To boost the likelihood of finding potential defects at an early stage, Toyota Motor Corp. is adding offices in Houston, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida. In a statement, Toyota said that the new operations will evaluate and respond to customers' safety and quality concerns.
These are also the tasks of similar field offices opened in New York and San Francisco last year. Toyota said that it wants to open a fifth office in Denver in the first quarter of 2011.
Toyota is working to improve its image, which took a beating last year due to the recalls of millions of U.S. vehicles for sticky accelerator pedals. The impact of these recalls made Toyota suffer a 0.4% U.S. sales decline for the period. Meanwhile, the industry had an 11% annual gain.
The company said that the technicians at the regional offices will probe customer complaints and research specific vehicle issues.
Toyota revealed that the Jacksonville office will specialize in heating, ventilation and air conditioning problems, while Houston will focus on trucks and chassis components.
The Denver office will evaluate sport-utility vehicles and performance in high-altitude areas. Toyota's U.S. sales unit is based in Torrance, California. [via autonews - sub. required]