In June, Toyota issued a warning to owners of its BZ4X electric SUV that they should stop driving the vehicle and transport it to a dealership due to a serious problem: The wheels may fall off while driving after only a short time on the road. .
Toyota didn’t know why this was happening, but the automaker said it would investigate and fix the problem once engineers figured out why the wheels were coming loose. Now, more than a month later, Toyota still hasn’t identified the problem and is only offering to buy the SUVs from customers who no longer want to wait for the problem to be fixed.
Because the issue became apparent soon after the SUV went on sale, only 260 BZ4X owners in the U.S. faced this condition. There are many others who ordered the SUV but it is yet to be delivered when the “do not drive” warning is announced. Those customers never took delivery of their SUVs.
The automaker has offered several options beyond buybacks while it asks owners for their patience. Toyota is offering customers free use of another Toyota vehicle until the problem is found and corrected. Toyota is offering owners a $5,000 down payment or partial refund of the purchase price of their vehicle. Toyota will extend the vehicle’s factory warranty by the amount of time — whichever ends — on SUVs that are taken out of service.
For customers who simply want to sell their vehicle, the exact terms of the repurchase may vary depending on different state regulations and the specifics of the owner’s situation.
The BZ4X is almost like the Subaru Solterra electric SUV. The two Japanese automakers have jointly developed the car. Subaru has not had to recall any SUVs in the U.S., as none were delivered before the problem was discovered.
Toyota isn’t the first automaker to recall electric vehicles in recent years. General Motors has offered to buy the Chevrolet Bolt EV after reports of battery fires. This case potentially involved more vehicles than the handful of BZ4Xes, but Bolt owners were able to continue using their vehicles with at least some restrictions. GM finally discovered the source of the problem and is now able to replace the batteries in the vehicles they need. GM did not say how many customers took advantage of the buy-back offer.