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Survey: Toyota owners maintain high overall satisfaction despite recalls
Date:3/5/2010

A report released today by Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business found that despite the 8 million Toyota vehicles recalled since October 2009, current Toyota owners are not yet wavering in their support of or satisfaction with the company.

The rigorous survey-based study of a national sample of U.S. vehicle owners found that the level of overall satisfaction with their vehicles' quality was equally high among Toyota owners and owners of other vehicles, and Toyota owners maintained a more positive view of the company than their counterparts. Ninety-three percent of each group was aware of the recall.

"The recall does not seem to have dampened Toyota owners' evaluations of their vehicles," said Vikas Mittal, the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing at Rice. "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 -- found that Toyota's track record created what they called a "brand insulation effect" that shielded the company from the recall's negative effects coming from current customers.

On all aspects of the study, Toyota owners proved to have a more favorable opinion of the company than non-Toyota owners. Of the 455 vehicle owners in the U.S. surveyed, 12.8 percent were Toyota owners, which reflects the current market share of Toyota in the U.S.

Compared with the owners of other vehicles, the Toyota owners agreed more strongly, on a scale where 0 meant "completely disagree" and 10 meant "completely agree," that:

  • Toyota appropriately handled issues with the brake-pedal recall.
  • This incident is an outlier.
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Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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