Toyota’s recent string of troubles — from multiple recalls over unintended acceleration to a new report this morning that their popular Prius hybrid could have problems with its braking system — created a series of questions in the minds of their owners.
Where the public might have previously thought that recall problems were the bastion of the domestics and safety issues were permanently in our rear view mirrors after decades of innovation and pressure from the U.S. Department of Transportation, now it appears that there’s a new world order: could Toyota be, after all, mortal? Where some previously believed the company could do no wrong, there now exists a void.
A few competitors have a crystal clear idea of how to fill that void. In the wake of the recent unintended acceleration recall, all manner of competitors have created specific sales campaigns to target Toyota owners.
General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Hyundai have all stepped up to offer official rebates to current Toyota owners, while other brands such as Mazda are specifically targeting Toyota owners through some savvy keyword advertising on the web. All in all it spells out one message: Toyota owners might — for the first time in a long time — consider another brand and if they do, some manufacturers want it to be their brand and theirs alone.
It’s unclear at this point if Toyota will lose much of their loyal following to Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai or GM as a result of these promotions.
We know from polling on AOL Autos that buyers haven’t budged in the last two weeks in terms of their feeling about the brand and whether or not they will consider it.
Our poll, which ran twice over a 11-day period, shows some amazing numbers:
On January 21, 53% of 6,389 voters said that the current recalls would not influence whether or not they considered purchasing a Toyota in the future. On February 1, after media coverage and interest in the recall issue were sky high, the numbers were exactly the same. 53% of 5,202 voters said that the current recalls would not influence their decision.
If the competition hopes to snag Toyota owners or buyers who were considering a Toyota, they’ll have to do more than just offer $1,000.