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Toyota 4Runner false advertising and misleading marketing

wyatt27wyatt27 Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Toyota
The 2008 4Runner is falsely advertised and marketed by toyota’s own sales literature, press releases and dealer websites as having an active headrest safety system as standard equipment. Regardless of trim level none of the 2008 4Runners have this feature. I discovered this after being the victim of a rear end collision with injuries. I would suggest if safety, especially rear impact safety is a major concern then look at other sport utilities. Don’t learn the hard way as I did about toyota’s current business practices and inability to timely address a critical customer concern. It has been over three weeks with no resolution from toyota or the distributor, southeast toyota. It is not acceptable to spend over 38k on a vehicle and learn by being involved in an accident that it’s not equipped as advertised. Sadly toyota’s and southeast toyota’s awful customer service and lack of concern negate any positives about the 4Runner. I encourage all 2008 4Runner owners to call and write toyota, your area distributor, your dealer and be heard. Have any other 2008 4Runner owners realized this yet and feel short changed?


  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Edmunds says the '08 4Runner has multi-adjustable headrests and height adjustable headrests. (link) That sounds passive, not active, to me.

    I do see a lot of net links that say that various 08 Toyota SUVs have active headrests.

    You may want to complain to the NHTSA and point them to the sales literature that you relied on. (link)

    Here's to a fast recovery!
  • Hey Steve, toyota's sales brochure, toyota's 08 4Runner press release of almost six pages, toyota's e-brochure and sale info at the dealer all show the active headrest as a standard feature. There are numerous toyota dealers advertising online that the 2008 4Runner is equiped with the active headrests. After the accident I took the back off the upper seat back, next I took the 4Runner to the dealer so it could be investigated and three days later toyota's techline called the dealer back to inform me that none of the 2008 4Runners will have this active headrest system regardless of what the sales brochures and press releases indicate. The dealership's owner can't even get anywhere with them. I did make a complaint to the NHTSA two weeks ago, thankfully they are investigating.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    I also own an '08, saw the "active headrests" reference in the "Safety and Convenience" section near the back of the sales brochure, but did not see the active headrests on the window sticker, so figured it was one of those "information subject to change" items.

    Actually, the wording in the sales brochure is: "All information presented herein is based on data available at the time of printing, is subject to change without notice and pertains specifically to mainland U.S.A. vehicles only." The same wording is used throughout the Toyota website. It appears the lawyers have it pretty well covered.

    It isn't the first time a manufacturer has published sales literature on a feature that wasn't available yet. Unfortunately, it probably won't be the last either.

    Regarding your accident, what exactly was your injury? How were the headrests adjusted?
  • The 4Runner was built 08/07, and purchased 10/07, the 2008 4Runner sales brochure printed 08/07 shows on the next to the last page that active headrest is one of the standard safety features. This brochure is still currently available at toyota dealers. I have a toyota 4Runner press release generated 07/07 that is almost six pages and has drawings of the active system pertaining to the 4Runner. With the sales brochure and press release printed at the same time the SUV was built they should be accurate. I also have an e-brochure that I printed on 10/03/07 from toyota's website showing the active headrest as a standard feature, it have revision dates ranging from 9/23/07 to 10/02/07. On 11/20/07 toyota edited it's online e-brochure to remove that info. Toyota shouldn’t try to hide behind legal-ease and ignore a customer or customers who has spent a lot of money with them on multiple vehicles, to me it demonstrates a lack of responsibility and integrity on toyota’s and southeast toyota’s behalf. I don’t feel it’s asking too much to simply get what you pay for when spending 35k and to me this isn’t a minor issue such as misrepresenting the number of cup holders or accessory power outlets. Safety is hot marketing right now and safety sells cars, but safety features shouldn’t be misrepresented and continued to be misrepresented.

    At the time we purchased there was a $2000.00 rebate on the 2007 models so this added safety feature was the major reason for purchasing a 2008 model. I’m not placing blame on Toyota for my physical injuries, it was a moderate hit that damaged a factory weight distributing hitch and tweaked the frame enough to move the rear body mount through bolts off center a quarter of an inch. However it’s very possible we could have been less injured if the 4Runner would have been equipped as advertised.
    With the back of the seat off it’s obvious; the active headrest system is not there. After looking at a 2008 highlander which does have the system I figured out the 4Runner seat is not thick enough to allow the headrest to articulate forward enough when the system is utilized. If you look at the 2008 highlander seat you can see they are built different, thicker and the plastic eyelets that the headrest posts slide in are not fixed. You can actually pull the headrest forward and see the chrome posts move inside the seat. Also on the highlander it’s easy to locate and push on the pressure pad located at the bottom of the seat back and see the headrest move. The pressure sensor is about 1.5 X 3 inches and you can move the headrest with thumb pressure. My purpose in starting the thread is to see if other 08 4Runner owners have learned this and also feel short changed and misled.

    Below is an article posted on MSN regarding the Institute for Insurance Highway Safety. The all inclusive quote near the end by the toyota spokesman, Bill Kwong is very interesting. This demonstrates toyota's continued intention to mislead potential customers.

    Toyotaspokesman Bill Kwong said its 2008 vehicles have active headrests, which move closer to the backs of a motorist's head in rear-end crashes. Kwong said it provides a "great level of safety for the customer in the real world."

    Here is a link for the full atricle written 11/15/07.

    At I have posted a lot more information and actual pictures.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Dear Wyatt27,

    It appears you are pretty upset about this. Looks like you've been all over the Internet bashing Toyota about it.

    Here's the thing. The 4Runner is 100% Japanese. Content and assembly. Have you ever read the 4Runner owner's manual? I mean, really read it? It's from Japan, too. There's all kinds of little errors in it where certain English words are used wrong. For me, it brought back fond memories as a kid. I used to live in Japan when my father was in the Navy. There wasn't one English publication printed in Japan that didn't have these kinds of errors.

    "Active headrests." Okay, they goofed. Didn't really understand what they were saying. Used 'copy' and 'paste' from somewhere without knowing what it all meant.

    So, here's the $64,000 question. What is the one thing that would make you happy to FINALLY put this issue to rest?
This discussion has been closed.