Why Toyota Can't Retain Me as a Customer

As I've gotten older, I've become increasingly brand loyal. I've gotten tired of experimenting with things, and just bought from a brand that I know will get the job done. I just switched back from Android to iOS, after 2.5 years of failed experiments moving away from the iPhone. I realized that I was happy with the iPhone all along, and there was no point trying to fix something that wasn't broken.

Now I'm happy with my Toyota GT86. It's reliable, it's fun, it's reasonable on gas, and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to maintain. For most situations, it's practical enough too. My friends that sit in the back hate me (as do my parents on occasion), we can only ever buy groceries one week at a time, and trips to Ikea require creativity, but it gets the job done. In fact, it's the only car my wife and I own. It's not just a toy, it's an appliance. It's just a really fun appliance.

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Once in a while conversations come about regarding more comfortable cars, or a friend will ask us, "What if you have kids?" (to which I respond by pointing to the two hopelessly, cramped rear seats).

That said, there will inevitably be a time when something more practical will be required. As it stands, it won't be a Toyota. Despite all of the benefits of owning a Toyota (high resale value, great customer service, reliability, reasonable running costs), they don't make a single car that appeals to me. I'm not sure they make a car that appeals to ANY GT86 owners.

Which brings to an interesting comparison. The major tech companies don't just sell you a phone, they sell you an ecosystem. It keeps you locked-down on their products, and you're happy to shell out on more from them when it's time to upgrade/replace. What was Toyota's plan with the GT86? It brought in customers that they'd lost with the demise of their sporty models decades ago, but that seems like a short term gain. Where do I go next? I'd love an Auris GTI, but all we get in the Middle East is the boring Corolla. Never mind that they don't make anything like that anyway. To my mind, it feels like Toyota drawing me in as a customer was a short-term gain for them. They've sold me a car, and I'll be paying for the after sales for years to come, but what were the expecting me to move to when I needed a bigger car? A Corolla, a Camry?!

So, Toyota, if you're listening, I love my car. It made me appreciate your brand. The dealership experience has been amazing. Someday, I'd love to buy another Toyota based on the strength of those experiences. So please make a car for all of those GT86 customers you've drawn into your brand to upgrade to when it isn't enough to handle their lives. And no, a Yaris/Camry/Corolla with a body-kit doesn't count.

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