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Online Car Shoppers Unaffected by Recent Recalls of 10.2 Million Toyota Vehicles According to Jumpstart Automotive Group

toyota camry (select to view enlarged photo)

SAN FRANCISCO--December 4, 2012: Jumpstart Automotive Group today announced that in gauging the behaviors of roughly 19 million monthly unique visitors across the company's suite of 14 automotive websites following two mass Toyota recalls in as many months -- one involving 7.4 million vehicles due to a faulty power window switch and another involving 2.8 million vehicles for a steering glitch two weeks ago -- the analysis revealed that online shopper interest in the automaker's cars and trucks has been virtually unaffected and that over the past two months, Toyota has actually seen a slight increase in brand shoppers over September.

“Considering Toyota manufacturers the number one selling car in the midsize vehicle segment among car shoppers 11 years and counting speaks volumes to how fiercely loyal Toyota customers really are”

These latest recalls follow a series of seemingly debilitating setbacks the automaker has faced in recent years, including recalls that impacted more than 10 million vehicles from 2009 -- 2011, as well as sidelined production due to the Japan earthquake and tsunami and Thailand floods last year. Just this week, the automaker recalled 150,000 Tacoma pickups for a rust problem that can cause spare tires to fall from the vehicle.

Jumpstart, a division of Hearst Magazines and an innovative marketing solutions provider for automotive advertisers, says that if there's any trepidation regarding Toyota products, the company just isn't seeing it in high volume among the millions of online auto shoppers across its suite of sites.

Today, Jumpstart released the following data from its online shopper analysis prior to and following the latest recalls, as well as data during the height of Toyota's mass recalls over the past three years:

Jumpstart Analysis

Toyota Average Monthly Share of
Brand Shopping

Jan 1 -- Oct 10, 2012 9.4%
Oct 10 -- Nov 10, 2012 9.0%
Nov 14 -- Nov 28, 2012 8.9%

Total Variance in Average Monthly

CY 2009-2010 -1%
CY 2010-2011 +15%
CY 2011-2012 (Jan-Oct) +13%
  • Compared to other brands, from January 1 to October 10, Toyota's share of shopper interest across Jumpstart's suite of sites averaged 9.4 percent, with a 12.0 percent increase in shopper volume from the same timeframe one year prior
  • During the four-week period following news of the 7.4 million vehicle recall (from October 10 to November 10), shopper interest in Toyota cars and trucks across Jumpstart's suite of websites remained relatively strong with only a 0.4 percent decline in share at an average of 9.0 percent compared to the first ten months of this year
  • In the two weeks since November 14, when it was announced that 2.8 million vehicles were being recalled, Toyota's shopper interest has held relatively steady with only a 0.1 percent decline over the prior two weeks
  • For perspective, Toyota maintained an average 10.8 percent share of brand shopping across Jumpstart's network of sites during the height of its mass recalls in 2009, 2010 and 2011, at 11.3 percent, 11.0 percent and 10.1 percent respectively. Although dipping slightly to 9.4 percent in October, Toyota is on pace to end the year at around 10.0 percent share of Jumpstart shoppers

"Considering Toyota manufacturers the number one selling car in the midsize vehicle segment among car shoppers 11 years and counting speaks volumes to how fiercely loyal Toyota customers really are," said Nick Matarazzo, CEO of Jumpstart Automotive Group. "It also demonstrates how a proactive approach to addressing recalls can help soften negative brand perceptions. Despite ongoing quality issues, Toyota has maintained two of the top ten spots in share of online shoppers across Jumpstart's sites over the past three years with the Camry and the Corolla."

Matarazzo says that while Toyota has fared well among car buyers and online shoppers in the midst of mass recalls and natural disasters, the timing of the latest recalls is cause for concern.

"The competition for the top spot in the midsize sedan category has never been more heated which makes the timing of these latest recalls unfortunate," said Matarazzo. "Earlier this year, Nissan declared the Altima has what it takes to knock Camry off its top-selling pedestal, and a number of the models in this segment have been redesigned, including the Ford Fusion, the Chevy Malibu and the Honda Accord. It will be interesting to see how this Battle Royale shakes out in the coming year."

For online automotive shopping data, automotive industry analysis and automotive marketing case studies, visit Jumpstart Strategic Insights at JumpStart Insights.