23 April 2008

Toyota Tops GM

They've done it again. The Japanese automaker sold 2.41 million cars in the 1st quarter compared to GM's 2.25 million, for the second year in a row taking an early lead in the industry's race to be number #1.

"We obviously want to win," said Mike DiGiovanni, GM's executive director of global markets and industry analyst. "We'd like to be No. 1 in sales at the end of the year and were going to compete hard for every sale to do that."

That's going to be tougher than finding a virgin in an FLDS compound considering that, as The Detroit News points out:

North American sales, where the U.S. auto industry is struggling with what's expected to be the slowest sales year in more than a decade, were [already] down 10 percent.

You may wonder how all of this is possible when Toyota is the most recalled automotive product in North America, but when it comes to quality perception is reality, as Obamaians demonstrate. Despite their quality woes, Toyota is still perceived as a reliable set of wheels. And it doesn't hurt that the Japanese media supports their manufacturers with an abandon that U.S. journalist would find too icky in an I-love-America sorta way. In fact The Japan Times kicked off the 2008 automotive race by proclaiming that "Toyota aims to rout GM in 2008 sales race" Not just beat GM, but rout them.

All right, Japan, now it's on! You're messing with the Cadillac of cars here.


  1. winged-wheeler said...

    Another gay article by a writer in love with the US automakers; why not marry them?

  2. sergei-rulez said...

    I have driven Chrysler, Ford and GM products for almost 20 years and the GMs have been the only ones worth their salt. I currently drive a Honda and would place it in the top two or three cars I've ever driven. That said, Toyota may be the most recalled because they sell the most cars. It's like saying that white people are incarcerated the most, but not stating they make up about 87% of the population. Also, how trust-worthy is this khaki elephant guy when, in his About Me profile, he's not even wearing khaki's? Hmm...

  3. Khaki Elephant said...

    Sergei, keep in mind that Toyota does not sell the most cars in North America and never has. Their current #1 rating is based on global sales in the 1st quarter. In CY2007, Toyota was 3rd in NA sales behind GM and a peaking Ford (trailing GM by nearly 10% of market share), yet they still had more recalls then either.

    While I'm happy for you and your Honda experience, it only demonstrates the old "Swedish Car Phenomena" where anecdotal evidence is given more credibility than mounds of data. Lawyers use this phenomena all the time, but they call it an "expert witness." And if you want to get all Freud with it, Americans who by foreign cars rarely criticize their purchase since they don't want to appear both "unamerican" and gullible.

    Oh, and Khaki makes me look fat.

  4. sergei-rulez said...

    KE, using one calendar year is what statisticians would call a "small sample"; it doesn't represent the big picture. Say Derek Jeter is batting .400 and Magglio Ordonez batting .333; someone using the small sample argument would say Jeter is therefore more productive and a better hitter. What wasn't mentioned is that Jeter may be 4 for 10 because he missed a bunch of games whereas Ordonez has actually has produced more because he has been healthy and not missed any games.

    Also, please elaborate on the Swedish Car Phenomena because Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia don't have any entries about it.

    Sigmand Fraud has nothing to do with anything since I couldn't care less what people think of my car as I am a proud American and only gullible when it comes to bloggers who think they know something they don't. At least it's not a Ford; as Will Smith said in Men in Black, "Unlimited technology in the universe and we drive around in a Ford POS."

    And Khaki's don't make you look fat, it's probably your ass.

  5. Khaki Elephant said...

    This lecture contains a succinct telling of Kahneman and Tversky's Swedish Car analysis:http://arts.uwaterloo.ca/~gfong/psych101/errors.html

    Toyota and GM produced a combined 18.5+ million cars in that "one year." I'd hardly call that a small sample.