Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Toyota debacle is braking my heart defence

Sensational media got it all wrong when they slated this grand brand

Joe Barry

Joe Barry

Watching the news on RTE can be astonishing sometimes. The manner in which relatively trivial items are sensationalised and given an importance way beyond what they merit does little credit to our national broadcaster. We expect this sort of thing from tabloid newspapers which revel in lurid headlines, but surely RTE do not need to indulge in this form of distorted news presentation.

The recent recall by Toyota of some 18,000 cars in Ireland because they may have a potential fault appeared to me to be a classic example of the media searching for a story. We were told that this was a "disaster" for Toyota and suggestions were made that they may have difficulty regaining market share following this event. RTE should perhaps choose their words more carefully. The recent earthquake in Haiti was a disaster, as are events such as hurricanes that lay waste to coastal towns and islands, but the recall of a small percentage of the cars on our roads for checking is most certainly not even remotely near such a classification.

Even worse are the interviews with Toyota personnel where the interviewer tries to put words into the mouths of the unfortunates who are attempting to tell us the facts.

Of course, this has caused serious problems for Toyota but would we have preferred if they had done nothing? It should give us confidence in them that they take action once something like this is discovered.

Toyota make great cars and this fact gets hidden as the reporters and newscasters fall over themselves in an unseemly rush to make a mountain out of a very small molehill.

Good news stories get little time on RTE and it is hard to understand why this is so. The recently published figures stating that new car registrations had risen by 5pc in January got little mention. Surely that was an important item indicating that we are slowly clawing our way out of recession?


Bad news gets the most attention and the more people that watch RTE, the more advertising time they can sell. Perhaps the fault lies with us, the viewing public. I simply don't know, but I do know I would like to see some balanced reporting of real and important events rather than the distorted spin frequently put on everyday occurrences.

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The reason I found the coverage of the Toyota recall so annoying was the fact that I have driven their cars and four-wheel drive vehicles for years. The Toyota Corolla is famous for its reliability and ancient Corollas are still functioning when other models have long since gone to the scrap yard.

The Land Cruiser is a wonderful farm vehicle and brilliant for safe towing and off-road work. I must admit, I preferred the early models because they did not have the frills and luxury items that the current range has as standard. The old Land Cruiser, with the wide mudguards that first appeared in the late 1970s, was so tough you could almost use it for ploughing.

There are still many of them around, bringing hay and other fodder to livestock up hills and down boreens and they start every time, day after day. Jeremy Clarkson on the Top Gear programme tried to kill a Toyota pick-up by doing everything to it, from dropping it from a tall building to drowning it in the sea, but eventually he gave up as it refused to die and started again no matter what he did to it. That's the sort of car I and most other farmers want.

Currently I drive a Toyota Rav 4, which my son refers to as a "hairdresser's car". I ignore his jibes and don't care if that particular model has been adopted as the preferred means of transport by hundreds of upwardly mobile, professional women.

All I know is that it is economical to run and travels effortlessly around the farm and through woodland and is safe and comfortable on long journeys. Just shows the good judgement that hairdressers have. He drives a Toyota Land Cruiser of course and it tows trailer loads of logs happily all day long.

The high second-hand value of Toyotas relative to other brands is proof enough of what the public really thinks of them. My son's Land Cruiser is one of the models that have been recalled for checking.

This will take about two and a half hours and is free. Is this a disaster? Somehow I don't think so.

Irish Independent