Toyota to Offer Home Pickup, Free Rentals During Recall Repairs

Posted: Feb 26, 2010 10:16 a.m.

Arranging recall repairs just got easier for Toyota owners.  The company has recalled more than eight million cars in two separate recalls, both due to the risk of unintended acceleration.  Toyota dealers will now offer to pick up cars at customer’s homes, provide rental cars during the repair period, and deliver the car after repairs are completed.

The AP explains, “The deal -- costs to the company weren't specified -- was initially announced as part of an agreement between Toyota and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. But hours later under questioning during a congressional hearing in Washington, a senior Toyota executive said the company was extending the same benefits nationwide.”  According to a statement from Cuomo’s office, “The services will include pickup and return of the vehicle, driving the customer to the dealership or his or her work place, and rental and loaner cars or taxis during the time the customer is ‘unable or unwilling to use his or her car.’”

One recall regards improperly secured floormats, which might trap the accelerator pedal in the down position.  The other involves accelerator pedals that can become stuck in the down position even without a floormat present.

It may take individual dealerships, already dealing with a flood of recall repairs, several days to get a system in place for offering the services.  But they shouldn’t be reluctant to take on the expense.  The AP reports, “Toyota and its Lexus subsidiary will reimburse local dealers for the cost of providing the accommodations.”

Kicking Tires notes, “Toyota gave no indication of what this program will cost, but it certainly does not sound cheap.”  Still, the company, facing the biggest public relations challenge in its history, “sensed a PR mess in the making by granting the accommodations just to one state.”

Since individual dealerships are responsible for arranging the services, there is no single point-of-contact for customers to let Toyota know of their needs.  Instead, owners are encouraged to reach out to local dealerships to ask for accommodations.  Those Toyota owners who haven’t received a formal recall notice in the mail should be receiving one within the next few weeks, but there is no reason to wait for it before contacting a dealership about recall repairs your car may need.

For more information on Toyota's recent problems, including the latest news, please see our Toyota Recall page. If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals