Toyota is offering some owners of its BZ4X electric crossover a whole range of potential remedies, including buybacks, in response to an ongoing wheel recall—but it doesn't yet have a solution to the issue.
Complete buybacks were mentioned as a possibility in a letter recently mailed to U.S. BZ4X customers and posted on the Toyota BZ Forum. The letter is a follow-up to one confirming the recall, which also affects the jointly-developed Subaru Solterra.
The recall addresses wheel bolts that can loosen after sharp turns or sudden braking, potentially causing the wheel to break free, according to Japan's safety agency, which first reported the problem.
2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD
Toyota is hoping for a remedy within the next few weeks. But it's asking customers not to drive their vehicles until a one is devised and implemented.
In the letter, the automaker said it will provide loaner vehicles and store recalled vehicles free of charge. That includes reimbursing fuel costs for the loaner vehicle—although the BZ4X is Toyota's only all-electric model in the United States, so loaners are likely to be gasoline cars or hybrids.
The BZ4X is Toyota's first mass-market EV for North America, and the recall, which occurred less than two months after the model's launch, doesn't exactly make the best first impression.
2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD
That's where this above-and-beyond remedy—and what sounds like a very upscale solution more befitting of Toyota's Lexus luxury brand—seems to come into play. As spokesperson Nathan Kokes explained to Green Car Reports, there are some similarities here to how the brand has treated its Mirai buyers.
"These are people who're putting their trust in us," Kokes said, suggesting it's taking those brand-loyal and early-adopter customers very seriously.
Until a remedy is available, Toyota is doing the right thing—and then some. It's providing a $5,000 credit toward BZ4X vehicle loans, or purchase prices if the vehicle has been paid for in full. It's also extending the period for free fast charging through December 31, 2024, and extending warranties based on the time recalled vehicles stay idle.
2023 Toyota bZ4X at EVgo charging station
Toyota doesn't have to extend these perks to many customers. Only 280 of the BZ4Xs included in the recall were shipped to the U.S. and Canada. The recall affects a total of 2,700 BZ4X and 2,600 Subaru Solterra models globally.
In our first drive, we found the BZ4X to be charmingly offbeat—and perhaps a standout in efficiency, which has always been a Toyota strong suit (except in its trucks).
As the BZ4X recall continues, it's likely that any plug-in possibilities dealerships might have left in lots would be Prius Prime models, as the RAV4 Prime has been selling far faster than dealerships can keep it in stock.
With additional reporting by Bengt Halvorson