan on supporting companies like Toyota that have sleepy, stupid, insensitive boards of directors even if it means that I have to walk to work more.