Small Miracles

IMG_3542Sometimes it’s the small miracles in life that keep you going.

God’s been doing some stuff. We are selling our house. Heard we should get an offer today. I’m looking actively for a different “day job” so we can make ends meet and still have time for family and working toward the calling and vision we believe God has given us.

On my birthday, of all days, my car blew a head gasket. I got the report from the repair guy… don’t put any more money into a 16 year old car.

We are debt free, except our home. We don’t want a car payment. I went looking for a car. Small cars are expensive. I was down to throwing a few hundred at some clunker just to get around… driving it into the ground like my last car.

Then my in-laws asked to come over. I had borrowed their van during this time. They said they had been planning to drop down to one car. And they were giving us their van. 2001 Sienna. My father-in-law was meticulous in maintenance of this car. Not brand new, but a lot of life left in it.

Huge answer to prayer. One less issue to distract from the vision and dream. So thankful.


Toyota & Brand

I drive a 1998 Toyota Camry. You know, from back when they were quality cars? Seriously, its a great car. Except for the sensor on the exhaust system that makes my check engine light come on, nothing but normal maintenance required.

For years (decades?) Toyota was synonymous with build quality. Safe, reliable cars. People paid more for them. Today, not so much. What a difference a few weeks and multiple very public recalls make.

I’ll admit, when I first hear about the gas pedal recall, I was not really concerned. The news asked all the local Toyota dealers if they had any incidents, and none had. In a city Orlando’s size, that’s saying something. Then the brakes for the Prius. And the shaft on the Tacoma. Now the steering on the Corolla.

After the first recall Toyota started running ads talking about their commitment to fixing the issue. Good move, or it would have been if there hadn’t been so many other recalls. Now I see the ads and wonder at their sincerity. Fix the problems and then tell me it’s fixed. It does not instill confidence for me to see an advertisement that says Toyota is fixing the safety issues on day and then to hear about more and more issues that need to be fixed.

A series of quality issues with their product has eroded the trust in the Toyota brand.

What can we learn from this?

Don’t rest on your reputation. It’s obvious now that some serious production issues have been brooding in the company. There was a time when the reputation of Toyota meant you would pay more for a used one. The last time we looked at a used Toyota van I had a conversation with the sales guy who flat out told me that they could charge more for it simply because it was a Toyota. And, had it been in our price range, we might have bought it at that price because of the brand name. Now, I would pay more for a Honda or Ford.

If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you can’t stop moving forward. And you definitely cannot let the quality slip. The name Toyota only stays synonymous with quality if the quality of the product remains high. As an outsider it seems obvious that Toyota relaxed their standards. I don’t know what happened in the company, but four major, public recalls in a matter of weeks points to some significant issues.

I have no doubt that Toyota will very soon e churning out automobiles of amazing quality again. but I don’t know how long it wil take for them to rebuild their reputation.