Can a car company demonstrate integrity?
Recently I got a letter in the mail about a recall on my 2006 Toyota Avalon.
Apparently there was a defect in the plastic used to cover the dashboard on several models made during that year, causing cracks when the dashboard was exposed to heat and sunlight.
I knew this all too well, when I bought my used Avalon (Limited model) $12K it had 72,000 miles on the odometer and visible cracks in the dashboard. Back in 2006 that same model retailed new for $35,000, so the cracks in the dash didn’t really bother me. I’d rather buy a great road car with a few miles on it for $12K compared to full retail on a perfect model!
My Avalon now has 141,000 miles on it, it has been a perfect road car, with a ton of room, a great engine, and it rides down the road as good if not better than any of the Lexus models I owned previously. The Avalon is not sexy, but in terms of needing a reliable car for building my business it has been perfect.
Because of the recall Toyota is replacing my entire dashboard at zero cost!
What impresses me is that Toyota does not HAVE to spend this money to make me happy.
The dash cracks were not a safety or health issue, there are thousands of Avalon models on the road with the same problem, yet the owners are probably like me and just accepted it as a flaw one invariably discovers finds in any used car.
I respect the character and integrity demonstrated by Toyota in fixing something that would simply make their customers happier.
Now I have an Avalon with 141,000 miles on it and a perfect interior!
This is one of the reasons I continue to buy used cars under the Toyota / Lexus brand and will continue to do so.
The Avalon recall tells me that someone in leadership at Toyota is looking at success in the long term, they value the relationships with their recurring customers (like me) and they know that spending a couple hundred bucks on a repair now will reap a long-term customer over the next few decades.
There is no place for short-term thinking if you desire any type of long term success.
August 18, 2015