Toyota’s ‘brand recall’

Godfrey “Bobby” Monsod is a simple man with simple needs. Armed with a modest capital, the 60-year old former national tennis player turned instructor has embarked to become a small-time taxi operator by buying in 2007 a Toyota Avanza unit, which its manufacturer has described as an “excellent fit” for taxi cabs.

Three months it had started plying the Metro Manila streets, his lone cab unit had started developing various troubles ranging from the simple mechanical to the complex electrical aggravations. Three years later, his cab’s engine had conked out, prompting him to ask if the unit he had bought from the No. 1 automaker in Japan was truly fit for taxi operations, or just plain lemon.

Bobby himself drove the car, which had only 16,500 kilometers in its kilometer gauge. If it were not a lemon, or a “factory defect,” how come it had shown many problems only to culminate when its engine had conked out at a relatively early stage of operations? Most taxi units do not conk out even after they had run more than 100,000 kilometers. Bobby did some sleuthing to find out the answers; his research showed some disturbing discoveries.

To his utter surprise, Bobby has found out that Toyota Philippines has sold him a car, which has an Indonesian-made engine that is being used by other brands like Daewoo and Daihatsu.

It’s a generic engine unit which is regarded inferior to usual Toyota-made engine units.
Since the generic engine unit is inferior, cars which carry them are priced much cheaper in either Indonesia or Malaysia. One can buy a car at the equivalent of about P250,000.

Bobby felt cheated because he bought his Toyota Avanza at P670,000.

Bobby has brought his case for arbitration to the Department of Trade and Industry, which is mandated to implement RA 7394, or the Consumer Act. He expects a fair arbitration of his case, which include a recall of his unit and its replacement by a suitable and superior unit. He is also looking at the possibility of bringing his case before the appropriate court, if Toyota Philippines continues to ignore his plea.


For comments, reactions and suggestions… kindly keep it to yourselves. Dick Sinchongco

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