October 2022 Update: Toyota has found a fix to the problem. Read more on Car and Driver.
Lemberg Law is investigating complaints regarding the urgent recall of the newly launched 2023 Toyota bZ4X. Toyota has warned vehicle owners not to drive the electric car for now because the wheels may fall off. But, so far, they say there is nothing they can do to fix the problem.
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Is There a Recall for the 2023 Toyota bZ4x?
Yes, there is a major problem with the 2023 Toyota bZ4X recall. After a major send-off before the launch of Toyota’s first Beyond Zero electric vehicle (EV), the wheels have come off – literally.
Every one of the 2,700 bZ4Xs sold globally has been recalled because of fears that one or more wheels may fall off moving vehicles. This would, of course, be likely to result in a loss of vehicle control, which would increase the risk of a crash.
Additionally, a major problem is that Toyota has been working on “a remedy” to prevent wheels potentially falling off its cars since it issued the recall. Mid-August, there is still no solution.
What is the 2023 Toyota bZ4x Wheel Recall?
An urgent notice posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website on June 23, 2022, urges owners of the 2023 Toyota bZ4X not to drive their vehicles. “If your vehicle is part of this recall, the manufacturer has recommended that you stop driving this vehicle immediately.”
The recall notification, NHTSA Recall Number 22V444000, states that “the hub bolts on the wheels may loosen, causing a wheel to detach from the vehicle after low-mileage use.”
Warning owners not to drive because of the safety risk, the recall states that a “remedy is currently under development.”
Potentially, 661 units are affected. But the recall also includes 2023 Subaru Solterra electric sports utility vehicles (SUVs). According to a press release issued by Toyota on June 23, there are about 260 bZ4X vehicles in the U.S. that are involved. It states that the cause of the issue and the driving patterns that might cause the problem are still under investigation.
Because there was no remedy available “at this time,” owners were notified that any authorized Toyota dealer would pick up vehicles and provide loaner vehicles free of charge.
The international news agency, Reuters, reports that 2,200 of the bZ4X vehicles were earmarked for Europe, 110 for Japan, and 10 for Canada. It also states that Subaru Corp would be recalling a total of 2,600 units of its new EV. The two EVs were developed jointly and Toyota has close to a 20% stake in the Subaru Solterra.
Subaru Solterra Recall
So far, there is no sign of an announcement of the Solterra recall on Subaru’s U.S. Media Center site. But there are reports from people who have ordered the electric Subaru SUV that there has been no notification of the recall. For example:
“Ordered a Subaru Soltera. I heard from the dealer about 60 days after reservation to confirm options and complete (the) order. After that, they went dark. No notification of (the) recall, no notice of delay in delivery. I went and found a used Forester because the Soltera looks worse by the day.”
What Options do Toyota bZ4x Owners Have?
It is not clear how many vehicles in total have been delivered to owners and/or dealers, but the recall affects all orders. So, now Toyota is offering those who have taken delivery of bZ4Xs several alternative options. We understand that Subaru hasn’t delivered any Solteras, so no offers on the table there.
In a letter to bZ4X owners at the beginning of August 2022, Toyota states that they are still “working diligently” on finding a solution to the potential problem of the wheels falling off the All-New 2023 bZ4X. Recognizing “the inconvenience presented by this situation,” any authorized Toyota dealer can:
- Pick and up and store vehicles at no cost until a remedy is available
- Provide a loaner vehicle at no cost
- Reimburse fuel costs incurred while operating the loaner vehicle
- Provide a total credit of $5,000 toward payments of any loan, lease, or purchase price if the bZ4X was paid for in full
- Provide complimentary charging at all EVgo-owned and operated public stations throughout the U.S. until December 31, 2024
- Extend the bZ4X’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty from the recall announcement (June 23, 2022) until “a date in the future” when they announce a remedy
- Opt for Toyota to repurchase the vehicle
Any repurchase agreement may vary, they say, depending on particular circumstances and the state in which the owner lives.
It is a well-known fact that the demand for EVs is high and supply is generally low. This has led to high dealer markups all over the country. So, it’s no surprise to learn of online reports that say some owners are attempting to negotiate with Toyota to try and recoup some of the dealer markups they have already paid.
How Will bZ4x Owners Respond to Toyota’s Offer?
Those consumers who have taken delivery of their new EV vehicles can’t drive them. If they opt for a loaner car they will have to drive a petrol or diesel vehicle. Even though fuel costs will be refunded, this option won’t suit everyone.
For those who have the new bZ4X on order, there are even fewer options. Do they cancel and try to find another EV, or just hope that Toyota’s promise of a fix will eventually materialize? After all, there are very lengthy order periods for most other EVs. At the same time, there is a hint that Toyota might sort out “courtesy cars” for those people who were due to take delivery of their bZ4X in June.
Very likely, all those affected by the recall simply want the EV they thought they had ordered, based on what Toyota had promised: The first Beyond Zero (bZ) with innovative features, a futuristic design, and reliable functionality. Certainly, they weren’t expecting to get a vehicle that risks its wheels falling off while driving.
There is, though, some debate online about the problem as well as responses to the offer. Responding to an article on Electrek, a news and commentary site that covers the transition from fossil-fuel to electric transport, a reader says, “Their offer to customers does at least seem generous.”
Another says: “One of the most generous offers I have seen until you consider the shortage of new (and used) vehicles, higher prices since people ordered the bZ4Xs, dealer mark-ups, and long wait times for any replacement vehicles!”
What to Do If Toyota Cannot Perform the bZ4X Recall?
There is no guarantee when or if a remedy to the threat of the wheels falling off the bZ4X will materialize. The question many owners are asking is how long must they reasonably be forced to wait for a remedy to be found?
Lemberg Law is currently investigating the issues that relate to the 2023 bZ4X recall. If you have purchased or leased a 2023 bZ4X, please complete our contact form or call our Helpline. Our services are free. If you’ve got a lemon, and Toyota cannot rectify the problem, they are going to have to pay your legal fees.