What’s Next for Toyota?

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I’ve watched the Toyota sudden-acceleration drama as it has played out over the past year with great interest.  Since I’m old enough to remember when Audi was accused of the same thing, I’m also old enough to know the Volkswagen-owned Audi was nearly driven out of business as a brand by those accusations.  Audi made it through those challenging times, and they currently have multiple models on Kiplinger’s 2011 Best Car Values list.

According to CNN Money, Toyota was the only major U.S. manufacturer to experience a decline in sales in 2010.  Thus, when the NHTSA delivered findings from their 10-month investigation that even saw substantial NASA involvement, it provided welcomed news for Toyota.

Industry analysts are projecting an increase in sales for Toyota in 2011, but by no means is all rosy for Toyota just yet.  There are new allegations claiming the NHTSA study did not have an adequate pool of data on which to make the report’s findings.

Expect continued congressional investigations, and of course, the lawsuits.  The first is scheduled for trial in 2013, and there will be a series of cases to test class-action viability.

And because these things are all newsworthy, it won’t be out of the question to see a continued presence of challenging news for Toyota for some time to come.  Despite this, with positive sales momentum and with the worst appearing to be over, it’s not all bad for Toyota.

We think consumers just want safe, well-built, high quality and reasonably priced cars.  And large portions of Americans continue to choose Toyota for those very attributes, only now they have affirmation from the NHTSA and NASA.

What do you think the future holds for Toyota?

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