Friday, August 06, 2004

My complaint to Toyota, Part 3

So, having given up on Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (that's the American affiliate, I gather), I turned to Toyota Canada, Inc., even though no vehicle purchase was involved:

Hi,

I'm trying to submit a complaint to Toyota Worldwide [the parent company, also referred to as Toyota Motor Corporation later on --John], but there doesn't seem to be any means of doing this through the toyota.co.jp Web site.

I filed it with toyota.com and got the following response:

Response (Michael) 08/04/2004 07:59 AM
Thank you for contacting Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

We apologize, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. only handles inquiries for vehicles sold in the United States and manufactured to U.S. specifications. Please contact Toyota Canada, Inc. for further assistance with your inquiry.

--

My original complaint [posted earlier --John] follows. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.


Toyota Canada, Inc. quickly responded:

Dear Mr. Jarvis,

Thank you for your recent correspondence.

We have noted your comments regarding the advertisement and have forwarded them to the appropriate departments within Toyota Canada Inc. for information purposes.

Thank you again for taking the time to write and for providing us with your feedback.

Sincerely,

Christine James
Toyota Canada Inc.


This left me puzzled... especially the information purposes part:

Thanks for the quick response, Christine. I am a little puzzled, however. First, I'd asked two questions at the end of my comments, so they weren't simply intended to inform. Second, am I to understand that Toyota Canada, Inc. was responsible for the production of the advertisement in question? I'd assumed it was produced by Toyota Motor Corporation for an international audience (dubbed in various languages, as appropriate). [I've since realized that the commercial is silent, greatly simplifying this job. --John]

If this is indeed the case, I would appreciate your help in forwarding my comments to Toyota Motor Corporation.

Cheers,

John


Their response was priceless:

Thank you for your recent correspondence.

We have noted your further comments. As well, we would like to take this opportunity to explain that Toyota Canada Inc. and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. (TMS) are separate business entities, as such, we suggest contacting TMS's Customer Relations directly for comment at the following:

TMS
Customer Relations
19001 South Western Ave
Torrance CA USA
90509-2991
Phone: (800) 331-4331
Fax: (310) 618-7814

We would also like to mention that TMS can be contacted through their website - www.toyota.com - select 'Contact Us' at the bottom of the main page, next select the 'FAQ page' link. You may have to create an account with TMS.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Sincerely,

James Mcwade
Toyota Canada Inc.


That's right, folks: that smacking sound is me being batted back and forth between the American and Canadian arms of Toyota. :-) There's more to come, though; I'm not giving up yet.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

My complaint to Toyota, Part 2

Well, Toyota responded this morning:

Response (Michael) 08/04/2004 07:59 AM

Thank you for contacting Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

We apologize, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. only handles inquiries for vehicles sold in the United States and manufactured to U.S. specifications. Please contact Toyota Canada, Inc. for further assistance with your inquiry.

Toyota Canada, Inc.
1 Toyota Place
Scarborough, ON
Canada M1H 1H9
888-869-6828

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

Toyota Customer Experience


An invitation to complete a customer survey followed this message. I responded to the questions about their Web site and customer service as follows:

I don't feel it's proper to expect people to create an account before they can submit questions or comments to your company. Someone (or some group) should be monitoring a feedback@toyota.com address. I felt my comments were important enough to warrant registering with your Web site; I doubt many others would bother.

As for the response I received, I was simply sluffed off to the Toyota Canada based on my location; it's obvious that the person didn't even read my complaint, since it had nothing to do with a vehicle I'd purchased (their excuse for the rebound). If anything, my complaint should've been forwarded on (by them, not me) to the appropriate department of Toyota Worldwide.


Up next: Part 3: Toyota Canada, Inc.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

My complaint to Toyota

I saw your "splitting" Matrix ad (the one where the cars part and merge like drops of water) in the movie theatre again tonight, and, since it still offended me, I decided to write.

Specifically, I complaining about the way it opens, with the Matrix driving straight at the meridian before the tunnel. First of all, the fact that it's the first image that we're presented with tends to drill it into our minds for the length of the ad (and beyond), but, even worse in my mind, is it's being completely unnecessary; there are many other ways to introduce this idea of splitting that aren't nearly so evocative.

Just on the off chance that you have no idea what that image of driving into a meridian evokes, it is almost the exact image that was presented to the world following the death of Princess Diana in the summer of 1997. I asked two other people - keep in my mind that it's only my second time seeing the ad - about the first thought that entered their heads after seeing the image, and they both responded with Diana's death. I'm confident that more asking would elicit similar responses.

Normally, I'm all for freedom of expression in art - it's what kept me from writing this complaint after my first viewing - however, I really feel that this ad constitutes a gratuitous use of that particular image, both in its placement (i.e., at the beginning of the ad) and its relevance (i.e., it's really not referenced again; cars split and merge without any catalyst, if you will, throughout the rest of the ad).

Now, I'm not suggesting that you pull the ad - again, I'm a firm believer in letting others decide for themselves what they deem to be offensive - but I am interested in knowing whether you were aware of the striking similarities between your footage of the tunnel meridian and the shots of the wreckage where Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed died, and if so, why you decided to include them.

Thanks,

John Jarvis