Last post on Jul 28, 2013 at 8:39 AM
You are in the Toyota Prius
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Prius, Hybrid Cars
#2873 of 7508 Build Quality - #1512
Dec 02, 2003 (3:25 pm)
It's not just the Prius; other Toyotas that I have looked at recently have panel alignment problems. And I _do_ consider panel alignment to be a fair measure of build quality. If the manufacture doesn't care what the outside of a vehicle looks like, what sort of build quality do they have in areas that you can't see?
I recently looked at five '04 Solaras on a dealer lot. Three of them looked fine, one was so-so, and one had a hood that so misaligned that the gap on the drivers side was over twice as wide as the gap on the passengers side. This could have happened in shipping, but I've not heard of this before. I wonder how it ever made it past final inspection?
It's not just Toyota. Early VIN 2003 Accords had door alignment problems, as did early VIN 2004 Maximas. The current model Altima has been in production for two years now, and it's still common to find misaligned hoods on cars sitting on dealer lots. Everyone knows about GM, Ford, and Chrysler, so I won't go there...
The only cars that I've seen recently that have consistent panel alignment are Madza and Hyundai.
The moral of the story: it appears to take about two decades for urban legend to catch up with reality. If you decide to buy a Honda, Toyota, or some other car for it's superior build quality, you better go out and look for yourself before you buy. Walk down the line and check as many cars as you can. Unlike the credit-card size panel gaps you see in new car brochures, you may find something different on the lot.
#2874 of 7508 Part of the Build quality issue
Dec 02, 2003 (5:24 pm)
If I remember right, the guy that runs Georgetown ran the joint GM/Toyota plant at Nummi in CA before coming to KY ago in Spring of 2000 (during the UAW union drive).
Ever since he left NUMMI it's quality numbers have gone up while Georgetown KY hs gone down. Georgetown got JDP broze last year while Nummi was gold.
Given that the Toyota Production system can be run at almost any level of defects from the low at Lexus down to the current Camry/Solara levels, it's pretty clear that his assignment has been to increase production and lower costs. Production rates can increase and costs get lower when tolerances from suppliers and in-house work teams are loosened.
Toyota knows exactly what's its doing. Only the more observant consumers with prior Toyota product experience would even notice. Remember that for most Ford, GM and Chrysler owners where we've stepped down to is still a big step up for them.
The best built Toyotas are already on the road.
Dec 02, 2003 (6:35 pm)
___I was just watching a show on channel 11(Chicagoís PBS) early this morning in regards to something similar. I wish I could remember the name of the show but they did a case study on the Japanese transplants and then went into detail on Toyota transplants into Kentucky in particular.
___Here is the case study in a flash Ö
___The Toyotaís built a few years ago were of such HQ vs. their domestic and other counterparts that they would last a very long time but were prohibitively expensive while attempting to achieve the stellar 0-defect results. What the domestics did was take the Toyota - Lean Production method (not mass production like the US used to do it) and achieve good enough results without spending the money to get to those final few defects eliminated. Itís the final 20% of any processí defects that cost the most to remove (a guess as to the percentage) Ö Anyway, since Toyota was starting to lose money (early 90ís), they had to change or face the Domesticís (Ford/GM) eventually buying them out as they did with just about everybody else except for Honda and Toyota. What Toyota ended up doing was reduce quality just enough so that the average consumer would not notice if possible. It would save/did save Toyota tenís to hundredís of millions of dollars by stopping the attempt to remove those final 20% of defects imbedded in a production process. This does not mean they are not attempting 0 defects in future processí but what it does show is that they slowed or reversed the 0 defect policy to become profitable where needed. Toyota still makes some of the best cars on the planet. Lexusí 76 problems per 100 vehicles is still a good deal better then Cadillacís 103 (2nd on list) in the last J.D. Powers 2003 Initial Quality Car Survey earlier this summer but everyone is heading for a profitable balance rather then full steam ahead towards 0 defects as the Japanese in particular were attempting in the late 80ís/early 90ís.
___Toyota was actually listed number 9 on the list which included such names as Cadillac, Buick, and Mercury from the domestics, Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura, from the Japanese, and Porsche and BMW from the Europeanís being ranked higher.
___Wayne R. Gerdes
#2876 of 7508 Re quality
Dec 02, 2003 (6:43 pm)
The best built Toyotas are already on the road.
Maybe, but you won't convince the people surveyed by J.D. Power & Associates in their recent Initial Quality Surveys. For 2001, 2002, and 2003, Toyota dominated these quality awards, while showing improvement over that timespan. In the 2003 report, J.D. Power noted:
Newly launched/redesigned vehicles from Hyundai, Toyota and the Chrysler Group also record better initial quality on average than the models being replaced.
Which seems to indicate that the quality of Toyota's vehicles is improving over time, not decreasing.
BTW, in the 2001-03 surveys, the Prius was 2nd in its class in '01 (Corolla was first), tied with Corolla for 1st in '02, and 1st in '03 (Corolla was second). I guess that could mean either the Prius was improving, or the Corolla was slipping--or a little of both. But they were good enough to top all other compact cars for all three years. Also, in 2 of the 3 surveys, the ECHO was third, and the Prizm (Toyota/GM joint venture) was third the other year.
#2877 of 7508 Prius mileage,comfort and practicality
Dec 03, 2003 (4:53 am)
drscientific- Thank you for your mpg results from your trip. I'm considering buying a Prius, Camry or Corolla. I'm fascinated to explore the technology of the Prius, but at the same time I really want the disguised trunk space of the Camry to hide my golf clubs. Along with of course, the comfort and amenities that the Camry offers. I looked at the Corolla for the gas mileage (EPA 29/38) and I'm sure I'll top 40 mpg.
But I wonder what it would be like on a lengthy trip for driver comfort.
I have a couple of questions re the Prius:
1. Could a person sleep in the Prius and still keep the doors locked if the fob is inside with him?
2. How long after you walk away from the car do the doors lock?
3. Do the rear seats fold completely flat or more like a 70 deg angle?
4. How good is the sound system at freeway speeds?
5. How are the insurance premiums on the Prius?
6. Re discrepancy in fuel gage indication vs actual gals needed for fill-up: Does the tripodometer jive with either gals needed or fuel gage?
midnightcowboy- I'll have to start looking for those gaps you mentioned. Salespeople/dealership don't really squat about quality control. Thank you for the observations.
footie- I totally agree with your mention of how quality has slipped. I believe that Toyota is still outselling and outbuilding their Amer/Euro counterparts, but profit margin (greed) has crept into their workmanship as customer loyalty will indicate.
How are the freeway noise level differences between Prius, Camry and Corolla?
Thanks to all-Happy Holidays, too!!
Dec 03, 2003 (6:18 am)
1. What's the matter. . .does your golfing habit get you kicked out of the house frequently? Yes, you can lock the doors with the fob in the car.
2. Doors do not lock automatically by walking away from the car. Either have to press the button on the fob or press the button on the door handles/hatchback handle.
3. Don't know. Never tried. I still have to figure out if my road bike will fit in the car. It will be close!
4. Sound system is great at highway speeds (I have the JBL system).
5. I live in $$$ MA. My insurance premium is probably not representative of most folks. It is relatively inexpensive.
6. This seems to be a recurring issue with most owners. The last fuel indicator box will flash after only approximately seven gallons of gas have been consumed (despite an ~12 gallon tank). My 04 Prius has never taken more than 9 gallons of gasoline (7 to 8 gallons on average). It's almost as if someone's lunch box was left in the gas tank taking up 4 gallons of volume.
Frustrated, I once filled the tank and waited for that last box to blink. This happened after only 320 miles driven on the full tank. I decided to push the limit. I figured at 40mpg (very, VERY conservative) with a 12 gallon tank that I should be able to travel ~480 miles. I ran out of gas after 446 miles and luckily coasted to a nearby gas station. Still the tank only took 9 gallons of gas. It does not make sense. I feel Toyota has a little issue to address.
Build quality is very good.
I find the car very comfortable (more so than a Camry). I drive 150+ miles per day and find the comfort/features to be surprisingly excellent.
There's plenty of room to hide your clubs.
#2879 of 7508 the bladder inside
Dec 03, 2003 (7:33 am)
> with a 12 gallon tank
That isn't actually the capacity though.
It is 11.9 gallons at ROOM TEMPERATURE.
In the cold, aka WINTER, capacity is reduced. During the peak of the snowy season here in Minnesota, I've estimated that the bladder in the tank (used for reducing evaporative emissions) shrinks enough to reduce capacity by 1.5 gallons.
Dec 03, 2003 (7:40 am)
> 1. Could a person sleep in the Prius and still
> keep the doors locked if the fob is inside
> with him?
If you press the DISABLE button for SE/SS, the doors can't not be unlocked via the proximity detector no matter where it is.
> 2. How long after you walk away from the car do
> the doors lock?
About 2 to 3 feet. The range is impressively limited.
> 3. Do the rear seats fold completely flat or more
> like a 70 deg angle?
With weight applied, they lay completely flat!
> 4. How good is the sound system at freeway speeds?
Sweet! (Of course, I have the premium system.)
> 5. How are the insurance premiums on the Prius?
There's no real difference from another other vehicle. Fortunately, being a hybrid doesn't equal to higher premium.
6. Re discrepancy in fuel gage indication vs actual gals
> needed for fill-up: Does the tripodometer jive with either
> gals needed or fuel gage?
Using the ODO is all I've ever done for the last 3 years (2 different Prius) for guaging when a fill up is needed. That method is far more accurate compared to dealing with the fuel level (which changes with the temperature).
#2881 of 7508 Smart Entry Question
Dec 03, 2003 (8:47 am)
I have been SO busy at work, I haven't had much time to read the manual in its entirety. I know John would be an expert on this, so if you feel so inclined, please reply.
When I get to my destination, I always press the button on the door handle to lock the door. Is the system desgined to LOCK the doors when I walk away with the fob? I thought that was the case, so when I first picked up the car I tested it. Apparently the door was still open when I returned. I had my friend stand over one hundred feet away with the FOB so I can test to see if the door had indeed locked. So.....for the last month I have always locked it with the button. Is there something I have to set? TIA!!
#2882 of 7508 Re: Smart Entry Question
Dec 03, 2003 (9:38 am)
Sorry, the best I can do is assume the alarm system locks it just like it did for my 2001. I haven't had a chance to try it though.
Since 12-volt battery drain was always something you needed to be aware of in the past, I got in the habit of using the easy-confirm by just locking via the remote. Now I do that via a black button on one of the doors.