Toyota: Making Lemonade from Lemons

9 Mar

Toyota Trademark

“Never kick a man when he’s down.”

Don’t kick a company when it’s down either.  The recent outpour of support for Toyota in the midst of the recall controversy shows that consumers will rush to a company’s rescue when it is being bullied.  According to The Big Money, Toyota’s Facebook “fan base has actually grown by nearly 10,000 since the recall was announced.”

And instead of reflecting a Toyota pounding-session, where the conversation is dominated by the outraged and the disheartened, the Facebook page of the shamed company seems to reflect a mixture of anger and sympathy, with some loyalists vilifying the media for “over-hyping the recall.”

Across the world in Toyota’s birthplace of Japan, many locals echo this sentiment. 

According to Advertising Age’s article entitled “U.S. ‘Overreaction’ Stirs Empathy for Toyota at Home,” Japanese citizens are shocked by the amount of media coverage the recall is receiving.

Some feel that there is an ulterior motive for the U.S. media’s fascination with the recall.

Citing the U.S. car market’s demise, many Japanese automakers feel that the domestic U.S. auto market is seeking to profit from the woes of Toyota by exacerbating the crisis.

An article entitled “Toyota’s U.S. market share breaks down” supports this theory, stating, “The troubled Japanese automaker will probably see its market share drop to its lowest level in almost five years, giving the runner-up spot in the U.S. back to Ford Motor Co.”

Watching the auto-giant fall on its face as its reputation is dragged through the mud does not sit well with the Japanese, who fear the loss of confidence in Toyota will translate into a loss of confidence in Japan.

Given the lingering tainted perception of Chinese production after the toy and paint recalls, this concern is justified.

But Toyota may not be as stricken as it appears.  Of course, it will have to invest heavily in proving the safety of its vehicles.  But all is not lost.   “A recall can be an opportunity for a carmaker to strengthen its bond with customers,” as stated in the Newsweek Article entitled, “Getting Toyota Back on Track.” The drastic rise in Toyota’s Facebook fans echoes this sentiment.

By returning to its  core value of producing  high-quality cars and through a sincere commitment to its consumers’ safety and patronage, the company could easily turn this series of unfortunate events into a golden opportunity.

It’s all up to Toyota.

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One Response to “Toyota: Making Lemonade from Lemons”

  1. artsybusiness March 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    It is really interesting to see the response to Toyota, especially. Great insite- I would have never guessed that their fan base would go up. Thanks for blogging about this, I love a post that makes me think.

    Like

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