Toyota uses word-of-mouth to speed up airbag recall

Company partnering with peer-to-peer safety company platform Carma Project

Published: December 19, 2018, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:57 PM

Carma Project alert

Toyota is turning to word-of-mouth to speed up the repair of vehicles impacted by the largest automotive recall industry, the Takata airbag recall that affects some 100 million vehicles worldwide.

The company has partnered with peer-to-peer safety company platform Carma Project in the first ever social and incentive-based program designed to accelerate consumer response to automotive recalls, and specifically with the massive Takata airbag recall to launch the program.

Although manufacturers have sent out notices, created public service announcement and had their dealerships intervene with all potentially affected vehicles during regular maintenance, customers still seem to be blasé to the action, with an average of one in three airbags remaining unrepaired.

“Our partnership with Carma Project is designed to motivate and incentivize people to share critical information about the recall, including how to get the remedy for free,” said Toyota Motor North America’s Vice President of Product Quality and Service Support Tom Trisdale. “We know that friends and family can play a powerful role in influencing how people make decisions about safety.”

Under the project, people are encouraged to share information about automotive recalls that may affect friends and family, and can earn up to $55 in gift cards for every eligible vehicle they help get fixed. Entering a VIN or uploading a licence plate image to the Carma Project recall-lookup tool, alerts manufacturers to recalled vehicles that have not yet been serviced, allowing local dealerships to contact the vehicle owner to schedule service.

“We’ve built a similar solution in healthcare and have seen it work. Companies struggle to identify participants for clinical trials, because they are hard to find and oftentimes ignore industry outreach,” said Carma Project CEO Fabio Gratton. “But a friend or family member has that trust, access, and influence to ensure that those people learn about these trials and ultimately receive those potentially life-saving medications. We’re confident that this approach will work in the automotive world, especially when combined with our incentive model.”

Visitors can visit for more information or to sign-up, please visit

In other recall-related news, Toyota is recalling some 4,400 Corolla hatchbacks (roughly 3,400 in the US and 973 in Canada) to address a problem with the continuously variable transmission. On certain 2019 cars, the CVT torque converter could fail, resulting in a loss of motive power and a potential crash, if it happens at high speeds.

Dealers will replace the transmission with a new unit, notifying owners by mail late in January 2019. Owners can also check or call customer support at (888) 869-6828.