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Posts Tagged ‘Toyota’

Toyota Turns to Crowd Sourcing to Rebuild Its Rep

In its ongoing efforts to rebuild its tarnished reputation, Toyota is turning to the people. Their latest campaign asks consumers to suggest new ways to use the company’s existing technologies outside of the automotive space.  Bill Fay, group VP for marketing at Toyota Motor Sales USA told the New York Times that the campaign is an effort to show “how we can improve the quality of life.”

Those interested in participating choose from five Toyota technologies and after some narrowing down, they’ll open the voting up to the public in April. The company says it will try to make the five winning ideas (to be announced in May 2011) a reality.

Does this sound like a reputation-restoring campaign to you?

Toyota Spokesman: Recalls Signal Good Quality

Another day, another recall. Toyota has announced a worldwide recall of 1.53 million vehicles, 750,000 of them in North America. In the U.S., the Lexus and Avalon models are impacted.

As we all know, Toyota has already recalled millions of cars this year, a situation handled so poorly that the company had to appear before Congress. The company had been working to rebuild its corporate reputation and promised to do better. In April, the company paid more than $16 million in fines to U.S. regulators for waiting too long to initiate a recall.

“Every time we announce a recall, that is a step toward increasing quality,” a Toyota spokesman, Paul Nolasco, told the New York Times.  Umm. Maybe they’re being a little more upfront this time, but let’s not go too far.

“The pedal-related recalls had ‘brought it home to Toyota that we need to refocus on quality,’” he added. That sounds about right.

Everything You Own Needs to be Returned

Each day it seems we’re assailed with more recall notices. Just in the past week, those with metal hips from Johnson & Johnson unit DePuy Orthopaedics found out they have to send them back. Toyota had another recall, this time involving 1.1 million of its 2005 through 2008 Matrix and Corolla models. And before you return your car, return the GPS because Garmin recalled over one million of its nuvi devices.

Ad Age
asked a few PR professionals about the impact that all of these recall announcements will have on consumers. “The transparency driven by social media is prompting companies to make different decisions about what they do around quality issues than they would have in the past,” said Gary Stockman, CEO of Porter Novelli.

Still, Stockman acknowledges that all of the recalls can have a desensitizing effect. (H&K‘s U.S. director of risk management and crisis communication Chris Gidez also talks about “recall fatigue” in the story.) The magazine conducted a poll of 100 of its readers and found that 24 percent don’t care about the recall messages. Widespread disregard for a recall could have serious consequences for a company as well. Will we see changes in the ways companies make recall announcements because they’ve become so common?