Is it Too Late for Toyota?

This article in Today’s New York Times about Toyota’s slow response to a deadly problem literally made me sick to my stomach.

The terror that Highway patrol man must have felt as his car careened at 120 miles an hour is unthinkable.

Many brands go through a crisis at one point or another in their history. And it’s not so much what happens but how they react that the public remembers.

The stakes seem pretty high here and the reaction to such a deadly problem too slow.

Will this blow over with a bit of clever PR back tracking or is this just too much for Toyota to recover from?

I am interested in your twist.

6 thoughts on “Is it Too Late for Toyota?

  1. I hate to be boring, but I do agree with both Adam & Floyd… I think we all love a comeback story, and while this is nothing to sneeze at, this is the first of this type of bad press for Toyota.

    If Tylenol can survive Cyanide poisoning, Toyota will survive some stick brakes.

  2. @Floyd, @Adam, @Gregg thanks for your comments. I’m not sure if its optimism or cynicism at work 🙂 but you do all seem sure of their ability to bounce back.

    For me the difference from other similar cases in the past is twofold:

    1) the state of the economy – which I think has left consumer psyche a bit more fragile than in the past.

    2) the state of the car industry which has already seen some relatively big name brands disappear (ex. Saturn) so it seems like this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Are different stakeholders (media, consumers, government) just looking for an excuse to cross another automotive brand off the list?

    Any other opinions out there?

  3. Toyota is a great company with decades of goodwill and millions of satisfied customers behind them, so of course they have the potential to pull out of this. It doesn’t feel like a Pan Am situation when tragedy came on top of bad management.

    That said, I shared Julie’s queasiness from the NYT article this morning. Toyota actively ignored years of complaints until they were forced to act by a particularly horrendous accident. It made them seem more like a tobacco or pharma company than a world class auto maker.

    I was already feeling more positively towards Ford as an American car maker that is doing all the right things. I don’t see Toyota disappearing, but I see potential for Ford to make major inroads in their share for a few years.

  4. @Gregg

    Good point. There is something in the collective psyche of this country (US) that enjoys a redemption story.

    In the UK, they (as in the media mostly) are more likely to build up then enjoy the fall of a successful entity. “Serves you right for being too big for your boots.”

Comments are closed.