Car manufacturer Toyota offered to buy back units of its bZ4X electric SUVs in June, following its warning about a potential glitch.
The Japanese automotive firm announced that all 2,700 units of the bZ4x pose a danger to drivers. Of this number, 260 units were delivered to the United States.
“After low-mileage use, all of the hub bolts on the wheel can loosen – to the point where the wheel can detach from the vehicle. If a wheel detaches from the vehicle while driving, it could result in a loss of vehicle control – increasing the risk of a crash,” Toyota said in a June 23 statement.
“The cause of the issue and the driving patterns under which this issue could occur are still under investigation. No one should drive these vehicles until the remedy is performed. No remedy is available at this time.”
One option for owners affected by the recall is to have free use of another Toyota vehicle until such time the automaker finds out what went wrong and how to fix the glitch. Those who choose this option will receive $5,000 as either a partial refund or as a car payment. Furthermore, Toyota will extend the factory warranty on the bZ4X by whatever period of time it takes before an owner receives their vehicle back.
According to Autoweek, those who do not sell their vehicle back will be entitled to free electric vehicle charging. Fuel reimbursement will also be given to dealers who loaned out cars while customers’ defective units were sent for repairs. These perks will last until 2024, the outlet added.
“However, if a customer does not want to proceed with the provided options, we will offer to repurchase their bZ4X,” said Toyota. Currently, the starting price for the electric SUV start is $43,215.
“We know that our customers have many choices when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. We appreciate their loyalty and are supporting them through this recall.”
Sentiment on online forums, however, reflected dissatisfaction among affected vehicle owners. They complained that a $5,000 credit is not enough for the inconvenience brought by the recall. Meanwhile, potential buyers cancelled their orders over safety concerns.
The Japanese automotive giant is no stranger to product recalls. Earlier, Toyota recalled more than 75,000 units of its Tacoma pickup because of a failing weld on the child seat anchor. The company said it expects to have a solution for the pickup’s issue by September 2022.
Around 46,000 units of the Toyota Tundra pickup’s 2022 model were also recalled due to a loosening rear axle assembly. But compared to the Tacoma and bZ4X, the Tundra had an easy resolution. Affected users could simply have their vehicle inspected at a Toyota dealership and have the defective part replaced.
The bZ4X is Toyota’s first foray at an all-electric vehicle, but the recall put it in a rocky situation. (Related: Honda announces plan to design and manufacture its own line of fully electric vehicles.)
Bloomberg columnist Anjani Trivedi wrote about Toyota’s predicament: “If that’s the level of quality and safety traditional auto giants are willing to commit to, then investors and regulators should increase their scrutiny.”
GlobalData automotive editor David Leggett echoed Trivedi’s sentiments during an interview with CNBC. “Toyota has been under pressure to up its game in EVs, so it will be very disappointed that a recall has been necessary on its first mass-market electric cars,” he said.
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