Toyota Prius Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Why do Toyota cars like the Prius built in Japan exceed the quality indicators of Toyotas built in USA? Such criteria as frequency-of-repairs, indexes of reliability, owner satisfaction, build quality, and retained value for Japanese Toyotas exceed their counterparts built in USA. But why? :?:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Sounds ridiculous to me as well. I mean, Honda Civics are famous for being extremely reliable, and all Civic Sedans (at least for 2006) are built in Ohio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,397 Posts
hyperion said:
How about some facts to back this up! Sounds sort of ridicules.
While this is only my personal experience, it is a fact. The following is a comparison of problems I have had with my American built Toyota Sienna and my Japanese built Prius.

2004 Sienna: Time owned 2 years. Total miles 17,500

1. Problem: Clunk in steering wheel when steering far left or right:
Resolution: First replaced steering rack. Didn't fix the problem. Then replaced the steering shaft and the problem went away.

2. Problem: Gas tank recall - Gas tank could leak, possible fire hazard.
Resolution: Gas tank replaced

3. Problem: Rear bumper partially came loose from rest of body.
Resolution: New clip was installed

4. Problem: Hook for rear sunshade fell off.
Resolution: New clip installed. Fell off again. I super glued it back on and it seems to be holding.

5. Problem: Radiator recall - Radiator could develop leaks.
Resolution: Radiator replaced.

6. Problem: Power steering hose recall - Hoses could develop leaks.
Resolution: Hoses replaced.

7. Problem: Seat belt recall - Seat belt may not function properly in an accident.
Resolution: Awaiting repair.

2004 Prius: Time owned 1 year. Total miles 26,000

1. Problem: Recall for stalling
Resolution: Awaiting notice and repair.

While this is far from conclusive, I was somewhat disappointed with the Sienna quality. Granted a lot of the problems were found by Toyota and I never experienced them, but the steering problem happend immediately and the bumper and hook problem just made the car seem like it wasn't put together very well. I did attribute it to the fact that it was "Made in the USA" though perhaps the problem was faulty engineering (USA or Japan?) or the fact that it was an early production model of a redesigned car.

I had a similar experinece with a 2004 Honda Odyssey that I owned directly before that (also made in the USA). I had a number of problems with it and traded it in on the Sienna.

The Prius on the other hand has been the most trouble free car I have ever owned and that is quite a few over the last 25 years.

I am interested if others have similar or contradicting experiences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
A comparison of only one US to one Japanese vehicle is a impossible to get a true statistically accurate sample out of. For example, it could just be that all Toyota minivans are junk, no matter where they're made. It could be that you got the one bad Sienna out of 99% good ones, and the one good Prius out of 99% bad ones.

As for your comparisons, you have four Sienna recalls to the Prius' one. Did you actually have any of the problems associated with any of those recalls? I doubt it. Most vehicles have recalls on some parts over time. Then you have two problems that are related to clips. Piddly little parts, quite possibly badly engineered over bad US manufacturing. And one fairly serious problem. How many of those problems occurred in the first year of ownership, and how many in the second?

As for the Prius' reliability? Well, it's a new, high-tech model, that was probably expected to have most people leery about the new high tech, so it was probably over-designed by a factor of 10. Try comparing the Japanese-built Honda Insight to the US-built Honda Civic. You'll find MORE problems with the Insight than the Civic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Um, a single U.S. car and a single Japanese car hardly makes for a significant data sample, don't you think? It's like claiming cars that begin with 'S' are more poorly built than cars that begin with 'P'.

Here is how to tell: Take a car that is built in Japan, and the exact same car that is also built in the U.S., and compare the two. Do this for many other cars as well. Then you can collate the data. Right now you're just comparing a Sienna to a Prius.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
My friend's 1996 Accord's interior is falling to bits and it's made in Maryland.

What about the M-Classes that had lower than average MB reliability (back in 99)??? They're built in Alabama.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
We traded a 2000 Lexus RX300 (built in Japan) for my wife's new 2005 Sienna (built in USA). The Lexus was very tight, quiet, and an excellent vehicle. We were sad to see it go, but needed more space. Overall I'm very happy with the quality of our XLE Limited AWD Sienna. There's one or two little nits that I have, such as a slightly cheaper feeling to the inside door handles of the front doors. They seem to flex ever so slightly and it just seems cheap to me. The wood grain is no where near Lexus quality either, but that's irrelevant to this discussion. These are really just design decisions, not assembly quality issues. I expected the quality of the USA-assembled Sienna to dissapoint me but that turned out not to be the case, mostly. I am very satisfied with our Sienna overall (10,000 miles so far).

I rented a 2005 Prius with 2700 miles on it, and the dash had a creak or two. In spite of that, I was still convinced to order a 2006 Prius because of the overwhelming technology, economy, and utility of the car. The quality of everything else seemed pretty good except for some hard-plastic interior parts. I'm just hoping a previous renter drove that rental off a curb or something abnormal to trigger the dash rattle before I got it. I sure hope my 2006 will resist rattles. I expect the Japanese-assembled Prius to have high quality. Time will tell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,873 Posts
Time certainly will tell as the Prius is held together with plastic snap fittings. And as far as the Sienna you failed to mention comparing it to an American made "Town and Country" I had two completely trouble free and quaility made over a sixteen year period. The determining factor would be in the design of the car rather than where a machine assembles it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
640 Posts
Until I bought a new '97 Subaru Outback, built in Indiana, I always assumed cars manufactured in Japan were made better. There could be little argument that this was true in the 70s and 80s. But this car with 195,000 has been amazingly reliable (still orig. clutch and exhaust system) and was impeccible when delivered. I'm glad my Prius was built in Japan but I wouldn't have hesitated to buy one had it been built in Kentucky or wherever in the US or Canada.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
455 Posts
How about this, we had a 1994 Camry XLE V6 built in the states (KY?). We sold it in 2000 with 238,000 miles -- roughly. It was completely trouble free until 180,000 miles when a knock sensor went. Then the driver's door window motor went, then the passenger side window motor went. That was it, besides fluids, filters, a couple of timing belts, tires and a couple of batteries. Still had the original tranny, starter, etc. Engine never opened up. Would still do triple digit speeds if asked, leather was still good with no rips or cracks.

Tideland, for the M class that was a completely, from the ground up new vehicle, it will have more problems, no doubt. Add to it a completely new factory, with a completely new work force and you could see the writting on the wall. Besides MB quality has really dropped in the last 10 years across all their vehicles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,161 Posts
There are a lot of factors involved.

Engineering: Even for the same car model, there may be engineering differences to fit a particular market. For example, that pesky bladder. You have to find out who engineered the components.

Assembly: This is where the car is built after it has been engineered.

Part manufacturing: No assembly is going to be any better than the parts that made the assembly. You could have the most careful assemblers, but if the components have stress errors in manufacturing or even engineering, you can't blame where the car was built.

Management: The previous three is only as good as the management of them. If the workers are rushed or even made to feel rushed, underpaid or feel underpaid, made unimportant or feel unimportant, then work suffers. My point here is that even if engineering, part manufacture and assembly are done here, different companies have different management styles, yielding different results. A Honda might be better than a Toyota (or vice versa) simply because the management makes it so, and not necessarily the quality of the workers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
548 Posts
Tideland Prius said:
My friend's 1996 Accord's interior is falling to bits and it's made in Maryland.

What about the M-Classes that had lower than average MB reliability (back in 99)??? They're built in Alabama.
What about my Prius, built in Japan, which died twice in the first 10 days I owned it?

One car doesn't a good sample make.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,285 Posts
Can't prove it by me. I put 185K on a Fremont, California-built '94 Corolla (same plant and car as GM's Geo Prizm) and had only two repairs (radiator leak and heater fan switch) in that time. It was tight, no leaks or squeaks, cost-competitive, and had excellent finish inside and out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
Spike, I understand your point and I agree. Thanks!

Johnny, I understand that but didn't the poster above me wanted more examples?

Besides, we've had 4 Toyota vehicles, 3 from Japan, one from Canada and they all performed flawlessly. The 02 Camry XLE being the "worst" of the 4 with blown brake light bulbs.

Not to mention all of my friends have Toyotas. Let's see, 1 Echo HB, 4 03/04 Corolla CEs, 1 05 Corolla S, 1 04 Matrix XR, 1 98 Camry LE, 1 00 Camry CE, 1 04 Camry LE, 1 04 Camry LE V6, 1 02 RAV4 Pkg "C", 1 95 MR2, 1 86 Camry LE wagon and 1 98 Sienna LE Pkg "B".

The Sienna has a broken handle from another friend who broke it. That's about it. Most are fairly new and so far, none of them have come running back to me asking why their car is doing this or doing that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
build quality

funny, a good friend of mine runs a body shop and he can always tell (aside from the VIN number) if a Japanese car is made in the US or Japan...build quality, detailed craftmanship, etc. He reference sociological data about the cultural work ethic in japan..not just a 9-5, but pride in production, exporting around the world, etc. He can also see the same in Volkswagens..which are made in Mexico vs. Canada vs. USA. Lots of generalizations/assumptions, I know...but these are tech guys who get inside cars when they are crashed...see moldings, paint, alignment of parts, etc....he always prefers to buy a car built in japan or at least have the engine/tranny from japan (this is a white guy)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,397 Posts
CGameProgrammer said:
Um, a single U.S. car and a single Japanese car hardly makes for a significant data sample, don't you think? It's like claiming cars that begin with 'S' are more poorly built than cars that begin with 'P'.
If you read my post it acknowledged your points and said that it may have been attributable to being an early production model. I offered it as a single fact (and qualified it as such) and said that it was far from conclusive. My point was that I was somewhat disappointed with it (although I still have it and really like it overall) and was curious if my experience was typical.

Also, I forgot to mention 2 other problems I have had with the Sienna

8. Problem: Passenger side sliding door open/close button broke.
Resolution: Replaced button.

9. Problem: Drivers side sliding door becomes jammed if someone attempts to open it while it is simultaneously being unlocked.
Resolution: I live with it. I have to hit the lock button on the door itself with the heel of my hand with significant force to unjam it.

Again, please don't misunderstand me. I have a car, it had more problems than I expected, I have been somewhat disappointed, someone posted a thread that seemed relevant and I responded. I'm not some bad guy trying to talk dirt on Toyota.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,397 Posts
ehurtley said:
As for your comparisons, you have four Sienna recalls to the Prius' one. Did you actually have any of the problems associated with any of those recalls?
In my post I indicated that I did not have the problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
"Japanese-built Toyotas...."

I think my question could be rephrased to this: why do Toyota-built cars from Japan like the Prius exceed the quality indicators of competitive models built in the USA? :?:
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top