There's no arguing that Toyota's recent string of recalls and safety issues is a huge deal. After all, Toyota enjoyed years of rapid growth due in large part to its sterling record of safety, reliability and practicality. When analyzing the actual data, though, an interesting question arises: Are we – both the media and the public at large – blowing the Toyota recall story out of proportion?
The answer to that question is up to each and every one of us to decide, naturally, but Edmunds has taken it upon itself to compile a mountain of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data in an effort to shed some much-needed light on Toyota's recent woes (including its Lexus and Scion divisions) in comparison to the rest of the automotive marketplace. Here's the crux of Edmunds' findings:
So, what does all of this mean? That's debatable. Consider that these issues, which were reported to NHTSA by consumers themselves and entered into an database that's not checked for accuracy, are not weighted for severity. So, a seemingly trivial issue counts just the same as one that could lead to a serious accident or death. Nevertheless, hit the jump for Edmunds' complete breakdown and ranking of all automakers from 2001 to February 3rd of 2010.Toyota ranks 17th among automakers in the overall number of complaints per vehicle sold... Toyota was the subject of 9.1 percent of the complaints from 2001 through 2010 (through February 3). During this period, the company sold 13.5 percent of all new cars in the United States.
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[Source: Edmunds | Image: Scott Olson/Getty]
Toyota Recalls Put into Context by Edmunds.com
SANTA MONICA, Calif. - February 10, 2010 - Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, has obtained and reviewed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) complaint database. A key finding: despite being the subject of intense scrutiny of the company, Toyota ranks 17th among automakers in the overall number of complaints per vehicle sold.
According to the database, which consists of complaints filed by individuals and is not checked for accuracy by NHTSA, Toyota was the subject of 9.1 percent of the complaints from 2001 through 2010 (through February 3). During this period, the company sold 13.5 percent of all new cars in the United States.
Land Rover ranks first among automakers, with 0.6 percent of the complaints compared to only 0.1 percent market share from 2001 through 2010 (through February 3).
The following chart sets forth the results for all automakers:
|AUTOMAKER||RANK (IN ORDER OF MOST
COMPLAINTS PER MARKET SHARE)
|PERCENT OF COMPLAINTS
IN NHTSA DATABASE
|PERCENT OF SALES IN
|AMERICAN SUZUKI MOTOR CORP.||2||0.9%||0.4%|
|ISUZU MANUFACTURING SERVICES OF AMERICA||3||0.3%||0.2%|
|VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA, INC||4||4.1%||2.4%|
|JAGUAR CARS LTD||5||0.4%||0.2%|
|VOLVO CARS OF N.A. LLC.||6||1.1%||0.7%|
|MAZDA NORTH AMERICAN OPERATIONS||8||1.7%||1.5%|
|MITSUBISHI MOTORS NORTH AMERICA, INC.||9||1.3%||1.2%|
|FORD MOTOR COMPANY||10||18.3%||17.6%|
|GENERAL MOTORS CORP.||11||25.3%||24.5%|
|NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC.||12||5.8%||5.9%|
|HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY||13||4.2%||4.4%|
|BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC||14||1.7%||1.9%|
|SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC.||15||1.1%||1.3%|
|AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR CO.||16||6.8%||9.4%|
|TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION||17||9.1%||13.5%|
|MERCEDES-BENZ USA, LLC.||18||1.0%||1.5%|
|PORSCHE CARS NORTH AMERICA, INC.||19||0.1%||0.2%|
|SMART USA DISTRIBUTOR LLC||20||0.0%||0.0%|
Edmunds.com analysts also attempted to evaluate the deaths and injuries reported in the NHTSA database, but it quickly became clear that the data is unreliable. For example, one complaint indicated that 99 people had died in one vehicle as a result of an accident. It should also be noted roughly 10 percent of total complaints appear to be duplicates. Finally, this analysis did not rate the reported incidents for severity.
"No one should overlook the issues raised by the Toyota recalls, but it is important to keep things in perspective," reminded Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl. "A broader view shows that consumer complaints reflect an industry issue, not just a Toyota issue. As Toyota's experience in recent months clearly demonstrates, it is no longer an option for car companies to dismiss consumer complaints, even if the event is difficult to replicate or diagnose."
"Edmunds' CarSpace.com Forums have been a venue for driver feedback since 1996," noted Sylvia Marino, Executive Director of Community Operations for Edmunds.com. "Automakers can easily review postings to uncover issues and discuss them with the consumers who have experienced them."
Edmunds.com has created a free resource to keep consumers informed about the 2010 Toyota recall at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-car-news/toyota-recall.html.