Toyota GB statement on Sunday Times ‘Insight’ Story: 5 Feb, 2012

Toyota GB completely refutes the accusation that it or its dealers act unethically or seek to deceive customers by failing to notify them of non-safety or reliability manufacturing defects whilst a vehicle is under warranty (The Sunday Times ‘Insight’ story , 5 February, 2012). All manufacturing defects, however identified, are covered by the Toyota warranty.

Toyota GB does not have, and never has had, a “secret policy” that prevents dealer staff notifying customers of faults with their car. The warranty policy manual is distributed to all dealers and authorised repairers (over 200 in the UK, all independently owned) which details warranty administration procedures. The terms and conditions of the warranty are also described within the owner’s service and warranty handbook supplied with every new car.

Toyota GB exceeds industry standards with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. Most other manufacturers offer only a three-year warranty. In addition, Toyota GB operates a generous goodwill policy to deal with cases that fall outside the formal warranty period.

Every customer is asked by the dealer when making a booking and when handing over their vehicle to itemise any issues they wish to be checked. In addition, a Visual Safety Report is provided to every customer who takes a vehicle to a Toyota dealer for service or warranty work. This report is clearly explained to each and every customer. As acknowledged in the article, all items which may affect the safety or reliability of the vehicle, whether covered by warranty or not, are systematically identified and repaired by our technicians and no car is allowed to go back on the road until these items have been fixed. Customer safety is, and has always been, Toyota’s top priority.

Contrary to the accusation made by the Sunday Times, Toyota dealer technicians can and do bring to the attention of customers any type of fault (including purely cosmetic faults), regardless of the cause, which they find on a vehicle, whether or not previously raised by the customer. There is a clear and simple procedure for any repairs to be carried out. Any work that comes within the terms of the five–year warranty will be covered at no cost to the customer.

The application of Toyota GB warranty procedures with its dealers is completely in line with, or exceeds, industry practice. An independent survey* in 2011 ranked Toyota as number one in the UK car industry for having the fairest warranty policy among all vehicle manufacturers by providing a fair and transparent policy to both customers and dealers.

Warranty procedures at dealers, who carry out warranty work on a self-authorised basis, are audited by Toyota GB to ensure the consistent application of the claim administration process and that the customer is notified of any faults found with their vehicle. Toyota GB believes all other major manufacturers carry out warranty audits and make chargebacks and/or impose financial penalties on their dealers for non-compliance with warranty procedures. Toyota GB believes its policy is less punitive than most other manufacturers and is fully supported by the Toyota Dealers Council, made up of representatives of all Toyota dealers nationwide. It is also in line with the industry’s New Car Code of Practice, approved by the Office of Fair Trading.

The Toyota cases mentioned by The Sunday Times refer to the audit of one dealer in 2008. In each case the work was carried our under warranty and the customer was not charged. Under a subsequent audit that dealer was found to have completed the internal warranty claim documentation wrongly. Nevertheless, Toyota GB did not seek to chargeback the dealer for these costs.

Toyota GB is currently unaware of any outstanding customer case where its warranty processes have failed. If such cases, even suspected, arise Toyota GB will fully investigate and take necessary measures ensuring the full and fair application of its policies.

Finally, Toyota GB appreciates this article could cause concern to customers and has therefore set up a freephone number to address any concerns directly. Toyota can be contacted on 0800 138 8744.

*Source Summer 2011 National Franchise Dealer Association Survey, Dealer Attitude Survey.

Update 12/03/12: Since the above blog post was published, the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has ranked Toyota and Lexus joint first for fairest warranty service. To find out more, click here.