New Poll Shows Toyota’s Opposition to Clean Car Standards Drastically Damages Their Customers’ Attitudes About the Company

Published Jan 21, 2020

WASHINGTON (January 21, 2020)— A new poll of 1,000 Toyota owners conducted by Matt George Associates for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) finds Toyota’s failure to support strong vehicle emissions standards results in a nearly one-third decline in the company’s favorability among existing Toyota owners. The poll finds that Toyota’s customers–regardless of party affiliation – believe strongly that Toyota should support strong vehicle emissions standards. Additionally, due to the company’s support for an October 2019 lawsuit to oppose states’ authority to adopt stronger emissions standards, four in ten loyal Toyota drivers could consider switching brands.

Key findings from the poll include:

  • Toyota’s failure to support strong vehicle emissions standards results in the company’s favorability falling from 98% to 66%, a decline of about one-third. 75% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats who own Toyota vehicles think Toyota should support stronger emissions standards designed to help the environment and improve gas mileage.
  • 63% of Toyota owners surveyed became less supportive of Toyota’s decision to join the October 2019 lawsuit once informed that average emissions and fuel efficiency of the company’s vehicle fleet actually got worse over the last several years. As detailed in a 2017 Automotive Trends Report, Toyota was the only vehicle manufacturer whose emissions and fuel efficiency rates declined from 2012-2017.
  • After hearing about the lawsuit, younger Toyota owners ages 18 – 34 are the most likely to initially consider purchasing from a different manufacturer in the future.
  • Reversing course and opposing the lawsuit attacking state authority to set strong vehicle pollution standards would improve Toyota’s reputation among Toyota vehicle owners (72%).

“Auto manufacturers depend on brand loyalty, and Toyota has built a reputation as a forward-looking, environmentally-minded company,” said Dave Cooke, senior vehicles analyst at UCS. “Toyota’s actions undermining strong vehicle standards stand in direct opposition to that branding, and what this poll shows is that Toyota is putting the loyalty of their customer base at serious risk. This is a powerful argument for Toyota to change course and act in an environmentally responsible way, as the vast majority of their customers expect them to ensure that their green reputation is backed up by action.”