Although some Florida Toyota owners say the company’s recent recalls initially left them confused and upset, Toyota’s customer service and rapid response has eased their stress.
“Toyota has really been on top of reaching out to all customers swiftly, and I applaud them for that,” said Justin Harris, 21, a senior political science student from Clearwater, who drives a 2007 Toyota Camry.
On Jan. 21 Toyota Motor Corp. announced a recall for approximately 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking-accelerator-pedals on specific Toyota Division models.
In February the company stopped the production of new cars for a week to allow dealers to repair the recalled cars without any delays.
Since the recall was made, Toyota has repaired at least 50,000 vehicles, according to Toyota’s Public Affairs Manager Cindy Knight.
“We’ve fixed many of thousands of cars so far, at least 50,000,” Knight said.
According to Knight Toyota’s recall was released because the floor mat on the driver’s side stuck over the gas pedal, and a part inside the gas pedal sticks to another part as it wears down from humidity.
“Our remedy is to change the materials of the parts, but also to install a small metal plate,” Knight said.
She also said that Toyota is designing a new pedal and floor mat, so that they will not get tangled together.
In addition to demonstrate the manufacturer’s reliability, Toyota president Akio Toyoda, is establishing a committee for global quality with chief officers in every region, according to Knight.
Among the Camry, other recalled vehicles include models of the RAV4, Corolla, Matrix, Avalon, Highlander, Tundra, and Sequoia. Customers are instructed, in formal recall letters, to take their vehicles to their local dealership. If some owners did not receive a letter, but believe their cars are recalled they should contact their local dealership or refer to Toyota’s recall Web site,www.toyota.com/recall, for more information on the specific car model.
Rolanda Williams, 32, a University of Central Florida alumnus, and owner of a 2007 Toyota Camry, said she received an e-mail instructing her to bring her vehicle into her local dealership.
“They actually are pretty quick,” said Williams. “I called on Feb. 9, and they fixed my car on Feb. 12.
Knight said that some Toyota franchises are offering customers incentives such as free rides, rental cars, movie tickets, and lunch to compensate for the inconvenience.
Williams was offered a rental car when she arrived at her appointment, and she accepted it.
Despite the unanticipated recall, Toyota owners in Florida are content with the company’s timely response.
“They are handling it in a timely manner, I do appreciate that,” said Williams. “I hope it’s fixed for good.”
Harris said that Toyota should still have credibility since this is the first national issue they have faced.
“I would buy another Toyota in the future they are really reliable cars,” said Harris. “The company has proven itself to be a customer-friendly company.”
Knight said that 80 percent of all Toyota’s sold in the United States are still on the road today because Toyota has always put the needs of their customers first and make safety and reliability their top priority.
“Nothing is more important to Toyota then the safety of the customers in our vehicles,” said Knight. “We want to do everything we can to keep people safe—we are reviewing everything, and making changes in every organization.”