Toyota is all but admitting defeat with the recall of its bZ4X EV. The company recently penned a letter to customers who bought the electric SUV that was recalled, offering a full refund. In terms of launching your first readily-available EV, this is probably the worst thing that can happen.
The bZ4X, which was supposed to be Toyota’s first fully-electric SUV, officially hit the market in spring and was priced at a reasonable $42,000. It only took a couple of months for Toyota to recall every single bZ4X sold globally though — totaling about 2,700 — due to a major flaw. As wild as it sounds, there was a chance that the SUV’s wheels could fall off... yikes.
That was back in June, and it seems like Toyota still doesn’t have a solution for this glaring issue —actually, the recall seems to be going in the other direction. Toyota is now offering to buy back your bZ4X, since the issue still can’t be fixed. To make matters worse, the recall also affects Subaru’s Solterra, which was built on the same platform as the bZ4X.
Refund or ride it out — Toyota recently sent out a letter to its bZ4X customers, as seen in its full glory on Electrek. With no way to fix the EV just yet, the company is in damage control mode, offering an entire suite of alternatives for those unfortunate enough to buy the first batch of bZ4X.
In the letter, Toyota is offering customers a loaner vehicle at no cost, reimbursements for any fuel costs while using the loaner, and a $5,000 credit towards payment of the loan, lease, or purchase price. To sweeten the deal, customers also get their complimentary charging at EVgo-owned and operated public charging stations across the U.S. extended until the end of 2024. Toyota is at least owning up to its significant mistake by offering a fairly decent deal. Of course, having a functional bZ4X that you paid for would also be a sweet deal. If you don’t want to go through all that, Toyota is willing to fully buy back the EV, too.
Failure to launch — Considering Toyota’s reputation for reliability and durability, it’s surprising that it bungled the launch of its first accessible EV so badly. Toyota’s failure is only compounded by the fact that it’s falling behind other major car makers in the EV sector, like GM, Hyundai, and BMW.
It’s definitely not a good look for Toyota and not a great start on carving out its slice of a highly competitive EV market. What’s worse is Toyota hasn’t even provided some sort of timeline as to when the affected bZ4Xs will be fixed. We’re willing to wager that worrying about your wheels flying off while you drive is probably a ride most people would prefer not to take.