Looks like a business school case study in the making

Toyota seems to have spent the last few weeks giving PR people a good example of how not to handle a negative story.

Firstly, there were the stories of floor mats preventing the release of the accelerator pedals and the potential for accidents.

Then, two days ago (on January 26, 2010), there is the halt to production in North America and the recall of another couple million vehicles.

But, worst of all, many consumers do not know that the latter recall is a separate problem because Toyota never managed to clearly articulate the fact. So many consumers do not appreciate that the reason for the second recall is nowhere near as dangerous as the first.

Let’s look at the state of the Toyota website on January 28, 2010. is the main webpage (live).

Or click on the thumbnail to see a partial screenshot taken on January 28, 2010.
Toyota news webpage January 28, 2010

Shameful. Utterly shameful. Here at Vox Sapiens we have major concerns here that Toyota does not know the scale of its PR shortcomings and that there are big troubles ahead.

Vox Sapiens will be watching this closely and there may be more blog posts about Toyota.


  1. TheVoice says:

    VoxSapiens update 8 February 2011:

    Today the US Department of Transport announced that electric systems and electromagnetic interference did not plan a role in the incidents of unintended acceleration involving Toyota vehicles.

    In a statement to Reuters, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said: “There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas.”

  2. Big-al says:

    Today Toyota announced the recall of another 1.7 million vehicles. To paraphrase James Bond, like many sports reporters do, once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend. This is not good news for Toyota.

    • TheVoice says:

      It was actually Goldfinger speaking to James Bond, but I agree with the sentiment. Toyota is starting to appear accident prone as a corporation. Whether this is poor press relationship management allowing the stories to become high profile I am not sure. But Toyota really needs to get a grip on the situation before it becomes known as a poor quality, recall-prone vendor. Once it gets that label, particularly subconsciously in the public’s head, it will take a long time to get rid of it again, and cost Toyota a lot of money.

  3. TheVoice says:

    VoxSapiens update 11 August 2010:

    In AutoNews quotes Bloomberg. “Brakes weren’t applied by drivers of Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles in at least 35 of 58 crashes blamed on unintended acceleration, United States auto-safety regulators said after studying data recorders.”

  4. […] here at Vox Sapiens we actually discussed this matter in a previous post. The post Toy-woe-ta – Looks like a business school case study in the making was published in January this year. We don’t name the exact date when the issue regarding […]

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