Toyota steps up efforts to woo back US customers

Thursday Oct 7, 2010

Aiming to win back customer trust after its string of recalls, Toyota Motor Corp. is offering American buyers of new Toyota- and Scion-brand vehicles two years of regular scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for free.

The plans, announced in a press release Wednesday from the automaker’s U.S. headquarters in Torrance, California, makes permanent a program that started this spring.

The move is aimed at restoring customer confidence after the Japanese automaker recalled more than 10 million vehicles worldwide over the last year for a wide range of problems, including gas pedals that got stuck.

Toyota decided to make the program standard after 73 percent of customers who bought cars under the free maintenance program said it improved their confidence in the company, the release said.

The program, which applies only to models bought in the U.S., covers models for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The regularly scheduled maintenance includes oil and filter changes, tire rotations, lubrication of key chassis parts and a 19-point inspection, while the 24-hour roadside assistance includes lockout protection, flat tires, towing and jump starts.

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