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Why Toyota Is Buying Back An Electric Car

Back in June, Toyota warned the owners of its BZ4X electric SUV that they should stop driving the vehicle and have it transported to a dealership.

They issued this waning because of a severe problem; the wheels could fall off while driving even after a short time on the road.

At the time, Toyota did not know why this was happening.

The automaker said it would investigate the problem and have it corrected once engineers figured out why the wheels were coming loose.

But over a month later, Toyota engineers still haven’t figured it out.

Now they are offering to buy back the SUVs from customers who don’t want to wait for the problem to be resolved.

The recall was announced after Toyota sold 258 units.

Toyota sent a letter to bZ4X owners letting them choose between a loaner vehicle, an incentive package, or full repurchase of cars.

Toyota sent the letter as they continued to struggle to keep the wheels on their first electric car effort.

The main takeaways from the better are:

  • Owners should not drive the vehicles and should return them to Toyota as soon as possible if they haven’t yet.
  • Toyota has not yet identified a solution to the issue and has no timetable for when it will.
  • Toyota is giving current owners the option of a full repurchase, a loaner car with fuel reimbursement, a $5,000 credit, extended free charging, and a warranty extension.

The safety recall also affects the bZ4X’s sister car, Subaru Solterra.

However, none of those have yet made it into US owners’ hands.

Toyota is being hit especially with its trouble selling new units of the bZ4X, as any electric vehicles purchased from the automaker after September 30 will not be eligible for the full federal tax credits.

Toyota is running out of time to offer its buyers a $7,500 credit if they cannot purchase a new bZ4X any time soon, even though the rules under the Inflation Reduction Act are likely to change.

And the recall is coming at a time when new car owners don’t have a lot of options for replacement.

Demand for EVs is high, and supply is low, leading to high dealer markups everywhere.

Used and new gas cars also command higher prices as the global vehicle shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

So bZ4X owners who are turned off by this recall saga might still stick with the loaner offer due to the lack of replacement options.

Toyota is not the first automaker to recall electric vehicles in recent years.

General Motors recently offered to buy back Chevrolet Bolt EVs after reports of battery fires.

That recall involved more vehicles than the handful of BZ4Xes, but Bolt owners could continue using their vehicles with certain restrictions.

GM eventually discovered the cause of the fires and could replace batteries in vehicles that needed them.

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