Things just seem to be getting worse for Toyota. As the company’s chief executive Akio Toyoda apologized in front of a U.S. congressional panel today, saying “we never run away from our problems,” the FBI raided the office of several Toyota suppliers in Detroit.
The raids add yet another layer onto the crisis communications catastrophe being faced by the company. Nearly every crisis communications executive PRNewser has spoken with said the company is not handling the recall as well as they could be.
Also in the hot seat: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, which is now being implicated as “going to easy on the company” in advance of the recall.
Ray Wert, editor-in-chief of auto industry news blog Jalopnik told PRNewser earlier today, “I’m interested in hearing Akio Toyoda answering questions with a translator’s help. On the basest of levels, that alone may hurt their public perception given the automaker’s desire to market themselves as an American automaker. Especially after [Jim] Lentz’s inability to answer questions yesterday on safety because all of the real decision-making occurs at Toyota Japan.”
In regards to media coverage, Wert said, “There’s a handful of reporters who got into the hearing, but there aren’t any real media avails happening right now, especially given the news that the SEC and many state attorneys general may be filing or opening cases against Toyota.”