In what one automotive expert calls an “unprecedented” response, Toyota has announced details of a plan to fix vehicles with peeling white paint, a problem that has plagued the automaker for years.
Toyota, in a letter sent to car owners that it also forwarded to CBC News, said its “warranty enhancement program” will cover several models of vehicles with blizzard pearl or super white paint manufactured as far back as 2008.
The move comes in response to complaints from Toyota owners like Prospect, N.S., resident Rachael Mosley, who said the peeling-paint problem on her 2011 RAV4 has only worsened since she first told CBC her story in September 2018.
“I think it’s really great that Toyota is actually stepping up for their mistake and painting the vehicles that have issues,” said Mosley, whose vehicle now has a large patch of peeled paint on the rear driver’s side panel.
She had previously asked Toyota to repaint sections of her vehicle but the company refused, saying the paint warranty had expired.
She was notified by Toyota Canada about the new program earlier this week. She’s been told she will receive a letter and can then book an appointment with her dealership to have the repairs done.
She’s hoping Toyota will paint her entire vehicle, although the program details only mention repainting specific panels that are peeling.
While she’s glad Toyota is finally addressing the issue, Mosley said “it has taken a long time for them to admit that they made a mistake and take responsibility for it.”
Summerside, P.E.I., resident Jay Willyard hopes the program will cover his peeling 2009 RAV4, which now has several patches of missing paint and a roof that’s practically bare.
“If they do come through on this, I will remain a loyal Toyota owner for my next purchase,” he said, adding he buys Toyota for reliability and drives them until they’re “worn out.”
The program covers the following years and models of vehicles with the original blizzard pearl and super white paint:
- 2010-2015 4Runner
- 2008-2017 Camry HV
- 2008-2017 Camry
- 2009-2018 Corolla
- 2008-2017 Avalon
- 2008-2017 RAV4
- 2012-2015 Scion IQ
- 2011-2015 Scion XB
Toyota said the Lexus program covers 2008-2009 GX470.
Toyota has previously acknowledged the problem is caused by a “manufacturing defect.”
The letter to affected customers said: “The covered condition may occur when sunlight over time degrades the adhesion between the factory-applied paint primer coat layer and the base metal electrodeposition layer causing the paint to peel from the metal body part.”
It said if the condition is verified, the specific panel that is peeling will be repainted.
The program is broken into two parts. The primary coverage is in effect until Feb. 9, 2022, with no year or mileage limits. The secondary coverage kicks in after the primary coverage expires and is good for 10 years from the date the vehicle was first licensed, regardless of mileage.
Damage caused by collisions, deep rock chips, dents and deep scratches will not be covered and must be repaired before a panel is repainted.
The letter said people who have already paid for repainting should contact their dealer for “reimbursement consideration.”
George Iny, with the Automobile Protection Association, said his organization is pleased with the automaker’s plan.
“Under this program, paint delamination on a vehicle as old as 2008 is covered until 2022 — that’s 14 years,” he said. “Toyota’s coverage is unprecedented for a warranty extension on defective paint, where the limit is usually about eight years.”
He noted while Toyota was late to acknowledge the paint issue publicly, it “has been correspondingly generous with the time limit.”
Iny said it is yet to be seen how individual claims are treated at dealerships since there is often some normal paint deterioration with older vehicles.
“That’s not covered, but delamination looks very different, not normal, so it should be relatively easy to identify areas to repair at the manufacturer’s expense,” he said.
Iny said it’s important that owners of these vehicles confirm Toyota Canada has their current address. That can be done by calling a Toyota dealership to ensure notifications sent to them arrive.
Toyota said the program is part of its continual efforts to help ensure customer satisfaction.