If you read my earlier blogs, you’ll know that I have been a devoted and loyal Toyota owner since 1976. In the past, I’ve recommended Toyotas to anyone within hearing distance. The cars have been dependable, reliable and, in spite of ongoing price creep, a good value in cars.

But now what do I do? With all the recalls for Toyota products, do I continue to recommend freely, or do I qualify my recommendation? Would anybody even believe my recommendation? Have I suddenly become a Passive?

To make matters worse, the lease on my 2006 Camry ends in April 2010. I’ve been shopping the Toyota dealerships looking for a replacement, but every model I considered has been recalled. I even test drove the Prius hybrid and was seriously considering leasing the new 2010 model. Then, surprise surprise, the Prius seemed to develop software issues with the brakes. How discouraging!

This is really testing the limits of my Net Promoter instincts. Promoters, by definition, are tolerant of missteps by manufacturers to whom they are loyal. They give manufactures a lot of latitude and expect (or pray) that defects are anomalies that will be resolved and fixed. As a long time Toyota owner, that’s what I’m doing.

A report by Reuters indicates that Toyota Canada has ramped up its advertising spending, but the ads are aimed at its existing customers, rather than at new ones. A company spokesperson says that the future is in the hands of customers driving the cars today, not some potential customers. Toyota seems to understand the importance of their Promoters and wants to keep them that way. OK, Mr. Toyoda, I’m waiting to be convinced that all is good in Toyota Land. I’ve got to get a new car and soon. As a Promoter, I’ll give you my business, but you’ve got to give me back my peace of mind.

In the meantime, I’m going to check out the new Hyundai Tucson. Maybe even take it for a test drive. I don’t think I’m going to like this one bit!

 

Keith Chapin is a Certified Net Promoter® Associate and Consultant with over 35 years of experience in research, marketing and customer insights. He can be reached at kchapin@promotersrecommend.com

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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