Target Practice! Toyota Fortuner: A family car or coffin? (Un)Safety Standards Hi so we own, rather owned a Toyota Fortuner. One of India’s largest selling premium SUVs by volume from Toyota India. A really nice vehicle, felt nice and safe in it while on the highway or a member of the family was in it and commuting on the highways.
It’s supposed to have a host of safety features as well. But all this was before my driver totaled the car by going head-on into a parked tow truck. When my driver called me and told me “Sir, Gadi Khatam hogaya!” I refused to believe him and went there to check. I was stunned to see the state of the car and was thankful that all he had was a cut on his hand. And was otherwise physically okay.
What freaked me out was that no airbags had deployed and the passenger’s seat was where I was seated 20 mins before I had to dash to pick up my daughter from her school and asked my Driver Ram to drop my business partner to his hotel in Lower Parel. Can’t be more thankful that everybody is okay especially Ram who has been with us for as long as I can remember. He has never so much as scratched a car before. So glad that this was not fatal.
But now coming to the painful part of fixing this. We towed the vehicle to Toyota India’s workshop at Ray Road operated by Madhuban Toyota. Once the Toyota Fortuner reached the workshop by Madhuban Toyota we had a chat with the relation manager assigned to us. I asked Ganesh that we need an explanation on how come the Airbags did not deploy. He said we would look into it as soon as we run the diagnostics on the car. A week later this is what they had to say: Sir, we checked the airbag systems are all in place and seem to be working fine. They did not deploy because the sensor was not hit. Hence they did not open.
By this time I had been given an estimate of? 27 lac by Toyota India on the car for repairs and the insurance company had decided to total the car and give us the insured value. Ganesh that car was bought for ? 30 some lacs. The repair bill is ?27 lac. I don’t know about the sensors but when 90% loss to the vehicle happens, the airbags have to deploy. As someone who has spent good money on a car, to get this kind of reply from the company is like a fraud. Every customer relationship is built on trust, and after this incident, I feel like I have just lost faith not only in the car but in Toyota as well. The team at Toyota India told me they’ll look into it further and get back to me. Three days later I was in touch with Paul, the manager at Madhuban Toyota, Ray Road, this time around. Sir, the airbags only deploy when the sensors are hit. We checked the sensors and they are fine. It’s just that they weren’t hit.
So basically Toyota India is asking me to make sure we hit the sensor when we crash the car or we mark the sensors as marks for other cars to hit us. They asked me to email them but never replied. At this point I felt really cheated by Toyota. Their complete lack of understanding and empathy was shocking. Strange it is that a family car like the Toyota Fortuner, which is selling safety has such poor standards that the airbags don’t deploy in a crash where the chassis was broken and the pillars have cracked.
Here’s to what my Toyota Fortuner looks like now! There’s not much left of it and I would like to know what it would take to open the airbags!!! We seem to have hit everything but for those sensors! If this isn’t cheating a customer then I don’t know what is! Guys where’s that sensor at? Let me know so we can mark where to crash the car in case of any future accidents. Actually after this I think I’ll just not buy a car from Toyota India. We had rebooked the newer version of this car and the Corolla Altis they are supposed to have 7 odd airbags each. Just realised it won’t be of any use since they won’t open. Just cancelled these bookings.
Don’t know if anybody inside will survive so please do look at the image below. To add to all of the misery, they even charged us 1% to give us an estimate i.e. they billed me ? 27,000 to let me know that car had to be scraped. I asked “what’s this for?” With no straight answers from Toyota Madhuban, the entire experience has cheated me of my trust. At this point, all I want is for this review to be see by the right people.
And to warn anyone looking to buy a Toyota Fortuner in the future. Also apparently telling the driver and telling the owner are the same thing. Anyways they were kind enough to make the amount ?10,000 when I spoke to them. Only then did they release my Toyota Fortuner to insurance. Way to go Toyota India!! Thank for a terrible experience, one that could have been potentially fatal, if not for sheer luck!