A Child's First Car Loan, Courtesy Of Toyota

from the snag-'em-young dept

During the original dot com boom, there was an interesting company called “DoughNet” which was supposed to to be a financial site for kids — trying to teach kids how to be responsible with money at a young age. Of course, that was the marketing spin. Others believed that it was just a sneaky way to give kids access to some of their parents’ cash so they could spend it online (parents usually had to set up an account with a certain amount of money that the kids could “manage”). While it got a lot of hype, it quickly went nowhere. However, now that so many people have forgotten what happened last time around, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing similar ideas — with new twists. Last month we wrote about Toyota’s strategy to get kids hooked at a young age, by sponsoring many different aspects of a virtual world for kids. Of course, if you’re going to get kids hooked on wanting a certain car, you might as well get them primed and ready to do so with debt. Jeremy Wagstaff notes that Toyota has now added a new feature to this children’s virtual world: the ability to buy one of these virtual cars on credit. It even involves a fake credit report using “WhyCO” numbers designed to mimic FICO numbers. Of course, to get a good WhyCO number you have to be very involved in the Whyville virtual community. It’s being pitched (of course) as a way for kids to better understand things like car loans — but some might wonder why 8-year-olds really need to understand things like credit scores, debt and interest payments. Next thing you know, we’ll find out that these kids are being taught the importance of purchasing the extra warranty and the virtual undercoating as well…

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Comments on “A Child's First Car Loan, Courtesy Of Toyota”

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dorpus says:


Toyota is fast becoming the GM of Japan, with constant recalls. Today, 260,000 Toyotas across 12 models, including Corollas, will be recalled because of faulty engine timers.


In 2004-2005, 560,000 Toyotas were recalled because of faulty steering wheels. In May, 100,000 land cruisers were recalled because the tires fell off. In April, 11,000 Lexuses were recalled because the seat belts failed. Also in April, 76,000 vans were recalled, including 3000 ambulances, because of faulty brakes and wiring.


Gryphon (profile) says:

Re: Funny

That’s because Toyota – and to a lesser degree, Honda – is starting to cheapen up it’s cars and add more gegaws than is needed to bring in consumers and make more profit.

GM did the same thing in the late 80s, as did Chrysler. All those fancy displays, talking dashboards, and mega-computerized engines were nothing but devices to fail sooner.

SortaLikeJake says:

Get them while they're young

I think that getting kids to learn about finances and such is a good idea, considering the current state of affairs in the US. This, however, is a really misguided marketing ploy. DoughNet, too. It should all be virtual money and virtual businesses.

Do parents sit down and teach their kids how to manage a bank account anymore?

Frank says:

If I recall...

Toyota tends to recall products BEFORE anyone gets hurt from the problem, whereas historically GM and Ford and Chrysler will wait until the accidental death legal settlements threaten to outweigh the cost of a recall.

Toyota and Honda are still far and away the most reliable auto makers according to every industry survey.

MEoip says:

Short Step

It’s a short step to kids buying cars for future pick up, like parents can do with college education, pay todays price go later.

Parent’s could pay Toyota $100 a month for a few years and when their kid turns 16 they get a car, might be a better idea for GM who could use some capital now and might have a good car for kids to drive in 8 years.

dan says:

Re: Short Step

Pay GM good money now, and gamble that they’ll even *exist* eight years down the road. Sheeyah, right. i might as well dig a pit in my backyard, toss my cash in it and set it on fire.

Has anyone forgotten history? In the early days of WWII, Hitler sold KDF-Wagon (Volkswagon) stamps to the Germans. When they accumulated enough stamps, they’d get a car.

i think something like maybe 200 were actually delivered.

GM and the Nazis have too much in common for *anyone* to piss away money this way.

— dan

Anonymous Coward says:

found this at http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34081


I’ve been building a spreadsheet based off of information found on NHTSA’s recall website and with this Toyota is in 3rd place. GM and Ford got most of their big recalls out of the way in 2004 and 2005. That said before this recall GM was ahead in total number of recalls by about 150,000.

Some interesting numbers though when you divide the number of recalls by the YTD sales numbers.

Not counting the last 367,600 announced here the ratio is 39 recalls per 100 vehicles for Toyota. If you add this total to June’s YTD it jumps to 69 recalls per 100 vehicles.

The numbers are a little awkward since I am taking the cars build in 1 year and some of the recalls span several years. Unfortunately there is no breakdown of how many of each year are recalled. However, the numbers are interesting as some companies are consistent depsite this.

For reference (not including new recall):

2006 YTD

Nissan**: 183/100

DCX*/**: 73/100

Ford**: 45/100

Toyota**: 39/100

GM**: 30/100

Porsche: 27/100

KIA: 22/100

Honda**: 5/100

VW**: 2/100


Anonymous Coward says:

BMW**: 1/100


AVG: 63/100


GM**: 196/100

Porsche: 173/100

KIA: 153/100

Nissan**: 153/100

Toyota**: 129/100

Honda**: 114/100

DCX*/**: 105/100

Ford**: 77/100

Subaru: 72/100

VW**: 67/100

BMW**: 15/100


AVG: 127/100

*included Mistubishi sales because of the Dakota/Raider recall would skew numbers since recalls numbers are total vehicles, not total of that make/model/year

**includes all brands and major alliance companies. Numbers would be skewed too high if I did each individial brand seperately

***Recalls do not include listed recalls where the manufacture is for an aftermarket part designed for that vehicle. Only included recalls where the manufacturer field is the automaker itself.

****Does not include recalls for MY07 vehicles


Anonymous Coward says:

According to JD Powers report at


page 4 of the report has a chart of all the major Nameplate. Toyota has 106 problems per 100 cars, GMC has 119 per 100, and Chevy has 124 per 100.

This surveys may looked skewed from previous years because they not only include defects but also malfunctions and problems reported by the consumer.

THe worst of the lot, Land Rover with 2 problem for every vehicle they make. (204 per 100)

The best- Porsche with 91 problems per 100 vehicles.

But, according to John Boy and Billy (radio syndicates) at http://www.theBigshow.com, Porsche owners are also the most likely to cheat on their spouse.

http://www.thebigshow.com/picsnsuch/jeopardy.html look for the date 4/10.

So do porsche owners have a good car but a shakey marriage.

Distrustful says:

Monopoly Money

We love to play with money, and teaching kids to manage money is good, and fun for the kids, but Monopoly money is fake and you can´t REALLY buy Boardwalk or Park Place from the game. Toyota would cross the line if it has a real product it’s getting kids to lust after. Almost any kid would give anything to have a car of their own. Having one in a play universe isn’t so bad. That said I don´t trust Toyota marketers, I distrust marketing in general, especially marketing aimed at kids.

Anonymous Coward says:

You are all MORONS

This thread is about Toyota’s “teaching” or “brainwashing” or “indoctrination” of young minds! It has NOTHING to do with recalls, who makes a better car, or anything else AT ALL. You people want to see your views in print so badly you would screw up a good thread in anything!

You make me want to puke!

And Besides that, you know YUGO made the best cars ever!

wolff000 says:

None Of It Matters

All this boils down to is the same thing parents not teaching kids. If you teach your kids about how to handle money then all the ads in the world won’t make them buy outside thier means. its that simple buy what you can afford and teach your kids the same. problem solved and all the evil marketing geniuses defeated. Any other problems need fixing? oh and as far as the recalls go i just have this to say, OFF TOPIC.

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