TOKYO -- One of the overlooked items in Akio Toyoda’s testimony to Congress on Wednesday was a quiet pledge to provide free transportation to customers nationwide while their recalled cars get fixed.
Earlier the same day, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. announced that it had reached a similar deal to provide “additional services” for customers in New York.
Toyota would pick up and return the vehicle to the dealership and drive the customers to the dealership or their workplaces. The company also would provide alternative transportation for the customer, such as a rental cars, loaner cars or taxi reimbursement.
The service was geared toward customers “concerned about driving their vehicle before repair is completed,” Toyota said. That deal was reached through discussions with the attorney general of New York to address the concerns of government regulators and consumers in that state.
At the Toyota hearings before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington later that day, lawmakers asked whether that offer would be extended nationwide.
Yoshi Inaba, head of Toyota’s North American operations, quickly conferred with President Toyoda seated beside him, and said yes.
In Tokyo, Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said the services would be offered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of individual customers. “Not everybody needs a rental car or taxi,” he said. “They are making options available depending on the customers’ needs.”
The services will be provided by Toyota at no cost to dealers or customers.
Reimbursements will come from stipends of $7,500 to $75,000 that Toyota already has provided dealers in connection with the recalls, the company said in a statement.
In New York, Toyota said that as of Feb. 20, it had repaired more than 32,000 vehicles affected by the sticky-pedal recall. Nationwide, Toyota had fixed 750,000 of the 2.3 million vehicles subject to the sticking-pedal action, the company added.
The New York agreement applies to customers affected by any of the several recalls Toyota has announced since last fall for sticking accelerator pedals, floor mat pedal entrapment, updates of antilock brake system software and inspections of Tacoma pickup driveshafts.