Toyota owners remain loyal despite recalls: Study

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Washington, Mar 6 (ANI): Despite the 8 million Toyota vehicles recalled since October 2009, its customers are still maintaining high overall satisfaction, a report claims.

Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business conducted a survey-based study of a national sample of U.S. vehicle owners.

It was learnt that the level of overall satisfaction with their vehicles' quality was equally high among Toyota owners and owners of other vehicles.

In fact, Toyota owners held a more positive view of the company than their counterparts.

Vikas Mittal, the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing at Rice, said: "The recall does not seem to have dampened Toyota owners' evaluations of their vehicles.

"Before the recalls, Toyota's reservoir of brand equity was seen as unparalleled among its customer base. That didn't just vanish.

"The consistent and high level of satisfaction with the brand experience means that their current customers are viewing this performance lapse as an anomaly."

Mittal and his co-authors Rajan Sambandam, chief research officer at TRC, and Utpal Dholakia, associate professor of marketing at Rice, observed that Toyota's goodwill led to a "brand insulation effect" that protected the company from the recall's negative effects coming from current customers.

Dholakia said: "All the findings from our survey support one compelling and consistent conclusion: Toyota's customer base is insulated because of its consistent and high customer satisfaction levels in the past. The long-term prognosis is promising. Toyota can become a textbook example of how consistent customer-satisfaction can insulate the brand, even if it falters."

As part of the study, Toyota owners were asked to rate on the 0-to-10 scale whether they would consider Toyota if they were to buy a new vehicle today, their ratings averaged an 8, whereas other automobile owners' ratings averaged a 4.

Dholakia ended: "If Toyota does return to its traditional focus of product quality and safety, it will claw its way out of this recall. It might lose some sales in the short run, but Toyota owners say they are still likely to buy a Toyota in the future." (ANI)

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