Toyota, the trusted foreign automaker who has produced cars that people love for decades, is in a sticky situation. The company is in the middle of a giant recall effort of unknown size and origin, and Toyota has confirmed that its accelerators stick on up to 5 million vehicles and could cause an accident for an auto owner.
However, by not disclosing the models affected and stating that the matter is ‘still under investigation,’ Toyota has a lot of goodwill to collect as it sorts out the recall problem.
The problem with sticky accelerators is not contained in just the U.S., but is a global issue. Toyota, therefore, has begun forming a global campaign to try and heal its image and restore faith in the name that has meant quality for years.
The First Steps in Healing its Name
While it continues to work on the recall problem, they must focus on their brand management. The Toyota brand image is what will save the company once the crisis is over. If consumers are to have faith once again in the Toyota brand, they must be assured that Toyota remains dedicated to excellence and quality.
The first step to rebuilding its image is already underway. By acknowledging the problem and offering a factory-sponsored fix for current owners, they already have taken the bull by the horns and are attempting to give current and future owners assurance that the company sticks by its products. In fact, Toyota stated that many dealers will expand their hours or even stay open around the clock to provide the service necessary to fix their automobiles. They even spent millions advertising during the Super Bowl to convey its message and “dedication” to solving the problems.
The Future of Toyota’s Branding
Once the problem of the sticky accelerator pedal is fixed, Toyota will likely be spending years fixing its image problem. Financial experts are already predicting a $2 billion loss in sales for the company in 2010, and this doesn’t include the money that will be spent on their image campaign.
Toyota has weathered problems in the past. While the recall problem is bad timing during a global economic downturn, Toyota will likely find its way back on top as one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers.