Toyota did very well on my acid test, i.e. the home cooking index. I learned about the acid test from millionaires whom I interviewed. Before buying my first Toyota 17 years ago, I did a lot of research. Plus I drove through the employee parking lots of several Toyota dealerships. I found that nearly all the employees drove, you guessed it, Toyotas. Sure, employees have incentives to consume “home cooking.” They get discounts. But not all dealers of brands X, Y and Z cars have their employee parking lots filled with the home team brands. Not eating one’s own home cooking is telling to me.
And here is some more home cooking. My wife drives a Z71 Chevrolet Tahoe that sits next to my Toyota 4 Runner. I purchased it and the one before that at the largest Chevrolet dealer in America. And, yes, I did drive through its employees’ parking lot . . . many times. Nearly all of its employees drove Chevys. And perhaps most important, all the more than two dozen mechanics did the same, mostly full size pickups and SUVs .
The Tahoe is very reliable, big, heavy and protective. I have believed for quite some time that the full size GM SUVs and full size pickups are the best of their class worldwide. Note that Chevrolet Tahoe was given the top grade in the most recent J.D. Powers “Most Reliable Models” study of the population of 3-year old vehicles. USA Today praised it as “General Motors makes the most reliable [full size] pickups and SUVs.” The 2010 4 Runner was listed as the most reliable midsize SUV.
We have never considered owning a European luxury motor vehicle. Most are of high qualitiy, but dollar for dollar our Tahoe and 4 Runner are much better values. You may find it interesting that “Mercedes-Benz USA. . . 359 dealerships . . . survey of dealership employees . . . 15,000 participated. . . discovered that 70 percent of dealership employees had never driven one of the brand’s vehicles.” (Diana T. Kurylko, “Mercedes’ Cannon: Customer service is our top priority, Automotive News, January 21, 2013, p.29)
And what about a Porsche? Yes, it is the ultimate in engineering and performance but very, very expensive. Porsche ranked 2nd just behind Lexus (a Toyota make) in the same J.D. Powers study. Yet I believe that even this is somehow related to Toyota. I recall years back that Forbes published an article about how Porsche completely modernized the way it produces cars. The same theme was more recently echoed in The New York Times:
. . . Porsche bet the farm on the Boxster. But to have any chance at making money on a $40,000 sports car, Porsche had to hire former Toyota engineers – again, almost unfathomable – to tear down, revamp and modernize the entire company.
Everytime I see a Porsche drive by I do a word association, i.e. Porsche! Toyota!