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The news that Toyota Nigeria Limited, an automobile company in Nigeria has recalled 900 units of its RAV4 vehicles brings joy to the automobile owners throughout the country. The development is a win for often shortchanged customers, a signpost of the maturity of an industry player as well as an assurance of a brighter future for its business.

Toyota RAV4 courtesy of Carscoops.

While announcing the recall of the RAV4, the Company’s management explained what the problem is, the danger it poses, the duration of time required for the replacement of the faulty part, saying that all its dealers have been briefed and their technicians trained and set to fix the vehicle. This pattern of auto recall communication is in line with international best practices which any responsible automobile company in Nigeria should emulate.

There is no doubt that auto recall is long overdue in Nigeria, a country which imports virtually all brands of vehicles either as brand new or used. In the past fifty years, the recall system has been an integral part of auto manufacturing, sales and marketing worldwide; it has been used to address the compelling fallibility of technology, whilst raising the bar of safety and quality assurances. Auto recall is an action taken to correct noticeable post production disorder in a vehicle and such an action is stamped as an emergency. Auto recall is not the seizing of the faulty vehicle from the owner. Neither is it an attempt to deny the owner’s timely use of his mobile property. Before recalls are announced, the identified faulty part is mass produced, sent to all dealerships whose technicians are trained to replace the worrisome part within minutes. Thus, when the recalled vehicle drives in, it is attended to in a jiffy. The resultant effect is the extension of the life expectancy of the vehicle, an increase in customers’ loyalty, additional value of service offer and many other sweet advantages that bring relief to the auto owners. Automobile manufacturers in Europe, America and Asia know and understand the need for recall and therefore wire it, as a strategic component, into their auto businesses. They transfer recalls to all their dealerships or distributorships, which in turn, transmit the benefits to their local customers. However, such benefits have eluded automobile owners in Nigeria who, in many cases, spend more money for the same vehicular specifications than their counterparts in other countries.

Dr Oscar Odiboh.

Twelve out of the fifteen auto brands that have been recalled by their manufacturers in the past thirty years are established brands in Nigeria but none extended past recall benefits to their local customers within the same period. This scenario worries independent stakeholders even as the controversy rages that Nigerian automobile companies obtain the recall replacement items from their manufacturers and simply sell the parts to unsuspecting aftersales customers. Such sharp, unethical practices concerning manufacturer-approved recall or the misapplication of its benefits to car owners throws up the virus of insincerity in the industry – a fact that calls for praises of Toyota Nigeria Limited at this auspicious moment. The application of the recall strategy is a quality of leadership which Toyota Nigeria Limited has displayed. Others need to follow.

Dr. Oscar Odiboh,
an
Automobile Marketing Communication Consultant

and NAJA
(Nigeria Automobile Journalists Award) Winner
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