As earnings season hits cruising speed here in the U.S., the biggest names in foreign lands are shifting into second and merging into traffic. Dark and early tomorrow -- or just a little later today, for you night owls -- Toyota Motors (NYSE:TM) reports its first-quarter 2008 numbers. If you want to hear them first, set your alarm clocks for 2 a.m.

After the news comes out, we'll have time aplenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over Toyota's short-term progress, let's take a moment to review what investors think about it as a long-term investment. Our tool in this endeavor: Motley Fool CAPS, where we poll more than 60,000 investors for their views on well more than 4,000 companies, Toyota among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the company.

Up or down?
More than 2,100 investors have submitted opinions on the company, making Toyota Motors the 32nd most-rated stock in all of CAPS-land. (In one respect at least, Toyota has already overtaken General Motors (NYSE:GM), which is only the 42nd most rated issue.)

What do we think of Toyota? Some 98% of CAPS investors polled expect Toyota's stock to beat the stock market going forward. No surprise here, folks: Toyota gets the maximum five CAPS stars.

Relative to its peers, here's how Toyota fares:

Major Auto Manufacturers Group

CAPS Rating



Honda (NYSE:HMC)


Tata Motors (NYSE:TTM)




DaimlerChrysler (NYSE:DCX)


Ford (NYSE:F)


General Motors


Wall Street vs. Main Street
The 2% endorsement Toyota lost on Main Street is waiting on Wall Street. Among professional investors tracked by CAPS, the company gets a unanimous five out of five outperform ratings.

Bull pitch
Market share, profits, reputation for quality -- when it comes to Toyota, bulls have many horns on which to hang their hats.

The top-rated CAPS pitch in Toyota's favor, courtesy of amteague777, toots another horn entirely -- fuel economy: "I want to buy great companies at great prices. Toyota has just been landsliding the hybrid business and in the next few years will do even more as they are now coming out w/ luxury hybrids ..."

The unabridged version of this pitch is particularly interesting for its focus on hybrids as Toyota's superweapon. Going forward, we'll want to monitor how well Toyota's hybrid sales hold up once the stream of federal tax credits for hybrid Toyotas dries up. It's coming soon, you know.

Bear pitch
Meanwhile, kdeken, who offers up our top-rated bear pitch, takes issue with Toyota's quality lead:

TM has had things all their way for the past five years. Think that will continue for the next five? I don't. Products are not favorably differentiated in today's market. I will give them the quality credit they deserve during the last decade, but others have caught their quality and offer more compelling products.

Excellent point, wise Fool. Indeed, as we've seen in successive issues of J.D. Power's famous automotive quality reports, Toyota's factual quality edge has been eroding.

Get in on the game
To learn more about the wise Fools who penned these words, to examine their records (and see whether they know what they're talking about), and to explore the plethora of additional financial data we've put together on the company, just click here.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 330 out of more than 60,000 raters. Nissan is a Motley Fool Global Gains selection. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy never hogs the passing lane.