Toyota has offered a series of make-goods to hundreds of owners of the new 2023 bZ4X — including an offer to buy back the electric compact crossover — as recompense for asking them to stop driving the recalled vehicle because of concerns that the wheels could fall off.
The Japan-built bZ4X went on sale in the U.S. in late spring as Toyota's first EV since the RAV4 EV it built in cooperation with Tesla in 2014. However, just weeks after the launch, Toyota issued a stop-sale and recall notice. Japan's safety regulator said sharp turns and sudden braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen, raising the risk of a wheel coming off the vehicle.
An estimated 260 of the vehicles were in the United States, and a remedy has not yet been determined to allow the vehicles to again be safely driven, Toyota said. Consumers were asked to immediately contact their dealership, which would pick up the vehicle and drop off a loaner at no charge.
In a letter late last month to affected consumers, first reported by electrek.com, the automaker says it recognizes "the inconvenience presented by this situation."
Toyota said it is offering affected customers the following until a fix is available:
• Providing a loaner vehicle and storing the bZ4X at no cost
• Reimbursing any fueling costs incurred while operating the loaner vehicle
• Providing a total credit of $5,000 toward payments of their loan/lease or purchase price if the vehicle was paid in full
• Extending the bZ4X's complimentary charging at all public stations owned and operated by EVgo nationwide through the end of 2024
• Extending the bZ4X's warranty to cover the period when it cannot safely be driven due to the recall (from the recall announcement date of June 23, 2022, through the date when the remedy is announced)
The company said buyers have another option: Toyota will offer to repurchase the vehicle if the consumer desired, but cautioned that "the terms for the repurchase may vary, depending on their state and particular circumstances."
The automaker said it is asking any customers with "unique circumstances" to contact its customer service team at 800-331-4331.
This is the first major customer satisfaction effort undertaken by Toyota Motor North America since Jack Hollis succeeded Bob Carter as the automaker's head of sales. A spokesman confirmed that Hollis was involved in developing the make-goods for impacted customers.
The 2023 Subaru Solterra, which is being built by Toyota in Japan alongside the bZ4X, was also named in the June recall and stop-sale. However, no Solterras had yet been delivered to customers.