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Toyota Adding More Hybrids, Battery Cars – And Free Maintenance Plan – To Boost U.S. Sales

Japanese maker’s CEO meanwhile rallies American dealers.

by on Oct.07, 2010

The new Toyota Sienna -- and the rest of the 2011 Toyota and Scion line-up -- will now get free maintenance.

With U.S. sales in a slump despite the use of some of the largest cash incentives in its history, Toyota Motor Co. is taking a two-pronged approach to rebuilding momentum.

From Japan, the company has announced plans to add a number of new hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.  In Las Vegas, meanwhile, Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda is rallying the troops, telling 1,200 of its U.S. dealers that the automaker is committed to reversing the damage done by a year-long safety scandal.

Among other steps to boost demand, the maker has also announced it will offer American buyers a new, two-year, 25,000-mile free maintenance plan on all Toyota and Scion-branded products.

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Though it remains the largest automaker in the world, Toyota clearly is worried about the impact of a safety crisis that began almost exactly one year ago when it announced the first recall for so-called sudden acceleration.  Since then, more than 9 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide, the majority in the U.S.  And while the lion’s share are impacted by the sudden acceleration issue, the maker has faced an array of other problems, from excess corrosion on minivans to leaking hybrid fuel tanks.


Lexus Tops Power Customer Service Index, But Toyota Slips Below Average

Hummer leads list of mainstream brands.

by on Feb.24, 2010

Lexus tops the new J.D. Power Customer Service charts, but mainstream Toyota lags well below average, a potentially serious problem.

Lexus, the luxury arm of Toyota Motor Co. yet again topped the customer service charts, though its mainstream sibling, the Toyota brand, slipped well below average, according to a new survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

Luxury brands generally delivered the best performance according to the 30th J.D. Power Customer Service Index, which measures how owners feel about the way their dealers handles repairs and maintenance to their vehicles during the first three years of ownership.  But some mainstream brands rose to the top, notably including Hummer, the brand General Motors hopes to sell in the coming weeks.

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Keeping customers happy in the service bay can be an important way for a manufacturer – and its dealers – to retain loyalty, said Power officials.


Toyota Dealers Upgrading during Sales Slump

Will new, expensive buildings lead to higher satisfaction?

by on Oct.29, 2009

About one-third of Toyota's 1200 dealers have upgraded facilities.

About one-third of Toyota's 1200 dealers have upgraded facilities.

As other automakers reel under the pressure under the pressure of the recession, Toyota’s U.S. dealers are sinking more money into their showrooms and service bays.

As many buyers know since they provide the input, Toyota’s customer satisfaction ratings have never measured up to the company’s ratings for quality, reliability and durability. Critics and industry observers have suggested for a long time that the company’s customer handling skills need improvement.