Toyota is planning its comeback even before it has solved the problems that have been plaguing the world’s largest automaker. The Japanese company is vowing to win customers back “at all costs” and is launching some incentives.
Automotive News reports that Toyota plans new-car warranties that would make them the most competitive in the industry, including warranties for used vehicles. Loyal customers would be offered cash, upward of thousands of dollars. And dealers will receive aid from Toyota in financing repairs not covered by the recalls.
The carmaker will lose about 80,000 sales this year while it figures out the problems with sticking gas pedals and runaway vehicles.
Toyota will not launch its new marketing efforts until Congressional hearings scheduled for February 25. Congress will question Akio Toyoda, the head of the corporation and grandson of its founder, about when it realized it had safety issues and what it did to address them.
So far more than 5 million Toyota and Lexus models have been recalled for unintended acceleration and trapped accelerator pedals.
In January, another 2.3 million cars were recalled for the same reason including the 2008-2010 Highlanders and the 2009-2010 Corollas, Venzas and Matrixes.
Another January recall covered the 2.3 million vehicles Consumer Affairs reports including the:
• 2007-10 Camrys,
• 2009-10 Corollas,
• 2009-10 RAV4s,
• 2009-10 Matrixes,
• 2005-10 Avalons,
• 2010 Highlanders,
• 2007-10 Tundras and
• 2008-10 Sequoias.
Recalls began last September and include the Camry, Avalon, Prius, Tacoma, Tunmdar, ES 350 and IS 250 and 350.
Add the 2010 Prius hybrid, the 2010 Lexus HS 250h, and 8,000 four-wheel drive Tacoma pickups to the latest models recalled.
Consumer Affairs list the recalls going back as far as 2004.
Litigation and Class-Actions
IB News reported earlier this month that class-action status is being sought in at least a dozen lawsuits. The latest is brought on behalf of the Pena family of Texas who owned a runaway Avalon, made by Toyota.
Robert Hilliard, (IB Partner) of Hilliard Munoz Guerra LLP, believes the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, will include owners of all types of Toyotas from all over Texas.
And Beasley Allen (IB Partner,) an Alabama law firm, announced last week it is filing suit in Florida on behalf of more than 5 million Toyota owners affected by the recall. The complaint will allege breach of warranty, fraudulent concealment, breach of covenant of good faith, among other complaints. In addition to class-action lawsuits, Toyota is facing individual lawsuits, such as the Houston plaintiff who alleges his wife was killed last December in her accelerating 2009 Toyota.
Sean Kane of Safety Research & Strategies, an independent consumer watchdog group, reports there have been 2,262 incidents involving unintended acceleration in Toyotas since 1999 that have resulted in 815 accidents, 19 deaths and 341 injuries. #