1997 Toyota Camry Standard from Australia and New Zealand - Comments

17th Jun 2011, 16:54

My sympathy to the reviewer. Some years back a very dear friend of mine was persuaded by ad hype and ill-informed friends to buy a used Camry with 80,000 miles on it. The car lasted just over a month, when the transmission failed. He was told it would cost more than the car was worth to fix it, so he had the car hauled to a junk yard and bought a 16-year-old Chevy with over 200,000 miles on it for $250. It proved very reliable, and he was very happy with it.

Advertising creates many myths that gullible consumers fall for. There are lots of "surveys" people can find that recommend Toyota. However, virtually all such surveys are based on opinion and are highly questionable. Only surveys based on actual problems with the cars, such as J.D. Powers Initial Quality Survey and Long-Term Reliability survey, can be relied upon. Both those surveys rank Toyota pretty poorly.

At present Toyota is running ads that claim they sell more cars than anybody. That is true... in WORLD sales due to Toyota's more wide-spread world market. In the U.S., however, GM outsold Toyota by 2 to 1 in May, Ford outsold them nearly 2 to 1, and even Chrysler outsold them. Even Hyundai/Kia sold only 900 units less than Toyota in the U.S. in May. It's easy to manipulate data to create false impressions. Car makers are masters at that. Anyone spending good money on a car should always seek out reliable and accurate data sources, rather than relying on ad hype or opinion-based surveys, such as Consumer Reports or the popular car magazines.

19th Jun 2011, 11:27

Better than that, I can actually quote them. IQS is very shortly described by JB Power themself as;

"Consumers are asked to rate both mechanical quality (i.e., defects and malfunctions) and design quality (how well a particular feature works or operates)."

You still mean that there's no subjective factors here?

19th Jun 2011, 12:56

Do you ever tire of writing the same post over and over? Are you on some crusade to persuade people that Japanese cars are mythically better than domestics? Since I can easily count 3 to one import to domestic everywhere I drive, I'd say your "information" and "advice" isn't really working. Imports have been and probably always will be better than domestic cars. The truth hurts I know, but facts are facts, and since you yourself discredit any rankings systems, then I guess they mean nothing, so why continue to quote them?

One friend buying a high mileage used Toyota creates an opinion about a car brand for you. That's pretty thin don't you think? Many many years of owning Toyota's, Honda's, Subaru's and Saab's are where I base my opinions on import cars. The same holds true for my experience with domestics. I base my posts and comments on my own personal facts, not rankings systems. Not sure why anyone thinks quoting JD Powers helps people on here, but here it continues on and on...

20th Jun 2011, 09:14

"Do you ever tire of writing the same post over and over?"

Look who's talking.

20th Jun 2011, 10:26

The very same thing can be said about those that keep tirelessly writing useless anecdotal posts about Japanese cars and oh-how-inferior they are to their "domestics". I just find it funny because if you really and truly believed that Japanese cars were inferior, then you'd probably not spend countless hours writing in their defense. You would feel confident in knowing that you were driving a superior product and not concern yourselves about strangers on a site.

20th Jun 2011, 11:40

I'm thinking about the same thing myself. Most Toyota threads are spammed with people that seem to know better than everyone else. It doesn't matter that almost all quality rating shows that Toyota, Honda, Subaru shine year after year, decades after decades. That doesn't seem to matter.

The only thing that matter for these people is that Lincoln last year outperformed both Lexus and Toyota (although by a thin margin). And suddenly Lincoln is a Ford. Strange. I though Lincoln made cars selling for $40-50K and up, whereas Fords are making cars that sell for half that price. But what do I know?

Personally I don't care whether people are buying cars from Detroit or not. Actually hardly any cars are made in Detroit anymore it seems. The best sellers from Ford and GM are made overseas; Mexico, Canada. The "award winning" Chev Cruze is made by Daewoo in Korea, and is actually a Daewoo Lacetti Premiere. Sold in USA, it's suddenly all red, white and blue (wave your flags everybody!). Built in Korea by Daewoo. Parts from all over the world (but not from USA, though). The body designed in Korea (by Daewoo) and the engineering is partly made (and completely designed) in Germany (by Opel AG). Yeah! Real American car that benefits the US economy.

But what do I know? I drive my Camry, designed and built in the US with mostly US parts. And people are calling me unpatriotic. People REALLY are brainwashed.

20th Jun 2011, 13:04

Yes, but at least mine is truth from ACTUAL EXPERIENCE, and not going on about JD Powers!

20th Jun 2011, 13:36

If I wrote comments based solely on personal experience with cars, I would be literally vicious in my attacks of imports. All our imports were poorly built, very unreliable, and none made it to 100,000 miles without massive and very expensive repairs. All three used copious amounts of oil, and went through brakes every 20,000-30,000 miles.

On the other hand, no domestic we have owned has ever required a repair before 100,000 miles. Most have not even required a brake job before 100,000 miles. Our last GM car (Pontiac) did require front brake pads at 70,000 miles, but that was the only repair it ever required.

Our current 9-year-old GM has 100,000 miles and has never had a single repair or even brake pads. That kind of rugged reliability is why we will never again buy anything that is not made by Ford or GM. We are busy people who can't afford having a car out of service every week. We need our cars to give our import-owning friends rides to the shop to pick up their recalled or broken-down cars.

20th Jun 2011, 15:53

J D Powers is actual personal experience from many thousands of owners, same make and model. And also prior years of each make and model as well.

20th Jun 2011, 16:35

The Cruze for the US market is actually built in the US. Lordstown Ohio to be exact. It is built off of the Delta II platform, which is used for a number of GM products. I am a lifelong Toyota owner. That said, I have driven the Cruze on a few occasions, and it's miles ahead of what GM used to pass off as a compact car.

That said - these comments claiming that Toyota and Honda make inferior products are baseless. Has Toyota made a few duds or had some defects in the past? Sure. All automakers have. But generally speaking, the major Japanese automakers have had a more consistent run of reliable products. I don't even think about reliability when it comes to either Toyota or Honda, simply because they've never given me trouble. The same can be said for the vast majority of those I know who own them.

This romantic idealism attached to the notion of an "American" car is sort of outdated when in fact the entire automotive industry has gone global, with all carmakers for the most part producing cars in different countries. There are cars Toyota produces here that are almost entirely for the US market. Likewise, there are cars Ford and GM makes or made in Europe and Asia that are for those markets. For example the Fiesta was for decades a vehicle Ford sold strictly overseas. We in the US have only recently gotten these cars. I've been to Europe, and Ford has been there for so long that many Europeans consider them to be their own. I think the same has been happening with Toyota in the US. They produce and sell a lot of cars in the US. Many are actually designed here for our tastes.

Getting back to GM and Ford, I've been following their progress for a few years now. I will say that they have both made dramatic improvements in their product lines and the quality of those products. They now offer fairly competitive small cars, which they haven't done in decades. That said, none of this would've happened had these companies not relied on global resources. Both the Fiesta and Cruze were sold overseas first. The Fiesta has been in Europe for decades. What's important is that the Big 3 have started producing global cars. Instead of having totally different cars for different countries, the same cars sold in Europe and Asia are now in many cases also sold in the US.

So yes - I feel that the Big 3 are doing better. I think the Cruze is a decent small car, and competes well in that segment. But give credit where credit is due: Toyota and Honda both make outstanding products.