Japanese auto brands have walked a tenuous PR line for decades now. They enjoy a reputation for being reliable, durable and aesthetically pleasing, but the brands behind them also run the risk of blurring into a single, amorphous marketing entity.
Because the public groups Japanese cars and most other Japanese products under the same national umbrella, these brands must work extra hard to differentiate themselves from each other. They even suffer through the same PR fails! For example, the latest auto recall scandal involves Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda and 3.4 million vehicles whose passenger side airbags could “deploy with too much force, sending shards of metal into the passenger area”. OK then!
This revelation presents a litany of PR challenges, the most notable being the public’s collective question, “If these brands all use the same airbags and airbag technology, what actually makes them different?”