MONTREAL - Java junkies who win a Toyota RAV4 in the latest Tim Hortons roll-up-the-rim contest shouldn't have to worry about the 2010 Toyotas r-r-rolling out of control down the highway.
In January, Toyota Canada announced a massive recall of approximately 270,000 vehicles to correct accelerator pedals that were sticking on eight of its models.
Company official David Gollom says the 2010 RAV4 was part of the recall, but that any problems with the model would have been corrected.
"The 2010 RAV4 was involved in the sticky pedal recall," Gollom said in an interview.
"Toyota Canada would have performed any recall-related modifications on those models."
Tim Hortons (TSX:THI) is giving away 40 RAV4s in the latest version of its popular contest.
In a statement out of Oakville, Ont., the company says the vehicles "have been certified by the manufacturer to have addressed any recall orders."
The coffee chain's director of public affairs did not return phone calls requesting more information.
The company's website indicated that none of the 40 RAV4s up for grabs had been shipped out as of Friday.
Karl Moore, a McGill University management professor, said the co-branding partnership between Tim Hortons and Toyota was a "brilliant move" five years ago.
"When they started, Toyota was the world's best car brand," Moore said.
The marketing expert said the business decision by Tim Hortons not to pull the plug is encouraging for the embattled automaker.
"Toyota is just scrambling to try to retain their image and get back to where they were, so this would be just one small element of how to do that," Moore said.
"That Tim Hortons is supporting them is encouraging to their brand and it's another small way to keep the brand going."
But Moore cautions the partnership may end if the vehicle manufacturer continues to have problems with its models.
"If there are more and more problems, they (Tim Hortons) may have to re-evaluate that."
Over the last several years, 130 Toyota vehicles have been awarded in the roll-up-the-rim contest.
Last year, Tim Hortons offered a Toyota Venza as its first prize.
It gave away the Matrix in 2008, the Camry Hybrid in 2007 and the RAV4 in 2006.
Tim Hortons has also created a special edition of the contest for Canadian military personnel serving in Afghanistan.
But troops won't be able to win any of the RAV4s.
Soldiers who roll up the rim on the base may end up with five cash prizes of $1,000, small laptops, special edition Kandahar hats and food prizes.
Moore suggested it was "a hard-nosed" business decision not to give out any RAV4s to the troops.
"When you look at a contest, you want to make sure you don't spend too much on prizes," he said. "And given the market they have over there, the prizes probably make sense."