The Toyota bZ4X recall won’t go well – the company is offering to buy back the car

Toyota has sent a letter to bZ4X owners, offering to choose between a loan and incentive package or a full car buyback, as the company continues to struggle (literally) while keeping the wheels in its first electric car effort.

Notably, the car’s electric drive systems are not affected by the recall – the battery and drivetrain work perfectly fine.

Toyota announced the recall of the bZ4X in late June, citing the possibility of the new EV wheels falling off. Although it applies to all produced bZ4X cars, given that it happened shortly after the car was released, it is still a relatively small recall – only 2,700 cars.

Owners are now receiving letters from Toyota detailing what Toyota is offering in exchange for this recall issue, and given the scope of the offering, the recall doesn’t seem to be going great.

The text of the message is below:

We recently informed you of a safety recall involving your Toyota BZ4X 2023 And keep asking you not to drive until treatment is available. We are working hard on a treatment and will notify you in the future when it becomes available.
At Toyota, your safety is a top priority. If you have not already done so, please contact any authorized Toyota dealer and they will arrange to pick up and store your vehicle, at no cost, until treatment is available. We will also provide you with a borrowed car at no cost to you.
We place high value on the guest experience and understand the inconvenience this situation presents. And therefore, Toyota is offering affected owners the following until treatment is available:
• Keep saving a borrowed car, and store your car at no cost
• Reimbursement for refueling costs incurred while operating the offered borrowed vehicle
• Provide you with a total balance of $5,000 to pay off the loan/rent or purchase price if the vehicle is paid in full
• Provide additional free charging time at all EVgo owned and operated public stations across the country, until December 31, 2024
• Offer an extension to your vehicle’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty based on the period of time your vehicle cannot be driven due to the recall (from the date the recall was announced on June 23, 2022 until a future date when the repair is announced.
Alternatively, if you do not wish to proceed as described above, Toyota will offer to buy back your vehicle. Repurchase terms may vary depending on your particular case and circumstances.
A bZ4X specialist will contact you in the coming days to discuss these options. If you’d like to speak with someone sooner, please call us at 1-800-331-4331 and select the third option, between 8 AM – 8 PM Monday through Friday and 9 AM – 7 PM on Saturdays ET.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this case may have caused you.
Toyota Auto Sales, USA

The highlights we see here are that owners should not drive these vehicles and should return them to Toyota as soon as possible if you haven’t done so yet, that Toyota has not yet found a cure for the problem and doesn’t have a timeline for when this might happen, and that Toyota is offering owners an option Between several incentives (borrower with fuel repayment, $5,000 credit, free shipping and an extended warranty) or a complete vehicle buyback.

Many assumed Toyota would find a relatively easy solution, given its long history of producing about 10 million cars a year with wheels that don’t fall off.

There are also reports online of some owners trying to negotiate with Toyota for more consideration, such as trying to get some dealer tag back they had to pay when buying the car.

This recall and buy-back offer comes at a time when new car owners don’t have many replacement options. Demand for electric vehicles is high and supply is low, leading to lower inventory and higher profit margins everywhere. New and used gas-powered cars are also commanding higher prices as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect global auto supplies.

So even for bZ4X owners who are held off by this recall saga, they may stick to the borrower offer, at least in part due to the lack of other options for replacement.

And for those who have a car on order, they are stuck in limbo wondering if they’ll cancel their orders and trying to find or stick to another car in a tight market and hoping for a quick fix so they don’t have to come back in a year-round EV ordering range of models. other.

Take Electric

I did drive a bZ4X, despite a short drive around a few blocks. There was nothing particularly wrong with that, but it was somewhat uninspiring for this longtime EV driver. It looked like an initial effort by the company – it still has many of the advantages of an electric car that make it better than a petrol car but without some of the improvements you would see from a more mature second- or third-generation effort.

But Toyota owners don’t necessarily want something inspiring. They just want a good, reliable car that takes them from point A to point B at a reasonable price… without the wheels falling off.

In the past decade and a half of electric vehicle ownership, one thing I’ve heard most often goes along with “Yeah well, when the big automakers decide to switch to electric, they’ll easily crush startups with their superior quality and manufacturing ingenuity.” I’ve heard this over and over again, regardless of the current state of the industry at the time.

And here we have Toyota, the world’s largest automaker with one of the highest reputations for quality — the company that introduced the Kaizen manufacturing philosophy to the world and influenced manufacturers across industries — and they totally screwed it up.

Fortunately, however, the issue here has nothing to do with the EV powertrain, which speaks to the simplicity of EV powertrains in general because electric motors are much less complex than gas engines. But that only makes the situation mind-boggling – why would Toyota, with so much manufacturing experience, have a problem with something as basic as wheels? And how does it take so long to fix it?

After many years of acting as if they knew better than the rest of the industry about electric cars (with many steps taken against them), this is a huge misstep by Toyota, and it’s getting worse by the day. We’ve said over and over again that Toyota needs to work together on electric vehicles, and it still holds true – for their sake and for Japan’s sake.

It wouldn’t be so bad if there were 2,700 random vehicles, but it is All Toyota The first electric carAnd, even without the powertrain issues, that’s a huge blow to their EV program, which won’t leave them any further in a race where they already lag behind everyone else.

The treatment presented here seems reasonable enough. They are done right by these customers, at least, with what they have.

But what these customers most likely want is The car they boughtAnd treatment doesn’t give them that yet, nor a timeline for when this might happen. It doesn’t even give them an electric car, because Toyota doesn’t have any other electric cars they can offer (the RAV4 Prime Hybrid is its closest equivalent).

Are you the owner or owner of the bZ4X application? What do you think of this summoning offer? Do you want to take out the loan or buy back? If you were an applicant, did this recall affect your thoughts about whether or not to proceed with it? Let us know in the comments.

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