When it comes to keeping its current customers while attracting new ones amidst massive recalls, Toyota has its work cut out for them. But, as Don Esmond, senior vice president of Toyota Motor sales USA, put it, “We’ll figure what the right cruise missile will be.” A cruise missile is an accurate metaphor for the incentive plan the automaker will need to implement. With more than 8.5 million vehicles recalled worldwide, the number one car company’s reputation is on the line and needs swift, powerful action to staunch any further bleeding.
Toyota has already offered returning customers a $1,000 “loyalty” bonus, an incentive also offered by rivals GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Hyundai in an effort to lure away customers. According to sources, one option Toyota is considering is to offer another $1,000 rebate to customers. Another option being considered is a free maintenance program, which would include oil changes and regular services, and a revamped warranty program that would at least match Hyundai’s leading 10 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
Of the 131,000 inventory vehicles recalled in the United States, Toyota executives state that most have already had their faulty pedals replaced, and expect almost all of them to return to the showroom floor. Hopefully part of the company’s plan involves incentives to try and convince consumers to buy recalled vehicles.