Last Updated Mar 12, 2010 2:17 PM EST
- Sales of new Toyotas have fallen 15% over the last few months, while Lexus is up 5%.
- Residual values of used Toyotas are down slightly, while Lexus values are stable.
- The number of current Toyota owners who plan to stick with the brand is down, while Lexus brand loyalty is up.
Here's the kicker: This is despite the fact that, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, one is more likely to suffer unintended acceleration driving a Lexus than a Toyota. Toyota gets all the press because eight million cars have been recalled compared to 50,000 Lexi. But on a per-capita basis, the greater hazard is a Lexus.
Lexus and Toyota are designed by the same team and built in the same factories -- the two marques have the same recall-worthy floor mat design, even. But one look at the numbers makes the conclusion inevitable: the general car-buying public, which is clearly responding to the information that they're getting about unintended acceleration, has no clue about the most basic fact of all: that, as far as this problem is concerned, Toyota and Lexus are the same car!
Which leads me to ask what's bound to be an unpopular question. If the car-buying public doesn't know the difference between a Toyota-brand and a not-Toyota brand, maybe the company is right when it implies that "unintended acceleration" is largely due to drivers who momentarily confuse the gas pedal for the brake?
caption: Seasame Street