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Canadian Toyota Owners Are Enduring a Service Nightmare Due to a ‘Systems Issue’

Some customers have been forced to park their Toyotas for months because shops haven't received their promised parts.

Canadian Toyota owners are not happy after a country-wide parts shortage is leaving vehicles out of commission for weeks, and in some cases, even months. According to a report by the CBC, customers across all of Canada are being affected by what Toyota says is a “planned systems transformation to provide an improved overall customer experience.” 

To illustrate just how bad things are, Catrina Brown from Halifax, Nova Scotia took her leased RAV4 to a collision center after being involved in an accident. Because the parts required to repair her crossover can’t seem to be found or delivered to the collision center, it’s been a staggering 57 days since she last drove her vehicle. Even worse, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. 

“It’s seemingly incomprehensible to me that a massive corporation like that can’t get it together to find parts for their cars,” Brown told the CBC. “There’s been a total lack of communication or effort to be transparent. I’ve had to do all the work of calling and trying to contact people to find out what’s going on. It’s just unacceptable.”

Another owner, however, received word that the issue was due to Toyota Canada’s “consolidation of warehouses and new system implementation.” After Megan Dieter’s 2016 Scion FR-S was damaged in a hit-and-run on June 26, the wait for parts apparently lasted over a month.

According to the CBC, Dieter called Toyota Canada, who told her “there is nothing they can do to reimburse me for this inconvenience.”

“They just said the system wasn’t working and isn’t telling them where the parts are located, so they’re unable to go and find them or even know if they have the parts,” Dieter added. “Toyota is a huge company and you’d think they’d be able to figure this out. They’re not taking ownership of this.” Dieter spent two weeks in an insurance-provided rental and then some more time in a collision center-provided replacement car. She eventually got her FR-S back just last Friday, almost two full months from the day of the hit-and-run.

However, not all affected owners are so lucky with the rental cars. Mississauga, Ontario’s Bogdan Dakanovic reportedly started waiting on parts for his 2018 RAV4 on June 18. When the maximum period of time his insurance would cover a rental was approaching, he asked Toyota for a loaner but was rejected. Dakanovic reportedly even offered to pay to ship the parts if Toyota could find them but was rejected yet again. Six weeks after the RAV4 was brought in, the body shop was able to get it in roadworthy-condition but the car was still “missing a grille and other pieces.” 

The shop apparently told him the whole shebang should’ve taken just three days. 

Toyota Canada

Dakanovic, meanwhile, says he’s “shocked by just the pure absence of customer care. No empathy or no action from them whatsoever, other than saying parts will arrive when they arrive and there’s nothing they can or will do.”

In response to the parts fiasco, Toyota Canada spokesperson David Shum told The Drive the issue is being caused by “planned systems transformation to provide an improved overall customer experience” and that the impact is “short term.”

Toyota Canada reportedly apologized to customers for the snafu and thanked them for their patience but as we suspect its customers might be thinking, apologies and thanks can’t help anyone get to work in the morning. “Be accountable, be responsible and be respectful of your customers,” said Brown. “If they can’t start treating us with some kind of respect they won’t be where we choose to buy our cars.”

Full disclosure: As a Canadian Toyota owner myself, I can attest first-hand to Toyota dealerships being particularly stingy with the loaner vehicles. When my 2013 Scion FR-S’s engine exploded after undergoing the valve spring recall, I wasn’t given a replacement car until three weeks into that debacle.