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A friend of mine who works in the automotive industry commented to me that today all new cars are pretty darn reliable ( in his words ). The reason this topic came up is I asked him if he thought Hyundais were more reliable than Toyotas ( he being a Hyundai accent owner for many many years ). I am the original owner of a Gen 3 V6 Camry. Over the years, I have replaced a fair number of items including the trunk mechanism, which was quite expensive, the CV boots several times, the oil pan, front end axle, transmission, starter, and other things.
I guess 10 to 15 years ago Toyota was head and shoulders above other vehicle makes in terms of quality. I think now Toyota has slipped some and I’m curious what other people think.
 

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Camry is a high production car. There will always be bad eggs coming off the line. This is true for any manufacture who produces high production cars, but there are less bad eggs that toyota makes compared to other manufactures. Even 10-15 years ago, toyota produced bad eggs.

If you google search top relible cars, toyota/lexus is still top 5 while hyundai is down below at number 10 or so. I do believe hyundai has increased their reliablity but nowhere near toyota/lexus or honda.
 

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Fascinating topic.

Simple answer -- if Toyota is pressured to make more profit, its quality will fall. It might be reaching that point.

Longer -- WAY longer answer:

For a long time now, major automotives have been assemblers of components made by outside vendors. And many of those components were also engineered by the outside vendor. As every conscientious repair shop has found, depending on the quality of supplied parts is increasingly difficult.

If you're a maker with a desire for quality, maintaining assembly quality will depend on good relationships with suppliers, unflagging incoming goods quality control, and trained assemblers who are entitled to raise an alarm if something is wrong with a part or a design.

But the economics are tough for this.

Good relationships sometimes means sacrificing a bit of profit, as when you pay more for a given component because that component's supplier has put more into it -- more in materials, more in quality control, more in logistics Why logistics? Efficient -- that is, profitable -- assembly requires close delivery timing. Parts lying around create inventory and inventory costs a great deal... which is why most manufacturers have gone to just-in-time assembly.

Unflagging incoming quality control requires very highly trained personnel whose attention never wanders when outside vendor production runs are presented for their okay. At the same time, QC is a low-esteem position, hard to recruit, hard to keep... there are just going to be times when the right people aren't on the job.

Trained assembly personnel... Anecdote: a Toyota production specialist was talking about how much training Toyota provides line personnel -- classes, training sessions, self-guided training programs, and on and on. A GM counterpart asked, "What happens when you train to this level. Don't you get an employee that others want to hire away? What happens if you train people and they leave?"

The Toyota specialist simply said, "What happens when you don't train people, and they stay?"

So, all by itself, as a manufacturer hankering after quality similar to Toyota's historic level, you pay more for parts and you pay more for people.

But in the automotive world, reality raises a key issue. The more that you have to turn max profits, the more that cost pressures will erode quality.

At one point, you could say that the Toyota Production System (TPS), which has been evolving since the early 1950s, was absolutely alone. Volvo came very close in the 70s with its team assembly approach, but that's when Volvos suddenly became luxury cars, rather than latter-day Scandinavian Model Ts -- the cost of team assembly was (compared to Ford or GM) huge.

Today, people at other marques have seen the positive result of maybe-lower-profit but steadily-increasing demand/sales as the result of applying the TPS.

GM has tried for several decades to implement bits and pieces of it. Ford took a slightly different tack with its Design for Manufacturing -- designing parts such that (a) they cannot be mis-assembled and (b) that closely fit the logic of assembly-line production -- with a goal of never injecting extra effort or time due to design problems. GM has had to educate and cajole its line people, where Ford's approach required none of that -- and made the assembler's jobs easier, which they mostly liked.

Chrysler... well, as a writer about manufacturing, I was witness to Chrysler's ham-handed approach to its suppliers in the 1980s and 90s. Chrysler made it impossible to supply quality parts at the prices Chrysler would pay. And they didn't care if one of their low-ball vendors went bankrupt or quit. Fiat is now left with the lowest possible component quality from suppliers too dim to realize it's hopeless.

Anyway, other makers are catching up, inch by inch, or in the case of Korea, deliberately building an automotive industry right from the start at a level for successful world competition.

Unfortunately, world competition is reaching unprecedented levels. Will people pay more for better Toyota quality? Or will Toyota bow to economic pressure and become aggressive cost-cutters, with vehicles with more accountancy and less engineering?
 

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BeerSteakTxas
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I guess 10 to 15 years ago Toyota was head and shoulders above other vehicle makes in terms of quality. I think now Toyota has slipped some and I’m curious what other people think.
I've owned a 2000, 2001, 2007, 2012 and 2014 Camry and curently I own an Avalon and absolutely agree with "has slipped some" statement. All newer Toyotas are getting cheaper and cheaper made with less and less attention to details and build quality.
Sure, modern cars getting more and more complicated, but I hate when manufacturers are trying to hide lower build quality and reliability under "high tech" cover.
And quality of Toyota service is much worse than it used to be. From my experience I would rate Toyota service below Hyundai, Chevy, Honda and way below VW, Lexus and Ford service.
I've owned a 2006 2.0t Passat and while that car had a few pretty major and a lot of small issues, the interior was much nicer vs the gen 5-6 Camry and the Passat felt on a road like a premium car vs a Camry. Fast forward to our days: I know 3 long time Toyota owners that after owning 3-4 Toyota cars/suv's switched to a Passat and Tiguan and after 3-4 years they are still happy and had no issues with their cars and they all praise VW service.
If only VW would bring to the US the new EU Passat...
 

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The quality and reliability of all autos has dramatically improved over the last 40 years. The main reason for this is technology and manufacturing improvements, and the fact that automakers rely a lot more on third party expert vendors to produce parts. Even when automakers make their own stuff, they often engage in technology sharing (even part sharing) between automakers. Probably reverse engineering also plays a role (learning from others).

For example, Toyota owns a minority stake in Aisin who makes many of their transmissions, but Aisin makes transmissions for many different automakers. It used to be that automakers made all their own mechanical and electrical systems, but that is no longer the case. My 2009 Hyundai Genesis has a Aisin RWD transmission used in many other brands including Lexus.

The other aspect is whether Toyota quality has gotten worse relative to others. Automobiles have gotten much more complex in the last 10 year. Due to the extreme emphasis being place on fuel economy, extended fluid change intervals (to cut down on waste disposal), electronic equipment for infotainment and safety features, autos are much more complex and there are a lot more things that can wrong. The competition among automakers is much more fierce than before means they need to add these new features as soon as possible, which has some effect on quality and longevity. So the gap between Toyota and other is a lot smaller than it used to be.

No one is totally surprised if a computer or TV or smartphone fails after 6-8 years, and electrical components can fail even if not used (for example, a capacitor can dry up over time). Touch screens eventually wear out if used too often. Considering that autos are stored and operate in extreme weather conditions, it is no wonder that these new things eventually fail.

As far as Hyundai is concerned, they have made remarkable improvements in quality. That is not totally surprising when you look at companies like Samsung and LG (formerly known as Goldstar) and how far those Korean companies have come in quality improvements. Most people under the age of 55 probably don't remember that in the 1960's and earlier, Japanese products (not just Japanese autos) were consider to be junk. Even Sony was junk at one time. The Japanese figured out how to fix that, and so have the Koreans. The Chinese are still working on that to some degree. The Russians never quite figured it out.
 

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The quality and reliability of all autos has dramatically improved over the last 40 years. The main reason for this is technology and manufacturing improvements, and the fact that automakers rely a lot more on third party expert vendors to produce parts. Even when automakers make their own stuff, they often engage in technology sharing (even part sharing) between automakers. Probably reverse engineering also plays a role (learning from others).

For example, Toyota owns a minority stake in Aisin who makes many of their transmissions, but Aisin makes transmissions for many different automakers. It used to be that automakers made all their own mechanical and electrical systems, but that is no longer the case. My 2009 Hyundai Genesis has a Aisin RWD transmission used in many other brands including Lexus.

The other aspect is whether Toyota quality has gotten worse relative to others. Automobiles have gotten much more complex in the last 10 year. Due to the extreme emphasis being place on fuel economy, extended fluid change intervals (to cut down on waste disposal), electronic equipment for infotainment and safety features, autos are much more complex and there are a lot more things that can wrong. The competition among automakers is much more fierce than before means they need to add these new features as soon as possible, which has some effect on quality and longevity. So the gap between Toyota and other is a lot smaller than it used to be.

No one is totally surprised if a computer or TV or smartphone fails after 6-8 years, and electrical components can fail even if not used (for example, a capacitor can dry up over time). Touch screens eventually wear out if used too often. Considering that autos are stored and operate in extreme weather conditions, it is no wonder that these new things eventually fail.

As far as Hyundai is concerned, they have made remarkable improvements in quality. That is not totally surprising when you look at companies like Samsung and LG (formerly known as Goldstar) and how far those Korean companies have come in quality improvements. Most people under the age of 55 probably don't remember that in the 1960's and earlier, Japanese products (not just Japanese autos) were consider to be junk. Even Sony was junk at one time. The Japanese figured out how to fix that, and so have the Koreans. The Chinese are still working on that to some degree. The Russians never quite figured it out.
My way of seeing it, the Japanese copied everything but added their unique thinking to it and "made it better". As my instructor said, Japanese products "back in the day" were trash but look where they are now. The same could be said of Chinese products (as in vehicles... their knockoff vehicles...), they may eventually reach a point where they (even though they already are) common. I am also not talking about the MADE IN CHINA products but the actual (knockoff) products. It's hard to describe...
 

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My way of seeing it, the Japanese copied everything but added their unique thinking to it and "made it better". As my instructor said, Japanese products "back in the day" were trash but look where they are now. The same could be said of Chinese products (as in vehicles... their knockoff vehicles...), they may eventually reach a point where they (even though they already are) common. I am also not talking about the MADE IN CHINA products but the actual (knockoff) products. It's hard to describe...
The idea of continuous improvement in Japan is known as "Kaizen." As far as copying other processes or technology (legally), yes, that is what every successful company should do so long as they don't violate patent laws. Creative originality is nice, but civilization is built on the knowledge of those who came before us.

Today, that copying is called "benchmarking" and most organizations use that technique to evaluate what they are doing (and how they do it) against others. That applies not just to products, but to every single activity in an organization (even things like HR policies).

Here is an article that describes Kaizen and talks specifically about Toyota:

Here is one excerpt:

"The visiting execs [from American auto manufacturers] watched Toyota's process in action and were stunned at how it worked. It was unimaginable for a single line worker to have the ability to stop the line without the approval of a foreman, much less have anything worthwhile to suggest to management as far as line policy or procedure were concerned. The idea of rewarding employees for fixing errors immediately—even if it wasn't their job—was unheard of, especially since the going logic at the time was "no matter what, don't stop the line." The visiting execs, the story concludes, went home and implemented similar procedures. They started to reward people who sought out better ways to work together, or to get the job done, and they rewarded people for quality work instead of just more work."
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A friend of mine who works in the automotive industry commented to me that today all new cars are pretty darn reliable ( in his words ). The reason this topic came up is I asked him if he thought Hyundais were more reliable than Toyotas ( he being a Hyundai accent owner for many many years ). I am the original owner of a Gen 3 V6 Camry. Over the years, I have replaced a fair number of items including the trunk mechanism, which was quite expensive, the CV boots several times, the oil pan, front end axle, transmission, starter, and other things.
I guess 10 to 15 years ago Toyota was head and shoulders above other vehicle makes in terms of quality. I think now Toyota has slipped some and I’m curious what other people think.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The Japanese are undoubtedly masters of the continuous improvement philosophy. The thing I can’t understand about Toyota is why they insist on using entune and are reluctant to place android auto in some of their new cars.
 

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The Japanese are undoubtedly masters of the continuous improvement philosophy. The thing I can’t understand about Toyota is why they insist on using entune and are reluctant to place android auto in some of their new cars.
They have long term contracts with suppliers. When a major upgrade of the vehicle take place, that is when they will usually add those features.

Continuous improvement is not necessarily adding the latest and greatest features. It is making sure they work, and that implementing them with the most efficient deployment of resources. Automakers don't upgrade their vehicles every year, and when they are close to releasing a completely upgraded model, they generally stop add new features to the old models. The same complaints can be seen on other auto forums for other brands/models about Apple Car Play and Android Auto delays.
 

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I have rented many Hyundai’s and kias. I am surprise in 6 years of renting Hyundai’s and kias the first four years was very scary. The last two years is not bad. Most of rental have less than 10k miles.
 

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I have rented many Hyundai’s and kias. I am surprise in 6 years of renting Hyundai’s and kias the first four years was very scary. The last two years is not bad. Most of rental have less than 10k miles.
As of late, I have preferred to rent Hyundais or Kias, even over Toyotas at times, because I could utilize Apple Carplay or Android Auto, since my travel having to need GPS and using Google Maps/Waze (Apple Maps previously before). Finally, Toyota wised up and isn't try to push the Scout crap anymore. Even Entune isn't that great, but with Carplay (and soon AA), it is acceptable.
 

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Toyota ia still head of the pack. What may set them back is incorporation of CVT transmissions in more of their vehicles.These transmissions are a proven failure yet more manufacturers use them. After many improvements they still are unreliable and are known to fail at or before 60,000 miles.First developed by Nissan, Honda adopted this technology also. Previously, planetary gear transmissions in these cars were always extremely reliable. Always looking to cut costs, CVT transmissions were developed.
Hyundais entrance to the car market was disatrous.Oil burning in their early engines required steel sleeves in the cylinders. More recently, the 1.8 liter Nu engine was plagued with connecting rod knocks, engine bearing failure, and oil sludge problems. Their other engines though were
much more reliable.
Honda had many problems with their transmissions in the Accord models. Civics had none.
Steer clear of American made vehicles. None have reached the Long term reliability of the cars I've mentioned earlier.
Mazda in my opinion is tie with Toyota in reliabilty. Still manufactured in Japan, the Maxda 3, CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9 are very reliable.
In my opinion certain models in Toyota, Mazda,Honda and Nissan are reliable. Stay clear of CVT transmisssions.
 

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As of late, I have preferred to rent Hyundais or Kias, even over Toyotas at times, because I could utilize Apple Carplay or Android Auto, since my travel having to need GPS and using Google Maps/Waze (Apple Maps previously before). Finally, Toyota wised up and isn't try to push the Scout crap anymore. Even Entune isn't that great, but with Carplay (and soon AA), it is acceptable.
I still prefer toyota, nissan
As of late, I have preferred to rent Hyundais or Kias, even over Toyotas at times, because I could utilize Apple Carplay or Android Auto, since my travel having to need GPS and using Google Maps/Waze (Apple Maps previously before). Finally, Toyota wised up and isn't try to push the Scout crap anymore. Even Entune isn't that great, but with Carplay (and soon AA), it is acceptable.
You know how rental goes. Sometimes difficult to get what you want or you get charged extra. Since this is corporate rental I can't really change or dont want to pay more. :) However, my choice is still toyota, over any car. If no toyota then nissan, ford , hyundai, kia (tied).
 

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Toyota ia still head of the pack. What may set them back is incorporation of CVT transmissions in more of their vehicles.These transmissions are a proven failure yet more manufacturers use them. After many improvements they still are unreliable and are known to fail at or before 60,000 miles.First developed by Nissan, Honda adopted this technology also. Previously, planetary gear transmissions in these cars were always extremely reliable. Always looking to cut costs, CVT transmissions were developed.
Hyundais entrance to the car market was disatrous.Oil burning in their early engines required steel sleeves in the cylinders. More recently, the 1.8 liter Nu engine was plagued with connecting rod knocks, engine bearing failure, and oil sludge problems. Their other engines though were
much more reliable.
Honda had many problems with their transmissions in the Accord models. Civics had none.
Steer clear of American made vehicles. None have reached the Long term reliability of the cars I've mentioned earlier.
Mazda in my opinion is tie with Toyota in reliabilty. Still manufactured in Japan, the Maxda 3, CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9 are very reliable.
In my opinion certain models in Toyota, Mazda,Honda and Nissan are reliable. Stay clear of CVT transmisssions.
You made a post with no proof. I agree with your nissan honda transmission failure though.
 

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The proof of which I've stated said information are from the many articles I've read from within manufacturers data bases and automotive reporter articles and first hand experience with said vehicles.
 

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I wish I had saved all the articles so that I could have shared them. It may take time to gather up the articles once again. You can be sure though what I'm reporting is extremely accurate.
 
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