Toro LX 500, bull!

marlingardenerJune 4, 2007

We found out, to our chagrin, that Toro is now manufactured by MTD, and we all know what a sterling reputation MTD has for reliability. After 9 hours of mowing, the Toro quit--would not start, not even a click. After speaking to the Hotline, we determined it was a fuse,which we replaced and which immediately blew when we tried to start the Toro. We now get to haul the piece of metal to the repair shop and hope they can find the cause of the problem. Do not buy Toro, and do not buy Cub Cadet, since they are both MTD products, just different paint jobs. What a shame that a company with the customer confidence that Toro enjoyed has been taken over and made over by something like MTD.

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This is news? What rock did you crawl out from under? Let us know how the fix goes.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 1:44PM
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deerslayer(Z5 NE IL KBG)

Only the low end of the Toro line is made by MTD. They are designed to be competitive with other low end tractors made by MTD, Husqvarna, and John Deere.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 1:50PM
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wally2q(L40, Ontario)

If I was to paraphrase this post, it would read something like this:

"I just bought a pontiac. It's made by GM. It died. Don't buy anything GM... not pontiac, not chevy, etc...."

Guess what: even a JD breaks down fresh out of a box. Wanna hear about a kubota with a busted drive-wheel shaft?

It happens. You didn't know that Toro is owned by someone else?... ignorance is not bliss.

Next time you spend $2,000 - do some research.

On the flip-side.... you never know - you may be pleasantly surprised by the service you will get...

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 4:23PM
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OK, I agree with you guys that the OP is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. And he should have done some research on his purchase.

BUT, this is a classic case of a manufacturer reaping what they have sown. MTD is using the Toro name and goodwill to generate sales of mediocre (at best) goods. That policy will generate sales in the short term from people who assume the "Toro" name means quality today, as it has in the past. Little do those people know that the Toro they are buying is not their father's Toro.

But they will learn soon enough. Sooner or later, the Toro name won't mean anything more than Yardman, MTD, etc., and the name will have little, if any, positive value. So, the short-sightedness of the current MTD management will have squandered a valuable long-term asset (the Toro goodwill) for the sake of generating short-term profits by prostituting that name. It's a real pity.

Yes, bad things can happen to even the best products. And, yes, the OP should have done some research. But, isn't this lack of research just exactly what MTD is hoping for? I.e., to snare the uneducated buyer by trading on name recognition, and selling them some mediocre product that is not worth of that name?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 6:14PM
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deerslayer(Z5 NE IL KBG)

Expanding on my earlier comment, three manufacturers make nearly all entry level LTs.

Cub Cadet


John Deere
John Deere

IMO, the quality across all brand names is comparable for the entry level LTs. Basically, you get what you pay for.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 6:43PM
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wally2q(L40, Ontario)

MTD didn't do anything that any reasonable business wouldn't also do. They took a product line, and made it broader (by offering low end product for low end prices).

Even JD did it... except they didn't go as low (both in terms of product... and in terms of price).

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 7:26PM
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Whether it's reasonable or a good or bad business practice remains to be seen. How good will that decision be in 10 years when the name "Toro" is no longer is associated with quality because MTD has cheapened it by attaching it to junky sub-standard equipment?

They are doing the same thing to the Cub Cadet name.

And I'm not so sure that JD won't ultimately rue the day they associated their name with cheaply built, light-duty, mass-marketed riding mowers. Sure, the profits today are great. But when and if "John Deere" stamped on the side of a lawn or garden tractor no longer commands a premium price to the company, and buyers no longer differentiate between Yardman and John Deere, it will certainly bring into question whether the short-term profits were worth the sacrifice of the goodwill associated with that name.

I'm old enough to remember when Craftsman meant something a lot better than it does today. Craftsman tools were something the average Joe typically wanted because they were good quality and had a lifetime guarantee. Nowadays, Craftsman is associated with junky, substandard tools and equipment. And there are plenty of other examples. So we know it can happen.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 8:45PM
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You guys have got this wrong about Toro being taken over by MTD. What really happened is that Toro which has been trying to get into the box store market for sometime finally realized last year that they could not build a tractor cheap enougfh to compete in this market. So in a if you can't lick-em, join-em move they contracted with MTD to build their low end tractors for them. They still produce their med. duty and hi-end equipment themself. Are they making a mistake, aligning themselves with MTD? I think so, but they most definately have not been taken over by MTD, and MTD is not using the Toro name for their own gain.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 10:46PM
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Steve's right. If you want a quality Toro machine, you'll have to go to a Toro dealer. Mine told me he refused to carry the Home Depot "Toros" made by MTD. Toro still makes high quality mowers with a price to match. A true factory Toro bears the Wheel Horse name. It'll be interesting to see if Toro continues to attempt to sell in the mass-market environment thru the MTD arrangement.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 10:23AM
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One point not mentioned, is that many buyers want the biggest bang for the cheapest price. They want that $2000 mower to last forever and cut 3 acres on a hill and wonder if the tranny will last. You do get what you pay for, a cheap tractor is just that.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 9:45AM
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I agree with Steve and John. From what I have read on-line, MTD manufactures the "tractors" and markets them through a licensing agreement with Toro to use the name.

Snapper was approached by Scary-Mart a few years ago to do the same thing. They didn't want Snapper quality, they wanted to sell the name. Wisely, Snapper said "no".

I am concerned about the B&S takeover of Snapper/Simplicity/Ferris a few years ago. Nothing good ever comes from a mass supplier taking over the end product. You can no longer get a Honda engine on their equipment. This was an obvious move to make for B&S, but probably turned some consumers away who wanted the quieter, smoother Honda engine. And now, because the overall small engine market is down, they are squeezing every penny out of Simplicity to recoup their investment, and may outsource production to China!! I hope they don't have to resort to cheapening their product and selling out to the evil Big Boxes.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 3:42PM
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You also have to look at the number machines they put out each year. I dont know the exact figures but I would say they are quite staggering. If one breaks you are just plain unlucky. If every one of them runs without any problems that would be a miracle.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 10:28PM
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The mid and high end Toro's are built by Toro and are also sold under the New Holland Brand name. Same tractor as the Toro's just blue. 400XT Series in Toro is the New Holland Yard Tractor. The 5XI series in Toro is the GTA in New Holland. Interestingly, the 400XT series uses the Kawasaki 17 and 19 hp while the 5XI uses a Kohler engine.

There is a definite difference in quality (and price) in the better Toro's and the Box Store varieties, as well as about 200 lbs of steel more. I have no complaints with my 2004 417XT.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 9:27PM
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dave ma is partially right, Snapper did turn Wal-Mart away, but only after a few years, when Wally World started asking the company to lower their prices on the mowers. I think it was between 1999 and 2001 when Wally World was carring Snapper RER's. The new CEO that stepped in at that time wisely, and politely refused to sell any more Snappers at Wal-Mart, stating that Wal-Mart's need for constantly lower prices would sacrifice their quality, which the CEO said they would not do. Mute point now, as Snapper is also now a part of the Briggs & Stratton Yard Power Products Group.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 5:20AM
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It hasn't been noted, but Murray and its various brands are also entry-level lawn tractors, (very low-end, in my opinion), and Murray was bought by Brigs & Stratton as well.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 1:56PM
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kubotabx2200(Zone 5b NH)

John Deere and Cub Cadet both cheapened their brand image considerably, by selling cheap tractors and selling them at Lowes right next to the light bulbs and the insect repellent. Taking something that used to be a premium brand and turning it into a mass market brand of dubious quality. Now Toro follows suit, though Toro was a lawn tractor to begin with no agricultural roots, they used to be a darned good lawn tractor.

What they are selling to is baby boomers who grew up when Dad's Toro or Cub or JD was a great piece of equipment, now they are junk. They are no better than a Sears and in a lot of cases Sears, Roebuck sells a lot better tractor for the money today than the so-called premium brands.

A JD dealer in the region even has a banner outside his shop SAME LOWE PRICE because he is carrying the same junky Deeres as Lowes down the street. So even the dealers are part of the race to the bottom.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 2:56PM
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Kubotabx2200, that's my point in my prior posts. These companies spent many years building goodwill into their name by building a quality product and pricing it accordingly. Not every Tom, Dick or Harry could afford the price of admission to own a John Deere or Cub Cadet.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 9:11PM
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kubotabx, the starter's gun in the race to the bottom was fired by the consumer IMO. We demand lower prices and more features. This is why China will one day own the United States, its largest customer, and not show even one blink of remorse when it is over.

But in the larger scheme of things, this is evolution. There is no holy mandate that says the USA must always be on top of the world. The wheel spins, and we find ourselves at the mercy of wherever it stops. Those who recall the old battle cry: "The sun will never set on the British Empire" can recognize the same irony being played out here.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 9:42PM
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kubotabx2200(Zone 5b NH)

Here's a prediction: some day soon you will see a Chinese-made lawn tractor selling for $499, and they will be sold at Pep Boys.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 10:19PM
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. . . right alongside the $300 chinese made scooters.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 8:50AM
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Well, I may need my 8 year old Toro 32 XL in for service. I inquired about a new and was told they are made by MTD. The service dude was non too impressed either and said at this point I'd better off with a Craftsman--at least until they work the kinks out. It seams the toro dealers are now selling the rebranded toros as well!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 9:49AM
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I think an 8 year old Toro is pre-MTD.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 9:12PM
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TTC is the symbol of the Toro Company - interesting reading of thier mission - goals - financials.
Yes it appears they are stripping away the lower priced (meaning lower margins) models as well as the lessor income producing wholly owned distribution networks(meaning selling direct) end result - small dealers will cease to exist by design.
You may agree or disagree, but its thier current business model.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 5:58AM
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Every mower made, except perhaps the very high end commercial models, are suffering from gains in productivity, which means, if I understand it right, the maufacturers keep finding cheaper and cheaper ways to hold the product price near the same - even as inflation forces material and labor costs higher and higher.

It's not confined only to mowers. A kenmore washer I bought a few years ago weighed about half as much as the one it replaced. I was astonished! Both were the "best washer" sears sold at the time.

A "good" mower that sold for $1500.00 ten years ago would probably cost $5000.00 today- if built to the the same specs.

The way things are going it might cost one million ten years from now.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 6:56AM
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Herus said,
"the starter's gun in the race to the bottom was fired by the consumer IMO. We demand lower prices and more features."

I strongly disagree with this twisted line of thought. Consumers did not walk into Home Depot before they sold
cheap Deere tractors, saying "We demand you get us cheap tractors that say John Deere." Please put the blame for this on the right people, the marketing majors at Deere and/or Home Depot who knew they could fool the
public by putting a quality brand on a cheaper product.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 8:46AM
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Remember the line in the movie - - if you build it, they will come - - this case is us, the consumer.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:23AM
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Just like that JD deeler who wanted me too change oil when I really wonted to be his number won sellsman so I could tell that farmer who lets me due all the work but he keeps all the money to take his jopb and shovel it won time but the JD deeler tells me I got bad attitude just like all the people who buy cheap stuff all the time so now I make big bcuks selling pole barns and I'm glad all the old timers got my back here without making fun of my spellin an grammer and don't make of the trolls that post there message here.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 12:48PM
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ACtually small dealers likely will not cease to exists, if anything their showroom will come part of the service center as that part of the business booms!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 12:48PM
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Troy Bilt and MTD = tiller; now thats a real tragedy. Research is truly the key. With the advent of the web, research is easier now than ever. Comparison shopping before you leave home. Don't bring your purchase home then sit down at the computer. REJ2.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 7:00PM
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MTD doesn't make junk. They aren't Chinese and they are well made for their price point. I'm not sure why people expect $2000 lawn tractors to last 40 years. Stuff running from the 70s was extremely expensive back in the 70s. You can find that quality today, it just costs more than the average credit card limit.

Sorry about your breakdown. I'm not sure how you found this forum after you bought and didn't find it before you bought. Everyone needs to pay attention to what they buy these days given our "global economy". If I spend over $100 I check online first and try to buy USA if possible and make sure I know who makes what.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 9:35PM
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Just wanted to clear up some mis-information on this thread.

First, Toro is not owned by MTD, nor do they "license" their name to MTD. Toro is in a business agreement with MTD for them to design and manufacture domestic lawn tractors, per Toro specifications.

Second, not all Toro products sold through Home Depot are MTD built. Based on my last trip to Home Depot (this morning to get some Round Up) I see they offer an LX tractor (which is manufactured by MTD) and Z4200 (which is designed and built by Toro).

Basically, the LX Series as well as the GT2000 Series tractors are built by MTD. The gas powered line trimmers, and non-powered hand tools, are also built by 3rd parties (not MTD).

All consumer Z's, push mowers and the electric powered "Superblowers" are designed and manufactured by Toro.


(I don't speak for Toro)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 9:23PM
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I bought a Cub Cadet 2180 4 years ago from a dealer, it has never failed me, in fact I liked it so much I bought a CC ZForce 50 3 years ago. It too is a wonderful machine.

Cheaper mowers give a lower level of performance, but the failure the poster had is not a usual occurance for any product line.

Bought my wife an Audi TT in February, it had a headlight problem which the dealer misdiagnosed 3 times. Great car, but came with a glitch. It is now fixed and performing admirably. Could have bought many mowers for the price of the car, but the point is any mass produced product will have a chance for a fault. Don't overreact and condemn all products by a manufacturer just because yours acted up. Work with the dealer until it is resolved, and have realistic expectations for the product you bought.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 9:49PM
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