Owners of white Toyota models with delaminating paint say they are being left to foot the bill for repairs, despite the carmaker acknowledging the defect.
A group of Toyota owners are calling on the Japanese carmaker to fix a known paint peeling issue across multiple models.
Disgruntled motorists have taken to Facebook to share their stories, with a group called ‘Toyota Australia Peeling Paint’ growing from 150 members to more than 850 at the time of writing, following a story aired on Nine’s A Current Affair earlier this week.
Some say “envelope sized” paint strips have shed while driving on the highway or when washing their Toyota vehicles, while others posted images of the exposed metal being affected by corrosion.
“Toyota Australia has received reports of paint peeling,” the company wrote in a statement issued to Drive.
“The condition involves a specific factory-applied white paint colour (colour code 040) and may occur when sunlight//ultraviolet exposure over time degrades the adhesion between the factory-applied paint primer coat layer and the base metal electrodeposition layer, causing paint to peel from the metal body panel.”
Toyota Australia has acknowledged selected Corolla and Rukus variants manufactured between 2007 and 2015 may have been affected by the issue – with a ‘Warranty Extension Program’ in place for those models.
“Toyota has a Warranty Extension Program in place for the above involved vehicles, which includes free-of-charge repairs for vehicles for 10-12 years from the date of first registration, regardless of mileage,” the company said.
But a number of people have also reported identical issues on RAV4 and LandCruiser Prado SUVs.
It’s understood Toyota Australia has offered to partially cover the cost of repairs for some owners, but due to the age of the vehicles and being second-hand, full reimbursement or repair hasn’t been forthcoming at this stage.
Under Australian Consumer Law, any vehicle purchased from 2011 onwards must be of “acceptable quality” – including looks – in regards to expectations of how long the product should last.
“These guarantees apply to both new cars and second hand vehicles sold by businesses but not private sales, and include that products supplied are of acceptable quality. That is, that they are safe, durable and with no faults, and do all the things you would normally expect them to do,” a spokesperson from the ACCC told Drive.
“If a consumer has purchased a product that has a fault, the Australian Consumer Law entitles them to a remedy of either a repair, replacement or refund, depending on the nature of the fault.”
Owners in Canada who experienced the same delaminating paint problem were told Toyota would fix their vehicles as part of a “warranty enhancement program” for vehicles dating back as far as 2008, according to a report from national broadcaster CBC.
“I think it’s really great that Toyota is actually stepping up for their mistake and painting the vehicles that have issues,” Canadian RAV4 owner Rachael Mosley said at the time.
Australian owners have expressed their frustration that cars overseas have had the defects rectified by Toyota, while the same courtesy has, so far, not been extended to all models here.
In late 2019, Toyota extended its warranty program for six models painted in Blizzard Pearl and Super White in the United States, with free repairs made available to more than 1.7 million vehicles.
Members of the Facebook group have called for a class action lawsuit against Toyota Australia to have the paint peeling defects heard by a court.
“Consumers that have concerns relating to paint peeling from their vehicle should approach the dealer and/or manufacturer to resolve the issue,” the ACCC spokesperson said.
“If the dispute is unable to be resolved with the dealer or manufacturer, [the] consumer can make a complaint to their local state or territory consumer protection agency, who may be able to assist with resolving the dispute.”
While the paint peeling problem appears to only affect white cars, some have taken to Facebook to complain about failing clear coat on red, blue, and yellow vehicles – a transparent layer designed to seal and protect paint – however, these problems are unrelated to the primer coat issues.
Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the area of classic car investment.