This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Toyota Woes Give Pause to Consumer Reports

Stocks in this article: TM

"A group like Public Citizen, Consumer Reports or any of the other auto safety groups can be on the ground and hear what kind of problems people are having with their vehicles and can look at what the NHTSA makes public," says Lena Pons, auto analyst for consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "But we can't see if there are patterns and there's no way for us to know how many investigations they've initiated because there's no public record of it."

While petitioning the NHTSA for expanded access and better organization figures heavily into Consumer Reports' improvements, Weine says the need "not to drag the recall information underground" has made changing its recall coverage process a priority. He says a recent review of Consumer Reports' top picks from recent several years found that more than half had been recalled, showing the need to improve access to recall information.

"It's been our standing advice, when you purchase a used vehicle, that you make sure that any service bulletins or recalls have been performed," says Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports' deputy online editor for automotive content. "We have not yet connected the dot indicating what those are, and we've really left it up to the purchaser and the dealer, who can provide that information."

As Nissan and General Motors add to the recall count, organizations like Consumer Reports are under increasing pressure to monitor the car industry more closely and objectively. However, with consumer advocates calling the NHTSA database impermeable and carmakers like Toyota using trade secrecy loopholes to mask defect information, increased transparency may require stricter enforcement of laws like the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act put in place during the 2000 Bridgestone/Firestone recalls. Until then, Consumer Reports and its angry followers are stuck in post-Toyota gridlock.

"In this case, public-advocacy groups can hardly take responsibility because the databases just don't contain the same information that the NHTSA has," Pons says. "We only have access to the information that's publicly accessible, and some of the most useful information hasn't been publicly accessible."

-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.

Jason Notte is a reporter for His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, The Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.
2 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,778.15 +421.28 2.43%
S&P 500 2,061.23 +48.34 2.40%
NASDAQ 4,748.3960 +104.0840 2.24%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs