Photo: Emin Jafarov / Kommersant
The Japanese concern Toyota, which previously stopped production and sales of cars in Russia, announced to customers that it would stop supporting the mobile application that controlled some of the car’s functions. What does this mean for car owners and whether this carries risks of termination of warranty service, Fontanka found out.
We are talking about a telematics system for controlling some machine functions through a mobile application. Owners of Toyota (as well as Lexus) could, for example, quickly remember where the car was left, monitor the battery charge, analyze route details, duration, mileage, average speed for each specific trip, sign up for service, see all service operations, register all collisions on the road, recording the exact geolocation, and also quickly contact rescue services if necessary.
Also, it was through the application that the data of the built-in navigator was updated. As reader Mikhail told Fontanka, the system is now building a route, but it does it based on the last save, and new information is no longer loaded. “Now these updates will be prohibited, which means information about time restrictions, detours, and travel times will be unavailable,” he said. The car owner also fears that the system with which information about speed and route was projected directly onto the windshield in the form of augmented reality may stop working, so that the driver could only look at the road and not at the on-board instruments. It was also updated when connected to the driver’s phone.
Failure to update the built-in navigation system will leave car owners with a choice – either not to use the functionality at all, and, for example, build a route on the phone, or install a third-party application on the vehicle’s computer, for example, Yandex.Navigator.
The first option does not suit the owners of a not-so-cheap car (the Toyota Camry, which rolled off the assembly line of the St. Petersburg plant in 2021, cost 3.2 million rubles; new cars imported through parallel import cost twice as much). The second option may lead to the deprivation of rights to warranty service, especially if this is done not at official dealers, but in conventional “garage services”. In addition, a third-party application can only be installed on the screen itself, but it will not be projected onto the windshield. But this functionality alone cost 500 thousand rubles, said Mikhail. “To remove the warranty or not to use it is a dilemma,” he sums up. According to the car owner, he is considering filing a claim against the manufacturer.
Toyota has decided to leave Russia in the fall of 2022. Then the company announced that it would stop producing cars at its plant in St. Petersburg. At the same time, the automaker pledged to maintain after-sales service for Toyota and Lexus cars, as well as support for the dealer network. After this, the plant in Shushary first passed into the hands of NAMI, subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and then the site went to the “daughter” of the defense concern Almaz-Antey, which decided to assemble trucks and electric cars there.
Fontanka sent a request to Toyota about the reasons for disconnecting services and the prospects for further continuation of warranty service, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
The terms of provision of “connected services” state that Toyota may unilaterally refuse to fulfill the agreement if this is necessary to comply with a decree, decision or other act issued by a court or other competent authority, comply with the requirements of the current legislation of the Russian Federation, and/or arise force majeure circumstances. In this case, the user has no right to demand any compensation.
Dealers who have already encountered this situation with other brands are rushing to reassure customers that there are options. For example, Audi showrooms offer to reflash the head unit themselves and install Yandex.Navigator on the on-board computer, or add the ability to display an image of the phone screen on the car display. Or even replace the head unit with a non-original one.
All options do not entail removing the car completely from the warranty, since the intervention will only affect multimedia, said Andrey Lapko, director of the Audi dealership. If a customer arrives with a problem in the engine or gearbox, he will not be denied service, he emphasized. But augmented reality on the windshield really won’t work.
It is too early to say that Toyota has begun to remove warranty obligations for servicing cars sold by official dealers, says Vyacheslav Zhigalov, executive director of the Russian Association of Automobile Dealers (ROAD).
Of course, car owners have lost convenient services, but this has not yet affected safety and service capabilities. And in general, the situation is not as critical as with Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, which disconnected dealers in Russia from proprietary service software, which is why car owners lost the opportunity to reprogram the engine control unit to improve its performance.
But everything is not as good as with Renault, which officially transferred warranty obligations to AVTOVAZ. In the case of Toyota, when concluding the deal to transfer the plant to NAMI, and then to Almaz-Antey, it was not publicly announced who these functions would be transferred to, notes the executive director of ROAD.
For now, Toyota itself is trying to fulfill warranty obligations, but owners need to closely monitor events. “Over time, all brands from unfriendly countries will cease to have any presence, even in the form of warranty support,” the expert is sure.
If the “Japanese” decide to leave, they can easily abandon their customers, despite the presence of legal requirements according to which the manufacturer is responsible for the quality of the product during its service life – 10 years, Zhigalov believes.
Not everything is going smoothly with warranty service. “The situation is strikingly different from the one to which everyone is accustomed, this also applies to the availability of spare parts in the warehouse, delivery times, there are difficulties with electronic components and body parts. The representative office, which has not yet been closed, is trying to do something, but it all depends on the specific situation,” the expert notes.
Galina Boyarkova, Fontanka.ru
Photo: Emin Jafarov / Kommersant
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