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Re: E-M:/ In defense of the Prius!

Enviro-Mich message from "Robert Isaac" <rjisaac@gmail.com>

They also have a rather large Temp. workforce (at their plants here in
the states)  that they pay at half the rate of their full time
employees without paying any benefits.

Why is it that when workers stand up for themselves against the
corporations they always get bad mouthed and blamed when things go
wrong?  (Rhetorical question)

On 7/23/06, Charles Griffith <charlesg@ecocenter.org> wrote:

Bill makes some good points. Here's one recent Detroit News story that attempts to provide some "balance" about Toyota compared to the Big 3. I would just note that the legacy cost differences may have more to do with government policy than unionization. Japan has national health insurance (like most other industrialized nations), while the U.S. relies on the private sector to cover those costs. The domestic auto companies are now carrying health care and pension costs for more than a million retirees while international companies like Toyota are largely free of such costs. For background on policy solutions to this problem, check out: http://www.greenmachinestour.org/

Charles G.


The bottom line today is that Toyota is beating GM because it is less
unionized. Union health and pension obligations alone cost GM at least
$1,500 more per car than nonunion Toyota, estimates Edmunds.com senior
analyst Jesse Toprak.
A case in point is GM's Chevy Suburban SUV. Made in Arlington, Texas, it is
rated the most efficiently produced SUV in America, according to Harbour
Consulting in Troy.
But in nearby San Antonio, Toyota will start rolling out big, profitable
Toyota Tundra pickups this year -- at half the wages of Suburban workers and
with no union legacy costs (compared with $1,800 per vehicle for the
Suburban, according to the Wall Street Journal).
That, says Toprak, means $1,800 more per vehicle that Toyota can then
"channel back into research and development for hybrid technologies. And
make more products faster. And react more quickly to market trends." In
short, make a better product.
As the U.S. market has changed -- demanding roomy SUVs -- Toyota has changed
with it. And that is precisely why Toyota has such a large market cap --
because it makes what customers need better than anyone.

Enviro-Mich message from "William Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>

I am glad that you like your Prius.  If you bought it new last year, then it
should be a Prius II (second generation).  Significantly improved over the
first Prius, at least from what I've read and heard other engineers say.
Despite what I said yesterday, I think the Prius is a pretty good car for
the right customer.  However, it is not for everyone.

What I was slamming is the unbalanced reporting and claims that are reported
so commonly today.  Originally, I never heard anything bad about Prius.
Everybody apparently loved them.  Wonderful, wonderful, flawless cars.
Hooray, Toyota.  What's the matter with Detroit?   Then one morning a couple
of years ago, I heard something on car talk radio show in the morning, about
some of the real and extensive issues that consumers were having with Prius.
Things like "losing control when you slam on the brakes".    I knew
something first hand about one of these technical issues, since I was
working on understanding and resolving the apparently identical problem on
another car product.  So, I did some web research, and was astonished at
what I found.  Not a word about it in the press.  Toyota has an impeccable

By the way, on our engineering team was an engineer from Aisin (Aisin
supplies the transmission and hybrid parts for Toyota, and also supplies
Ford).  A real bright guy.  Our team figured out what was happening in our
prototypes and fixed the problem.  But the problem was sold in Toyota Prius
for years, whereas Ford would never accept such poor behavior.  You can bet
that our understanding and fix quickly made its way back to Toyota.

My first car was a 65 Mustang.  I drove it for over 200,000 miles over 17
years.  That's when Ford was nicknamed "Fix Or Repair Daily".  I drove
Escorts from about 1983 until they were discontinued.  Got great gas
mileage.  Great, practical, well built car.  It pushed my buttons in all of
the right way, and I was a happy, satisfied customer.  The only mechanical
problem I had in all of those years was a bolt in the shifting linkage
dropped out one year.  A quick, easy repair.

This week Toyota announced a recall due to engine oil leaks for 418,000
units including Prius.  The second large recall this month for Toyota.
Last year, Toyota had the largest recall in Japanese history.  And more
worrisome, Toyota is being "reprimanded" by the Japanese government for
shirking recalls and covering up for eight years, and refusing to fix
defects that may cause accidents and death.  Have you heard about all of

Sure, all motor companies have problems.  Toyota has them.  The "big" three
have them.  What I want is even, fair reporting.
I have been an Enviromich watcher/poster for a long time.  I don't remember
any motor company other than Ford ever being mentioned by name, and always
as evil.

Ford currently has about 15% market share.  I am not a supporter of the E85
decision, however it is an alternative fuel that is being promoted by the
current administration and both political parties.  Regardless, the other
85% of the market will make different decisions, so what Ford does or does
not do is not necessarily going to change the world energy problem one way
or the other.

On the other hand, Toyota is by far the most profitable automobile company
today.  So if any company should be "blamed" for the current situation, it
should be Toyota for not using their resources to address the issues,
instead of concentrating on building bigger and much bigger cars and trucks.

I do work for Ford Motor, and I have stock in Ford Motor.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Ann Zinn" <annczinn@umich.edu> To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net> Sent: Saturday, July 22, 2006 9:38 PM Subject: E-M:/ In defense of the Prius!

Enviro-Mich message from Ann Zinn <annczinn@umich.edu>

We have had a Toyota Prius for more than a year.  No problems.  Love it!
Getting more than 50 miles to the gallon in combined highway and in-town
Drove over 24,000 miles last year.
The accelleration on the highway is amazing.  In slow and stopped traffic,
battery takes over, and it emits no exhaust fumes (and makes no noise.) It's
extremely well in scary situations driving in the insanity of US23.
It's a hatchback with folding seats, so it carries about the same as a small

It's wonderful!

And I don't work for or have stock in Toyota.

A. :-)

..................................................... Charles Griffith, Auto Project Director Ecology Center 117 N. Division, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 Ph: 734/663-2400, x116 /-2414 fx. Email: charlesg@ecocenter.org http://www.ecocenter.org

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