More car shoppers are staying away from Toyota because of the company's recalls and bad publicity over the last year, according to a study by research firm J.D. Power.
The firm's 2010 Avoider Study found that 19% of new-vehicle shoppers surveyed said they avoided the Japanese automaker because of "bad reputation," a startling 17 points higher than a year ago.Fifteen-percent said they were avoiding Toyota because of a bad experience with the manufacturer. That makes sense because Toyota has had so many more contacts with consumers over the recalls that the number of unhappy people is bound to climb.
Toyota said last month that it had fixed about 3.7 million vehicles in the United States as part of its massive safety recalls. It has recalled more than ten million worldwide. U.S. regulators fined the automaker $16.4 million earlier this year for failing to promptly tell the government about its car defects. The government has received about 3,000 complaints about sudden acceleration and estimated the problem could be involved in the deaths of 93 people over the last decade.
"In terms of reliability perception, Toyota has always done well in the past," said J.D. Power and Associates analyst Kerri Wise. "A couple of areas where Toyota really took a hit were in terms of bad reputation of the manufacturer and bad experience with the manufacturer."
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