We're still a ways away from knowing just how much the whole unintended-acceleration fiasco -- and the varied and numerous recalls that came in its wake -- cost Toyota in terms of cash.
What we do know is that the whole situation most certainly contributed to the world's largest automaker falling off as top brand for customer loyalty. According to Consumer Reports' National Research Center, Toyota has ceded that spot to another Japanese carmaker -- Honda -- and Ford, the sole domestic automaker that chose not to take federal bailout money. (Consumer Reports' research was conducted via 1,074 phone interviews of adults whose household accounted for at least one vehicle; the interviews were conducted among a representative probability sample of households.)
The interview focused on the five brands that respondents most often said they drive: Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Honda and Toyota. And while there's been no shift in the hierarchy of which brands respondents drive most often (nor, for that matter, the desired make of a new car), when it comes to the simple question of whether or not the respondent would buy a new model from the same manufacturer as his or her current car, Toyota's loss is Honda's and Ford's gain. The chart below shows how the top brands scored, and the percentage of respondents who said they would most likely buy the same brand as they currently own.
BRAND APRIL 2010 FEBRUARY 2010 DECEMBER 2009
Honda 68% 62% 67%
Ford 61 51 58
Toyota 57 60 70
Chevrolet 49 52 57
Dodge 24 28 32