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My 2007 Honda: A Monument to Toyota's Problems

If any Toyota executives say they didn’t know about Toyota’s sudden acceleration defects until 2008 or later, they’re lying. I have a 2007 Honda Accord that is a monument to Toyota’s sudden acceleration problems in 2007 and my experience in attempting to buy a Toyota Camry that year.

In the fall of 2007, I was shopping around for a car because I promised the one I had to my nephew. He was having trouble getting to work, and I didn’t want him to lose his job. My sister gave him and his wife her car after I had made my promise, so I thought I was off the hook, and happily so -- my car was a 1998 Honda Accord, it ran like a charm, and it had been long paid for. My nephew, not to be deterred, held me to my promise. So there I was, looking for a new car to replace the 1998 Honda I had promised to my nephew. Hey, your word is your bond.

I looked at used Hondas and Toyotas, searched for the elusive used Prius, and decided that since this was probably the last or next-to-last car that I was ever going to buy (my sister’s Honda was over twenty years old when she gave it to my nephew and niece-in-law, and it’s still running, so I was easily expecting a twenty-year run for any vehicle I bought), I’d buy a new one. I test drove the new Accord, couldn’t afford (or rather, was unwilling to pay the premium for) the new Prius, and then test drove the new Camry. For the money, the Camry seemed like a great bargain. The car salesman, who worked at Elk Grove Toyota, extolled Toyota’s commitment to quality and service. I was almost hooked.

Until I ran a Google search with the terms “Toyota Camry Quality Reviews.”

Up popped postings on car bulletin boards about sudden acceleration issues with the Camry and Toyota’s trucks. The people who posted about their Camrys stated concerns with whether the problem was really a stuck gas pedal problem, a floor mat problem, or an electrical problem. Needless to say, I was very concerned.

I went back to the Elk Grove Toyota dealership and asked the salesman about the online reports about sudden acceleration. His response was something on the order of “Aw, man!,” as in, “Aw, man! She found out about the problem.” He tried to fast talk his way around it, telling me that Toyota had fixed the floor mats and gas pedals and that I had nothing to worry about. I asked him why he didn’t tell me about the problem during my test drive the day before. He had nothing to say. And if I could find that information on the Internet, surely Toyota’s executives knew about it. The salesman in Elk Grove surely did.

I bought my 2007 Honda Accord across the street at the Honda dealership. And, quite frankly, I had no business buying a Toyota to begin with. This car is my fourth Honda – my sister, the same sister who gave away her twenty year-old Honda Accord, had given me her first car, a 1981 Honda Prelude, in the early nineties after it had been given back to her from my other sister. The car lasted for a total of sixteen years, had survived an accident, and would have lasted longer had I not hit a curb on a freeway onramp and taken out the undercarriage. I then bought a 1996 Honda Accord, which was totaled by a moving van that came to move me, and I replaced that with the 1998 Honda Accord that I gave to my nephew. I’ve never had a problem with Hondas – they’re reliable, easy to maintain, and can withstand a great degree of abuse and neglect. The only other vehicle I would ever even consider buying is a Benz, and that’s just for the quality of the ride, not the quality of the vehicle.

But that 2007 Honda Accord that sits in my garage? That car is a monument to Toyota’s sudden acceleration problems as far back as September of 2007. So if any of Toyota’s executives say they didn’t know about sudden acceleration issues until 2008 or 2009, they’re lying, period.

And when I see a Toyota behind me in traffic, I change lanes. I'm not trying to be a victim.

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